I will begin on a more anecdotal note, despite the very statistical nature of this article.
When I was a kid, my mother let me borrow the lawnmower only after I had finished our own lawn, to go around the neighborhood and provide the same service to others who weren't blessed with kids to do yardwork. I got $5 or $6 a yard and I was rolling in the bucks; enough to buy any toy I wanted, large or small.
When I turned 14, I was able to get a work permit. I no longer had to sell Christmas cards from door to door or do odd yard work to make a wage. Was I slave labor? No! Was I child labor? Yes. Was it immoral? Absolutely not! I learned the work ethic that made America great, and I learned it early, while my learning curve was short, fast and deep. The first job I had I was as a busboy and dishwasher. It was summer. It was hot. And I had a ball.
I had no idea I 'was being abused', because I wasn't!
I see a generation of lost souls with nothing to do. My son wants to be responsible when mom calls him out on his lazy behavior, but what is he going to do? Take a job from an illegal immigrant. Impossible -- he hasn't taken a foreign language yet. And it it is he who would be fired on the basis of HIS national origin. My, how things have changed.
Politics is becoming more complicated because, on this issue, we find both the extremes of both parties attacking our right to work as American citizens and legal immigrants by allowing us to be either pushed out of or prevented from entering the workforce.
I refuse to believe all of it is a sense of "spoiling our children" because frankly most Americans could use the additional income provided by their working kids. Mom could use a break as a working kid is out of her hair while she is at home or at her job. My mom was confident that her son wasn't committing crimes or doing drugs, as I was under supervision by mentors who cared about my personal development of a work ethic. It helped their businesses and it helped me.
I refuse, by the way, to blame this on the rising minimum wage, because even then, I was making the equivalent of $15/hr when adjusted for inflation. By the time I was 16 and had a driver's license, I was a stocker at a grocery store, in a union of all things, making $6/hr in 1976. That is like $20/hr now. But those rates don't exist now, as the rich in America have priced labor out of reality, on the low side for us and on the high side for them.
When I was 18, I worked in construction, $10/hr (1978). That rate stayed at a living wage through 1990, then it began to fall as subsequent administrations began to ignore the citizens for whom they work.
Many will blame it on free trade agreements. Others, who have actually read those agreements, realize it is about failure to enforce the labor relations clauses of those agreements, allowing multinational corporations to make profits without consideration of fair competition and humane treatment in their foreign factories.
It was during the late days of the Clinton administration that the rich discovered they could slowly either move jobs elsewhere, or they could hire illegal immigrants who cannot complain about their pay and treatment. Pay has become unlivable unless you have 10+ PEOPLE IN A SMALL HOUSE IN A BAD SECTION OF TOWN.
Our children have been taught to hate 'those people' and they do. They don't realize, it was the rich that made this happen, and it is they our children should be looking at... with contempt.
They have bought and paid for our officials whose jobs it is to curb their ferocious appetites for profit.
Though we have laws against the corporate abuse of our airwaves, no one enforces them. The entire AM dial is rotten with propaganda feeding the masters. This is not 'free market'; it is called antitrust and no one -- who is paid to care, does.
The data below makes it clear where America is headed; toward American adults/parents working for less than what their kids used to get paid due to a failure of the government to protect the very sovereignty that makes us a nation.
In the long term, we will see that it has and will continue to destroy the thing that made good kids into good citizens. Young people will grow up knowing they have been disenfranchised. Minorities, who ARE Americans will be pitted against those who take their jobs and fail to notice who allowed it.
America has entered an age when push must become shove, but who do we shove? The government has put border agents in jail when they simply do their jobs. The result is, no one is standing in line to become a border agent, so no one will guard the border and those who do will simply step aside and welcome those crossing (if they want to keep their jobs). Is this a slippery slope fallacy, much ado about nothing or a truly slippery slope where not only will we fall and slide down a deadly hill, but snow will avalanche behind us and bury us. Too dramatic?
Well, death, starvation and dying is pretty dramatic.
It sounds like a lot to infer from a lifetime of experience, observation and the data below that we are in danger of, if not already, becoming a slave nation and our kids will not even know they are slaves and neither will most adults as they become angry at the wrong enemies.
Note: the population has risen by as much as 1/3 (estimation due to impossibly high illegal immigration numbers) while the total number of jobs for those 16-24 has declined dramatically.
Data extracted on: May 16, 2007 (1:41:24 PM)
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
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