Bar Rescue Host and Laura Ingraham Discuss Cutting Unemployment Aid to Make Workers “Hungry” Like an “Obedient Dog”

Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.Jon Taffer, the host of the reality show Bar Rescue, has got a plan to stop the ongoing crisis of people not wanting to work crap jobs for low pay in the restaurant and service industry—turn workers into “hungry dog[s].”

Laura Ingraham: “What if we just cut off the unemployment? Hunger is a pretty powerful thing.”
Bar Rescue guy: “They only feed a military dog at night, because a hungry dog is an obedient dog. Well, if we are not causing people to be hungry to work…”
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 13, 2021

Speaking to Laura Ingraham on Fox News, Taffer—a Nightclub Hall of Fame inductee!—jumped off the idea of slashing unemployment benefits (part of a package of aid in response to COVID-19 that brought about a record drop in poverty) as an incentive to, as Ingraham noted, make people “hungry.”
Ingraham backtracked and said not “physical hunger,” without clarifying what else she could mean.
But then Taffer forged ahead with this:
I have a friend in the military who trains military dogs, Laura. And they only feed a military dog at night. Because a hungry dog is an obedient dog. Well, if we’re not causing people to be hungry to work then we’re providing them with all the meals they need sitting at home. I’m completely with you Laura. These benefits make absolutely no sense to us.
The Bar Rescue host later apologized.
“I want to sincerely apologize for using a terrible analogy in reference to the unemployment situation,” Taffer said a day after the interview on Twitter. “My comment was an unfortunate attempt to express a desire for our lives to return to normal. I recognize this has been a challenging year for everyone, and I am eager for the hospitality industry to come back stronger than ever.”

Regarding an interview I did yesterday, I want to sincerely apologize for using a terrible analogy in reference to the unemployment situation. That was not my intention and I greatly regret it. 1 of 2
— Jon Taffer (@jontaffer) August 13, 2021

Taffer himself benefited from government assistance during the pandemic, receiving roughly $61,000 dollars worth of Paycheck Protection Program loans.
Some businesses in the U.S. including restaurants have had trouble finding enough employees to be fully staffed after laying off workers during the initial heights of the pandemic in 2020. But restaurant workers have said that they believe there’s only a wage shortage, not a labor shortage. Many businesses that pay living wages say that they’re not having trouble finding employees to meet their staffing needs.