Linky Friday #163: Home Ec

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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119 Responses

  1. j r says:

    A5: Seems like an opportunity for NASA or the SETI institute or whoever to practice making indirect contact with a new civilization and methods of long-range communication.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    F5: People will start using this for dating partners. What I found interesting was that a woman’s sexuality and career seemed to effect who the partner with while with men on career seemed to marry.

    Ec5: If we still had Marxists running about, they would argue that kids movies are creating false consciousness to prevent the spread of socialism.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Ec5 – FWIW they pretty much are doing just that.

      I often find particularly ridiculous the pairing of profession and living standard – of course a single parent who writes for a turtle fancier’s magazine for a living has a 5,000 square foot mansion that they manage to keep spotlessly clean, and do a professional gardener’s worth of work on the half-acre lot in a neighbourhood full of huge houses and century-old elms. You can tell they’re poor because their car that’s in good repair and under five years old is small.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:


        On the other hand, a lot of people generally like escapism. There is a reason that the Great Depression spawned the MGM Musical and lots of movies with people who wore elegant cocktail attire. It makes the pain of actual existence go away.

        From a more affluent era, during the making of Marnie, Alfred Hitchcock and his scriptwriter got into an argument about the car that Sean Connery’s character would drive. The character was a scion of a Mainline Philadelphia family. Hitchcock had him drive a fancy Cadillac. The scriptwriter (who came from Mainline Philadelphia) objected and said that Connery’s character was more likely to drive a beat-up truck. Hitchcock agreed but added “But a housewife from Des Moines thinks that Connery’s character would drive a Cadillac.”

        People generally go to the movies for recreation, entertainment, and escapism. I am not sure if anything can or should change that. Social realism often appeals to a very small audience and ironically enough, an audience that is far from real poverty themselves more often than not.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I see what you mean there.

          The funny thing is that the mansion situation is often the thing the characters escape from by encountering time travelling elves / space aliens / a tiny fairy, etc. Which never seems like much of an escape, since their mundane baseline is such a fantasy anyway…Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          There are also technical reasons to prefer large houses from a production point of views. Large spaces are easier to film then cramped ones.

          Nearly every realistic film from the Golden Era of Hollywood was denounced as socialism during the McCarthy Era. Ginger Rodger’s mother denounced None But the Lonely Heart as communist.Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

            That makes good sense – something filmed in a small apartment is going to need the apartment across the hall set aside for makeup, craft services, etc., and probably the apartment upstairs empty during filming unless the sound is done later on a sound stage.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

        This is another manifestation of the phenomenon. What the article was discussing was working class areas depicted somewhat realistically in housing or material possession but without the stress of poverty. The families and communities are shown to be close-knit and warm.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    F3: Deregulating childcare in the name of religious freedom has been a disaster for Alabama. They can’t stop people who obviously should not be allowed in childcare:

    Deregulation is not a cure-all!!!

    F5: Male lawyers seem to still marry their paralegals, secretaries or elementary school teachers. Female lawyers seem to marry other lawyers or judges or higher up finance types. I wonder how many of these meetings happen on the job.

    Ec5: Adult movies are not necessarily any different though sometimes the genders are switched. A lot of romantic comedies have the working-class person who teaches the uptight business person how to live and material poverty is not shown in ways that are aesthetically unpleasing except in really arty movies that very few people see.

    C2: The link doesn’t work.

    C4: There is a lot more to do in California than there is in Texahoma and a lot more of a diverse economy. Is the balance always going to be between boredom and fun?

    C6: Santa Rosa is an interesting example. It is the largest city in Sonoma County. Sonoma County is not as famous as Napa but has lots of wineries and really good restaurants that people go to over the weekend and for vacation. Santa Rosa also has the Russian River brewery which is always jam-packed on the weekend. Santa Rosans commute to SF and other places in the Bay Area for work. When I worked in Marin, a lot of my co-workers lived around Santa Rosa or Petaluma.Report

    • F3: That sort of ties into Ed2.

      C4: But is there more to do in Fresno and Stockton than in Austin and San Antonio? That Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland are on that list is not a surprise. The tradeoffs are pretty obvious and living there is a lifestyle expenditure that costs money that can’t be saved. I can also see why towns like Fresno would be on there because it’s hard to save money if you’re not making much. That both of them are, though, is what I find interesting. It sort of points to the lack of a sweet spot on the coasts.

      C2 is fixed.Report

      • Autolukos in reply to Will Truman says:

        Stockton and Fresno both have good access to the southern Sierras, which is a very convincing amenities argument to me. Of course, I’d rather move to Colorado to fulfill my preference for mountains without California’s disadvantages.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        I suppose you have a point re Austin v. Fresno. Austin is about the only place in Texas I would want to live. I have a very strong coastal bias. People will take this or they won’t. We seem to be antipodes in terms of how we want to live many times.

        If I had to live somewhere rural or ruralish, I would pick Sonoma, the Hudson Valley in NY, the Berkshires in MA, or the Lost Coast, or around Tahoe over Oklahoma.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Male lawyers seem to still marry their paralegals, secretaries or elementary school teachers.

      They marry their elementary school teachers? I think of myself as open-minded, but that is just weird.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


        Ooh. I see what I did now. They marry elementary school teachers. This ties into Will’s post on a division of labor and something we discussed previously I believe.

