Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Dismal Political Economist Thinks That Child Labor Laws Are Obsolete and That It would Not Matter If They Were Repealed

The Dismal Political Economist is Wrong

After overcoming vociferous opposition by Conservatives the FDR administration was able to pass laws protecting child labor and the era of 10 year olds working in factories was over.  Conservatives opposed this legislation because they believed it was undue government interference and removed the freedom for children to work 10 hours a day, six days a week in factories if they chose to do so.

One of the great things about progressive legislation like that is that after a while rational and decent behavior controls and the legislation is no longer needed.  It is almost impossible to imagine that anyone would suggest that child labor laws be repealed and that children be employed in difficult and dangerous jobs like cleaning schools.  Of course people like The Dismal Political Economist who cannot imagine such a thing continue to underestimate Newt Gingrich.

Although it would seem to be an unfunny joke, Politico reports that Mr. Gingrich wants to repeal child labor laws, fire school janitors and give the job of cleaning and maintaining schools to the children who go there (the poor children of course, not the children of folks like Mr. Gingrich and his pals).

First of all Mr. Gingrich doesn’t like school janitors, because in his world they are all union members

"Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising."

See for Mr. Gingrich, who apparently channels 19th century Conservatives those terrible child labor laws are a major problem and cause poverty

You go out and talk to people, as I do, you go out and talk to people who are really successful in one generation. They all started their first job between nine and 14 years of age. They all were either selling newspapers, going door to door, they were doing something, they were washing cars."

Selling newspapers, going door to door, that’s the cure for youth poverty?  Is there any way to bring Mr. Gingrich back into this galaxy.

And just in case no one really understands what Mr. Gingrich means, here he makes it about as clear as it can be.

"Core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization against children in the poorest neighborhoods, crippling them by putting them in schools that fail has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy. It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.

So all that income inequality that has been plaguing the U.S., all that poverty that has been growing, all the problems can be traced back to unionization of school janitors and the child labor laws.

That Mr. Gingrich says these things reflects upon his character and intelligence, or lack thereof.  That Mr. Gingrich is now considered a serious contender for the Republican nomination reflects upon the character and intelligence of Republican voters.  And not in a good way.

No comments:

Post a Comment