Newt Gingrich has gotten a lot of flak for saying that some child labor laws are kind of stupid. The thing is, though, that he’s right. And he’s not backing down from his comments:
GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich defended his stance against certain child labor laws during a campaign stop in Iowa Thursday, saying that children born into poverty aren’t accustomed to working unless it involves crime.
“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed.
“They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.
The former House Speaker’s comments come weeks after he came under fire for saying laws preventing child labor in America were “truly stupid” and suggested that schools fire janitors and replace them with working class students.
Obviously, kids should be protected from being exploited. Nobody wants kids working in dangerous jobs, nor should kids be treated like slave labor. But our child labor laws are more than a little overbearing and getting worse (just look at the Department of Labor trying to regulate farm kids out of existence).
I think most of us would agree that it’s better for someone to earn their way in the world than to be dependent on government entitlements. Why should that be any different from kids? Are we saying that it’s better for a kid to get government assistance than work a job and get paid?
I’ve dealt with child labor laws while doing hiring at some of my jobs in the past, and they’re a real headache. The work restrictions are really, really tight and the paperwork is a pain. And if you make a mistake, if the kid ends up working a little over time, the consequences can be severe.
This makes hiring kids prohibitive, to the detriment of all involved.