Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You could eat somewhere cheaper...

I would just like to share this little encounter I had today.

I was walking and talking with a co-worker on our way to one of our favorite lunch desitinations. She is originally from a small town in Idaho, grew up as a Republican, and is now a self-professed liberal who isn't really engaged and rarely votes.

Randomly, she mentioned how as of late, certain restaurants have been adding surcharges to her bills, and that she finds the practice abhorrent. I mentioned to her that restaurants are trying to find a way to cope with a down-trodden economy in conjunction with rising minimum wage costs, and the rising cost of food staples, while also having to almost unilaterally bear the burden of Healthy San Francisco, the city's attempt to provide universal healthcare, which forces small business owners to pony up an extra $200,000-$400,000. She quickly replies, "well, I'm going through the same economic downturn, and businesses shouldn't pass the cost on to customers even if they aren't making a profit."

I mentioned how the citizens of San Francisco voted for the measure to provide universal healthcare, with the risk that the costs associated with such a policy could be passed on to the consumer. Nonetheless, she proceeded to blame the businesses, growing impatient with my claim that these surcharges are a result of bad public policy.

After all, businesses exist for the sole purpose of operating at a profit, or the whole enterprise wouldn't be worthwhile. Some businesses are better able to weather recessions and crappy public policy decisions than others (read: mom and pop stores).

And that's something to think about regarding universal healthcare. Would you mind paying more for your meals?

I would rather something be instituted on the federal level and put our existing tax dollars to better use.

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