Today in labor history, September 26, 1874: Sociologist and photographer Lewis Hine is born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In 1908, Hine became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee and spent the next decade documenting child labor to help the organization’s lobbying efforts to end child labor in American industry.
Republicans and Right-Wingers have a rich history of supporting a policy for decades and then opposing the very same program. In this article we explore just a few of the major flip flops of the GOP since President Obama took office.
Abortion: Believe it or not there have always been many pro-choice Republicans out there. Ironically enough, June 14, 1967, Ronald Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act, after only six months as California governor. From a total of 518 legal abortions in California in 1967, the number of abortions would soar to an annual average of 100,000 in the remaining years of Reagan’s two terms — more abortions than in any U.S. state prior to Roe v. Wade.
(GOP largely flipped to being anti-Choice, around the time of Reagan’s Presidency).
Cap and Trade: You might remember that Ronald Reagan first conceived of the concept of cap and trade, George H.W. Bush signed the very first cap and trade legislation back in 1990 and George W. Bush gave it his full support. Now Republicans oppose cap and trade as big oil and coal companies along with
other special interests have spent hundreds millions of dollars over the past two years to convince legislators, politicians, and citizens to oppose cap and trade and other measures that would create jobs, cut oil use, and reduce pollution.
Child Labor: Republicans were once part of the initial movement to create child labor laws back in 1852, even trying to pass a Constitutional amendment in 1924. Democrats were finally successful in getting the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 passed which established the minimum wage and place limitations on the use of “oppressive child labor,” as defined in the statute. Republicans are now opposed to child labor protections as part of their overall support of corporations. You might recall Newt Gingrich referring to child labor laws as “truly stupid” during his unsuccessful campaign last year for the party nomination as President. Source
Civil Rights: Republicans once championed civil rights ending slavery, adopting the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments and it was even a Republican led Supreme Court that ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark casing ending school segregation.
Deficit Spending: Republican have used deficit spending going back to Ronald Reagan who doubled the national dept and George W. Bush who doubled it again. With Democrat control of the Presidency and Congress, Republicans have done a complete reversal on the matter.
Public Education: Education is interesting in that Republicans have managed to do a double flip flop on this one. Back in 1964 Barry Goldwater and the conservative movement were against any kind of federal aid to education of any kind. As time progressed conservative voters came around to supporting federal aid in the form of programs such as college loans and aid for handicapped students. By 1981 both President Reagan and Senator Goldwater had flip flopped and no longer opposed such funding, but still were attempting to shut down the Department of Education as part of a wider reaching goal of removing what was perceived by them as unnecessary intrusions into state’s rights. The administration of George W. Bush first proposed the No Child Left Behind Act immediately after he took office and the bill was passed with bipartisan support in Congress. For nearly a generation there has been bipartisan agreement that the federal government has a vital role in public education, primarily in the form of federal funds which compel states to raise academic standards. Fast forward to modern times and the Republicans have done yet another about face and are now pushing to weaken education, particularly public education, by promoting vouchers, charter schools and other forms of privatization now believing that education responsibilities should revert to states and local school districts to sort out their own problems.
Today in labor history, July 7, 1903: Mary Harris “Mother” Jones begins the “Children’s Crusade.” Accompanied by child mine and mill workers, she walked from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to President Theodore Roosevelt’s home in New York state to protest the plight of child laborers.
Newt Gingrich proposed a plan Friday that would allow poor children to clean their schools for money, saying such a setup would both allow students to earn income and endow them with a strong work ethic.
Speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the former House Speaker said his system would be an improvement on current child labor laws, which he called “truly stupid.”
“I tried for years to have a very simple model. These schools should get rid of unionized janitors, have one master janitor, pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work; they’d have cash; they’d have pride in the schools. They’d begin the process of rising.”
Yep. The GOP front-runner is saying child labor laws are truly stupid. We’ve officially hit a low.
Republicans at the state level have been arguing this nonsense for the last couple years. It is mind boggling and such a fantastic way to prepare for the future.
A child-labor investigation in June discovered nine underage workers at farms in the Washington towns of Woodland and Ridgefield. Investigators found several violations of labour law, including failing to maintain proof-of-age records and pay minimum wage among others.
The farmers were Marty Peterson from Columbia Fruit in Woodland; George Hoffman of George Hoffman Farms and Lee Nguyen of Berry Good Farms of Ridgefield.
Maine to lower minimum wage for minors from $7.50 an hour to $5.25 for the first 180 days of their employment.