Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Afterdinner musings

Yesterday we ate dinner at a nice brew pub in Davenport, Iowa. Good beer, good food, even a good salad. Often in mid-America, the brew pub is the place to eat.

This sat on the table:
Click to enlarge
I was curious. Do children of restaurant employees in Iowa need special help?

Iowa, despite having a Republican governor and a legislature split between the parties, did accept federal money to enroll people in health insurance whose income is too high to receive Medicaid but less than 133 percent above that level. The Supreme Court did its bit to undercut Obamacare by allowing states determined to be as cruel as possible to poor people to opt out of this expansion. Twenty-four states exclude such individuals from the federally funded Medicaid coverage and offer none of their own. At the beginning of 2014, Iowa's idiosyncratic Medicaid expansion seemed to be succeeding in signing up poor people for insurance. Gallup just reported that nationally the percentage of people who are uninsured has fallen to the lowest point since before the recession as Obamacare kicks in.


But less happily for its restaurant workers, Iowa is one the states that uses the federal minimum wage to set its own; currently that means that employers can't pay less than $7.25 an hour. (The Prez and Democratic congress critters are calling for a raise to $10.10, but Republicans aren't listening.) But in reality, employers can lawfully pay less. In Iowa, it is legal to pay employees whose compensation includes tips -- like many restaurant employees -- a cash wage as low as 4.35 an hour. Tip income is expected make up the difference.

It is not hard to imagine that families of restaurant workers might need some help.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Hattie said...

You really have an eye for this sort of thing. This is a place where the norm is way way to the right but people like to think they are charitable, since it's the Heartland and all.

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