Let’s discuss the cash for clunkers program. It is a resounding success, according to Business Week, the program helped sell 157,000 cars. I think that’s just get. Now, it is all over the news that the program has been such a success that it is out of money. Congress is thinking about doing it again. I have two concerns with this. My first is that the program apparently didn’t just allow sales of smaller cars go up. Apparently, the trade in couldn’t get more than 14 or 18 mpg — I’m not sure which, as I’ve seen both figures in print – AND the car purchased had to get more than 16mpg. 16mpg? Are they serious? That means those big, hulky gas guzzling SUVs and trucks were being sold. How is that am improvement?

Here’s my second concern: If we renew the cash for clunkers program, are we just going to artificially prop up the auto industry like the lowering of interest rates propped up the housing market? I worry what will happen to the economy with a piece of it being blown up again.

I should disclose that I recently purchased a vehicle, but my Suzuki was still getting 24mpg and didn’t qualify for the program even though she had 204,000 miles on her. The dealer offered me $100 for her. I donated her to kars 4 kids instead. I’m a little irked that the Suzuki didn’t qualify for the program – I know, I could’ve lied about her gas mileage, but I’m not that kind of girl – but that people are allowed to purchase vehicles that don’t get better gas mileage than a car I donated.

So, my suggestion is that we continue the program for another billion, but every car sold must get at least 20mpg city and highway combined.

Next, we’re going from cars to waitressing, which I know is a very strange combination.

The next time you sit down in a restaurant, I want you to consider this: That waitress works for $2.33 an hour. That’s not a lot of money. On top of that, whether or not you tip her, she pays tax on 8% of your total bill. Further, depending on the restaurant’s structure, she is giving a percentage of her tips to the bartender, the hostess and the bus boy.

So, let’s say a waitress works an hour and makes $100 in sales. Before she has tip one to count, she owes the government $8.00 in taxes. She only made $2.33 (which is minimum wage) and she owes 15% (not including social security and medicare and state taxes). If the tables in that hour don’t tip her, she’s just worked an hour of her life she can never get back and worse, she has to pay the government $8.35 for the privilege.

I know what you’re thinking, what’s your point?

My point is that before you leave that small tip, you stop for a moment and think about the service you’ve received. If you received good service, make sure you tip 15% of the entire bill — not just the pre-tax amount — because she’s taxed on the entire bill. If you received excellent service, then you should leave a generous tip of at least 20%. And, if you run into a waitress who sucks, just don’t stiff her — you look cheap. Tip her 8%, to cover the tax and complain to the manager of the restaurant. My philosophy is this: I watch how many tables she has. If the waitress has less than four and I can see her yakking with her friends in the back and my service is bad, she gets a small tip and I complain, but if I can see she has a lot of tables and is keeping up the best she can, then I leave an extra generous tip and I make no complaint.

Oh, and don’t just complain, speak with a manager if you receive top-notch service, as well.

I should note, I’ve NEVER been a waitress. I couldn’t do it. Long hours on your feet, dealing with rude customers and making very little for your trouble – not my idea of a career, but someone has to do and those of us who don’t should tip them well.

God Bless