Tag: manufacturing jobs

Legalizing the Use of Child Labor

By TJ Roberts | United States

On May 8th, 2018, the Trump Administration announced their desire to repeal multiple child labor laws. While this is a cause for celebration, he should take it a step further. Trump should aim for the repeal of ALL child labor laws. Government overreach shows itself when it forbids a child from engaging in voluntary trade, or specifically telling them how they can work, for whom they can work, and for how long they can work.

While the masses hold child labor laws as sacred, one of our oldest and most valuable laws, child labor laws are comparatively new. The federal ban on child labor emerged from the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (the same act that brought about the disastrous minimum wage), a Depression-era regulation that artificially lowered the unemployment rate, by banning certain classes from working! In a time when people needed work the most, the government made it harder to work and prolonged the depression.

This legislation, however, had little impact in the long haul. By 1930, only 6.4% of minor children between the age of 10-15 actually had jobs, so the 1938 law did nothing more than give the government more control of your life. As a nation, America has been wealthy enough to not need child labor by a considerable margin for years. Otherwise, this law is not only useless, but inherently immoral.

And what of nations/localities that are so poor that they need child labor? Child labor laws won’t stop people from sending their children to work if they absolutely need the money to survive. Child labor laws just make it worse for people as children resort to black market activities (such as prostitution or gang activity). Child labor laws make people more desperate to survive, disproportionately hurting poor communities the most.

In addition, suppose you are a parent. Would you send your 8 year-old child to a sweatshop for an additional $200 per month? I most certainly wouldn’t. I most certainly hope you wouldn’t. There are opportunities that are much better for children, especially as they become more tech-savvy. If a parent would do that, that is a cultural issue, not a political issue.

Child Labor is consensual. A willing child worker applied for a job, and a willing employer hired the child. With this in mind, both parties must believe that this exchange is mutually beneficial. To tell a minor child that they cannot work is to claim that you have the right to violate the property rights of both employer and worker.

This is just another example of the need for freedom of choice. Child labor laws restrict the ability of you to choose what you do with your time. In fact, the government forces children to partake in labor for them through government schools. Horace Mann, the father of the American education system, made it very clear that government schools are not to make good people, but obedient citizens. It is a form of indoctrination that the State compels upon children. It is forced labor, although not “hard” labor.

America is seeing the results of this now. Employers overwhelmingly claim that college grads are unprepared for the workplace, and its no surprise. Government schools force you to consume much of your time focusing on obedience and not innovation. Where critical thinking and soft skills are essential to the workplace, government “education” miserably fails to prepare an individual for a career.

Government-mandated labor, however, has even more dire consequences: the loss of entrepreneurship. Since children have no legal ability to join the labor force, they are encouraged to follow orders, not think for themselves. Kids have been at the forefront of innovation historically, but that has been changing as young people have been forcefully adopted by the State, ripped away from their families that actually want what is best for them. Experience in the workplace is good for people. Child labor laws, however, are disastrous. They are a breach of fundamental liberties.


This post was originally published in LIFE.

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Trump Ends His Glory Streak

By Mason Mohon | USA

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

The Donald had been looking up for me, to be honest. As a radical libertarian, I am always hesitant to put my support behind any president, but the man almost swayed me. Almost.

During the election cycle, I was hard-set against Mr. Trump mostly for his protectionist trade outlook. It was a call-back to the Republicans of old: promote business in the U.S. by removing regulations (yay) but also increasing tariffs (boo!).

On inauguration day, I walked away from the Washington Mall fuming with disappointment and anger that I just saw the new president give a speech focused on promoting the American worker and “bringing jobs back” to the United States. Protectionist rhetoric of this sort always tends to set off the alarms in my Hazlitt-filled mind, so it was understandable that I felt this way.

To my surprise, though, he didn’t seem to carry out very publicly any of these grand promises. On the other hand, his first week was filled with executive orders, some nasty and authoritarian, but some glorious, particularly his order that every new regulation put in place would need to repeal two existing ones. While this doesn’t make much sense as an actual policy action (regulation was barely defined), it did set a precedent for what the Trump presidency was going to look like.

At that point, though, I was still extremely hesitant.

Then nearly a year later the tax cuts came around. The Republicans had seemingly proven themselves to be incompetent when it came to repealing Obamacare, but they cut taxes with flying colors. That is, flying colors as compared to their regular uselessness.

I thought to myself: “Man, that is pretty awesome. Taxes are hella theft, so thank god these are going down.” I began to budge. Trump had taken a pretty positive stance in my view, but this all changed very quickly.

I looked at my phone yesterday only to see a news notification that Trump is putting a 30% tariff on solar cells and washing machines.

Well heck.

Obviously, his intention is to save jobs in the U.S., particularly those in manufacturing. This fallacious reasoning has been debunked many times over – these jobs are outsourced to foreign nations because it is cheaper to make them there. If they are cheaper to make there, they will be cheaper to buy here, meaning that real wages will go up. If they are built here, they are more expensive because of wage and labor laws, in addition to an evolving workforce. Real wages are driven down, and U.S. citizens have less wealth to spend on other things that will boost the economy.

To add insult to injury, this isn’t even going to work. The Guardian reported that this tariff will cost the United States jobs, not give it more. Our real wages are going down, we have fewer jobs, less wealth is able to be used, and we lose out on a valuable source of energy.

Whoop dee doo.

Donald Trump is an immensely successful businessman and a charismatic speaker, two things I admire a lot. He is not an intellectual nor an economist, though, which is showing through in his actions.

There are still three years left, though, which means that there is time to make up for this blunder. Whether or not that will happen is not something that I know.