This is a problem that has escalated for decades. As someone pointed out earlier in the thread, the problem seemed to increase dramatically in the 90's. Others comment on the fact that these undocumented immigrants are doing jobs Americans wont do or for wages Americans think are too low. Well, folks welcome to corporatism.
As has been pointed out, middle class wages have remained virtually stagnant for thirty years. All of the financial gains have flowed to the very rich. Not half of it or 70%, but almost all. As a result, the lowest paid jobs of the middle class have slipped into the lower class/poverty level income levels. So you either get kids looking for cash while they go to school, retirees looking to supplement income, or immigrants (documented or not) willing to work three jobs. You know the drill - they live ten to a house, share a car, eat beans and rice, and send most of their money back home where $50 will feed their family for a month or more.
Yes, they are here without the permission of the US Gov't. Know what level of crime this is? It's a civil offense not even rising to the level of a misdemeanor. But now Georgia and other states have decided to raise the stakes to felonies for all involved and tie up police resources profiling everyone who doesn't look 'American'. All because of the perception that they are draining our financial system and contributing nothing. Just read an article that they contribute $7 BILLION a year to Social Security when they use a fake number. That's free money to the US because they will never collect the benefit! That also means $3 BILLION to Medicaid/Medicare and income taxes out of the check that most won't get refunded because they wont file a return. Plus they pay federal taxes on gasoline they buy and local sales taxes on everything they buy.
Now I am not advocating that they be allowed to just come and go as they please without documentation but it is obvious there is market for their labor. What we need is a temporary workers permit that is fairly easy to obtain and can be done so quickly once they get here in the US. Mexican/Central American corruption would make it impossible to do this on their side of the border without large bribes, etc. Set up stations at key border crossings. Create a cottage industry that would also put American entrepreneurs to work. Keep fingerprints on file. Keep track of where they work. Take out payroll taxes for all of them through their permit number. Streamline entry for those that come back year after year for migrant farm work. There are solutions that benefit all. We don't have have to become a nation of xenophobes
It is legal (still) to pay a tipped employee a base rate 0f $2.13 an hour. It is to insure that tipped employees have some type of paycheck from which taxes, Social Security, Medicare, etc, can be deducted and matched by the employer. However, at the end of the day that tipped employee must still make minimum wage ($7.25 per hour here in Georgia). So a server working an 8 hour shift must make $40.96 in tips to meet that minimum wage ($2.13 an hour plus tips). Otherwise, the restaurant has t o make up the difference to bring him/her up to $7.25 an hour. HOWEVER- it isn't a shift by shift determination. The restaurant can look at a servers overall tips for a month or so and just make sure that they average the $7.25 an hour. So if you have a bad shift on Monday and a killer shift on Friday, Friday takes care of the bad tips from Monday and the restaurant still pays only $2.13 an hour. NOTE: In my 20 years in the business, I have never seen a restaurant need to make up the difference
Your ticket had the violation, when it occurred, and a court date correct? The ability to see it on a website or pay at that website is a convenience, not an excuse to avoid or delay payment. Either mail a check, go downtown to pay it, or dispute it on your court date - whatever other methods are available to settle the ticket.
Two years in row I took my fiancé to Seeger's for her birthday because it was her favorite restaurant and we were able to experience it both pre- and post remodel. The first time was a pleasant experience, but I didn't understand all the hoopla and I am in the business! The second time (a year later) was friendlier (staff wise) but I too found being held in the bar to eat popcorn and have a glass of champagne a little weird and the DEAD SILENCE in the dining room was deafening. No background music meant I heard every word at every other table. Plus the menu had a lot of the same/similar items that were on it as the previous year (so much for an ever evolving tasting menu?). Did I mind spending $600 for two ($200 food, $300 Dom, $100 tip). Not for a birthday when I could have controlled the cost with my wine selection. But I was irritated that gratuity was automatically charged to the bill. Staff also improved by having a bit more knowledge, but that was pretty easy to beat over the previous year where the cheese monger barely spoke English( I felt like they decided to train a dishwasher and used our table for a classroom). I know everyone needs to be educated somehow, but come on. Role play with fellow employees and don't let them on the floor until they have it down pat and can clearly interact with the guests! It seems Seeger read Charlie Trotter's books and in a last ditch effort to save his store, tried to take some pointers but too little too late. Once again, it shows me that most people who own restaurants have no business owning them, especially chefs. That rarely works. Keep the temperamental artist in the kitchen and let service oriented business people run the front and keep an eye on the bottom line.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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