Tag Archives: socialism

Fair vs Fair: Ethics and the “No-Tip” Restaurant

You know, this looks like a place that would believe that dishwashers deserve as much pay as waiters...or as bankers, for that matter.

You know, this looks like a place that would believe that dishwashers deserve as much pay as waiters…or as bankers, for that matter.

William Street Common is a new restaurant in Philadelphia, and is getting publicity for, we are told, experimenting with a different and (maybe?) fairer compensation model. Owner Avram Hornik  pays all of its employees, from the servers to the dishwashers, at least $15 an hour plus paid sick leave and health insurance benefits. There is a 20 percent service charge for drinks, and that goes into a common fund that makes that  $15 an hour wage affordable. Money left over at the end of a pay period is divided up among employees based on a point system related to various factors.

Hornik came up with this structure, he says, to deal with the well-debated problems of tipping. “Some people just tip the same amount, but some people base it on how quickly the food was there, whether we were out of something, whether the server was there when they wanted them to be,” he says. “So much of that is out of the control of the individual server… So why would it be fair for the service employee to be responsible for the poor decisions of management?”

Hornik argues that his model “essentially creates a guaranteed floor. But we’re also capping the ceiling,” he points out, because the tipping gets shared equally with all employees. “We didn’t think it was fair [that] in some places you have dishwashers earning 10 dollars an hour and the bartender earning 30 dollars an hour.” He also is convinced that the customers will benefit.  “That atmosphere among the employees, a sense of community and empowerment and happiness with the job, is going to translate into a better environment for customers,” he said. “By having happy staff customers are going to be happier too.”

Is this system really fairer than the current one? Progressives are cheering it, because it represents a “living wage,” or at least something close to it. OK, but it would be nice not to feel hyped: ThinkProgress, for example, had headlines that the William Street Common “got rid of tipping” and writes “tips aren’t mandatory.”

Inept reporting or lies, take your pick. A 20% “service charge” is a mandatory tip, so tips ARE mandatory. The reports don’t explain how voluntary tipping has been eliminated, or whether a server would be prohibited from keeping a ten-dollar bill that a diner hands him, saying, “You know, the food was lousy, but you were so gracious and accommodating that you single-handedly made the evening bearable. Thank you. If I ever come back, it will be because of you.” If so, is that fair?  I don’t think so. In fact, it’s exactly as unfair as a diner not rewarding excellent service, and tipping a dime. Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising

Ethics Heroes: Senate Republicans


Just say “No.”

Sneaking expensive entitlements into long-term national policy is craven, dishonest, and continues the dangerous trend of sloppy, election-driven legislating that has become virtually standard operating practice in recent years. Senate Republicans generated some hope for transparency and the future of honest debate on governing philosophy by using the threat of a filibuster to block yet another extension of the supposedly “short-term” extensions of unemployment benefits.

I’ve written about this recently, so I won’t belabor it, but there was nothing in Democratic rhetoric surrounding the extension to disprove my suspicion, which was  full-blown three years ago, that this is nothing but a strategy for embedding  a permanent government subsidy of unemployment without a national debate regarding the consequences of such a policy. A ‘temporary” benefit is permanent if elected representatives lack the integrity and courage to end it; for an example one need only look to the supposedly short-term “Bush tax cuts,” which a Democratic President and legislature, despite exorbitant rhetoric about how irresponsible they were (and irresponsible they were), extended, and they are in place still. There is not a single Democratic argument in favor of the supposedly temporary extension that would not apply to a policy of paying the unemployed forever. Here are some quotes from “The Hill” yesterday:

  • “We’re one Republican vote away from restoring benefits to 1.7 million Americans.  There is one Republican vote standing in the way of a lifeline to these 1.7 million people.”-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

1.7 million, 1 million, 657,000…when would such benefits not qualify, in Reid’s words, as a “lifeline”? If the answer is never, and it is, why would anyone believe these are intended to be temporary benefits? Isn’t the money just as crucial to an unemployed worker whether he or she has 1.7 million companions in misery, or fewer? Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote Of The Week:

“Voters are significantly more conservative than nonvoters on redistributive issues and have been in every election since 1972. Voters may be more liberal than nonvoters on social issues, but on redistributive issues, they are not. These redistributive issues define a fundamental relationship between citizens and the state . . . and are central to ongoing conflicts about the scope of government. It is on these issues that voters offer a biased voice of the preferences of the electorate.”

