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What The New York Times Gets Wrong About Cheap Nail Salons

Even if Asian nail salons are as exploitative and toxic as the Times says, the answer isn't more government oversight.

Dystopos/FlickrDystopos/FlickrIn the 1970s, American actress Tippi Hedren was visiting a Vietnamese refugee camp in California when women there began admiring her nails. Hedren brought in her manicurist to train refugees on giving manicures. "We were trying to find vocations for them," Hedren told the BBC recently. "I brought in seamstresses and typists—any way for them to learn something." Apocryphal or not, Hedren is now credited as the reason "why so many nail technicians are Vietnamese." 

"Forty years after the fall of Saigon, 51% of nail technicians in the United States—and approximately 80% in California—are of Vietnamese descent," the BBC reports. Tam Nguyen, president of Advance Beauty College in Laguna Hills, California, said nearly every Vietnamese-American nail technician he knows still sends some money home to support relatives.

These stories present one view of the nail-salon industry in the America: an avenue of opportunity for immigrant workers with low skills and little English. As Asian nail salons have proliferated—often offering manicures, pedicures, and acrylics at a fraction of the cost of high-end salons—immigrant women have trained and employed one another, providing new arrivals with a means of making a living, a way help out families back home, and a community. They have also helped drastically grow the manicure market, making what used to be only a luxury for the rich an affordable and accessible habit for middle-income Americans. 

"In the story of nail salon competition, we can see [how] ... immigrants expand markets, rather than just taking existing jobs," wrote Virginia Postrel in Reason in 1997

Twenty years ago, manicurists mostly worked in obscure corners of hair salons or catered to the wealthy. Cher got her nails done; the rest of us did not. Today, free-standing nail salons dot the commercial blocks and strip malls of cities from Southern California to South Carolina.  

[...] That's the industry hidden in plain sight. There's also the business you don't see as you walk down the street: the manufacturers and distributors that supply the salons. Nailpro, another trade magazine, lists nearly 400 manufacturers in its 1997 Gold Book directory. These companies make everything from polishes, nippers, and acrylic nail-sculpting compounds to manicure tables, polish racks, and toeless pedicure socks. 

But The New York Times this week presents a very different narrative of the nail industry. In a multi-part series by reporter Sarah Maslin Nir, the Times suggests that the real "price of nice nails" is an underclass of immigrant women subject to high rates of exploitation, abuse, fertility issues, and other health problems. New York City manicurists work "10- to 12-hour shifts, hunched over fingers and toes," writes Nir in part one. 

Asian-language newspapers are rife with classified ads listing manicurist jobs paying so little the daily wage can at first glance appear to be a typo. Ads in Chinese in both Sing Tao Daily and World Journal for NYC Nail Spa, a second-story salon on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, advertised a starting wage of $10 a day. The rate was confirmed by several workers.

In part two, Nir explores the health problems that seem to plague nail-salon employees: asthma, skin rashes, persistent coughs, a history of failed pregnancies. "Chemicals that make nail and beauty products useful—the ingredients that make them chip-resistant and pliable, quick to dry and brightly colored, for example," are the culprits, Nir notes. Of course, research on these chemicals and any potential hazards is scarce, and the FDA has deemed several of them safe. But Nir seems certain that a lack of FDA oversight combined with indifferent manufacturers are to blame.

"Many owners said they were helping new immigrants by giving them jobs," but Nir is skeptical of this claim based on their low wages. In the mutual-aid services and shared living spaces that spring up around the communities of immigrant salon workers, Nir sees only the tragic consequences of poverty, not the resourcefulness, resiliency, and capability of those forced by U.S. immigration policy into an underground economy.

In the apprenticeship system for that's sprung up in nail salons, she sees only exploitation—the women pay $100 to $200 in training fees and then work for tips for a probationary period before getting a regular wage. But in the formal economy, cosmetologists of all sorts must pay to attend schools and certification programs, pay the government for a licence, and take internships or training programs before salons let them do hair/nails/makeup on their own. Is the apprenticeship system really so different? At least salon workers can still make tips while they train.