        There is still usually a seeming gender notion where women are more likely to marry men higher on the assortative mating scale (at least in terms of job and paycheck) than men. Or as a parody of a food magazine I say once jokingly headlined “Our assistant editor married a finance guy and you won’t believe their kitchen!!”Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          FWIW, I have a female friend who is a lawyer. Her husband is an electrician. But I will grant that this sort of thing is still rare enough as to be noticed.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


            I know stories like that as well but they are still rare enough to be noticed as you pointed out. Officially my girlfriend and I are equals. We both have professional degrees. If you look at the details, she is much more successful currently.

            Of course the real reason that lawyers marry their paralegals and secretaries is that they spend so much time at work, they might not have time to meet anyone else. Plus I wonder if there is some subtle caretaker psychology going on.

            When I was in grad school for the arts, I noticed something interesting happen. A lot of the guys who had girlfriends in the first year tended to break up with them. The women were able to keep their boyfriends and often enough, the boyfriends became fiancees and husbands. These boyfriends rarely worked in the arts (the only exception were people who met their boyfriends in grad school). So there are still some gendered expectations that a man is the breadwinner or can at least hold his own. When I was applying to law school, I got a lot of “good for you” reactions from women.Report

            • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              I wonder if there is some subtle caretaker psychology going on.

              I have always assumed that the phenomenon, back in the day when men still wore hats, was that the executive’s secretary was effectively his personal assistant as well. Given the traditional marital roles, there was a certain logic to the idea that the work relationship was a test run for the marital relationship. The potential husband knew how willing and able she was to be a caretaker, while the potential wife had a pretty good idea of what his expectations would be. For some personality types, this could work out well. Of course for others, where the traditional roles were not a good fit, it was a recipe for disaster.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              I also think that marrying a woman in the arts, especially if she is attractive, has a sort of cachet for a man that dating a man in the arts has for a woman. By being able to support a woman in a generally unprofitable career, your showing your economic power and status and you might get the status of a physically attractive partner.Report

    • LTL FTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      In my experience in BigLaw (which I’m done with, thank God), male lawyers don’t marry paralegals, they marry other lawyers. I’d estimate that 40% of my law school graduating class married people they met in law school. Ten percent came in married, ten percent are still single and the remaining 40% married someone outside the law entirely. No paralegals, not one.

      As these lawyer couples start to have kids, the women start quitting or downshifting into the nonprofit sector.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Male lawyers seem to still marry their paralegals, secretaries or elementary school teachers. Female lawyers seem to marry other lawyers or judges or higher up finance types.

      …wouldn’t the amount of female lawyers that marry other lawyers statistically be the same as the amount of male lawyers that marry other lawyers? (Barring some hypothetical lesbian lawyer couples vs gay male lawyer couples imbalance.)Report

    • I feel like something has to be done about daycares. They cost too much to be affordable for anyone who isn’t upper-middle-class, and yet day-care workers make little above minimum wage (despite often being college-educated now). There’s a lot of money going into training and into facilities costs for a job that, technically, shouldn’t have to require either of those things. If someone has the capacity to take care of their own kids – which does not require a license – they have the capacity to take care of someone else’s kids.

      I don’t think we can pare things down to the level of “anyone who has kids can run a daycare”, but some kind of system allowing daycares to be run out of one’s home provided there are some reasonable safety precautions might be able to bring down costs.

      Canada is providing large childcare payments to parents, but even when you factor those in, daycare remains incredibly expensive.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to KatherineMW says:

        They cost too much to be affordable for anyone who isn’t upper-middle-class, and yet day-care workers make little above minimum wage (despite often being college-educated now). There’s a lot of money going into training and into facilities costs for a job that, technically, shouldn’t have to require either of those things.

        I’m having trouble figuring out how daycare became so broken in the first place.

        I though maybe there was some new regulation, but why would *all* states have implemented that?

        I think the real question is…did daycare *actually* used to be cheap, or is this yet another thing we think has become expensive because wages have remained stagnant?

        There’s a lot of money going into training and into facilities costs for a job that, technically, shouldn’t have to require either of those things. If someone has the capacity to take care of their own kids – which does not require a license – they have the capacity to take care of someone else’s kids.

        They do not even need the ability to take care of their own kids. I mean, we pretty universally agree that teenagers do not make great parents, but they make perfectly fine babysitters.

        Especially in a daycare environment, where presumably everything is childsafe, and children cannot wander off.

        I admit I have no idea of what regulations there are for daycares. It seems likely that we have over-regulated…but I really find it odd we would regulate the ‘facilities’, besides just asserting they need to be childsafe. (And generally up to code, I guess.)

        Or is the argument we should let people do childcare in their own homes? But that ignores the fact that a lot of homes are not, in any manner whatsoever, up to code, and there’s a reason you can’t just open, for example, a gym out of your own home…you might not have fire exits, you almost certainly have no sprinklers, etc, etc. And businesses must be inspected for various things. And also most zoning prohibits operating a business with visiting customers out of your house anyway!

