Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Weakening Child Work Laws Aligns with Reducing Working Class and Poor Families' Financial Help

Child Street Worker (Egg Seller)
Child Egg Seller, Afghanistan
The young girl tells her story that she went to sell her families precious eggs, but the morning was too cold and (and you can see her clothes are too thin) so her shaking hands could not hold on to the families meager source of income.

Many times child workers are pushed to do more than they are capable of doing because of their compliant nature. This may not be good for them, or even for those who use their efforts thinking of them as just a cheap employee. In Afghanistan this might be necessary, but in the US it's just a way to get more money for tax cuts for the wealthy
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Note: I replaced "Poor" in the headlines above with "Working Class and Poor" since families who are working class are getting hit particularly hard, and not often acknowledged as struggling when the word "poor" is used. "Poor" connotes nonworking people, drug users, or immigrants, all unfair tags, that convince most Americans to ignore them or tag them as "lazy".)
Maine is a good example of how weakening child labor laws works with weakening financial aid to poor and working class families. Last spring Maine's new Governor Paul Le Page pronounced that he would both "loosen" the state's child labor laws and reduce payments and services to low income families working or not. What this does in the end is make children work to help support their families, not to get them extra cash which would instill in them an enhanced sense of self worth and a commitment to honest effort since when they become adults they'll find their the once good jobs being done by other children at sub minimum wages..

The labor laws have since been weakened and now Le Page is going after financial aid as promised.

Republicans tend to move in lockstep as much as they can, though. (Remember all the anti-union actions last spring?). And don't forget that ALEC coordinated new laws across our nation to make it hard for the elderly, the poor and the more liberal people of our society to cast our vote. The same program can be used to install the Maine program of cutting labor protections and general welfare to free up lots of money to offer as tax cuts for the wealthy. Not to mention that Newt Gingrich has given his endorsement and even his promise to cut good paying adult jobs by loosening child labor protections.

Therefore, I think we can plan on seeing more weakening child labor laws and more reduction in important social welfare programs that keep teens who should be in school from taking on too much work out of fear for their family's monetary circumstances.

Last Spring, pushed by the governor, Republicans in the Maine legislature introduced bills to weaken child labor laws. See: Bill to loosen child labor restrictions heads to Maine Senate. That bill finally passed both chambers and was signed into law to in a slightly watered down version. See : Maine Changes Child Labor Law.

Now Governor Le Page is whining about expenses for social programs that help the working class, the poor,.and the unemployed. See: LePage: Cut welfare and MaineCare or we’ll have to cut education

So those programs are likely to be cut and poor kids will likely be forced to take on more work to help with paying the bills.

And it's so lovely how the governor threatens education if he doesn't get his way with all the class of Russia's Vladimir Putin though not the sleek physique.

He complains that Maine covers people up to 200% of the poverty level, while the national average is 133%.

You can't think, Governor why people in Maine might need more money than the average? How about excessively long and deep cold seasons. I bet those heating bills are enormous. A person living in Georgia isn't going to need to pay out so much for expensive fuel and warm clothes.

Also in such a cold state, I imagine that any sickness a person comes down with needs to be dealt with rapidly and firmly. So cutting MaineCare to childless adults is a pretty bad move, too

In the last report linked the House Minority Leader noted that apparently much Maine's money crunch problem came from giving tax cuts to the wealthy (a regressive move that often hurts the economy). Letting the regressive Republicans into power is a long time deal and will take Maine a while to fix. I hope the people of Maine figure out how bad the GOP in power is for their state before their next election.

But the conjunction of cutting Child Labor Laws and reducing assistance shows that might be a blueprint for a GOP push across the nation. First reducing protections for children and then slashing their family's help. Voila' lots of child laborers to force more wage cuts to adult workers. Wall Street loves it!

So when Newt Gingrich now talks about poor kids working at cleaning toilets, and working at the lunch counter if he's elected president, just wait until it becomes functionally mandatory because he cuts down monetary and medical care for their families.

The racists and classist members of the middle class (who tend to side with the Republican party even when they don't register for it) have been complaining for years that poor and minority children were getting ahead of their pot, sex, video game, or fashion and shopping crazed kids who may never get any further from their parents big house than the basement because of lack of ambition.

Gingrich is offering them the way to keep those "others" down in their place.

But still you may ask why children shouldn't be working along side adults?

Besides that fact that they need the time to study, grow, and learn, they often don't understand the dangers therein. See: Death of two 14-year-olds girls in an Illinois field underscores the need for an overhaul of U.S. child labor laws, groups condemn new laws that weaken protections for young workers

There were adults around the two teens, but adults can't predict what a young person might do at any second.

And if you think that having one lunch worker supervise a cafeteria full of young workers is going to work, all it is going to do is allow chaos in the kitchen/serving area, with possible lapses in hygiene leading to dangerous illness in your child, while government can pull money out of your kid's school for more tax breaks for the Koch brothers and other multi-billionaires.  1%ers don't give money to candidates if they don't think they are going to get a whole lot more greenbacks coming right back at them out of the pockets of the 99% and by destroying the general welfare (which is definitely unconstitutional).