I am so loving that lesser evil!

Two Democrats—from California and New York City, no less—are leading the charge against legislation that would give domestic workers lunch breaks and paid sick days, among other things. Salon‘s Irin Carmon has the story.

In fact, two policy prescriptions that are catching on across the country – modest by the standards of other industrialized nations, but radical enough to inspire feverish opposition from Chamber of Commerce types — have recently been opposed by Democrats apparently seeking to appear “pro-business.”  One is the domestic worker’s bill of rights, which passed in New York state in 2010 but was vetoed by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday. It would have provided overtime pay and meal breaks to the 200,000 childcare workers and housecleaners — disproportionately women of color, many of them immigrants — who are currently filling the care gap in a relatively ad-hoc fashion. Brown claimed in his veto that he had questions about “the economic and human impact on the disabled or elderly person and their family” and whether this would mean fewer jobs for domestic workers overall.

Meanwhile, the New York City Council has enough votes to pass a paid sick-days bill to override a veto from Mayor Michael Bloomberg — if only Democratic mayoral aspirant and current speaker Christine Quinn would bring it to a vote. A spokeswoman for Quinn told the Times last week, “Given the current economic reality, now is not the right time for this policy.”

Thank God we have those Democrats to protect us against the Republicans.


  1. Maria Rosales October 2, 2012 at 10:17 am | #

    If there weren’t any evil, we wouldn’t call it “lesser evil.”

  2. James Hoff October 2, 2012 at 10:39 am | #

    I’m not surprised, but sadly, many good liberal-minded working people would be. Just got my copy of the UAW newsletter yesterday, for instance, and the cover is one big Obama ad. When will labor wake up and realize the game is fixed?

  3. chrismealy October 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm | #

    How can a nanny take a lunch break? You’d need two nannies.

  4. Paul H. Rosenberg October 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm | #

    It’s always helpful to recall that Jerry Brown was the original “best ideas from the left and the right” kid. He presented this as a paradigm-breaking new approach to politics when he first ran for office in California, and he’s ALWAYS mixed together some refreshingly radical ideas with some incredibly reactionary ones. Heck, back when he was a Pacifica Radio host, he did a couple of one-hour shows just delving into the Unabomber’s political philosophy/critique of leftism and human progress!

    So, really, not much of a surprise there, for those who’ve paid attention over the years. The surprise, if any, is just how few have been paying attention.

    • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg October 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm | #

      I will just add a note that the Unabomber’s (i.e., Ted Kaczynski’s) critique of leftism is a critique of USA’s left-wing movements, and especially their focus on identity politics, at the expense of what he considers to be real issues. It is not a critique of the Marxist/socialist left, and it certainly does not come from the right. It is also not a critique that is in any way unique to him, nor to the right: one often hears such things from “class warfare” leftists.

      Radical environmentalism — to the point of advocating the complete destruction of industrialization — is genuinely outside the left/right paradigm, but Kaczynski was still to the left of the USA’s “left,” both in his sympathies and ideas, and in his history of political participation. I don’t say this either to lend support to Kaczynski, nor to impugn the left through association, but only in the interest of setting the record straight (as someone who read, rather carefully, everything Kaczynski ever published).

      The Unabomber might rightfully serve as an example of an extremist nutjob — for more reasons than one — but I don’t think he works at all as an example of a “reactionary.”

  5. Paul H. Rosenberg October 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm | #

    p.s. I don’t have a problem with lesser evilism, per se. Such is the nature of representative politics.

    The problem I have is with evil lesserism. Which is ALSO the nature of representative politics. It’s just a bit more situationally dependent.

  6. The Raven October 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm | #

    “of course you can vote for the lesser of two evils. You get less evil.”–Chomsky, 2008

    It seems to me that on the left we need to work for three things:
    1. Time. Time and demographics are on our side. This is why you vote for the lesser evil. If the centrists will bring us to the hard right by 2025, that is 13 years for us to change the direction of the country and, with a majority the younger popular and more and more women on our side, we might pull it off.
    2. Unity. It is often forgotten by well-off white men that this is an election about whether anyone counts politically other than old wealthy white guys but women, blacks, and gays can hardly forget.
    3. Electoral reform. We need to make as much space as possible for a new party to the left of the conservative party the Democrats have become.

    • scott October 3, 2012 at 10:28 am | #

      Whenever the topic of the deficiencies of the Democrats come up, the defensive response is always that now is not the right time to raise these issues or do anything fundamentally different. So we watch the country drift steadily right and, 13 years from now, THEN will be the right time to do something? Wow.

  7. noiselull October 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm | #

    Apparemtly trade-offs just don’t exist in the minds of progressives. Ever heard of scarcity and incentives? This is why Yglesias is such a breath of fresh air; he knows some first year economics.

    • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg October 3, 2012 at 9:23 am | #

      Libertarians spouting first year economics as gospel is hardly a breath of fresh air.

      • scott October 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm | #

        It’s a fart.

      • noiselull October 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm | #

        I was unaware of Yglesias’s libertarianism.

    • earthisroomenough October 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm | #

      Yglesias is a dumb P.O.S., and Mike Elk proved it earlier this year: http://exiledonline.com/the-problem-with-matthew-yglesias/

    • earthisroomenough October 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm | #

      Yglesias is a dumb P.O.S., and Mike Elk proved it earlier this year: http://exiledonline.com/the-problem-with-matthew-yglesias/

      Jesus christ. One year of inoculation and these mental midgets think they’ve got it all figured out.

      • noiselull October 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm | #

        Yglesias doesn’t seem particularly prone to “incoulation.” Your thesis is contingent on the entire economics profession from the 18th century onward being a corporate conspiracy designed to distract people from the actual road to truth: naive populism.

    • mtl4u2 October 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm | #

      “Apparemtly trade-offs just don’t exist in the minds of progressives.”

      Trade-offs for the sake of it is the hallmark of a conscience beset by mediocrity and moral depravity.

  8. radii314 October 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm | #

    how hard is it to just set some basic minimum standards? … one of the last bastions of old-world economics: domestic servants

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