Sunday, January 15, 2012

When Did Republicans Declare War on Children – Is That Something the Newspapers Forgot to Report

Conservatives Really do Want to Return to the Good Bad Old Days

When Newt Gingrich proposed that the U. S. abolish child labor laws, and use grade school children as janitors so that they could earn a little extra money, and put unionized school janitors out of work, we all laughed. 

Remember Newt is a man of great ideas, yep, crazy idea, stupid ideas, but definitely great ideas, at least in Newt’s mind.

Well it turns out some Republicans are really serious about this stuff.  Yes, Newt is not the only crazy Republican, apparently Maine has their share.

In Maine, State Senator Debra Plowman and State Representative David Burns, both Republicans, sponsored bills last year to increase the state’s limit on the number of hours, from 20 to 32 a week, that 16- and 17-year-olds can work and to allow employers to pay them $5.25 an hour—$2.25 less than the state’s minimum wage.

See that’s a really great idea.  Maine will let teenagers work even longer hours and pay them less so they will have to work longer hours just to make the same money they were making before.

Now that’s not the really crazy stuff.  The really crazy stuff is the rationale the supporters provide.

“How come it’s O.K., even exemplary, for teenagers to spend 40 hours a week in sports, glee club, chorus, debate society, or any other select activity sanctioned by the social elite, but if you are a teenager who wants to work or needs to work, there are limits?” says Dick Grotton, president of the Maine Restaurant Assn., which lobbied for the bills.

Gosh, now why does anybody suppose the head of the Maine Restaurant Association would want teenagers to work longer hours at a much lower wage?  It must be for the benefit of the teenagers, because there is no way restaurants would benefit from having the help work longer at lower wages.

And of course our good friends at the Heritage Foundation, the think tank for conservatives who can’t think for themselves and need a think tank that can’t think for itself, there is this.

Says James Sherk, a labor analyst at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank: “You’re not terribly likely to be injured as a cashier in Wal-Mart

No you can’t, and teenagers can learn the job skills they need in the future, as college and universities continue to price them out of higher education and conservatives continue to cut financial assistance.

Now there is a good possibility that come next January people like this will be wholly in charge of the Federal government.  And ever body should know what we all have to look forward to.  As Mitt Romney might say, hey they can’t all be private equity investors somebody has to do cleanup in Aisle 7.

1908: Tending the spinning machine at a cotton mill in North Carolina
Newt's Historic Vision of the Future

Newt Gingrich got a lot of attention—mostly negative—late last year when he told an audience at Harvard University that he would do away with “truly stupid” child labor laws that prevent kids in poor neighborhoods from being put to work. He then one-upped himself by suggesting during the Dec. 10 GOP debate in Iowa that poor kids could learn the value of a hard day’s work by taking the jobs of union janitors in New York public schools.

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