The River Oasis “Minimum Wage” Fee is a Joke

River Oasis Cafe in Stillwater is hitting the news for charging a “minimum wage” fee on orders.  The fee isn’t much.  It’s 35 cents.  But one has to wonder…why the fee?

Do the owners of the Oasis charge a fee if the cost of produce goes up?  The cost of coffee?  What about an increase in the lease or property tax or any other increase in the cost of doing business?

No, they don’t.  This is a political stunt and it is disrespectful of their minimum wage employees.

The cost of labor is not any different than other costs of doing business.  As the costs of production go up, consumers can expect to pay more (but not necessarily).  Competition will reset the costs and prices.  In the end everyone adjusts.

In the case of employees, however, they benefit from stronger wages and the economic power that those stronger wages give them.  More money in a worker’s pockets — versus more money salted away in wealthy investments — has a more immediate and positive impact on the economy overall.  Today more than ever we all — rich and poor alike — need policy that will help and not constrain the economy.  Progressive minimum wage laws are that kind of help.

(By the way, how do we tax the minimum wage fee?)

River Oasis Cafe?  Not anymore…let’s make it the “Drive By Cafe” and fast.



7 thoughts on “The River Oasis “Minimum Wage” Fee is a Joke

  1. Jeff klinger

    Hey mr businessman What’s the largest cost, by percent, of operating a restaurant? Prop tax? Lettuce? Free market. The minimum wage should be what a person with the proper skills will agree to be paid for work performed. You can’t legislate your way to equality or prosperity

    1. Shane Schmidt Post author

      As a matter of fact, you CAN legislate more equality. It’s a political and social choice. However the increase in the minimum wage is hardly legislating equality or even prosperity, but it does help those who have little economic power. Anyone paying attention understands that the free market does not square with the interests of a free and prosperous society. Capitalism and democracy are not incompatible, but capitalism has no inherent need of democracy. Anyway…the increase in minimum wage will be passed along with or without gimmicks like a petty “minimum wage fee.”

  2. Jeff klinger

    With all respect, rarely is there a “program” legislated to help make people equal, without creating dependency. And I agree, the increase in wage will be passed along to the consumer, so counterproductive at best. And, in my opinion, free market and the drive for financial success is the reason you have a blog, a computer, etc. that wasn’t a part of any legislative body, democratic or otherwise.

    1. Shane Schmidt Post author

      There are no programs designed to make everyone equal. No one is proposing that. However, it is a mistake to think that American prosperity is the outcome of individual success and the free markets alone. Very much the opposite. The most prosperous years in our history coincide with so-called “big government” and a social order that respected a more progressive agenda, e.g., public funding for education, research, Social Security, civil rights, unionization, and more. We never cut our way to prosperity. Regulations and taxes didn’t stifle prosperity, either. Today we live in a global economy with different challenges, but we make decisions as if we live in the past, a very poorly understood past. When we talk free markets today we are not talking free US markets, we are talking free global markets. If we ever needed to pull together, it seems to me that it is now.

  3. Jeff klinger

    Greatest prosperity and growth for the us was actually pre-union, circa 1900. We were a building economy, not a spending economy like today.
    If we truly are global, why does US have Corp tax, and the highest in the world? Consumers pay that tax, so it is counterproductive. Companies are right in moving out to other countries who then benefit from the companies investments, jobs, etc.
    Irony of the year… When US government offers companies tax rates less than 5% if they move to Puerto Rico. Why? To help motivate growth!
    Yet they are justified with 35% tax rates in US. They ” demonize” the companies that create jobs, new technology, etc. and are now driving “global” companies to go global, and spend profits and re-invest elsewhere.
    I will never be able to express this view, as you will be unable to convince me to additional entitlement programs, and guaranteed wages is best. Just look at Europe. Their ” great society” has paraphrase a famous quote:
    We have been giving too much fish, and not teaching, through eduction, and the greatest teacher of all, failure, to fish on their own.

    1. Shane Schmidt Post author

      Jeff…nearly every fact in this reply is false or misinterpreted. The analysis — e.g., companies are “demonized for creating jobs” — is political tripe. It’s ridiculous. You should know that!

      Let’s look at just a few…

      First, the United States has a high statuatory tax rate on the books, but that’s primarily a starting bid, the effective rate for most businesses is much lower, even zero in some cases. You should know that.

      Second, almost all countries — and indeed all OECD companies, our so-called developed peers — have corporate taxes. The average is 25%, far higher than our low effective rate. These countries also impose other taxes and tariffs. With periodic exceptions, economic growth among peers is on par with each other.

      Many “great experiment” countries weathered the recession quite well. Look at Canada or the Nordic countries. They also offer more to their citizens. Those that are struggling are those being punished by austerity politics, no different from what has been hurting our economy. The numbers are there and cannot be disputed. The correlation between cuts and slow growth is strong.

      You might not agree with the facts, but if people start paying attention to them it won’t matter. You’ll benefit anyway.

    2. Shane Schmidt Post author

      Hell…missed the pre-1900 comment. Really? Study up. There was indeed a brief guilded age that crashed in 1929, but the 19th century was marred by recessions, crashes, poverty. I’m guessing you’re not the descendant of a robber baron, but maybe you are…nonetheless, the odds that you would be where you are today without the prosperity of the post-WWII boon isn’t good, regardless of your lot, rich or poor. We are what we are — or were — largely because of the growth and rise of the middle class and the economy that depended on the middle class from the 1940s through the 1970s, a rather short (and highly unionized) period in our country’s history.


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