If you’re a restaurant-lovin’ California senior citizen and lookin’ to make a few extra bucks, you’re in luck.
Assuming you fit the profile, the state will now pay you to wine and dine yourself — if you order your grub.
On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new program wherein local, state, and federal money (so if you’re local, will you be triple-taxed for this?) will be paid out to eligible seniors who order food from nearby restaurants.
Here’s the maximum reward for ordering out:
Like a salon technician in Beverly Hills, Gavin waxed:
“This partnership will allow for the ability for restaurants to start rehiring people, or keep people currently employed, and start preparing meals — three meals a day, seven days a week — and have those meals delivered to our seniors all throughout the state.”
If you did the math, you’ll know that the three squares a day come to $61. But taxpayers will fork over an extra $5, as per The Los Angeles Times, for incidental costs.
As noted by The Daily Wire, the governor laid out some of the rules:
“[Recipients] must either have been at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, must be in a position where their economics are below 600% of federal poverty, must have already been impacted or exposed directly to COVID-19, or more broadly, have compromised immune systems.”
And there are other strings: The program has to adhere to certain nutritional guidelines, focusing on indie restaurants and local produce.
The Governor said an “unlimited number of meals” will be provided to at-risk seniors. So that will cost an unlimited amount of money?
Gavin considers it an economic shot in the arm:
“[The] generation of local sales taxes associated with these purchases actually could start generating revenue and support for the local economy.”
More from The Associated Press:
Newsom predicted millions of people 65 and over would be eligible for the free food, a figure that could push the cost of the program into the billions for just one month of deliveries. Newsom said the federal government will cover 75% of the cost while state and local governments will pay for the rest.
The AP notes that, if 2 million participate in the program, it could cost as much as $4 billion.
No problemo — since everyone’s working right now.
Here’s an add-on from the Wire:
Assuming the $66 daily reimbursement rate is the only cost associated with the program, local governments would have to raise at least $4 in sales tax or other related restaurant taxes per participating senior each day to generate new revenue.
It’s not clear if this will be possible, but any potential difference could theoretically be offset if people not eligible for the program continue to order from restaurants.
Certainly, if seniors who are unable to get their own food have contracted a severe case COVID-19, they need help. But if they’re unable to get food, what were they doing before? And if they’re unable because of the virus, aren’t they in the hospital? And if they just shouldn’t be going out, why not deliver them groceries instead, which are cheaper for the (unemployed) taxpayers? With this setup, it seems, non-working residents will be paying working ones. Just a few thoughts.
If an elderly person is truly in dire need, I’m all for them receiving the help they require.
But Gavin might also wanna consider a different group: Young people. If they fit the profile as listed above (except the age part), in addition to those difficulties, they’re also likely unable to cook (or change a tire, or…). These days, if we were all out in the woods, a lot of the seniors would be running survival circles around Generation Woke. In 2020 — and particularly in Southern California — in some ways, I’m not so sure it’s those 65+ who are most helpless.
Putting all that aside, do you jumpstart an economy by forcing people to pay for other people’s labor? There’s another word for that, and it ain’t “economics.”
What do you think of the program? Let us all know in the Comments section.
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