In fact—though Nir doesn't mention this until at least half-way through the first article—nail salon workers are, like waiters, considered "tipped workers" under New York State and federal law, which means they're permitted to be paid less than the state's $8.75 hourly minimum. Of course, tipped workers often take home much more than the minimum wage (and often do so off the books in cash heavy businesses), which is why all kinds people continue to seek tipped jobs. In some instances, when the tip-only system has effectively amounted to no wages, salon workers have filed class action lawsuits against salon owners and won. One of the major impediments to doing so, however—or to seeking employment outside these salons—is workers' immigration status. They have trouble participating in the formal economy or legal system because they are in America illegally. 

Nir fails to indict U.S. immigration policies for their poor conditions. Instead, she would actually see more government agents visiting the nail salons. "Only a small number of the workers interviewed by The Times said they had ever seen an investigator, from any government agency, at their salon," the article notes with dismay. 

Getting more government involved when it's not at the behest of these workers, however, is only going to lead to more hardship for those most marginalized. When state investigators find a bunch of undocumented immigrants working as unlicensed manicurists—yes, being a manicurist in New York technically requires a state permission slip—for under the minimum wage, do you think they're going to stop with forcing employers to institute a pay hike? Do you think salon owners under more investigative scrutiny from government agents are going to be more attune to requests from their underground employees?

I don't want to diminish the concerns of workers in these communities. But this top-down, outsider, progressive, law-and-order view concerns me. Would workers be better off with no jobs or means to support themselves? Living back in their home countries? Maybe in some cases, yes, but we don't know because we are not them. And I tend to believe that immigrant salon workers, being as intelligent and rational as the rest of us, are capable of weighing their own interests and situations and acting accordingly. 

Of course, rationality only goes so far as the realities you're aware of. Part two of the Times series focuses on the "poison" nail salon workers are unwittingly exposed to regularly. A woman may consent to long hours but not to constant exposure to chemicals that will cause birth defects, one might say.

Yet for all of Nir's hand-wringing about how the FDA only has the power to ban harmful chemicals (not approve all chemicals going into all products before they go on the market), she fails to make much of a case for how increased FDA oversight would help here. Two of the three nail-polish chemicals health advocates suspect of being most harmful to salon workers have already been declared non-toxic by the FDA. Either they really are non-toxic, or we need outside research, not more of the same. And the nail-salon ingredients that may cause harm to developing fetuses aren't a concern for non-pregnant workers, meaning the issue isn't ousting them entirely but keeping pregnant women away.  

Increased FDA oversight can't educate nail workers about the importance of leaving the job when they're pregnant, or help make doing so financially feasible; it can't instill simple best practices, like wearing gloves, that could mitigate skin problems; it can't encourage salon owners to install work on better ventilation systems. These sorts of education and outreach efforts are best undertaken by public health nonprofits and people in these communities. And they would have a much more immediate effect than the years or decades it could take to get accomplish similar feats via federal regulation. 

The market can also play a part. We don't know for sure that many nail salon ingredients pose health risks, but if consumers are concerned, they can vote with their dollars. And if consumers aren't concerned enough, it's up to advocates to make the case for why they should be.

As a way to raise consumer awareness, I think Nir's piece works well. But she makes the all-to-common and immediate leap to calling for stricter governmental scrutiny. It's a solution as seemingly simple as it is lazy: just send the government in to help! But when we're talking about communities of people whose very existence here has been deemed illegal, the government doesn't help, it fines and arrests and deports. The best way to actually help people in these communities is to help them help themselves. 

Photo Credit: Dystopos/Flickr

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  • Paul.||

    "In the story of nail salon competition, we can see [how] ... immigrants expand markets, rather than just taking existing jobs," wrote Virginia Postrel in Reason in 1997.

    Shh, it's a pie... a zero-sum game. They lower wages.

  • jay_dubya||

    indeed. a war of all against all, one might say /totalitarian derp

  • nalokanaa||

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    www.work-cash.com

  • ||

    Is there a word for when a spambot accidentally says something really, really funny?

  • Paul.||

    The "Singularity"

  • ||

    Wherever there are poor, uneducated people trying to make a better life for themselves, there is a smug condescending progressive there to claim to speak for them and what they want...and to be totally, completely wrong.

