In the midst of a labor crunch, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill making it easier for teenagers to get a job.
Rather than the forced labor critics are calling it, the new bill makes it easier for 14-and 15-year olds to get a job: they no longer have to get a government-issued permit to work.
“When [Harvard University] economist Raj Chetty studied dozens of local factors that correlated with upward mobility, teenage labor force participation proved more powerful than almost any other factor even high school drop-out rates or violent crime rates” said Tim Carney of the American Enterprise Institute last week.
You can read the entire article about how liberals are losing their minds about youth getting summer jobs here. (An excerpt from that article is below).
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill making it a bit easier for teenagers to enjoy gainful employment. Predictably, the usual suspects piled on, accusing state lawmakers of sacrificing children to Mammon. But in the midst of a national labor crunch, Arkansas is hardly alone in contemplating loosened restraints on teenage workers. The move might not only fill jobs, it could also improve young Americans’ prospects for future prosperity.
“In Arkansas the days of trapping our people in poverty, welfare and government dependency are over,” tweeted Sanders after signing the Youth Hiring Act, which in few words eliminates a requirement that 14- and 15-year-olds get permits from the state government in order to work…
That’s a lot of benefit to be had from letting teenagers earn income and develop good work habits for later in life when the stakes are higher. And it’s a lot to sacrifice to satisfy critics who have their panties in a bunch over very minor reform. The bill that Sanders signed does nothing more than reduce state interference in the youth hiring process and leave work decisions to teens, employers, and parents. If businesses offer jobs, and parents and guardians sign off on the idea, willing 14- and 15-year-olds can now legally work within the tight parameters allowed by the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s the extent of the change.
Loosening the rules even further would be a great idea, further enhancing opportunity and prosperity. But prepare for a lot of hyperventilating by people who pretend that the best way to combat illegal child labor in the shadows is to prevent teens from being hired openly and legally.
Pending bolder reform, Arkansas has joined other states in letting some more teens work without bureaucratic approval, so long as their parents say it’s OK. It’s a step in the right direction.