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Archive for September 1st, 2011

I’ve had several reasons to mock California in the past couple of years (see here, here, here, and here).

But I never thought state politicians would be crazy enough to impose harsh regulations on babysitting.

Filling out a time card for your babysitter sounds absurd, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in a new law moving through the California state legislature. Here’s how a critic described some of the key provisions in a column for a local newspaper.

How will parents react when they find out they will be expected to provide workers’ compensation benefits, rest and meal breaks and paid vacation time for…babysitters? Dinner and a movie night may soon become much more complicated. Assembly Bill 889 (authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, will require these protections for all “domestic employees,” including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers. The bill has already passed the Assembly and is quickly moving through the Senate with blanket support from the Democrat members that control both houses of the Legislature.

Parents might even need to hire two babysitters if they intend to be out of the house for more than a couple of hours, though I actually hope the author is wrong in this description of the legislation (surely they’re not this crazy!).

…household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to…provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers’ compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck. Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys’ fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses.

I have no problem, however, believing that California politicians are creating a system designed to facilitate costly and absurd lawsuits. I’m sure the trial lawyers are getting a good return on their campaign contributions.

The only good news is that we can safely assume that there will be rampant non-compliance from parents and baby sitters. The bad news is that this legislation almost surely will have a deleterious impact on more permanent forms of care-giving, such as nannies and housekeepers. That will be especially unfortunate for lower-income people who tend to benefit from these types of jobs.

..the unreasonable costs and risks contained in this bill will discourage folks from hiring housekeepers, nannies and babysitters and increase the use of institutionalized care rather than allowing children, the sick or elderly to be cared for in their homes.

When the Golden State falls apart and goes bankrupt, this legislation (assuming it is approved) will be a good example of the failure of left-wing statism.

P.S. Since we are picking on California, here are a couple of posts that use humor to make fun of the folks on the left coast (here and here).

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I’ve written extensively about the flaws of Keynesian economics, and I’ve even narrated a video on the flaws of Keynesian theory.

But this clever Lisa Benson cartoon may be more effective than anything I’ve ever done.

If you like cartoons that teach economics, check out this gem. It’s not on Keynesianism, but it’s very good.

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