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Good Evening, I’m Broke, I’ll Be Your Server Tonight

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As the economy goes, so goes tips. Today servers and restaurant staffs are really hurting and tips make a big difference.

I hate to admit it, but I’m not a tipper … never really have been.

Now, that’s not to say I NEVER tip. I was taught that gratuities were for rewarding “exceptional service”.

TIP = To Insure Prompt Service.

Several times I’ve received exceptional service where my waiter went far and above just taking an order and bringing it to our table. I thought that’s what he was getting paid for.

Yes, I have some guilt but I’m always needing the money for ME and I earned it. Why should I just give a waiter MY money? They get paid by the restaurant, right? If they’re not making enough money from this job they should get another job.

I can recall a little Japanese woman running out to the car after me and my co-workers and yelling at us for not leaving a tip. How rude! We never went back there.

But, in some cases my waiter was exceptionally friendly and had a personality that added a lot to our night out. I recall one that was just so damn nice you couldn’t help but love him. It was sincere and not obnoxious at all. I went back often and he always got a tip from me.

I can recall another “super server” that was so incredible with the kids that it brightened up the entire room… of course the parents loved him. I KNOW these guys were the main reason customers came back and even requested their section.

Their bosses MUST have known how rare they were and how valuable their work was to the business. Through the years I’ve actually told several managers how much I appreciated the service. I hope it helped.

And it’s a rough life, I’m sure. So much rejection and rudeness from customers must make several servers want to go home and beat the cat.

I can only recall a handful of top servers in my lifetime. I’m sure you are also well aware how unique this is.

So, do you tip your server regardless of the quality of service, personal attention or friendly personality?

Such payments and their size are a matter of our social custom in America. Tipping varies among cultures and by the service industry.

Many employers pay workers with the expectation that their wages will be supplemented by tips. In a lot of “right to work” states in the U.S., restaurants are not obligated to even pay their servers minimum wage.

I would sometimes joke about tips with the wait staff. “You want a tip? Don’t go out with strange men.” I always found that line much funnier than they did. I suspect they went back in the kitchen and spit in my food.

There’s also the issue of employees avoiding paying taxes on what we give them. Most of us turn the other way when this happens. We feel sorry for them.

Then there’s the restaurants who automatically add a gratuity to your bill. While that appears to help the wait staff I wonder if they actually see all of that.

It’s probably only done for tax reasons and not for profit, right?

So, if we decide that tipping is MANDATORY why not give them the tip IN ADVANCE OF ORDERING? It’ll probably better your chances of better service and I’m sure it’ll make their day and their attitude will change. This avoids the social awkwardness of both parties;

“Will they leave me a tip?”

“Should we tip?”

“How much?”

Restaurants are one thing, but what about the hotel concierge, funeral chaplain or dog groomer?

Then there’s the superficial factors of the attractiveness of the server. Pretty girls with big boobs get better tips than ugly male waiters.

I could never be a waiter. First, I wouldn’t have the patience with jerks and be I’d be fired the first day. Second, with THIS ugly face I wouldn’t get much. I was born with a “why should I care?”, face.

Look at me – “Do I look like I’ll be right back?”

One waiter writes … “I am a server, not a happy servant. I will be happy to get you what you need to make your dining experience great, but I will not be disrespected. As a server I make $2.13 an hour. My checks are zero after taxes, so all the money I make is from tips. Sadly, even if I make 20 percent tips all night, I will walk away with only 15 percent because I tip out at roughly five percent to bussers, bartenders and food runners. So people to the people who stiff me, I pay out of my pocket for you to come eat. I hope you enjoyed it.”

But tips should be earned – they are NOT a right.

Bad service deserves to be stiffed. As one story goes .. a very rich man once got such bad service he left a hundred dollar bill under his plate with Ben Franklin’s face showing. The waiter must have been excited until he grabbed it and discovered it was torn in half and no longer legal tender. I just leave a penny to leave a message.

So tip or not?. I say we should always STIFF bad service and reward prompt service.

