Skip to main content

View Diary: Child labor laws are 'causing damage to our economy,' says Maine Gov. LePage (111 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Pfft, why stop at 12? (18+ / 0-)

    I say, strap some Swiffer pads on toddlers and get them cleaning our floors!  SpaghettiOs don't come free, after all.

    •  I started working my freshman year of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF

      high school when I was 12 or 13.  One of the math teachers also had a computer store and he needed some part time help.  I worked off the books - he paid me in cash.

      I was sitting at the counter alternating between helping people and doing homework.  Then I started buying supplies from him at wholesale price (ie. floppy disks) and selling them retail, first to kids in my school and then to kids in other schools.

      By the time I graduated from high school I had a distribution network in 10 other schools.  It was quite profitable and since my parents took most of it and put it into the stock market until I graduated for college the profits for that business bought my first car.

      I'm a big fan of part time jobs for young kids.  It worked for me and I don't see why it would not work for others.

      •  It all depends on the job, the hours, how it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne, KayCeSF

        affects the child emotionally, physically, academically.

        Delivering newspapers or helping the parents or neighbors with yard work on a Saturday or maybe in a family owned store a few hours per week is far different than someone like my grandfather who in the early 20th century went to work in the coal mines.

        I do not want to see young kids working if at all possible and certainly not for more than a few hours per week.

        Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

        by wishingwell on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:02:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think jobs for young kids are valuable (0+ / 0-)

          educational experiences.  Even pushing a broom teaches you to deal with a boss, follow directions, and basic workplace responsibility.

          •  Our parents taught us about work and to be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KayCeSF

            responsible by household chores and helping with yard work.  We would push a broom and dust around the house as well as help with the dishes every night.  As we got to be teens, we would help with the yard work and garden too.

            We learned a lot through family and household tasks without going out in the workplace.  

            Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

            by wishingwell on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:59:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Problem is (0+ / 0-)

            So many kids already are so overburdened with schoolwork and sports and community service they don't have time for much else. Kids need unstructured play time, even kids of 12, 13, 14 and up. Their brains need it. Even if they're playing video games with their friends, that's OK, they need the down time. Some kids have hours and hours of homework every day--my kid is in kindergarten and she has math and language (reading, writing, etc) homework every day. Luckily she's a whiz at math so her two pages of math problems takes only a few minutes, but I could see it taking a while for some kids, and there are times that I make a parental decision that she's finished with her writing or whatever, as she's not that great at writing and it stresses her out too much and I'm not going to push her to finish. I hate to think how much she's going to have by freshman year of high school.  As such, I'm not going to let her have a "real" job until her senior year--if she wants to babysit, do yard work, or do some coaching for money, that's one thing, but working in a store? No way.

            Besides, there are so many people who are out of work right now, like, um, ME, don't take jobs away from adults and give them to kids at a severely discounted rate. Adults need those jobs--and that's LePage's point, he wants business to get away with lowered labor costs by employing children. And that's wrong.

      •  And your job was not dangerous, you could do (6+ / 0-)

        your homework while at the counter, it seems you liked the job a lot, it seems like you wanted to do this job, ...

        The problem is that far too many right wingers want kids to work for their lunches at school by doing physical labor and far too many wingnuts want to see kids working long hours for little pay.  

        Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

        by wishingwell on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:04:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is this such a bad idea? (0+ / 0-)

          The schools where we have our most at risk and poorest children are often in areas where adult work force participation is also very low.  Many children are growing up without a working parent and may only have vague ideas about what it means to have a job.

          Is it a bad idea for them to do a reasonable amount of work in the school in return for their lunch or, even better, for money that they can use to buy a meal inside or outside the school?  If there are concerns about the money being misused, taken by parent, etc. it can be paid in food vouchers only good at the school cafeteria and nearby restaurants.

          When I was in college a lot of the labor on campus came from kids on financial aid who had a college job as part of their package.  Was that also a bad idea?

          •  My father grew up dirt poor during the depression (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KayCeSF

            and the absolute most heartbreaking thing was the stories he told me about feeling less than everyone else and how it felt to be singled out.  And his mother worked for very little in a cotton mill in KY 60 hours a week and his father abandoned them.  

            I do not want to see poor kids singled out, made to feel less than everyone else, suffer ridicule, just to get discounted lunches..that would be mean and psychologically bad for the child..trust me, I am a psychologist.

            And college is so different from elementary and middle school. I am not opposed at all to high school kids having a part time job ...but I do not think young kids need to be working as there is plenty of time for that when they are teens and later as adults.

            Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

            by wishingwell on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 10:04:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Extrapolating your personal experience (7+ / 0-)

        into a broad-based public policy deserves some deeper thought.  Many of us had after-school "jobs" of one kind or another and there's certainly an argument to be made for kids learning the value of work.

        But removing safety protections for kids in commercial workplaces and instituting a sub-minimum wage for youth up to age 20 (also part of the Maine proposal) could be very harmful to lots of young people.  There's also a good body of research showing that part-time jobs can be detrimental to academics while kids are in high school.

        This particular proposal was written and is being promoted by ALEC as a boon to businesses, not to encourage entrepenurial youth such as yourself.

      •  You doing some part-time trolling over here? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Danali, wishingwell

        I'm calling you out. No one is talking about knocking kids out of paper routes or selling candy for the school door to door. Were talking about hourly wage abuse, on the books or off, by companies that abuse kids.

        I noticed you've posted here a number of times before.  But you haven't gotten a single rec from this outfit. Why is that?