        I would find it extremely odd if ‘had to get a place to operate the business from’ was somehow a barrier to daycares and only daycares.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

          Oh, trust me on this one. You *really* want daycare facilities to be regulated. Complete with random and frequent inspections.

          I mean unless you think two people can watch 60 kids ranging from 6 months to 5 years.

          You would not believe the corners that instantly get cut, nor the concepts of “appropriate supervision”.

          That’s not exactly why daycare is expensive, however. The pay is peanuts, the actual caretakers aren’t really required to have any licensing (IIRC, the nearest one here insists their employees pass a Red Cross first aid course aimed at first aid for children, but that’s it), and the regulatory structure is…brief enough. (Regular inspections, some unannounced inspections, and basic audits to ensure the place is clean, up to code — which isn’t onerous in any sense — and that there is sufficient staff and they’re not doing anything nuts to kids),

          They’re not even staffed that heavily (although infant daycare has a higher staff-to-child ratio, obviously, which is why it costs more).

          Daycare is expensive because it can be…..what choice do parents have? As long as the cost is less than the cost of the parent staying home, it’s got to be done.

          And daycares, AFAICT, don’t really compete too much with each other — they’re more aimed at socio-economic slices.

          Like you have the…barely licensed (if at all) day cares run out of someone’s house (generally customers go through word of mouth, and the number of children watched is fairly low) — it’s often a stay-at-home mom who is already watching her kid just…adding a few to help bills.

          Then you move up to actual “own their own building” daycares which seem to fall into sort of class-based tranches. Lower end, firmly middle class, aspirational, and “How can anyone actually think this is worth the money?” upper class stuff.

          But costs are pretty firmly tied to ratio requirements, which aren’t (at least here in Texas) terribly onerous (the younger the child, the fewer children a worker can oversee), the licensing requirements are low, and the inspections and audits aren’t even that much of a PITA as it basically boils down to “Still child safe? Actually have enough workers? You’re fine”.

          There might be a slight cost increase because it’s work teenagers really can’t do. The work day falls during school (college or High School) which means the cheapest, easiest to exploit hands aren’t free.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:

            “….barely licensed (if at all) day cares run out of someone’s house…”

            These are typically a separate category and have regs all same, just different ones.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

          Actually, a huge chunk of the cost is rent. My son goes to the day care right next to my office. It’s a chain center (Bright Horizons). My office park is just a vanilla office campus outside of the expensive downtown. The Bright Horizons in the expensive downtown is about the same size & quality & is 30% cheaper because they happen to own that property & have for a very long time.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Rent and real estate are pretty cheap here, and I haven’t noticed day care getting less expensive. Even church-based daycare (with all those tax breaks, and usually in a building that’s already been paid for by other income streams) isn’t noticeably cheaper.

            Perhaps there’s insufficient supply in our area.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:

              A number of factors impact cost. And, like it or not, private schools/care providers are businesses and are impacted by market forces.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

              Perhaps, you’d have to check the regs. Daycares have specific requirements that might make most commercial real estate insufficient.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Stuff like ramps, fire protection systems, playground space, distance from X, etc.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                You’d be shocked at how exempt churches are from that sort of thing. I’m not kidding. That’s not even getting into my favorite example (a particular ‘faith based, Christian’ sports league for teens. What makes it faith based is the lack of insurance, certification, oversight, or experience — because Christians of good will won’t sue over negligence, incompetence, etc. I suspect that one won’t last long).

                Back to daycares: Every church based daycare in my area has one thing in common: They didn’t need to raise capital, they don’t pay property taxes, and the church outright built the center if it wasn’t just repurposing an already existing building. The Church itself already pays for maintenance of the land, owns the building, and again — no property taxes. (And here in Texas, we don’t have an income tax. We have property taxes, and they are not low. That’s a pretty HUGE exemption)

                They literally just have “salary” and the really lax Texas regulatory structure. (Few people think of “Texas” and “burdensome regulation” in the same sentence, for good reasons). They’re still not much cheaper, if at all. I recall my brother griping excessively over the costs for his daughter. (OTOH, that one doesn’t label itself as a ‘daycare’ so much as ‘pre-education center’ — it’s Church run, and the only caretakers with certs are the ones handling the last year or two before Kindergarten).

                Maybe they have a discount for members, I dunno.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                Can’t speak for anything else, but religious day care centers in Texas do not get any exemptions from state daycare regulations.

                I actually think it might be useful to do a comparison of incidents between Texas (no exemptions), Georgia (some exemptions), and North Carolina (complete exemption). Also Mississippi/Alabama/Arkansas, Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana, etc.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                I was being specific to non religious day care and cost drivers (DavidTC hadn’t mentioned rent).Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Wouldn’t that vary by area anyways? But day care isn’t that much cheaper out in the ‘burbs. Price seems to vary by ‘quality’ (which seems more class factors than anything — you can charge a premium if you’re doing fancy stuff besides “Keeping the kids alive and healthy during the day”).

                But wages are low even in the higher quality places, and the blue collar places around here pay peanuts — it’s above minimum wage, but not significantly above. Rent is cheap and taxes are low, staffing ratios are pretty sane — and it’s still not cheap.

                OTOH, as low as wages are — you really can’t replace labor in this situation. No real way to increase productivity without getting into staff:child ratios that become dangerous.