    Narcissism is really, really ugly.

  • Paul.||

    If better lives can't be created by disconnected academics and social reformers, who can make a better life for these people?

  • Libertarian Joe||

    the government
    duh

  • Tionico||

    THEY can, and in the main ARE. Learning a trade/skill, learning the culture in which they now live, gaining marketable experience... dontchya know your history? Go and learn about the Irish, Polish, Italian, Romanian, German, Hungarian, Greek, immigrants (all of whom came her elegally, most through Ellis Isiland) of the late 19th and early 20th century. Many started out carrying hod, stacking bricks, felling trees, shovelling coal, and such things, to get a leg up. But there is one HUGE difference between then and now: there were no government hooh hahs running about, sucking up MY tax dollars, and all self-righteous about their assigned "task" of "helping", "fixing", "protecting" anyone, most notably their own paycheck. Remove this huge millstone about everyone's necks (I've seen figures putting the cost of regulatory compliance with EPA regulations alone here in the US of well over a TRILLION dollars a year. Imagine if THAT money were left in the hands of individuals to grow their businesses..... on the local level I spend far too much money in taxes wasted on useless and/or harmful local "needs", and the labour costs of government hooh hahs also running about "regulating", permitting, inspecting,. guarding, overseeing, controlling...protecting,

    Many lives would be FAR better off if 95% of government at al levels disappeared.

  • sarcasmic||

    Look. These poor, uneducated people are too stupid to know what they want, and even if they did they wouldn't be able to do it on their own. That's what government is for. Anyone who disagrees must have bad intentions, and thus be a bad person.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    And the smug condescending progressive is at least upper middle-class if not downright 1% rich and has no real notion of working for a living.

  • ||

    When you scratch away progressives' stated intentions you find that their real intention is to force people to live a life that they approve of and be allowed to live a life free of responsibility because that's an unfair burden.

  • sarcasmic||

    You're not free unless you're asking permission and obeying orders.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Actually, I have a description they will mind a good deal more,,should it gain wide circulation. Narcissism is BORING. The nitwits at the Times could cope with being thought ugly, or even evil. The idea that they are tiresome, insignificant, and dull would make them frantic.

  • mtrueman||

    "Narcissism is really, really ugly."

    I noticed that too. Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes an article about the thousands of Vietnamese manicurists in the USA without managing to speak to even one of them, let alone interview one. She did read a two-part NYT piece though.

  • ||

    I had always assumed that nail salons doubled as handjob parlors. Is there any reason why I would think such a thing, or did I just make that up in my head?

  • Paul.||

    Hm, I always thought it was the massage parlors. So you're saying all the nail shops in my neighborhood are providing a service entirely overlooked by me?

  • ||

    HAPPY ENDING

    Rub-n-tugs are a thing, you aren't wrong. But there is a shitton of just normal manicures being done in normal shops.

  • MJGreen||

    Blech, what's the point of that?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    BANGBROS ISN'T REALITY!

  • ||

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • ||

    I'm still waiting for Alina Li to drive up in the Bang Bus and invite me in off the street.

  • Fabi||

    'BANGBROS'. Should I ask for a definition or look it up on the web? Acronym? Thanks in advance.

  • ||

    Do an image search. At work.

  • ||

    You could be working at a nail-salon/massage parlor next week!

  • ||

    Um...nail salons mostly have women customers, so that is an interesting assumption...

  • SugarFree||

    Some women have penises, Nicole.

  • ||

    So I guess we have to have that clarifying discussion about the difference between a micropenis and a megaclit now. Oh well, it had to happen sometime. Let's begin.

  • SugarFree||

    I guess it really comes down to the ballsack.

  • ||

    That's a simplistic simplification, simpleton.

  • SugarFree||

    You want to hear about Frances again, don't you? You are oddly fascinated with her, you know.

  • ||

    I can't help it! I can't get her out of my head!

  • SugarFree||

    Frances wore glasses and had very frizzy hair that she kept in a long braided pony tail. She wasn't very attractive, but my friend Marshall would take whatever he could get at the time. Things were going well, she a had tolerable enough personality, and they dated long enough to start fooling around.

