Should There Be a Federal Law on Tipping?by Jacob G. Hornberger
Jul. 25, 2012
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Suppose the Franklin Roosevelt administration had enacted a law in the 1930s that required every restaurant customer in America to pay a 15 percent tip to waiters. The argument in favor of such a law would have been twofold: to help the poor and to stimulate the economy by getting more money into circulation. The argument would have dovetailed perfectly with other such arguments that were being used to justify FDR’s New Deal economic revolution.
Now, jump ahead to 2012. Assume that that law is still in existence and that libertarians call for its immediate repeal.
Can you imagine the protests and screams of American statists?
“You libertarians hate the poor and love the rich!”
“Repealing the mandatory tipping law would plunge the economy into unemployment and recession!”
“If the mandatory tipping law is repealed, no one will be willing to work as waiters!”
“I believe in free enterprise but it wouldn’t work with tipping!”
Yet, the fact is that we don’t have tipping laws, either at the state or federal level, mandating that a minimum tip be paid to waiters. In fact, the entire enterprise of tipping demonstrates how people would operate in a totally free society — that is, one in which there are no coercive welfare-state programs.