Daniel Cohen on a Different Problem for Housekeepers In a rush to provide the most luxurious, and heaviest, mattresses, the most pillows, and the fanciest bed skirts, hotels are overloading their housekeepers. Donald Cohen cites several studies and statistics in the Los Angeles Times to show that hotel workers exhibit higher injury rates than many other industries. He encourages the California assembly to approve a bill passed by the state's senate this week that would help prevent some of the damage. "The bill, SB 432, would require hotels to use fitted sheets instead of flat sheets to reduce the amount of mattress lifting housekeepers must do. That is no small change if you consider how many hundreds of pounds a day that involves," he says. "The legislation also would require hotels to provide long-handled mops so housekeepers won't have to clean bathrooms on their hands and knees as they do now." The hotel injury opposes the bill, citing the cost of fitted sheets. Cohen argues that hotels often replace their sheets annually anyway and would make up for the cost by savings in workers' compensation. Cohen cites a 1970s effort to ban short-handled hoes, which gave farm laborers back injuries, and the lettuce-grower industry's opposition to the law. Since the hoe was banned, none of the farm industry's dire predictions that it would kill the industry came true. "Today, the hotel industry is predicting the same economic havoc if housekeepers get the kind of protections farmworkers got 35 years ago," he said. "The agriculture industry was wrong then, and the hotels are wrong now."
William McGurn Interprets the Debt Deal The debt ceiling resolution is nothing short of a conservative victory, declares William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal, because "come the 2012 elections this deal will help force the debate that all conservatives have wanted all along--about the size, scope, and proper mission of our federal government." The debate began with President Obama requiring a clean raise with no requirements attached. John Boehner laid out his requirement in May that a debt ceiling raise come only with spending cuts and no tax hikes. Boehner got most of what he wanted, McGurn asserts, because he laid out several plans that would avoid default whereas Obama merely said no to the available options. "This curious exercise of presidential 'leadership' transformed Mr. Obama into the Newt Gingrich of this debate, while Mr. Boehner looked serious and reasonable," McGurn says. Liberals seem to agree that the president did not defend the liberal agenda well. Republicans are still fighting among themselves, and the cuts are not guaranteed forever, but they have forced the 2012 debate to be on their terms, giving McGurn cause for optimism.