Oops, and double oops…

Au pair programs are in danger of ending, a possible victim of legislation now moving through Congress…

At issue is a provision of the bill that would bar any labor contractor from charging a fee to foreign workers being brought into the country. Supporters say the measure is aimed at preventing the exploitation of foreign workers.

The roughly 13,000 au pairs who enter the U.S. each year are considered participants in an “exchange visitor program” run by the State Department. The Senate bill would change their status to “workers,” meaning the new bar on charging upfront fees would apply to them.

The story is here.  I predict they will find some semi-legal way around this stipulation, should the bill pass, but still this is a big mistake.  Au pairs should not be considered controversial immigrants.

The second oops is this, from the Detroit Institute of Arts:

Museum officials here said Friday they strongly opposed any forced art sales, after the powerful emergency manager of the city indicated that its prized holdings could be sold to pay off creditors in the event of a bankruptcy filing…legal experts say that in a municipal bankruptcy, it is possible for a city to sell assets, even cultural icons. James Spiotto, a bankruptcy attorney and author on municipal-finance issues based in Chicago, said that “in order to provide essential government services like public safety, roads and education, certain other programs are going to be curtailed or eliminated. So it’s not surprising that the sale of art is on the table.”

Putting that museum into private hands would not have been a bad idea.  You also can take this as an illustration of the more general point, which I am fond of stressing, that once you consider wealth, hardly anywhere is actually bankrupt or insolvent.  Debt problems are most of all problems of politics.


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