    One night, after an encounter, Marshall came home, sort of quiet and withdrawn. We finally got him to tell us that when he was going for third base, after some vigorous dry humping, he found that Frances had a large clitoris. A very large clitoris. One large enough to describe as erect.

    Marshall finally broke up with her, haunted by visions of her large clitoris. A few months later, our friend Olson ran into her, and undaunted by the tale of her large clitoris, had sex with her. He also described it as pinky-sized when erect. And he emphasized that it became erect.

    Now it was some years later that I really reconstructed the latter scene in my head. Olson had been accused of having a very small penis by many ex-girlfriends, which is not too uncommon a thing to be accused of by an ex, but there was a phrase that popped up more than once: thumb-dick.

    So imagine the pinky-clit girl having sex with the thumb-dicked boy.

  • ||

    Fuck, I can't stop imagining it now! You're a monster! A sexy, sexy monster!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    So imagine the pinky-clit girl having sex with the thumb-dicked boy.

    So like some XXX shaka sign?

  • ||

    NOT FOR HANDJOBS THEY DON'T

  • Brian||

    He's trying to put the nail back in nail salon.

  • ||

    Racist.

  • Raston Bot||

    Nail salons are typically open concept. How could they pull that off? (hehe)

  • Enough About Palin||

    Warty, a manicure is a hand job.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    "Hand job" would be great name for a nail salon.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    That progressives don't bother to think through the consequences of calls for more government action lead me to believe that one of these two things are true: (1) progressives do not actually care about the groups (in this case, immigrant workers) they pretend to care about or (2) they care just enough to project that they care, but not enough to actually study and think things through.

  • DesigNate||

    It's number 1 with a dash of evil and racism to boot.

  • Puddin' Stick||

    Or they want austerity for the lower and middle classes.

    Shutting down immigrant nail salons would return to manicures to the domain of the wealthy.

    And the manicurist profession would probably become much more WASPy.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I've observed this tendency in calls to re-regulate airline travel. No matter how carefully they phrase it otherwise, the strong impression come through that the writers really, REALLY resent having to share air travel with the kind of people who used to have to go Greyhound.

    And for the last decade or so, I've noticed the occasional re-regulation fan who has no idea what air travel used to cost, and therefore no idea that he (she) would be on the bus too.

  • ||

    It's so completely the former.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why should they think things through? They've got good intentions, and that is enough. If the results don't match the intentions, well, that's not their fault. They have good intentions.

    If you criticize the results of their well-intentioned policies, then you are criticizing their good intentions. That makes you a bad person with bad intentions. And besides that, what's your solution? Huh? What's your top-down, centrally-planned solution? Huh? Do you have a better one? Huh? No? What? You say they're doing fine with their mutual-aid services and such? That's terrible! You're a bad person with bad intentions! How dare you criticize someone's good intentions! That's it. I'm calling the police.

  • Mainer2||

    the thought police

  • ||

    "That's it. I'm calling the police."

    Hide your dogs first.

  • ||

    Many of the comments I've seen from lefties on the topic are kind of baffling, like "This is what capitalism results in!" Uh, the sub-minimum wages are already illegal, the chemicals are already subject to regulation by the FDA (which I don't think is exactly in the pocket of Big Nail Salon), human trafficking is already illegal...how is this about "capitalism" exactly? If only we had a socialist system, no one would ever break the law? No one would ever have to work at a nail salon? But there I go trying to think through it rationally.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    We all know that the Cuban nail salon system is the best in the world.

  • This Machine||

    But when we're talking about communities of people whose very existence here has been deemed illegal, the government doesn't help, it fines and arrests and deports. The best way to actually help people in these communities is to help them help themselves.

    For progs and other bien pensants, the object isn't to help people, it's to get exploitative low-rent eyesores out of the community and replace them with soccer-mom-approved establishments that "play by the rules." They don't give a damn about the people that run these places or work there.

  • sarcasmic||

    I dunno. I think progressives generally have good intentions. That's how they pave the road to hell.

  • Free Society||

    But without good intentions, who would build the roads?

  • ||

    If by "good intentions" you mean "intentions that are good for themselves and the people they like and associate with", then yes.

