On Wednesday, July 14, hundreds of people crammed into Ol’ Mexico in Roseville to hear how Tom Emmer, the Republican candidate for governor, would explain his comments regarding implementing a tax credit in Minnesota — a move that would lower the minimum wage of the thousands of servers in the state, the vast majority of whom can barely make ends meet as-is let alone survive any cuts to their income. When confronted with these realities this afternoon Mr. Emmer repeatedly offered shallow, unsatisfying rhetoric. His argument and rationalization breaks down to this:
If the business owner can save money on wages the cost of food will go down and there will therefore be more customers. He implied that the cut in wages could be made up with increased tips.
This argument is absurd on many levels. First, it assumes that because owners save money on wages they would lower the cost of food, something that we all know is far from a foregone conclusion. It doesn’t take much to imagine that six months into a Tom Emmer-led Minnesota, he would argue that business owners have the right to set their prices as they will and the market will regulate them — forgetting his “promise” to all the servers in those restaurants that would now be making $3 an hour.
This is the fundamental issue with Emmer, his supporters, and his party. The reality of poor and working class people is not something they are capable of or willing to consider. They speak as if people are not struggling to provide life’s necessities for their families and themselves. One of the participants hit the nail on the head when she stated that it seems Emmer is only concerned with those who own property.
There was no mistaking the energy tonight; people are fed up with the arrogance and selfishness that underlies Emmer and his party. Perhaps this is why the town hall ended a full 30 minutes prior to its scheduled time. Emmer consistently stressed he was there for a discussion. Well, Mr. Emmer, one half of a discussion requires listening and you continue to fail miserably at this crucial point. Sadly, I don’t anticipate this changing. My hopes are that those who voiced their concern this afternoon will continue to do so.