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Millionaires Sign Petition To Voluntarily Increase Their Own Taxes

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Millionaires Sign Petition To Voluntarily Increase Their Own Taxes

A group of millionaires has signed a petition asking for the government to force them to pay higher taxes. They did so in an effort to help the global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The group, which includes the likes of Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, Walt Disney Co. heiress Abigail Disney and former BlackRock managing director Morris Pearl, call themselves “Millionaires For Humanity.” Their sole objective is to encourage governments to increase taxes on the world’s wealthiest individuals to help pay for the billions of dollars needed to support health care, schools and security.

The letter states: “As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world. No, we are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards. We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. We are not restocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door. But we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis.”

Millionaires Call for Higher Taxes

The letter continues by asking governments to raise taxes on “people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.”

The group warned that the impact of the crisis will last for decades. They also mentioned that it could push 500 million people into poverty. Hundreds of millions of people are at risk of losing their jobs, many permanently, the group said. Nearly 1 billion children are out of school due to the pandemic. They also mentioned that many of these kids lack any resources to continue their education.

The petition adds, “Unlike tens of millions of people around the world, we do not have to worry about losing our jobs, our homes, or our ability to support our families. We are not fighting on the frontlines of this emergency and we are much less likely to be its victims.”

“So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice.”

This petition serves as Pearl’s second attempt to make millionaires – himself included – pay higher taxes.

A Similar Call

He wrote a letter last year supporting the “millionaire’s surtax” introduced in Congress. In it, he said any new tax plan has to be “relatively easy to enact and relatively hard to avoid.”

“Rich people like me are good at dodging taxes. We can lobby to stop new taxes from ever becoming law, or if they do get enacted, find loopholes to get around them.”

“Any plan to tax me and my fellow wealthy Americans needs to be relatively easy to enact and relatively hard to avoid,” Pearl also said.

The millionaire’s surtax, as Pearl points out, would only affect married couples making more than $2 million per year. Alternatively, it also affects a single tax filer making more than $1 million.

“This tax would simply add 10 percentage points to the existing tax rates paid by couples making over $2 million a year and singles making over a million. Though it would only apply to the wealthiest 0.2 percent of taxpayers like me (or about 330,000 taxpayers) the millionaires surtax would raise an estimated $635 billion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center.”

Pearl’s Motivation

Pearl, undoubtedly knowing that many will doubt his motives, says he’d rather pay higher taxes than see his country falter economically.

“You may well ask: Why would anyone push to pay higher taxes, like I’m doing by supporting the millionaires surtax? It’s because I know it’s not actually in my long-term economic interests for the United States to become more and more like a developing nation, with a tiny elite at the top of the mountain and everybody else struggling for a foothold.”

Thus far, 80 individuals have signed the Millionaires For Humanity petition.

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Dems Can Only Blame Pelosi For Failure To Secure More Stimulus Money

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Dems Can Only Blame Pelosi For Failure To Secure More Stimulus Money

The next round of stimulus money will unlikely include any major concessions for Democrats. With this, the party has nobody to blame but Nancy Pelosi.

Astonishingly, that opinion comes from David Dayen, the executive editor of The American Prospect. The said magazine stays “dedicated to liberalism and progressivism.”

In a recent article titled “A Leader Without Leading,” Dayen says during the passage of the last stimulus bill in late April, Pelosi – along with Sen. Chuck Shumer – chose to forego adding their wishlist to the bill, believing they would have another shot. That shot, thus far, has never materialized.

“Republicans wanted more money for forgivable loans for small businesses. Democrats had a host of liberal priorities left out of prior legislation that could have been paired with the extension. But Pelosi and her Senate colleague Chuck Schumer chose to go along with the Republican framework, leaving everything else for later.”

“Immediately afterward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hit the pause button on future legislation. It felt like the Democrats were played.” said Dayen.

Credits for the Republicans

He also credits the Republicans for knowing exactly what they wanted out of each stimulus bill. The Republicans did so all while Pelosi fumbled away every opportunity.

“When the coronavirus spread and lockdowns buckled the economy, Republicans knew exactly what they wanted—protect large corporations and investors—and pursued it unerringly. Pelosi had no coherent agenda to fall back on. She’d spent the past year advancing complex, multifaceted bills and watching them wither in Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard.”