—– Political scientists, Jan E. Leighley of American University and Jonathan Nagler of New York University in their new book, “Who Votes Now? Demographics, Issues, Inequality, and Turnout in the United States.”(Quoted by Dan Balz in the Washington Post)

idiot-votersA better example of the warped and unethical thought habits of the Left it would be hard to find.

So the results of an election based on who actually has the initiative, knowledge, civic responsibility and sense to vote are now called “bias,” are they? Talk about academics wearing their own biases tattooed on their foreheads: naturally any conservative consensus is illegitimate, right boys? Continue reading


Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship, U.S. Society

Unethical Website of the Month: “Occupy Black Friday” Facebook Page

The  intellectual, logical and ethical deficiencies of the tiresome “Occupy” movement are on full outrageous display on “Occupy Black Friday,” a Facebook page that is part of the effort to harm large retailers by interfering with holiday shopping. Naturally, as with segments of the “Occupy” groups that have advocated or engaged in violence, used anti-Semitic rhetoric, broken laws and made ridiculous statements, defenders of the movement will dismiss this as an aberration, not representative of the principles of the “Occupiers” as a whole. This is the group’s genius, or something: by being infuriatingly vague, it avoids accountability.

But an organization is accountable for the events it sets in motion, and the harm that its pretensions wreak. The idea promoted by the group’s Facebook page is for mobs of Occupiers to swarm stores during their deep discount sales today, interfering with shoppers and bringing commerce to a halt:

“The idea is simple, hit the corporations that corrupt and control American politics where it hurts, their profits. Black Friday is the one day where the mega-corporations blatantly dictate our actions, they say “shop” and we shop! Pushing their ledgers from red to black. This Black Friday, we will boycott all of the corporations that corrupt our government, and put profits before people.”

The idea is simple minded. Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Government & Politics, The Internet, U.S. Society, Unethical Websites

Unethical Website of the Month: Bloomberg News

Seldom does any news media organization make its absence of fairness and objectivity on a topic so obvious that there isn’t some room for argument, but Bloomberg managed to scale the heights with its headline to a story by reporter Heidi Przybyla. Her report covered the results of a Bloomberg poll designed to create a profile of the members of the Tea Party movement, which has been holding multiple demonstrations across the country to protest passage of President Obama’s health care reform bill.

The poll results themselves were unremarkable, given what we already have learned about the Tea Partiers’ objectives and objections. Over 90% of those polled by Bloomberg said that they feared that the nation was turning to socialism, with the federal government trying to control too many aspects of  Americans’ lives. In answer to another question,  70% felt that Obama’s Administration needed to put more resources into job creation. So Przybyla, her editors and Bloomberg’s management chose to headline the report with this:

“Tea Party Advocates Who Scorn Socialism Want a Government Job” Continue reading


Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, The Internet, Unethical Websites

Glenn Beck vs. Teddy Roosevelt? No Contest!

Listening to Glenn Beck disparage Theodore Roosevelt is a little like listening to Ed Wood, auteur of the deathless classic, “Plan Nine From Outer Space,” condemning John Ford as an unimaginative hack.

At his uproariously received speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Beck, the libertarian talk-show host, flamboyant TV showman on Fox and current Tea Party hero effectively racked up cheap applause by pulling a quote out of Teddy’s “New Nationalism” speech and deriding it. Beck didn’t analyze and critique the speech, of course, because that would have required a discipline of scholarship and a rigor of intellect that he simply does not possess. He simply quoted this section… Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Education, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, U.S. Society

NPR Shows How Bad Opinions Get Made

Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist at Duke University who struck gold with his Malcolm Gladwell-esque airplane book, Predictably Irrational. The book discussed his work in human behavior and how apparently irrelevant or minor factors affect our behaviors in significant and surprising  ways. I like the book, and I like Professor Ariely, but I now suspect him of using the American public as his guinea pigs for Best Seller #2,  and of rigging the experiments in the process. Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Finance, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Professions, U.S. Society