  • Free Society||

    Well Epi, if you want to have a contest to see who has a more cynical view of government, I will destroy you worse than the welfare state destroyed mutual aid societies.

  • ||

    (calls SWAT team on FS)

    Cynical that. Do you have dogs? Yes? Not any more.

  • Free Society||

    Touche

  • SimonD||

    "I dunno. I think progressives generally have good intentions. That's how they pave the road to hell."

    No, the road to hell is paved with frozen door-to-door salesmen.

    -Terry Pratchett

  • macsnafu||

    So, replace the nail salons with tanning beds?

  • Loki||

    For the NYT the answer to every problem is MOAR REGULAYSHUNZ!!!!! 111!!!!!

  • Puddin' Stick||

    So... does the UVA rape story/retraction means more regulations for news media?

  • Regulate the Government||

    Brilliant!

  • ||

    Goddamn fuckin' liars.

    I know a Vietnamese guy that owned a nail salon. He makes a ton of money and all the Vietnamese girls he employs make shitloads of money. They work 8 hr shifts. Every damn one of them works hard and is thrifty with their money. I expect that in 20 years they will all retire and be quite wealthy.

    NYT lies. I am shocked. Shocked I tell you.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'll second that. The parents of my daughter's best friend own a nail salon. The father, in addition to running the nail salon, is an HVAC man. Every time my daughter and I have stopped by to pick up her friend, the employees seem happy and the place is spotless. Perhaps the beatings are scheduled to take place after we leave.

  • Swiss Servator, Switzier!||

    "The mixed one has departed....bring me the bastinado!"

  • ||

    You forgot to include a link.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    the NYTs, is full of evil fascists.

  • jay_dubya||

    Im going to be the devils advocate here. a close family friend contracted hepatitis from a nail salon that failed to sanitize their filthy tools. i have no idea if the place was asian or not - its completely irrelevant - but, like every other business and indeed human endeavour, most are good but quite a few are entirely fkd up.

  • Free Society||

    Sarah Maslin Nir, the Times suggests that the real "price of nice nails" is an underclass of immigrant women subject to high rates of exploitation

    "They should be rescued from this fate by putting these sweatshops out of business! We can put the mass grave over there."

  • SugarFree||

  • Raston Bot||

    Is that what they mean by lantern jaw?

  • SugarFree||

    She looks like a learning disabled roadie for Saigon Kick.

  • ||

    I bet her clit's bigger than Frances'.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Typical smug Liberal/Progressive twit. Very seldom ventures out of her upper-middle social bubble, even if she travels to the Third World. Probably believes that there is a practical difference between "alternative medicine" (good, because it opposes Big Pharm) and "traditional Chinese medicine" (bad, because it uses tiger bones and rhino horn).

  • ||

    Thanks for writing this post, Elizabeth. Was very frustrated reading this yesterday in the Times, and seeing everyone get so excited about "real, quality journalism," and how it was published in multiple languages and had very ads running o the online version. Sigh. Your column is about 10x better at least.

  • ||

    I second that.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Thank you! I got annoyed reading the one yesterday but was going to let it go, and then when there was another one today....

  • Paul.||

    Don't newspapers do 'x-part' series, then submit for pulizer?

  • ||

    I really hated how obviously douchey the whole thing was about trying to make normal people feel guilty about getting their nails done, too.

  • american socialist||

    Hey ENB,

    Is this the same line of argument that conservatives made about smoking in bars and clubs? You know, THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO AND PEOPLE THAT WORK THERE CHOOSE TO WORK IN THAT JOB SO WHY ARE THESE ACTIVISTS GETTING SO PISSY.

    Well, it seems like we've done something, bars and clubs are healthier and more pleasant environments, and there wasn't a massive decrease in the number of bars and clubs.

  • Migrant Log Picker||

    Nice dead thread-fuck try, you marxian turd bag, you.

  • Ol' Dirty Bastard||

    A healthy and pleasant environment? For a bar? If I wanted to get drunk in a daycare center, I'd do it without the nanny laws, fascist.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Citation, please.

  • ||

    Kiss some more ass, Nicole. Jesus.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    NICOLE ISN'T REALITY!