                In which case — what are you gonna do? They’re not getting paid that much in the first place. Even the ritzy places seem to pay like private K-12 schools — you know, you’re supposed to do it because you love kids not because it pays a good wage.

                Which is, basically, like any job involving kids. That’s probably worth thinking on. Why exactly is it that most jobs involving children seem to invoke an automatic sneer when the subject of raises come up (not so much here, but in general)?

                Even here you had a bit of “People watch their own kids, how hard can it be” like watching your pair of kiddos is like watching 30+ toddlers all with individual needs, problems, and issues. Which is, in fact, an argument brought up against teachers all the time — it’s easy, mindless work that really doesn’t NEED that fancy education (probably just gets in the way!) because “I can teach my own kids just fine and I don’t have no education degree!”.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                “People watch their own kids, how hard can it be”

                Errr, not me. Again, mom ran a daycare, I helped, I know better.

                When I get to a keyboard, instead of a phone, I’ll have a better reply.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                OK, daycare costs are pretty dependant upon what kind of daycare it is. Is it “keep ’em alive” care, or a pre-school? Also, does it have infant care, or just toddlers on up? Also, this is assuming the care center is regulated* to some degree.

                Infant care is expensive. Typically, the max ratio is 4 infants per adult care giver, with a second care giver available in a pinch. Each infant gets it’s own crib, cribs must meet standards, including having locking casters for evacuation (during a fire, infants go in cribs, 2 infants per crib, because an adult can manage to move two cribs). Typically parents provide the center with diapers and milk/formula, until the infant starts solid food, then the center may provide meals (food given to kids through a center has to meet standards both in quality and preparation – i.e. costs).

                After infant care, ratios go up (6:1, 8:1, 10:1, etc.).

                Care facilities generally have to be ground floor if they have infants (evacing infants down stairs is a bad idea), have to have fire safety systems with adequate exits, have to have child safety features on all fixtures (cabinet door locks, covered outlets, etc.), have to all be in good repair with defects fixed in a very timely fashion. There usually has to be some manner of outdoor or open space play area (outdoor playground or something akin to a large indoor play space – think McDonalds play land) with age appropriate equipment that is in good repair. Oh, and rent/mortgage and property taxes. All of which adds to capital costs as well and regular costs.

                Then, if it’s a school, there needs to be curriculum development and equipment/supplies.

                On top of that is regular first aid training and keeping those supplies on hand.

                On top of that is the documentation requirements (annual registration, shot records, nutrition records, curriculum records, injury records – I get a report anytime Bug hits a kid, is hit by a kid, or gets any kind of visible injury while at school, a report I sign in triplicate).

                And then, of course, there is paying staff (administration, cook(s), care givers, facilities people, etc.).

                When it comes to pricing for private care, one does need to look at what is offered. The center Bug goes to costs me… well, the running joke is when he goes to kindergarten, I’ll be able to afford a boat and/or a house on Whidbey Island. Why do I pay it? 1) It’s right next to my office (we share a parking lot) 2) teachers are making more than minimum wage and either have early childhood education backgrounds, or extensive child care experience 3) it’s a pre-school with a very robust program (Bug is learning spanish, has his numbers and letters down cold, is starting to read, can do addition and is starting to understand subtraction, knows the planets, etc.) 4) offers more than just classroom learning through music classes, gymnastics, and regular visitors – I have a great picture of Bug sitting on the ground and petting a giant python that was crawling across his lap because a local herpetologist paid the school a visit) 5) They have a chef on staff to prep the food – an actual chef, with training and credentials.

                So sure, the school is priced for upper middle class parents, but the price isn’t just a bit of class gouging – you get value for the money.

                Now, if there are religious care centers that have much lighter regulatory burdens, who are charging on par with private centers – then I would look very hard at what they are offering for value and question how much is effectively class gouging.

                Or perhaps there is a supply problem.

                As for in-home care – That can be so varied as to be disturbing. I have friends who had twins last year, and the stories they told of the in-home care centers they visited made me want to call the state on some of the places, especially seeing as how many of them wanted to charge almost as much as a larger center. I would never use an in-home care center unless I knew the provider and trusted them, a lot. This is not a dig against my mom – she never had to advertise, got all her business through referrals, and the only ones who pulled their kids out of care were the ones she called the cops on (once for suspected abuse, once because the mom showed up drunk to pick up her kid and tried to punch mom when she wouldn’t let her leave with her kid). Mom had a reputation, both as a good place, and a person who charged the minimum necessary to stay afloat (mom was a good liberal, truly in it to help people). I can’t say that that is the norm for in-home care.

                *keeping in mind that the larger the center, the more regulation it typically has.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:

                “But day care isn’t that much cheaper out in the ‘burbs.”


                What area are you talking about? I pay less for my two boys to go to care in Rockland County than many people pay for one kid to go to care in NYC.

                My nursery charges $24K for 9-3 on a school schedule (e.g., closed summers, extended holiday breaks, etc.). And we charge that A) because we can and B) because costs are higher. I make *considerably* more where I work than I would out in the burbs… like, possibly twice as much but at least 50% more. But we are also competing with some other very high end places and an intense nanny culture. People have money to burn in my neck of the woods (West Village/Greenwich Village).Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Morat20 says:

                They didn’t need to raise capital, they don’t pay property taxes, and the church outright built the center if it wasn’t just repurposing an already existing building. The Church itself already pays for maintenance of the land, owns the building, and again — no property taxes.

