The Daily Caller: Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
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. ...
Holy mackerel! Where was the Department of Labor when I was kid, required to empty the trash and mow the lawn?
Seriously, as I've I said before, I'm a big believer in a market economy but not a market society. Not everything needs to come under umbrela of market exchange. This is particularly true of interactions that occur in the context of face-to-face communities like the family. Chores for children are not just an economic activity. The are about enculturating children into a set of values and a way of life.
Conservatives are frequently accused by the left of wanting to convert evey human activity into a market transaction and yet this is precisely how the Department of Labor is framing children working on the family farm. And the cynical side of me says that there is something more calculated going on here. Children working on family farms creates competition and depresses wages for union workers that would have to be hired if the children were not doing these jobs. I suspect a powerplay by labor to drive competition from the market in order to line their pockets.
At any rate, I think this is a huge overreach of government power.