“While we all want workers to earn more money…”

The editorialists at the Providence Journal are worried about low-wage workers coming to eat their brains.

Let us hope Providence City Council members, in seeking to woo some powerful interest groups in an election year, do not inflict even more harm by dramatically hiking the minimum wage. It is expected to take up the matter this month.

My god the defenders of the rich and comfortable do like to turn everything backwards, don’t they. Low-wage workers are “powerful interest groups” now while the people who pay the low wages are their downtrodden helpless victims.

Certainly the activists were out in force last week, clamoring for an ordinance mandating a $15-an-hour minimum wage in Providence for hotel workers, well above the state’s $8.50 minimum, which itself is higher than the federal minimum wage.

How dare they. How dare they clamor. How dare they clamor for a wage they can actually live on in exchange for doing hard work for 8 hours a day. It’s an outrage.

The ordinance would slam into businesses that are vital to the city’s commerce and national reputation: the Dean Hotel, the Hampton Inn Providence, the Hilton Providence, the Hotel Providence, the Omni Providence, the Providence Biltmore, the Providence Courtyard Marriott, the Providence Marriott Downtown, the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel and the Wyndham Garden Providence. 

Thank you for the detailed list of hotels that pay low wages.

While we all want workers to earn more money, such an election-year stunt divorced from economic reality could do serious damage to those workers, as well as the city, the state and local property taxpayers, by slashing tourism and convention business, forcing some hotels to close or lay off workers and reducing tax revenues.

Oh I think you’re telling a whopper there, Comrade Editorial Writer. I don’t think you do want workers to earn more money. I think everything you say after those words shows quite clearly that you don’t want that at all. Skip the silly disclaimer next time. It’s like saying “Not to be politically incorrect but” – all it does is underline the shittiness of what you’re about to say.

What’s your salary, now that you mention it?


  1. says

    I would cheerfully pay a bit more to stay in someplace where I thought the people who made it all work were getting paid a livable wage.

    Fucking capitalism. How does it work?

  2. says

    While we all want the editorialists at the Providence Journal to refrain from taking a flying leap, their not doing so is both helping keep the state of Rhode Island from financial recovery as well as reducing tax revenues.

  3. Donnie says

    I had a great experience in Phoenix. I left a tip between $2 and $10 dollars earmarked for the housekeeping. The first day, I had no money. the 2nd day, I only had $2, so I promised more. The following day, I came out of my room, and stopped down the hall to check on my gear. Seeing me, with my knee brace, the housekeeper was concerned and asked if I need assistance – no other reason – a service employee providing service to a guest. No, No, I am okay was my response. Before I left my room, unbeknownst to her, I had left her $20 to make up for the prior two days of ‘no tip’ and ‘$2’ tip.

    Each day afterwards, I received a beautiful handwritten note, thanking me. i was happy to know that I was helping someone but also, ?????, (I cannot use the correct word) that a small amount of money to me meant so much to her. She does a hard, god damn job for peanuts. Why is she not entitled to a living wage?

    As Marcus Ranum said, “I would willing stay at a hotel if I knew it paid higher worker wages than its competitors”. An extra $10 / night to stay at a hotel where all the workers make $15….sign me the fuck up!

    Note: Yes, i have privilege. I recognize that I can afford to leave a tip (generous or not) for housekeeping. The issue is not my privilege but the fact that someone is doing backbreaking (at least for me) and little acknowledge labour for peanuts.

  4. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I hear this in Sally Struthers’ voice: “Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do!”

  5. Jason Dick says

    Current economic research doesn’t show any decrease in economic activity associated with higher minimum wages.

  6. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I hear this in Sally Struthers’ voice: “Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do!”

    Ah, you beat me to it!

  7. stever says

    I recently saw an online picture of an ATM-style customer terminal for fast-food joints. Touchscreen, illiterate-riendly live menu, credit-card and banknote slots, change dispenser. The caption was “$15 an hour? Meet your replacement.”

    Actually, I’d rather deal with the machine. It would never walk away just as I got to the head of the line or assume that by “NO CHEESE” I really meant “extra cheese.” Way back before the microprocessor revolution, AMF once built a fully automatic burger-and-fries stand. It had one guy cleaning up and loading frozen burger patties, raw potatoes and bulk-packed condiments into the back, and a cashier in front. Only the proof-of-concept prototype was built, because teenagers were a lot cheaper than the interest on what the system would cost. With microcontrollers and CNC-generated parts, plus ATM technlogy to replace the cashier, such a “RoboBurger” stand would now cost a lot less than that prototype. All it needs if for human counterdroids to become artificially expensive.

  8. tiko says

    Every time I hear a story about those poor rich folk having to even think about taking a bit less so the people who work for them can afford to eat,it reminds me of this part out of J B Priestley’s ‘An inspector calls’.
    When discussing the strike at the mill that the woman who kills herself was involved in,the inspector asks the mill owner why he was unable to give them the small wage increase they asked for.

    Mill owner: Because before you know it they would be asking for the world.

    Inspector: Better to ask for it than just to take it.

  9. RJW says

    @3 Donnie,

    Yes, indeed, if US service workers were paid a living wage they wouldn’t need tips and naive tourists from non-tipping countries wouldn’t get into trouble.

  10. Sili says

    All it needs if for human counterdroids to become artificially expensive.

    If workers could that easily be replaced with robots, then wages are artificially low, not the other way round.

    But it wouldn’t be the first time the US clung to obsolete technology for fear of change.

    Anyway, given how bad people are at using self-service checkouts, Big-Mac-o-matics would get kicked and otherwise ruined seven times a day. Making plenty of work for Big-Mac-o-matic repairpeople earning at least $15 an hour.

  11. says

    As Marcus Ranum said, “I would willing stay at a hotel if I knew it paid higher worker wages than its competitors”. An extra $10 / night to stay at a hotel where all the workers make $15….sign me the fuck up!

    It’s rather sad though that the consumer has to pay the difference. With the distribution of wealth such as it is, it’s the owners’ pocket that the extra $5 should be coming from. Job creators my ass.

  12. Dunc says

    While we all want workers to earn more money

    This is obviously false. If the employers wanted workers to earn more money, they could give them raises. They do not. Ergo, they do not want workers to earn more money. QED.

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