                The exemption for non-profits of property tax is something we need to look into at some point.

                I think a real estate tax exemption is reasonable for non-profits that provide *free* services. A homeless shelter, for example. Or even churches, where people can generally walk in and listen to a service and even attend classes for free. The building itself is part of the public services.

                But I think once a non-profit starts *charging* for service, or even goods, and starts operating mostly off that, we should reconsider some of the taxes.

                And note I say that as someone who volunteers at a non-profit theatre that, of course, sells tickets, and would be affected by a change like this.

                Actually, combine ‘charges for stuff’ with the ‘paid employees’ test, and perhaps we’ve actually got a semi-reasonable non-profit test. 1) Do you have paid employees, and what percentage of the money going through here goes to them? 2) Do you charge for things, and what percentage of the money going in here comes from that?

                And note I’m not suggesting removing any sort of status (Non-profits can’t legally have any sort of ‘income’ anyway, so trying to make them subject to income tax is nonsense.(1)) …I’m saying that if they operate like a for-profit business, they really need to pay some for their share of local government upkeep in *property taxes*.

                I’m not actually sure this isn’t the law in some places. I do know in Georgia the *must pay sales tax* exemption went away for a lot of non-profits. Now you have to be some sort of childcare/medical/food bank/some other related things like services for developmentally disabled adult, not just a 501(c)(3).

                But I also know my theatre doesn’t pay any property tax.

                1) And, yes, I know income tax does apply to some of the stuff they can do. But, fundamentally, they cannot distribute money to their ‘owners’, which is sorta what is supposed to be taxed as the *end result* of corporate income tax.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to KatherineMW says:


        “If someone has the capacity to take care of their own kids – which does not require a license – they have the capacity to take care of someone else’s kids.”

        Respectfully, no.

        Do you know what the regulations say? Fire drills. Food storage. Cleaning and facility maintenance. Child:adult ratios. That is the bulk of it. And are integral to a setting that has as many kids as even the smallest settings tend to. You can keep an eye on one toddler and mostly make sure he doesn’t eat something off the floor. That is impossible with 5, 8, 10 kids absent proper protocols.

        Is every regulation necessary? No. But is some? Absolutely. Full stop.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

          Over at HitCoffee I link/cite actual regulations.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

          Re: “Bad” regulation

          NYC day cares fall under DOH. Not so in the rest of the state and not so in ECC’s attached to ongoing schools. DOH requires teacher cert. I am uncertified and we are now devoting real time (probably 20+ hours) and money ($600-700) to rectifying that. And as a school we can manage because we are well off. Many centers would pass those costs on to the teacher.

          And most aspects of cert aren’t safet/health related. The bulk of my attentipn is going to documenting lessons. Instruction. Which matters but probably not so much that it should be a regulation, especially not as structured. And I’m a teacher with 10+ years experience, two degrees, and exemplary references. Yet we’re wasting time and money because of regulations. So, yea, we can and should do better.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

            And I’m a teacher with 10+ years experience, two degrees, and exemplary references

            But you’re not every employee of every day care, right? I’d imagine most aren’t as qualified as you.

            I mean I get your position that re-certifying you is a waste of money. (Although there is something to be said for a refresher. Texas certs run out in three years if you don’t actually do a job requiring them, for instance. Which is a PITA if you let it lapse, because it ain’t cheap).

            But what about everyone else? I mean you might argue that requiring a teacher certification is overkill for daycare (I would imagine it depends on the daycare. We have some here that are also pre-schools or offer education. I could see an argument there, but not for those that specialize in infants) but while it sucks you’re stuck re-certifying, such is life.

            My wife got forced to re-certify for Texas after she let it lapse. (That was called ‘3k, a few months of no income and taking classes on stuff she could teach, and then getting certed after hiring was done so a year of long-term sub stuff. PITA indeed — but I’m not sure I’m against an ‘If you haven’t used these skills in years, you need to re-qualify” standard despite the massive PITA it was 12 years ago)Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:

              I’m not saying all regs/certs are bad. Just that there is waste jn the system and it can cause real issues.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                But, again, cert isn’t about health and safety and I think harder to justify for private providers. In fact, the state requirements are at odds with my school’s approach/philosphy and basically means I need to “fake” the lessons. And I don’t think the state should mandate philosophy outside outlawing the most egregious (i.e., corporal punishment) and that can be done on safety grounds.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah, but it’s pretty inefficient to have huge loopholes too. “Certs! Unless we think you’re really qualified anyways!” is just asking for tons of wasted time on their end trying to process the exceptions. Not to mention clarifying what counts as an “exception” because the last thing you want is a system that waives certification based on whatever good feelings the bureaucrat had towards you.

                (The potential for lawsuits. Heck, I’m not even sure it’s legal — it’s wide open for discrimination for one).

