Does Arkansas Child Labor Reform Increase Opportunity or Exploitation?
Arkansas passed a bill earlier this month loosening restrictions on child labor in the state, sparking debates on child safety and economic opportunity.
For Context: Last month, the New York Times (Lean Left Bias) published an exposé on widespread violations of child labor laws regarding undocumented migrant children, leading the Biden Administration to launch an investigation into “completely unacceptable” violations. A number of states have passed legislation loosening restrictions on child labor in recent months, citing nationwide labor shortages.
Supporters: After signing the bill, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) tweeted, “the days of trapping our people in poverty, welfare and government dependency are over.” A piece in Reason Magazine argued that loosening restrictions could increase social mobility for young Americans, improving their prospects “for future prosperity.” The article addresses labor shortages, determining that loosened restrictions “could further expand opportunities for teenagers who have been in demand as many of their elders stepped out of the workforce in recent years.”
Opponents: An article in The Nation pushed back on efforts to loosen restrictions, writing, “the refusal to allow child labor has historically separated the United States from more exploitative economies around the world. But now that distinction cannot be taken for granted,” calling the defense of child labor laws “a winning fight for Democrats.” An article in Vox (Left Bias) echoed this, stating that the Arkansas bill “erodes protections for some of the most vulnerable people in society under the guise of liberty.”
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the LeftThe GOP Has Become the Pro–Child Labor Party
In February, The New York Times published a front-page report from Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Hannah Dreier that shed light on a shocking reality: migrant children are being illegally exploited in staggering numbers, working brutal jobs in kitchens and factories, hotels and slaughterhouses across the United States.
And despite identifying as “the party that protects children,” Republicans haven’t exactly jumped to end this heinous practice. In fact, in states like Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Arkansas, they’re leading efforts to roll back child labor protections—in the name of filling jobs. According to...
From the RightCritics Lose Their Mind as Arkansas Makes It a Bit Easier for Teens To Work
Last week, 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...
From the CenterStates Look to Ease Some Child-Labor Laws Amid Tight Market
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed off on a law loosening child-labor restrictions in the state. A new Arkansas law that makes it easier for minors as young as 14 to work without a permit is part of a nationwide effort by states to loosen child-labor restrictions. The Youth Hiring Act, enacted this week, ended a requirement that businesses obtain a work permit from the Department of Labor and Licensing if they want to employ a child under 16 years old. For a child to receive the permit, a parent...
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