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Should Federal Child Labor laws be repealed?

Senator Jane Cunningham of Missouri and Utah Rep. Mike Lee think so. SB222 seeks to modify the labor laws that regulate child labor in Missouri, sponsored by Sen. Cunningham, who ironically chairs the Senate's general laws committee.  Rep. Mike Lee, also wants to see the child labor laws be repealed and left to the states to determine, believing that they are unconstitutional.

I wonder if they feel that slave labor, civil and equal rights should also be left to the states.  History shows us that without federal intervention, we still might have "White's Only" drinking fountains and lunch counters.

However, on the flip side, it would be nice if my ten-year old could contribute to the family's finances. . . even at $1/hour, ten hours/day could help us pay for cable. . .

Answer Question

Asked by jsbenkert at 2:15 PM on Mar. 20, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (35)
  • I see your point. But if the states make it so your 10 y.o can work they ought to be able to go out in the world and support themselves, and drink and vote and marry to. There's a reason a childhood is called a childhood. But then again, it MIGHT make your kids more responsible and teach them how hard it is to work and support a household.

    Answer by vbruno at 2:19 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I suggest you read the actual bill rather than rely on think progress.

    Answer by Carpy at 2:24 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I feel kids need to be kids and not worry about working. They have a job and that is to be a kid and go to school. They have the rest of their lives after they are done with school to go out and earn money. I just could not imagine my 10 yr old niece working. Heck I cant even imagine my 13 yr old niece working. In the summer I do let my son go mow peoples lawns to earn a few extra bucks but its not to help us pay our cable bill. I understand times are hard, but kids shouldnt have to worry about their parents bills and such.

    Answer by Ambear72 at 2:28 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Vbruno, I think it's a ridiculous idea to repeal the Child Labor Laws. The way the economy is right now, and with states repealing worker's bargaining rights, we are reverting to the pre-labor laws days when everyone, desperate for work, will find themselves competing with each other--and children--for employers who no longer have regulations or incentives to provide safe work places or decent, livable wages. I think this bodes poorly for the average working American. Read the bill proposed by Cunningham, and you'll see that there would be little to prevent abuse of children in the work place. It seems a terrible idea to me for children as well as for American workers.  What would stop a parent (aside from personal morals, and we know that many parents lack those) from "pimping out" his or her child to work rather than attend school and prepare for the child's future?


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 2:29 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • I started legally working when I was 12 years old! While vacationing in New Hampshire the summer of 1981--that's when I applied for and received my social security we didn't get them back then for being born, like we do today, only until we were of legal age to work. I worked at a "Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park" (LOL), and did all kinds of odd jobs--from stocking shelves in the campground store, dressing up like Boo Boo Bear for visitors, running the movie projector at night, and even assisting with swimming lessons! And I HAPPILY did all of those jobs for $2.52 per hour!!

    I opened my very own savings account, and biked to the center of town by myself (about 7 miles away) every pay day, and by the end of the summer I had saved almost $300, going into 8th grade...I was RICH! I've been intensely interested in saving, investing and watching my money grow ever since--never mind learning how to be responsible. :o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 2:31 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Child labor laws have no business being regulated by the Federal government...each state is unique with very different needs based on demographics and land usage. The earlier a child learns the value of working, the better for that child's character and for his future earning capacity. Threats of child slavery and abuse if the the Feds aren't overlooking your family's welfare is just another fear tactic from the socialist Saul Alinsky playbook. They want to raise your family for you because then they think they have a built in insurance policy to be reelected every time and to continue their real goal...power and control and the money that comes with power and control. Look how wealthy they become after serving a term or two...payoffs from lobbyists and unions.

    Answer by annabarred at 2:36 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • That's great, LK, to have your personal account to show us the benefits of children working and saving. I, too, worked and saved money by babysitting, but that has nothing to do with the OP.

    The point here is that these people actually want to repeal Federal Child Labor Laws. I have nothing against children earning some money and having that incentive to save. What I do oppose is the idea that children could be exploited without the protections of the Child Labor Laws, especially in an economy that is as unstable as ours. In this environment, with so many people competing for jobs, bargaining powers being denied, and regulations threatened, it will loosen the incentive of employers to provide decent wages and safe work environments. Add to that the elimination of Child Labor Laws, and we'll find ourselves in a Dickensian world again.


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 2:43 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • JS--But we still have OSHA and other work related practices and policies in place that prohibit "slave labor" in children. Most importantly children under the customary legal working age of 16 MUST have their parents consent, MUST be working for their parents or grandparents, and the job MUST be considered "casual." NO CHILD is going to go and work in unsafe places or in "sweat shops" (if that's what you envision) if the parents prohibit it!

    I think it should be a "case by case" determination, one that weighs the needs of the person looking to hire a child, and the needs and abilities of the child.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 2:49 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • Okay, so we have OSHA, so we should go through the trouble of repealing Federal Child Labor Laws? It seems a waste of time to repeal something if it doesn't make a difference whether the laws stand as written or not. Why not just leave them alone, then? Why bother going to the trouble of repealing the laws?


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 2:53 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

  • The point here is that these people actually want to repeal Federal Child Labor Laws.

    Again, jsb, read the bill.

    Answer by Carpy at 2:57 PM on Mar. 20, 2011

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