                Like I said, I get being annoyed that you’re overqualified and STILL forced to get a certification that’s well below your education and experience. But I suspect you’re the exception, not the norm — and regulations aren’t written with rare exceptions in mind. (I’ve had to occasionally take training for work in classes I could have taught. My company gave zero craps because it was cheaper to waste my time then to eyeball everyone and figure out who could slide, and also it left people in the wind if they eyeballed it wrong).

                Which again doesn’t cover “Should certifications expire if unused” which is (from my experience) a much more common issue.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:


                Oh, I agree. I don’t really have a reasonable workaround to my situation. Though it is arguable whether certification in general is an appropriate regulation. I mean, the rest of the state doesn’t require it, so why NYC? Again, certification is NOT about basic health and safety… it is about teacher quality. And while I am all for teacher quality, independent schools in NYC aren’t require to certify their teachers and day cares outside NYC aren’t required to certify their teachers… only private day cares independent of ongoing schools within the five boroughs face that requirement (and it is relatively recent).

                The rule says one certified teacher per class. Let’s assume a daycare has 5 classes. You’re looking at at least a $2500 layout to get up to snuff if none of your teachers are certified. And that is assuming they have the base requirements (namely, a degree). There is also the time and effort it requires. If you are a daycare operating on the margin, that could really do you in. And if you pass the costs onto your barely paid employees, you’re really screwing them.

                And it doesn’t have anything to do with health and safety DESPITE this being a requirement of DOH.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

          My mom ran an in home daycare for decades. Even at that level, there were regulations she had to follow regarding safety & nutrition.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Chesterton’s fence, there.

            It doesn’t take much digging to find out why many (perhaps not all) of those regulations are there. That does inevitably morph into “Why do we need all these regulations” because there are far fewer horror stories. (And surely they would not happen in this day and age!).

            For all the paeans to small business owners we hear in politics, it doesn’t take a genius to open one, and the market is not terribly swift to correct them. You’d be amazed at what people will get away with for years, even decades. Not out of malice or even avarice — it’s often sheer incompetence.

            (Of course I’m a bit bitter. Second year in a row a company my wife has contracted through has not ‘bothered’ to send 1099s to us. The money is good — it’s all pass-through, the company makes their money by doing certifications and credentialing, not through the actual contract work. But half the time my wife is paid directly by the school district in question, and half the time through them — and they just stopped bothering sending out 1099s. I KNOW they file them with the IRS —- it’s not like it’s profit, it flows right out. But for a company that manages a few million a year, not “bothering” with 1099s is….irritating. And illegal, of course. But who is gonna narc on them over that? You’d lose the contacts).Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

              You misunderstand, I’m not harping on the regs as much as stating that even certified home day care providers have regs they need to follow, even if it’s a reduced set.

              Mom never had much issue with the regs, except for the record keeping requirements, as they sucked up a lot of her off time (although it got better once she got a computer & Office & dad wrote her some macros to handle the repetitive tasks)Report

  4. notme says:

    Seattle’s $15 min wage is already closing businesses. Good job!

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to notme says:

      Wow, using the Seattle Magazine article that’s been debunked (by ya’ know, actually asking the restaurateurs why they closed) and a quote from the Washington Policy Center, which is basically the Washington version of the AEI/Heritage/ALEC nexus.

      I’m in Seattle. We’re doing fine. There’s plenty of overpriced restaurants opening every week. A lot of ’em will fail because restaurants are actually a pretty bad business idea, even in places with a low minimum wage.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Restaurants and bars (and probably coffee shops) need to make a profit from as soon as they open to stay in business. I can think of no other business with that requirement.Report

        • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          No restaurant needs to make a profit as soon as they open. They have starting capital, just like any other business. And you do need to build a customer base.

          Restaurants generally start with 6months of capital, and if they aren’t profitable by that point, well… then they’re in deep shit.Report

      • notme in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        A lot of ’em will fail because restaurants are actually a pretty bad business idea, even in places with a low minimum wage.

        So they are even worse idea in places like Seattle?Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Seattle also seems particularly attractive to new restaurateurs who buy a property that has housed eight failed restaurants during my lifetime, and predictably go on to be the ninth. I don’t care how good your food is, or your business plan – that location might support a dry cleaners, but never a restaurant, no matter what the minimum wage might be.Report

      • Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        It’s not that restaurants are such a bad idea, its that people who open them tend to be flattered housewives, rather than businessmen.

        Find someone who can balance a checkbook, and make a business plan — they’ve at least got a decent shot at a restaurant.Report

      • Dave in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:


        I’m in Seattle. We’re doing fine. There’s plenty of overpriced restaurants opening every week. A lot of ’em will fail because restaurants are actually a pretty bad business idea, even in places with a low minimum wage.

        I too find the Seattle Magazine article problematic, but restaurant closings isn’t the best way to gauge the impact of an increase in the minimum wage.

        My question to you: what do you think is going to happen to jobs in the fast food sector? Unlike your example, these have well-established track records and have a significantly lower likelihood of failing.

        My answer – Take the combination of the fast food parent companies refusing to change the way they make their money (i.e. a wage increase is revenue neutral) and the fact that in order for fast food parent companies to grow, they need to attract franchisees through acceptable risk-adjusted rates of return, and it leads to reduced labor costs through automation, especially at the initial point of service.

