Trump Leaves Tip at Las Vegas Rally – Election Gold

Currently, employees that receive tips, such as meal servers, must report it to the IRS as income.  That’s right: Tips.  Seriously, the IRS even recommends servers keep a tip diary to record each tip they receive other than the gratuities that are figured into the bill for large parties.  No, you don’t escape the IRS here either.  Those tips are considered a service charge, and are treated as income for which a server’s employer deducts federal income tax, social security tax, and Medicare.1  While most taxes are subject to the ire of taxpayers, the tip tax is a double-whammy in that the relationship between the guest and the server is considered by many to be sacrosanct, or something that should not be interfered with by an uninvolved third party.  This special relationship between the server and the served has long been recognized, with the server alternatively referred to today as a ‘hospitality’ worker.  This veneration is due the position’s humble beginnings. 

In the olden days, travelers stayed the night at small inns that were often no more than large farm houses with extra rooms, or extra room in a loft in the barn where they could also retire their horses for the night.  They were received hospitably by enjoying meals at the family table cooked by the lady of the house.  And though they were treated as welcomed guest, they were also treated as members of the family.  Often, in addition to covering the cost of the room and board, the guests also tipped, or reciprocated by helping with some small chore or piece of maintenance, where necessary, to show their appreciation.  Especially appreciated from the hosts was what news from the outside world the guests brought from their travels on the road, whereby the guests could ‘tip-off’ the hosts to any criminal endeavors, or bureaucratic shenanigans that could be headed their way.

Today, the server is of no less importance to either the weary traveler, or the leisure seeker.  They both rely on the warmth and guidance of the waitstaff to direct them for a delicious meal and enjoyable stay.  The best of these employees literally ‘own’ their positions.  They keep up with the quality and availability of all foods and beverages to support menu items, and work tirelessly between those seated at their tables and the preparation staff to ensure the most pleasant and enjoyable experience for their guests.  The people that come to these inns are different than those that require other types of attention.  They choose to come, and the good host chooses to be waiting for them. 

It is still a special human relationship, and encounter.  Those that put their trust in the guidance of these hosts are inevitably treated as family members.

And Donald Trump, the man, knows and feels that.  At a recent campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, Trump pledged to work to eliminate tips from taxable income for waitstaff and other hospitality workers.  A pledge that was likely welcomed in the leisure and hospitality profession that paid $38.3 billion in tip taxes in 2018.2 

When other experts were queried for a response to Trump’s tip in Las Vegas, the scent of condescending airs, and partisan, political smoke was unmistakable.  They were quick to dismiss Trump’s heartfelt acknowledgement of the waitstaff as impractical and insincere rhetoric. 

Kyle Pomerleau, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank, reportedly said: “It has no good policy rationale. It is all politics, and I doubt lawmakers are looking for even more ways to make a 2025 tax bill more expensive.”3  This, while couched in economic jargon, is a most revealing statement.  It shows the actual tank Pomerleau is held captive in is one where the view that reducing the national deficit is not accomplished by reduced federal spending – by lawmakers – but only by siphoning more blood money – from hard working Americans. 

Skepticism also arose from the ‘other side of the aisle,’ from whence real concern for hospitality workers seemed to be likewise absent.  Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, reportedly acknowledged that tax “relief is definitely needed for tip earners,” but turned to attack the Las Vegas guest by stating Trump’s statements only reflected a “wild campaign promise.”4  Here it appears that Pappageorge is held captive by the lucrative financial relationship between Democrats and Labor Unions.  When the dish hits the dish water, he turns his efforts to towing the party line over supporting an idea that would significantly benefit union members merely because it comes from a Republican.

Nevertheless, these experts should know by now that Trump keeps his promises. 

Unlike the Democrats controlling Pappageorge, Trump is an urban legend for his secret acts of generosity.  These include his quietly ‘tipping’ random persons he’s come in contact with over the years in amounts that pay off loans, and even mortgages.  These are not widely reported on in the media, just as Trump would prefer it not to be.  When one hugs a loved family member, it’s not for recognition and praise.  True beneficence seeks not its own, or sounds not its own trumpet to be seen of men.  It springs from genuine mercy, kindness, and love. 

The detractors, however, are not without an audience.  Reportedly, there is a rising resentment to the practice that is being referred to as “tip fatigue,” where a growing segment of guests are souring on the idea of tipping altogether.5  But it’s not the practice they’re necessarily against, but rather the new mechanism being used for showing appreciation that has prompted the term of “guilt tipping” to take hold.6  Increasingly, guests face an impersonal prompting to tip that they must navigate through on electronic point of sale screens before being able to settle payment for their lattes, burgers, and even full meals at restaurants.  The problem with this faceless approach is it has the same inhumane transaction quality as a tax bill from the IRS.  The very thing a compassionate presidential candidate is set on trying to eliminate.

Reference:

1. IRS. “Publication 531 (12/2023), Reporting Tip Income.” Accessed June 10, 2024. https://www.irs.gov/publications/p531#en_US_2023_publink100022534

2-4. Andrew Keshner. “Trump wants IRS to stop taxing workers’ tips, as Americans say tipping is ‘out of control’.”  Market Watch. June 10, 2024. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-wants-irs-to-stop-taxing-workers-tips-as-americans-say-tipping-is-out-of-control-d0176dac

5-6. Tyler Durden. “‘Just The Tip?’” Zero Hedge. Jun 10, 2024. https://www.zerohedge.com/personal-finance/just-tip

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