  • ||

    I BEG TO DIFFER! NOTHING IS WORSE THAN REALITY!

    THEREFORE, (via mathmatical proof, no less) NICOLE IS REALITY!!

  • Swiss Servator, Switzier!||

    She is the worst...what would you expect?

  • Ol' Dirty Bastard||

    A modern day Felicia.

  • PACW||

    I agree - I don't read the NYT unless I have to so I missed this piece but I heard about it from multiple people. Disdain for women who would actually go to a walk-in salon, combined with fear that 'those people' use dirty tools, and topped off with the belief that this is why we need more government regulation . . . . [shudder]

  • SugarFree||

    The first American women who will not be able to get her nails done cheaply has already been born.

  • Paul.||

    We are a poorer nation for it.

  • Paul.||

    You know, all handjob jokes aside... the fact of the matter is that one of the "beats" of the typical New York Times reporter-- and the whole fucking editorial staff for that matter, is to find that which is unregulated, and create a narrative around why it must be regulated.

    It's why I stopped listening to NPR.

  • Paul.||

    I should add that essentially, NPR was beginning to sound like TMZ but for government power and politicians.

  • ||

    I think someone posted this on H&R a long time ago, pointing out that you can play it like Mad Libs...

    "Since the problems in _______ are not self-curing, a government fix is
    in order. Its basic flaw is that participation by the _______ is
    voluntary. For starters, various government guidelines on _______ would
    be replaced with tough national standards. National ________ standards
    could succeed where ________ programs have failed. The new _______
    Bureau can also impose servicing rules. The _______ administration
    should champion national standards, and Congress and regulators should
    act - soon."
  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Comrade womyn, getting your nails done is bourgeois. You should instead devote your time to finding more ways to serve The Glorious Collective or by studying important books written by great intellectuals, like It Takes A Village.

  • SugarFree||

    "If women just did each other's nails for free, we could put these damn immigrants out of business."

    -Sarah Maslin Nir, Stormfront Magazine

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    YELLOW PERIL!

    How do we know that these opium dens aren't also engaging in White slavery?!?

  • GILMORE||

    Way to ruin my short-lived pleasure in thinking there was no "social-justice" angle here.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You missed the part in the original article where the author hand-wrings about how the Korean owners have established a pay-scale based on ethnicity?

  • Paul.||

    This is just another attempt to keep the Asian man down. When's the Asian man finally going to get a break in the nail polish game?

  • Enough About Palin||

    I bought four cans of pumpkin yesterday at Whole Foods because I aadd it to my GSD's dog food.

  • Enough About Palin||

    @ GILMORE, btw.

  • GILMORE||

    "my GSD's dog"

    ...

    look, i understand you might have trouble with your Goddamn Step Daughter, but that's no reason to poison her dog

  • GILMORE||

    You have no idea how happy i am to finally see an article with "Toxic" in the headline/strapline, and it is *actually about exposure to unhealthy chemicals*, rather than some bullshit Social-Justice whining about "culture"

  • Mainer2||

    Someone linked to the Ace of Spades blog yesterday that made the point that the hate for Pam Geller was class based. Class based prejudice should be added to Projection as one of the Progressive constants.

    Guns: owned and enjoyed by icky low class red necks
    Food: low class people ignorantly enjoying cheeseburgers and corndogs need Michelle Obama to teach them.
    Schools: private school for me but not for thee.
    Hatin' on Sarah Palin: University of Idaho (snicker)

    I think you can apply classism to progs in almost any situation.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Of course. Progressivism historically was a movement of (and for) the Northeastern, mostly Anglo-Saxon Protestant upper and upper middle class. Yes, Progressivism has been bedfellows with Mid-Western agrarian Populism from time to time, but the schwerpunkt of the movement has always been Chautauqua Lake.

  • Mainer2||

    Maybe I am stating the obvious, but I'm learning and getting my talking points bedded down.
    Still learning. (googles schwerpunkt)

  • Mainer2||

    Oh BTW, I say a vanity plate in Epping recently that said GR82BHM. Not you, was it ?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    No. I don't have a vanity plate.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The Progs cam be divided into two classes;

    Those like Algore, who belong to the (somewhat) Ruling Class

    And

    The much more numerous deluded twits who think that if the Progressive Dream came true, they would belong to the Ruling Class.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Speaking of the Times and getting it wrong...

