News & Commentary

January 14, 2016

Following President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Politico took a look into one policy proposal in particular: wage insurance. This is not the first time President Obama has made this suggestion; wage insurance was included in a 2011 jobs bill and again in a job retraining package Obama offered in his 2012 State of the Union address. The 2012 scheme focused on workers ages 50 and over, and provided that wage insurance would compensate workers who lost their jobs and found new ones that paid less (as long as the new salary was less than $50,000). Generally, wage insurance is thought to provide an alternative to job retraining, supplementing lower salaries for people who have lost their jobs and found new ones.

Lydia DePillis at the Washington Post analyzed the drop in union density over the past few years, and its impact on the American middle class. According to a Center for American Progress report, the decrease of union coverage accounts for about 35% of the declining size of the middle class. The study shows that lower union membership leads to fewer people earning stable, middle-class incomes. Critics argue that studies like this confuse correlation with causation, but CAP senior fellow David Madland argues this study is especially effective at proving causation, and that lower union membership renders unions less able to pull people up into the middle class.

Another celebrity chef has joined the no-tipping movement: David Chang, founder of Momofuku, the famous New York noodle bar, and its affiliates. A couple of months ago, the New York Times reported that Danny Meyer would begin a “hospitality included” policy in 13 of his New York restaurants and bars. You can also read Professor Sachin Pandya’s take on some of the merits of a no-tipping policy in his November guest post here.   Now, according to the Huffington Post, Chang is implementing a no-tipping policy in his new Manhattan restaurant Nishi. He explained in his magazine earlier this week, “Bottom line is we want to pay sous chefs, cooks, and dishwashers a living wage.” He went on to say, “And if it doesn’t work, we can always go back to the old way.”

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