Dayen adds, “H.R. 1, the House’s signature legislation during this Congress, which attempted to nationalize voter registration, establish nonpartisan redistricting commissions, add ethics standards to the Supreme Court, add a voluntary public-financing option for campaigns, require presidents to release tax returns, disclose donors for super PACs, make Election Day a holiday, and about 20 other things in a single bill, is a perfect example of this syndrome. There’s no single narrative to grab onto, just a mélange of advocacy group–approved planks. This left House leadership unprepared as the pandemic began its march.”

Pelosi worked on the earlier stimulus bills. While doing so, she allowed the Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, to craft the CARES Act. Dayen says this meant that Democrats “just got to tweak McConnell’s work, without altering its tilt toward the powerful.”

Pelosi and the HEROES Act

Dayen’s takedown on Pelosi ends with her “pie-in-the-sky” HEROES Act. Somehow, she even managed to make a mess of her own bill.

“Incredibly in the midst of a crisis, was a Pelosi tendency that had grown over the years: obsessive concern with deficits. Pelosi rolled back student debt relief in the HEROES Act after learning that it would cost $100 billion more than expected. This was a $3.2 trillion messaging bill not designed to become law, yet an additional 3 percent cost was considered unacceptable. Pelosi also declined to add “automatic stabilizers” that would maintain expanded benefits until economic stress dissipated, blaming a Congressional Budget Office scoring quirk that made the cost appear artificially larger.”

“So with over 30 million out of work, the important thing to Pelosi was that her pie-in-the-sky, going-nowhere bill was ‘reasonable,’ based on some ineffable standard of reason…”

“Devotion to deficit hawkery in normal times is unwise policy. It’s downright fatal during an economic crisis, where relief could be yanked away from needy families prematurely simply because of an unwillingness to challenge CBO’s scoring model.”

Many expect lawmakers to vote on the next stimulus bill sometime after July 20. If you hear Democrats complaining about how “unfair” the bill is, just remember who is negotiating for their side.

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Why You Should Consider Filing For Social Security At Age 62

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Why You Should Consider Filing For Social Security At Age 62

Earlier this week we discussed four common regrets that retirees have when they look back at their golden years. One of the most common regrets was filing for Social Security benefits at 62, the earliest possible age. According to the Social Security Administration, about 1 out of 3 people apply for benefits at that age.

The regret is that if they had waited longer to file for their benefits, their monthly check would be much larger. For example, by delaying filing for Social Security until age 70, your monthly benefits can be as much as 75% larger than someone who filed at age 62. That’s because benefits grow by a guaranteed 5% to 8% each year that you delay your claim.

But there are always two sides to a coin. Today we wanted to discuss the benefits of filing for Social Security as soon as possible. With this, you can decide which approach you believe will benefit you the most.

The Case For Filing Social Security Early

The earliest you can file for Social Security benefits is age 62, but each month you file before reaching your full retirement age (FRA) cuts your monthly benefit amount. As an example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you start your claim at age 62, your monthly check will be reduced by approximately 30%.

Despite the reduced monthly benefit that comes with filing early, tens of millions of Americans make that decision every year. And it boils down to one line:

We have no idea what the future holds.

The financial benefits of waiting until age 70 to claim Social Security make complete sense. But we don’t know how long we will live, so we don’t know if the trade-off is worth it. If we knew we would live a long, healthy life until age 100, we would all delay filing until age 70 and reap the maximum reward.

But if you decided to wait until age 70 to claim, and unfortunately passed away before that, you would have foregone all the retirement income from age 62 on.

Waiting to file is a gamble, but so is giving up guaranteed monthly income starting at age 62.

Deciding when to claim your benefits requires serious thought and shouldn’t be a hastily made decision. And we aren’t saying that filing Social Security immediately at 62 or waiting until age 70 is the right choice. Every situation is different. If you are still healthy and working, waiting a few years passed 62 to claim but not all the way to 70 might be a good compromise. You’ll get a larger check than had you claimed right away, and your regular working income can make up for some of the reduced benefit amount since you didn’t wait until age 70.

The most important thing, whether you file at 62 or 70, is to find enjoyment in your golden years.

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