    The fact is that Britain and America didn’t need to make hard choices in the aftermath of crisis. What they needed, instead, was hard thinking — a willingness to understand that this was a special environment, that the usual rules don’t apply in a persistently depressed economy, one in which government borrowing doesn’t compete with private investment and costs next to nothing.

    Look, when they come for their money, we'll just give them some more IOUs. Don't worry.

  • Mainer2||

    No hard choices...cool. Any hard work involved ? No, just hard thinking.

  • Paul.||

    Well, thinking is hard, isn't it?

  • This Machine||

    ...that the usual rules don’t apply in a persistently depressed economy, one in which government borrowing doesn’t compete with private investment and costs next to nothing.

    Urge to smash things... rising....

  • Paul.||

    Words,” wrote John Maynard Keynes, “ought to be a little wild,

    Would these "words" be the lurid little love sonnets Keynes was writing to young boys?

  • MJBinAL||

    ah yes, John Maynard Keynes, the complete and utter failure.

    What we need is a terminal illness that progresses quickly and only afficts progs.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Hatin' on Sarah Palin: University of Idaho

    The Economics dept was damn good, when I was there (Same time as Palin, I guess- our paths never crossed, to my recollection).

  • Jayburd||

    Back in the good old days, when they could still beat BSU.

  • Brian||

    In part two, Nir explores the health problems that seem to plague nail-salon employees: asthma, skin rashes, persistent coughs, a history of failed pregnancies

    Meanwhile, The NYT is a clean, natural newspaper, and has been for generations.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The progs sincerely believe that any enterprise of which they approve is not, somehow, Big Business. I guess that, as P.J. O'Rourke observed, that makes Hollywood part of the Arts and Carfts movement.....

  • ||

    So THAT's how those places stay in business!
    Neither I nor anyone I know goes ot nail salons, so I've always wondered how the fuck they survive.

  • XM||

    If the border was open..... the Vietnamese nail salon owners (the crooked ones) would still mistreat their nail salon workers. And half the tech workforce would be non American.

    The immigration debate in America has always been a paradox. You can't advocate for 15 dollars min wage and "America first and only" economic policy AND support open borders and amnesty. The small businesses busted by the SJWs for wage theft are usually Asians.

    The dem ruling class characterize immigrants as movable pieces that can fit snugly into America's economy, but that's not always true. Stories like demonstrate that raw immigrants require connections and certain industries within their own community to survive. There aren't many Vietnamese loggers moving to Minnesota.... or something.

    The left will eventually eat each other on this issue. They're already going after companies for hiring guest workers, LEGALLY. Those well paying tech jobs belong to America! Seattle's 15 bucks an hour movement is threatening to send letters to businesses suspected of wage theft. Just sit back and enjoy the show, I guess.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Cheap nail artists are like producers of cheap everything. They appeal to cheap demographics. Which is good. Quite good. People move in and out of economic strata's. Cheap helps the lower economic strata voyagers until those voyagers get a thicker pile of dollars. The organic value of talented low-ender's is invaluable and likely crucial to the upper-end.

  • ljshadl||

    this sight should be called Rationalization. com. The only reasons these salons exist is to make gobs of money for their owners. Exploitation is the name of the game. They're not providing opportunities to people. their employees are brought here to work because they are indentured to the salon owners. Slavery wasn't an abomination (according to Reason). Blacks got a free trip to America. were fed, housed and taught valuable skills. the south was the land of "opportunity".

  • Michael Price||

    "The only reasons these salons exist is to make gobs of money for their owners."
    So?

    " Exploitation is the name of the game."
    Please define "exploitation".

    "They're not providing opportunities to people."
    The people getting those opportunities seem to disagree.

    " their employees are brought here to work because they are indentured to the salon owners. "
    And yet the original article didn't say that they were. Nir is skeptical about people being provided opportunities because the wages are low. But that's what happens when people without opportunities are provided some, they opportunities are low-paid.