        If I operate a franchise and one of the very few things I have direct control over is labor costs, and I lose a lot of that due to legislation, you bet your ass I’m going to the corporate parent to see how it plans to address the issue. If all of my other inputs are controlled by the parent, what else would I do?

        I’ll ask another question: If you’re the CEO of McDonald’s, how do you respond to the increase in minimum wages?Report

        • Kim in reply to Dave says:

          I raise prices, but in tandem (as much as possible) with the other fastfood places. I assume that my customer base is relatively inelastic (buying for convenience and “identity” rather than because they really can’t afford a 20% increase in price).Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Dave says:

          Were I that CEO I would note that the increasing cost of labor affects my competitors also, and assess the amount of decreased business that a price increase might create, and decide if it still pencils out.

          In other words I would do exactly what CEOs do every damn day when faced with fluctuating material costs, fuel costs, rent or insurance.

          I don’t know everyone just accepts that the cost of everything can fluctuate, but a modest increase in labor cost is an extinction level event.Report

          • Dand in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Can I point out that a lot of the people who mock these arguments about the minimum wage turn around and make the same arguments about immigration? I keep hearing people saying that if agribusinesses are deprived of cheep immigrant labor it will lead to hundred dollar heads of lettuce and crops rotting in the fields.Report

          • Dave in reply to Chip Daniels says:


            Your answer is a non-answer. I was looking for specifics, and I’m thinking you have a smart enough background to get what goes on in the fast food business. Therefore, you should know that labor costs are perhaps the most important issue the franchisees face. If you don’t, now you do.

            I don’t know everyone just accepts that the cost of everything can fluctuate, but a modest increase in labor cost is an extinction level event.

            The way I see it, fast food companies run three businesses: 1) sale of food; 2) a real estate company and 3) investment management. For our purpose, let’s focus on (3).

            It is in the best interest of the franchisors to show potential franchisees that investing in their franchise is an attractive investment opportunity despite the fact that the franchisor is going to exert significant control over most aspects of the business (with the exception of labor).

            Profit margins for franchisees are somewhere in the mid single digits from what I understand. While I think it’s an appropriate risk-adjusted return seeing as franchisees face far fewer risks that independent restaurateurs, there’s very little headroom there. So yes, a modest price increase that takes drops the profit margin even from 6% to 5% could arguably be an “extinction event” because the investment becomes unattractive even if there is a profit > $0. Welcome to Dave’s First Rule of Capital (TM).

            To @kim ‘s suggestion, she said she’d raise prices but notice she’s not the first one to do it. Everyone waits and no one acts, and for good reason: the first one to raise prices risks being on the wrong end of a price war which hurts more than it helps. The fast food companies know that consumers are price sensitive, and despite what they say, people will substitute one brand for another if prices get too far out of whack. The risk to market share is too high.

            Investing in technology to reduce labor costs solves two problems. First, it helps reduce the labor costs at existing locations. Second, since I think the increase in labor costs will make investing in a franchise less attractive (since I believe the franchisors aren’t going to take the hit), it makes investing in my franchises more attractive.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Dave says:

              Profit margins for franchisees are somewhere in the mid single digits

              What’s the profit margin of then franchisors? If it’s larger (as I suspect), the cost of higher wages can be transferred to them by a reduction in the cost of the materials the franchisor sells to the franchisee.Report

              • Dave in reply to Mike Schilling says:


                What’s the profit margin of then franchisors? If it’s larger (as I suspect), the cost of higher wages can be transferred to them by a reduction in the cost of the materials the franchisor sells to the franchisee.

                My guess is that the margins are higher. McDonald’s is public, but I haven’t looked at any financials.

                Personally, I think the odds of management allowing the shareholders to take hit are about equal to the odds of me voting for Donald Trump, which is to say it won’t happen. My thoughts on the subject have that assumption in mind.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Dave says:

                In free markets, prices are supposed to adjust to reflect both direct and indirect costs. But you probably know the joke that goes “I’m moving to Theory. It’s a great place, because everything works in Theory.”Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave says:

                I know keeping shareholders in mind is important, but the emphasis continues to strike me as misplaced.Report

              • Dave in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                In free markets, prices are supposed to adjust to reflect both direct and indirect costs.

                Yes, and that includes the cost of debt and equity capital, including common stock prices. That’s why one simply can’t assume that capital can “afford” to bear the cost without taking cost of capital into consideration.

                I’d like to think I approach these conversations from a real world perspective. I know the joke but I don’t like to stay in the world of theory. It kind of annoys me.


                I know keeping shareholders in mind is important, but the emphasis continues to strike me as misplaced.

                Misplaced as in me emphasizing shareholders or just the way shareholders are emphasized over other stakeholders as currently done throughout the corporate world?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave says:

                @dave The way the corporate world does it. The needs of franchisees should take precedence over shareholders.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Dave says:

              My point was why would a price increase in labor be different than a price increase in fuel or food?

              Don’t we routinely hear about how when gas prices rise, airplane tickets cost more, and no one freaks out about it?
              In all this fury over an increase of minimum wage, hasn’t anyone actually documented what happens?
              Specifically, how much does the price of a meal increase, and how much of a drop in sales does this yield?

              As for technology, are you suggesting that labor should keep its costs low to compete?
              Even when its becomes obvious that the cost per hour of technology = $0.00?Report

  5. notme says:

    Chelsea out campaigning for mom admits the left wants your guns.

