For her Easter post, Mercedes Schneider wrote about the hypocrisy of those who loudly proclaim their love of Jesus, but also pass laws to put adolescents to work in dangerous low-wage jobs.

She writes:

The corporate world is short on workers, sooo, let’s see what states will pass legislation to loosen restrictions on child labor.

This drive reminds me of the blindside on K12 education that is Common Core– the justification (and assumption) being that the chief purpose K12 education is to “prepare students for 21st century jobs.”

Well, its the 21st century, and it seems that business is short on bodies, and any warm body will do.

So, on this Easter as I think of Jesus, who brought to the attention of his male-centric culture the importance of considering children as people valuable in their own right, I also think of the primarily-Republican push to feed children to the god of business and industry.

On March 14, 2023, journalist Jacob Knudsen published a piece in Axios, stunningly entitled, “Lawmakers Target Child Labor Laws to Ease Worker Shortage.”

Forget childhood. We must appease the god of business and industry.

Knudsen writes, in part,

Legislators in multiple states are invoking a widespread labor shortage to push bills that would weaken long-standing child labor laws.

Why it matters: Some bills go beyond expanding eligibility or working hours for run-of-the-mill teen jobs. They’d make it easier for kids to fill physically demanding roles at potentially hazardous work sites. …

Driving the news: A new Arkansas law signed by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) last week makes it easier for teens as young as 14 to work without obtaining a permit.

Between the lines: The laws and proposals have largely been introduced by Republicans but received support from some Democrats in Ohio and New Jersey. …

Zoom in: Iowa lawmakers are considering Republican legislation that would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work in industrial laundry services and freezers at meatpacking plants. It’d also prevent many of them from receiving worker’s compensation if they are sickened, injured or killed on the job.

The Iowa law specifically excludes businesses who hire teens from any civil liability in the event they suffer harm or even death in the workplace.

Mercedes concludes:

This exploitation (make no mistake that this loosening of child labor laws in numerous states is exactly that) has at its center a lack of planning combined with the desire for a lower bottom line (and greater profits). Many of my teenaged students already drag themselves to school, only to fall asleep in class with the apology that “I had to close last night.” Therefore, making it easier for employers to squeeze even more out of school-aged employees even as society expects of them (and their schools) stellar academic results (dog whistle: test scores) is indeed speaking out of both ends of a hypocritical, corporate-adulating mouth.

Jesus loves the little children, sooo let’s exploit their labor potential, even for dangerous jobs, as we simultaneously absolve ourselves of any responsibility– even death.