The headline is sarcasm, by the way. For those unfamiliar with my story, I grew up on a sheep and cattle farm in New Zealand—and yes, my parents had all of their six children work alongside them from as young as we can remember. For some jobs, they paid us, and that is how we spent most of our summers. Far from being disastrous, those experiences have become great memories. My parents’ also provided an example of an honest work ethic, and my younger brother, now in his mid-twenties, has returned to take over the reins.

Recently Newt Gingrich, on the campaign trail, suggested that students should be able to assist with the upkeep of schools. He also called prevailing child labor laws truly stupid. What, children might actually be able to work and receive money in return, rather than sit on their butts in class or play video games. Perish the thought!

But of course, Gingrich has received a flood of stinging attention, as an absurd “real-life walking cartoon.” Albeit reactionary, the attack below does deserve marks for wit.

The common sense of Gingrich’s remarks, however, motivated me to share my perspective on my favorite radio show, Jeff Crouere’s Ringside Politcs, based out of New Orleans. As one who experienced child labor, I have a hard time understanding why people attack the notion across-the-board and so viciously. Click below to listen—five minutes (MP3).


As Kevin Williamson writes on the National Review blog, allowing people to gain job skills from a young age will make them more employable in the long-run. It will also teach self-reliance and allow individuals to lift themselves up, rather than rely on government handouts.

“The former speaker is working from the radical notion that if we lower barriers to work-force participation then we might reasonably expect to see higher levels of work-force participation, and that if we erect barriers to work-force participation, we might reasonably expect to see less of it.”