Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Maine's Tea Party Governor Paul LePage Wants To Abolish Child Labor Laws

>


Politics isn't something polite people people discuss at dinner, especially not with strangers. Not since high school when the class year book referred to me as gallant, has anyone accused me of being polite. The first day of my Galapagos cruise a few weeks ago, we hadn't even boarded the ship yet when I ferreted out that one of my fellow passengers was not just a Republican from Chicago, but a Republican from Chicago enamored of Rahm Emanuel! I despaired that everyone on the ship was going to be a Republican. But then I met Sheron and Stephanie, a sparkling and delightful mother/daughter team from northeastern Ohio. Sheron never misses a Rachel Maddow or Chris Hayes show. We had every breakfast, lunch and dinner together for the entire cruise.

One day Sheron told me her 92 year old father told her the only thing that never changed about the Republicans in his lifetime is that they are still trying to undo all the accomplishments of the "Old Man." No, not God, FDR. Just this year alone, we watched the Republicans cut the food stamps program to shreds, refuse to extend unemployment insurance, attempt to deprive working families of health insurance 47 times, try to lure Democrats into "compromises" to reduce Social Security benefits and to go along with their mania about cutting back on Medicare, while voting to abolish environmental and Wall Street regulations that protect ordinary Americans from greed-obsessed predators. Sharen's father was correct. The GOP has nothing to offer but destructiveness and an agenda of fluffing the wealthy and super-wealthy.




The latest manifestation came yesterday, not in Texas, Mississippi, Utah or South Carolina but at the 73rd annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show. There, one of the country's most ignorant and backward GOP governors, Paul LePage, told attendees that he thinks 12 year old children should be working-- no not doing their school homework… doing the work his rich donors would like to pay them to do for less than adults would take to work. LIke most Republicans, LePage would like to repeal a piece of New Deal legislation known as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (which established the minimum wage, guaranteed time-and-a-half for overtime and prohibits most employment of minors. This law was the result of progressive activism going back to the beginning of the 1900s but it took the Republican economic excesses of the 1920s and the inevitable Great Depression that followed-- when desperate adults were willing to work for the unfair wages employers offered children-- that Congress finally passed the Fair Labor Standards Act. Finally sick to their stomachs at the Republicans' crusade against working families, the voters defeated even more Republicans in 1936, leaving them with only 88 seats in the House and 16 in the Senate. That year FDR was reelected against Alf Landon, who ran on a ticket to repeal Social Security. Roosevelt won every state but two and Landon managed to win only 36% of the national vote. The law excludes agriculture and to this day as many as half a million children pick almost a quarter of the food currently produced in the U.S.

Maine's own child labor laws, going back to 1847, have always been aimed at keeping children in school. Minors under the age of 16 may not be employed in the following occupations:
1. Any manufacturing occupation;
2. Any mining occupation;
3. Processing occupations (such as filleting fish, dressing poultry, cracking nuts, or laundering by commercial laundries and dry cleaners, etc.) when performed in a processing industry such as a plant;
4. Motor vehicle driving and outside helper on a motor vehicle;
5. Operation or tending of hoisting apparatus or of any power-driven machinery other than nonhazardous office machines or machines in certain retail, food service, and gasoline service establishments;
6. Construction occupations involving:
a. Maintenance and repair of public highways;
b. All roofing occupations;
c. All trenching and excavation operations;
7. (Federal law prohibits minors under 16 from doing any construction work.)
All work in boiler or engine rooms;
8. Outside window washing that involves working from window sills, and all work involving the use of ladders, scaffolds or their substitutes;
9. Cooking (except where visible to the public) and baking;
10. Occupations which involve operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers and grinders, food choppers and cutters, and bakery-type mixers;
11. All work in freezers and meat coolers;
12. Occupations involving the use of power-driven mowers or cutters, including the use of chain saws;
13. All warehousing occupations, including the loading and unloading of trucks and use of conveyors;
14. All welding, brazing, or soldering occupations;
15. Occupations involving the use of toxic chemicals and paints;
16. Selling door-to-door (except when the minor is selling candy or merchandise as a fund-raiser for school or for an organization to which the minor belongs, such as Girl Scouts of America) or work in a traveling youth crew;
17. All occupations on amusement rides, including ticket collection or sales;
18. Any placement at the scene of a fire, explosion or other emergency response situation. (See Section D. Junior Firefighters); and
19. All occupations that are expressly prohibited for 16-and 17-year olds.
Conservatives and reactionaries like LePage have never been happy with the government intervening to prevent exploitation by "the makers." In his speech he said Maine is failing to use one of its most valuable resources-- it's youth.
“We don’t allow children to work until they’re 16, but two years later, when they’re 18, they can go to war and fight for us,” LePage said. “That’s causing damage to our economy. I started working far earlier than that, and it didn’t hurt me at all. There is nothing wrong with being a paperboy at 12 years old, or at a store sorting bottles at 12 years old.”