    Chelsea Clinton: Now that Scalia’s Gone We Can Enact Gun Control (VIDEO)

  6. notme says:

    Obama invokes American WW2 dead as reason to vote NO to Brexit. How pathetic even for him.

    • Jaybird in reply to notme says:

      In the same way that it’s very important that we take European opinions into account for American Law and American Elections, it’s important that they take our opinions into account.Report

  7. pillsy says:

    Is it weird that my first impulse for [Ed3] is to blame the shelter-in-place active shooter training stuff, not the author’s weirdly meddlesome bent? Maybe it’s just because I’m annoyed that I have to waste my time with similar nonsense this week.Report

  8. Kim says:

    oh, how I love reading articles from clueless people!Report

  9. Kazzy says:

    F3: When I was fresh out of college and applying for jobs, many of the more traditional day care settings (as opposed to school-based settings or those which set out to be more like schools) offered about $10/hour. This was for someone with a degree in early childhood and a decent amount of experience for someone his age. I was being considered for lead positions, too. Now, this was about a decade ago, so presumably that has gone up. But, still, it was low. Too low to realistically live on given that I was interviewing in the NY Tri-State area.

    I also had one director tell me that she loved to max out classes sizes because it increased revenue. I was tempted to say, “So you want to pay me nothing AND give me as many children as the state will allow?” But I didn’t. Among the many reasons I didn’t take that job was her apparent inability to understand how to entice workers. If she thought telling me that would make me want to work for her, she clearly didn’t get it.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


      To be slightly fair, I think that a lot of employers have a hard time enticing workers. Paying them more seems to be a tool of last resort for many employers even when they have steep demand shortages. I have seen a lot of articles along the lines of “Industry X is having a hard time attracting employees.” There is always a liberal pundit somewhere wondering “Industry X pays horribly. Have the employers considering offering more money?” The answer from the employers always seems to be no.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I think I was unclear, @saul-degraw . I was criticizing her sharing with me her goal to max out room capacities. It’d be like a law firm trying to sell potential hires on their policy of working people to the bone. Even if that IS your policy, don’t lead with it!Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

      Needless to say, I think employers are being idiots when they complain about not being able to attract good employees and then can’t think about raising their morale and/or pay structures.Report

  10. Kazzy says:

    Ed2: I don’t think it is tricky at all. Childcare seems like an area where a lack of oversight is just too risky. That isn’t to say that the current oversight regime is ideal or right, but exempting church-based centers is wrong. Especially because I suspect (but IANAL) that such regulations do not actually violate a separation of church and state. I mean, it isn’t like these faiths have beliefs that children should be in classes with ratios that exceed state regulations; it is simply churches wanting to cut corners or otherwise operate outside the constraints that are designed to keep kids safe.Report

  11. A3: It was an unstaffed station that closed, not the entire railroad line. So not nearly as altruistic as the headline suggests.Report

  12. Jaybird says:

    H3: Maybe the penalties just aren’t high enough.Report

  13. Chip Daniels says:

    F3 could support conclusions other than “birth control for families…who are not financially stable.”
    I mean, that is a laudable goal in its own right, but there is an assumed shape and form of family and society that should be questioned.

    The premise is that the proper or preferred family configuration is a nuclear family of two parents and a few children, living by themselves with both parents working. Or at least, that this configuration be the one made widely available.

    And there is nothing wrong with that, but like the assumption that the preferred housing model be a single family dwelling in a suburb, that assumption drives our policy choices.

    A traditionalist might ask, what has changed? Hasn’t child care always since the beginning of time been a complex time consuming task, requiring skills that are on par with just about most skilled laborers?

    A contemporary social liberal might point out that the nuclear family as a preferred norm is a relatively recent invention, developing mostly after WWII and the mobility brought about by automobiles and suburbs.

    I tie this to the other recent phenomenon of Millennials being unable to form households, or really to form households of the type referenced above.

    So they develop alternative household forms like cohousing, living with parents or whatever.

    For the record- as a liberal in good standing, I am not opposed to government financed day care, free with an Obamaphone and T-bone steak to all comers.

    Its just that the problem may be larger than simply a spike in day care costs. The entire model of society that we have known since WWII may need to change, and the past (switching to conservative voice here) may hold models for reference.

    Multi-generational cohousing, of the type that was the norm for millennia, is an option. New extended family types of people living and working in different configurations could be developed that reflect our social norms, rather than contorting our public policy to replicate the postwar Boomer cycle.Report

  14. Jesse Ewiak says:

    Your daily reminder that despite being a buffoon and populist, Trump still manages to stumble into better policy ideas than Cruz.

    “Don’t forget: We have to rebuild the infrastructure of our country. We have to rebuild our military, which is being decimated by bad decisions. We have to do a lot of things. We have to reduce our debt, and the best thing we have going now is that interest rates are so low that lots of good things can be done that aren’t being done, amazingly.”Report

  15. Kazzy says:

    Example inefficient day care reg:

    I am sitting in a 6 hour workshop on harassment and cyberbullying, required for my cert, required by DOH. My school paid $150 for me to attend and had to hire a sub.Report