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Irritants 3

Looney --

 A Looney Idea

In 2016 President Pro Tem of Connecticut’s Senate Martin Looney received a replacement kidney from a donor. The new organ allowed him to regain a sense of vigor that served him well when he proposed Senate Bill 96 ( S.B. 96), a punishing piece of legislation that would, according to Cycle News, “automatically assume any motorcyclist killed on the road is an organ donor if they were riding without a helmet, a choice currently available to riders over 18 years old in Connecticut.”

It may be a bill too far, even for the postmodern progressives in the state who support Looney. Certainly postmodern progressive motorcyclists would wince at the indignity of having their organs harvested by progressive jackals in a moral desert.

Hunter Biden’s Lawyers

Shakespearian scholars and legal ethicists are arguing, even today, that Dick the Butcher’s quip in History of Henry VI, Part II – “First thing we do [when we take power] let’s kill all the lawyers” -- is really no slur on lawyers. Dick means something entirely different, the lawyers argue. Neither the lawyers nor the scholars have yet addressed the question: If the modern legal profession was operating in Shakespeare’s day, would he have been permitted to bring forward any of his plays? Would not all of them be flogged to death by libel lawyers seeking big payouts?

Hunter Biden, likely underwritten by his famous or infamous father, President Joe Biden, has lawyered up, and the lawyers are now contesting not the provenance of the laptop’s data – the data on the laptop has not been engineered by Russians hoping to boost the fortunes of former President Donald Trump, the authorial New York Times tells us -- but rather the admissibility of the evidence in courts, with a view to snuffing evidence that may be used in prosecuting Hunter Biden and possibly his long-suffering father, “lunch pail” Joe. Given the seemingly endless complexity of the appeals process, the lawyers, now threatening to sue Fox News and other news outlets, may be successful in intimidating a media well-disposed to the president from commenting on the laptop until the appeals process has been exhausted – one may hope sometime before the turn of the next century.

To Tip or Not to Tip

Restaurants in Connecticut that have managed to survive the ministrations of the state’s progressive government during the COVID period that, prominent Democrats now assure us, may now be seen in our rearview mirrors are once again being hammered by equitist Democrats in the state’s General Assembly.

Progressive leader of the state’s Senate Martin Looney is leading the way to equity’s yellow brick road with a “One Fair Wage” bill now making its way through the legislative sausage-maker.

There is a gap, Looney explains in a Hartford Courant story, between tipped and non-tipped workers.

“When we started to raise the minimum wage, we did not affect the tip wage,” Looney said. “The gap between [the tip wage and minimum wage] was between $6.38 and $10.10 and now it’s between $6.38 and $14, going to $15. So that’s why we need to, I think, look at that again this year.”

President and CEO of the Connecticut Restaurant Association Scott Dolch begs to differ: “Tipped employees in Connecticut make nearly double the minimum wage on average and, like all workers, are guaranteed by law to never make less than the minimum wage.”

Looney and others have argued that a rise in the minimum wage of tipped restaurant servers, all things else being equal, would make more workers available. The unacknowledged reality is – all things else are never equal.

Restaurant consultant Robert Marcarelli observes: “A lot of people left the industry in general when the pandemic happened, and they just never came back and they never thought of coming back. I don’t think that the wage is going to bring those sorts of people back.” Then too, servers and bartenders already earn “far beyond” the minimum wage. “In most of the restaurants that I’ve seen, the servers and the bartenders are making more than the management. You have servers that are certainly making well above $25 to $30, even $40 an hour and that’s in a four or five-hour period.”

The problem Looney’s solution is meant to solve disappears under close scrutiny. However, the nearly certain possibility that his political solution will create adverse unintended consequences is beyond the ken of most postmodern progressives who have not in recent days visited restaurants that have not disappeared in Connecticut. Politically induced raises among tipped servers, most of whom earn considerably more than minimum wages, will  cause a drop off in sales, since wage costs are passed on to customers in the form of higher menu prices. And the many closures of restaurants are a signal that the restaurants are already operating within dangerously low profit margins.

When this writer showed the Courant story to a waitress who had moved from a closed diner he used to frequent just outside of Hartford to a new berth in East Hartford, she frowned and shook her head sadly.

She works three days a week in the diner.  An insider and a refugee from a closed diner, she appreciates her tips, is unfailingly cheerful, and grateful to her employer – and her customers who reward her service with tips that lift her above the growing number of unfortunates who have lost their jobs, thanks to solicitous, vote grabbing postmodern progressive politicians such as Looney.


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