LePage has said previously he started working when he was 11. Maine law requires students who want to work before they reach the age of 16 to get a work permit from their school superintendent and meet other requirements.

LePage also told show attendees he believes Maine can strike a better balance between conserving its natural resources and developing its economy and that doing so would bring prosperity.

“You’re the folks we want to bring prosperity to,” he told several hundred people at a luncheon at the show, held at the Augusta Civic Center. “If the revenues go up, I can go golfing. If not, I’m going to have to continue working 80 hours a week.”
LePage didn't mention what every conservative harbors in his heart or whatever they have that substitutes for a soul-- the reinstatement of slavery… which would allow "the makers" to play even more golf. Meanwhile, today, on the 50th anniversary of the War Against Poverty, the Republican Party has been amping up its war against the poor. Rubio, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, who has consistently insisted America replace the safety net with more tax breaks for the rich, are making speeches about how to "fight" poverty. This was President Obama's statement this morning:
As Americans, we believe that everyone who works hard deserves a chance at opportunity, and that all our citizens deserve some basic measure of security. And so, 50 years ago, President Johnson declared a War on Poverty to help each and every American fulfill his or her basic hopes. We created new avenues of opportunity through jobs and education, expanded access to health care for seniors, the poor, and Americans with disabilities, and helped working families make ends meet. Without Social Security, nearly half of seniors would be living in poverty.  Today, fewer than one in seven do. Before Medicare, only half of seniors had some form of health insurance. Today, virtually all do. And because we expanded pro-work and pro-family programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, a recent study found that the poverty rate has fallen by nearly 40% since the 1960s, and kept millions from falling into poverty during the Great Recession.

These endeavors didn’t just make us a better country. They reaffirmed that we are a great country. They lived up to our best hopes as a people who value the dignity and potential of every human being. But as every American knows, our work is far from over. In the richest nation on Earth, far too many children are still born into poverty, far too few have a fair shot to escape it, and Americans of all races and backgrounds experience wages and incomes that aren’t rising, making it harder to share in the opportunities a growing economy provides. That does not mean, as some suggest, abandoning the War on Poverty. In fact, if we hadn’t declared “unconditional war on poverty in America,” millions more Americans would be living in poverty today. Instead, it means we must redouble our efforts to make sure our economy works for every working American. It means helping our businesses create new jobs with stronger wages and benefits, expanding access to education and health care, rebuilding those communities on the outskirts of hope, and constructing new ladders of opportunity for our people to climb.

We are a country that keeps the promises we’ve made.  And in a 21st century economy, we will make sure that as America grows stronger, this recovery leaves no one behind. Because for all that has changed in the 50 years since President Johnson dedicated us to this economic and moral mission, one constant of our character has not: we are one nation and one people, and we rise or fall together.
This morning, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Maine's progressive leader, blasted Republicans in general without singling out LePage or his latest dysfunctional crusade.
Because of heartless Republican obstruction, 3,300 jobless Mainers now have to choose between putting food on the table or heating their homes in this bitter cold.

This should never be a choice anyone has to make… Take a look at this tragic fact: since the expiration of emergency benefits at the end of December, 4 out of every 5 unemployed Mainers have been left out in the cold without benefits. This number ties New Hampshire for the highest in the Northeast and is well above the national average for the number of unemployed not getting benefits.

Not only that, the Maine economy loses $1 million each week that unemployment benefits remain expired. That's $1 million not being pumped in the local economy to help small businesses grow or struggling families make ends meet.


Labels: , , , , ,

3 Comments:

At 11:26 PM, Anonymous dave burke said...

Hi
Thanks a lot for sharing this fabulous blog with us..Now a days, steel buildings are in great demands..They are easy to relocate in short interval of time..They saves your money as well as time also..

 
At 4:50 AM, Blogger Jagd eesh said...

Hi really nice post and thanks for posting complete details regarding the tea processing machine.

hope to see more.

Regards
Jagdeesh

 
At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

Your blog is awesome. Republican do not understand Jesus, for the ones who tell they are Christians. Are they ?
Keep up the good work, thank you very much and have a great weekend :-) United Against Republicans :-)

 

Post a Comment

<< Home