        If I'm wrong, prove me so.  Otherwise, stop with your crap.

        •  Not sure what you think the difference is (0+ / 0-)

          I was working about 10 - 20 hours per week after school and on weekends.  I was getting paid off the books and less than they would have paid a full time adult.  I don't remember if it was sub-minimum wage, but it was certainly enough of a discount to make it worth their while to put up with a snotty high school kid.

          •  I worked in the family store (5+ / 0-)

            Just like you have your anecdotes, I have mine.

            I was forced to start working at 14, when I could get working papers, 20 hours during the school year, 40 hours in summers and during every vacation.  Between school and work, I did not have a day off during high school. Minimum wage. It was all legal.

            I had a great work ethic and was successful and went to college (which was frankly like a four year vacation after high school, even though I still worked half time), but I was dreaming of retirement by the time I was 30 and burned out by the time I was 40.  

            Florence Kelley, a 19th and 20th century progressive anti-child labor advocate who knew her stuff, said this was a common phenomenon among children who were pushed into work at an early age.

            And about those "stocks" that worked so well for you?  My father and mother took one-third of my salary for room and board; I put another third into the bank. My father raided my bank account without my knowledge and permission and invested all of my hard-earned savings in a stock that he insisted would pay for my college education.  

            Within a few months, the company was bankrupt and the money was gone.

            That's how it is with anecdotes.  I can see you yours and raise you mine.

            "If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat...go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't." T.Roosevelt on politics.

            by NCJan on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 10:40:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your problems seem to have been caused by (0+ / 0-)

              your parents more than your job.

              but I was dreaming of retirement by the time I was 30 and burned out by the time I was 40.  

              Florence Kelley, a 19th and 20th century progressive anti-child labor advocate who knew her stuff, said this was a common phenomenon among children who were pushed into work at an early age.

              Got a cite on this?  I have a hard time believing this, since in the 19th to 20th centuries most kids who were pushed into the workforce at a young age were poor working class kids and they had not choice about working until they were no longer capable of doing so.  Early retirement and burnout are luxuries of the modern age.
              •  Here are your citations (6+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Danali, NCJim, wishingwell, DrPlacebo, MadEye, jqb

                As far as saying it was to some extent the parents' fault, well yes.  That always is the case with child labor, because frankly, parents own the labor of their children, and it is up to them whether children become "slaves" or not.  Pushing children into labor is sometimes because of the greed of the parents, sometimes because of the necessity of poverty.

                Assuming that there will always be greedy parents, the issue then becomes, will government, employers and the community collude with them, or come out on the side of protecting children:

                “Chief among these causes of child labor is the greed of parents, due largely but not exclusively to poverty.... A second cause of child-labor is the greed of employers for cheap labor, enhanced by every improvement in machinery of the kind that makes the work of children available; and enhanced, also, by the very cheapness of the children to such an extent as to delay the introduction of new machinery if its installation is costly…. A third cause of child labor is the greed of the community in desiring to keep down the cost of maintenance of its dependent class.” (Kelley, Ethical Gains 1905), p. 58, 60, 61
                And here's the argument that Kelley makes for how the nature and type of work children can do will sap most of their energy to achieve by the time they are ready to be productive adult workers.
                What has such a boy to show for the years he has spent in delivering        messages? He has no trade, no craft, no skill of any kind, no discipline of mind or body to fit him for rising in any direction. The irregularity of his work has unfitted him for any sustained effort when he has passed the age for accepting children's wages. One of the problems of the settlements is to find work for boys who have outgrown the messenger's uniform. The lads have learned nothing which is of any value to them.  There is no versatility in them which might make them desirable employees in the hobble-de-hoy age.  Their eagerness to make a record of speed and promptness has all oozed away. They are no longer dazzled at the prospect of earning $4.00 a week. They know most exactly the purchasing power of the wages they are likely to receive, and balancing the fatigue and exertion against the pay, they simply sit still and wait for something to turn up, rather better pleased if nothing can be found for them to do. Not every boy is morally ruined by this work; but the earlier he enters upon it, and the longer he remains in it, the greater the probability of his ruin.” (Kelley, Ethical Gains 1905), pp. 22-23
                The above quotes are from Some Ethical Gains Through Legislation, BY FLORENCE KELLEY, New York: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, 1905  

                Child labor is nothing to treat lightly.  Studying it will frankly turn your stomach.  And unfortunately, it is not a thing of the past, but alive and well in much of the world today.

                "If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat...go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't." T.Roosevelt on politics.

                by NCJan on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 07:17:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Off the books? (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne, NCJan, Danali, wishingwell, BeninSC, MadEye

        You were hired illegally.  Not only were you probably getting less than minimum wage, he was not collecting or paying unemployment insurance, would not have been required to cover you in case of a workman's comp situation. Yea, he was SO good to be offering an underage kid a job.  He was not really benefitting you, my friend.

      •  A high school freshman at the age of 12 to 13 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell

        Did you apply for college at age 15-16 during your senior year in high school like Doogie Howser or did you wait a couple years?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (146)
  • Community (70)
  • Memorial Day (29)
  • Elections (27)
  • Environment (26)
  • Culture (26)
  • Civil Rights (26)
  • Media (25)
  • Law (24)
  • Science (24)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (23)
  • Labor (22)
  • Rescued (20)
  • Josh Duggar (20)
  • Economy (20)
  • Republicans (18)
  • Marriage Equality (18)
  • Ireland (17)
  • Education (17)
  • Climate Change (17)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site