That’s the same argument they used in their opposition to the Clinton-era reform. It was flawed then and it’s even more preposterous now.
Back in 1993, the National Restaurant Association predicted that if businesses were able to write off only half the cost of their business meals (instead of 80 percent), restaurant industry sales would plummet by $3.8 billion and 165,000 jobs would be lost in just the first year.
The opposite occurred. In the year after the reform went into effect on January 1, 1994, sales at full-service restaurants grew by 3.5 percent, outstripping overall U.S. economic growth, according to Census and Labor Department data. And instead of the NRA’s predicted loss of 165,000 jobs, full-service restaurant payrolls grew by 132,300. That was a 4-percent increase, compared to only 3.5 percent growth in national employment.
Today, when the real problem is a public health crisis that’s keeping people at home, it’s even more laughable that lowering taxes on business meals will do anything to help struggling restaurant owners and employees.
In this time of crisis, any support for corporations should encourage executives to treat their workers well, trim their own fat paychecks — and pay for their own lunch.