    "Slavery wasn't an abomination (according to Reason). Blacks got a free trip to America. were fed, housed and taught valuable skills. the south was the land of "opportunity"."
    When did Reason ever say anything like that? The reason that Reason concluded that workers were probably better off is that they CHOOSE this. Slave by definition did not.

  • ljshadl||

    this sight should be called Rationalization. com. The only reasons these salons exist is to make gobs of money for their owners. Exploitation is the name of the game. They're not providing opportunities to people. their employees are brought here to work because they are indentured to the salon owners. Slavery wasn't an abomination (according to Reason). Blacks got a free trip to America. were fed, housed and taught valuable skills. the south was the land of "opportunity".

  • Rockabilly||

    the progressive communists never stop looking for ways to make the gruberment bigger with more taxes, fees, regulations, and fines.

    They want to re-legalize reefer not because it's the just thing, oh now.

    They want to re-legalize weed so they can tax and regulate the plant.

    taxing and regulating - more fees and fines, sub-laws, bi-laws, tri-laws with more user fees and fines.

    If they could they'd tax and regulate my farts.

  • ||

    Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do...... ✹✹✹✹✹✹ www.netjob80.com

  • ||

    Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do...... ✹✹✹✹✹✹ www.incomejoin70.com

  • perryeric57||

    uptil I looked at the bank draft 4 $9318 , I did not believe that...my... neighbour really taking home money part-time on their apple laptop. . there dads buddy has been doing this for under 17 months and by now repayed the loans on their place and purchased a top of the range Mazda . browse around this website.......... www.MoneyKin.Com

  • skylancer||

    I'm one of the silly, well-intentioned progressives you all keep talking about. =)

    The author writes:

    "Increased FDA oversight can't educate nail workers about the importance of leaving the job when they're pregnant, or help make doing so financially feasible; it can't instill simple best practices, like wearing gloves, that could mitigate skin problems; it can't encourage salon owners to install work on better ventilation systems."

    No, the FDA would not do this, because it is something OSHA would do. OSHA does not turn in illegal immigrants, so the author's concern about this is misplaced. With that said, I completely agree that we need to reform our immigration laws in a much more libertarian way.

    I get that these workers are making the most rational decision given the options they have. I just think our society hasn't provided them with enough options! No one should have to choose between injuring themselves and feeding their families.

    So, in summary, I support:
    1) libertarian immigration reform
    2) government enforcement of basic workers rights to safe working conditions and a fair wage
    3) a safety net (including training programs for other jobs) for people inevitably displaced by (2)

  • XM||

    Libertarian immigration reform would (generally) not support no.2 and no.3.

  • pukelsheim||

    I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h… Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link... Try it, you won't regret it!......
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  • macsnafu||

    Do you do nail manicures at home, then?

  • pukelsheim||

    I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h… Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link... Try it, you won't regret it!......
    www.work-cash.com

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    For some decades now The New York Times has been a small, ideologically blinkered, provincal hack rag, blindly certain that the opinions of its small community are the whole world. It disgraces the city it festers in.

  • Cheap Nike Shoes UK Sale Onlin||

    Look. These poor, uneducated people are too stupid to know what they want, and even if they did they wouldn't be able to do it on their own. That's what government is for. Anyone who disagrees must have bad intentions, and thus be a bad person.

  • ||

    I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h… Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link... Try it, you won't regret it!......
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  • ||

    Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do...... ✹✹✹✹✹✹ www.www.netjob80.com

  • RedRiot7451||

    Seems that Mrs. Brown is correct, and Mrs. Nir concedes that patrons of these establishments are indeed voting with their pocket books......Bigger question is, are they simply walking out the door or trying to make people aware.

    "But many customers are still tipping more — some manicurists said tips are up by 5 to 15 percent — and in cash, in an effort to make sure their manicurist gets and keeps it.

    Some patrons have gone further, choosing to stay away from salons entirely. Ellen Killoran, a journalist from Brooklyn, said she had ended her ritual of a weekly manicure, as had some of her friends. She said she was unwilling to patronize an unethical shop but was unable to tell which salons were operating in accordance with the law."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07......html?_r=0

    RR

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