by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
“It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” — Barack Obama explaining how he could do everyone else’s job on the campaign better than they, from Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas, page 66 (via Jim Geraghty)
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.
As if yesterday’s visit to Chapel Hill where the president tried to buy UNC students’ votes with … well, not jobs, but hey, lower interest rates! wasn’t disgusting enough, now he’s trying to woo younger voters by outlawing chores. A strong work ethic is undoubtedly an obstacle to the Left making everyone dependent upon government. And where do you find the strongest work ethic? Kids are learning it on the farm. The Daily Caller points out that the Labor Dept.’s proposal is starting to get pushback from farm kids.
Years ago, the first libertarian I encountered introduced to me the concept of the “Yellow Pages Test”: If it’s in the Yellow Pages, the government doesn’t need to do it. That is, if private entrepreneurs are willing to take the risks and reap the rewards competing in the market to do something (plumbing, auto sales, electric work, etc.), then the role for government is not to join in the market and compete with its unfair competitive advantages (including regulatory powers and government’s 100 percent protection from risk through their authority to tax) but to protect the market and the rights of all individuals involved.
Now I think the Left has their own Yellow Pages Test: If it’s in the Yellow Pages, the government hasn’t taken it over yet.