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The Wall Street Journal tells us about the plight of tipped workers who are now unemployed:

Take Ian Prebo. On a good night, Mr. Prebo was making $400 in tips bartending at Seattle’s Blue Moon Tavern, which closed this month after a patron caught Covid-19. Since then, like many bars and restaurants across the country, Blue Moon Tavern—which can’t provide takeout or delivery—has remained shut.

Mr. Prebo, 36 years old, estimated roughly three-quarters of his monthly $3,500 income was from tips. After applying for unemployment benefits, he was told he would receive $188 a week. “I have customers who take care of me,” he said. “But the flip side is in a catastrophic event like this, my income is completely wiped out.”

Why does the Journal use this as its opening anecdote? As they acknowledge farther down, the median wage for tipped workers is a meager $2,000 per month, which means that Prebo’s experience is not even remotely typical. What’s more, the expanded unemployment insurance in the coronavirus rescue bill will pay at least $800 per week for low-wage workers. Virtually all of them will lose no income, and some might even make more than they did while working.

These are tough times, and the benefits from the rescue bill are still a few weeks away. I have nothing but sympathy for low-wage workers who are scared about what’s happening. Nevertheless, we’ve just passed legislation that will make up the lost income for nearly all of them, and surely that should rate more than a passing sentence midway through the story?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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