December 5, 2007

Sweatshops Of The Democrats

Barack Obama says that America needs serious rethinking of political issues. Apparently he includes child-labor laws as part of that recalculation. Time's Mark Halperin posts a new initiative by Obama on national service, entitled "A Call To Serve", that proposes a work schedule for middle-school children at which unionized Democrat adults would balk. Among the proposals:

* Establish a goal of having middle and high-schoolers contribute at least 50 hours a week to community service, and reach that goal through national guidelines for service-learning and additional resources for schools to develop successful programs.

* Create a new American Opportunity Tax Credit to ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for Americans willing to complete 100 hours of public service a year.

Fifty hours a week -- for community service? That's not a call, it's a sentence. When exactly will they do other tasks ... like study and attend classes? At least they pay well; they're giving $40 per hour for community service in college tuition funds. Not bad part-time work!

Child labor laws have restrictions on hours worked for minors. In California, teenagers of 16 and 17 can only work 48 hours per week, and only when school is out of session. Otherwise, they can only work 4 hours on a school day and 8 on a weekend. Between 12 and 15, the maximum weekly hours for non-session time is 40.

More than likely, the Obama campaign meant "per month" or "per year", assumably the latter. If so, it makes more sense -- but it shows how sloppy Team Obama has performed in 2007. One might expect an important program announcement like this to get a little editorial attention before hitting the press. I'm sure that Barack Obama doesn't believe in sweatshops -- and proves it with the team that surrounds him at the moment.

UPDATE: It's 50 hours per year, according to this link which I received in a snotty e-mail from [anonymous], who advises me to "please correct you [sic] blog to show the actual facts." Well gee, normally we don't feel our job includes fact-checking campaign press releases to catch mistakes in the candidate's own program. As I wrote, it was pretty obvious Obama didn't want kids to work 50 hours a week -- but that's the kind of mistake someone at Team Obama should have caught before sending off the press release to Mark Halperin. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!

UPDATE II: Removed e-mailer name by very polite request.

UPDATE III: Ahem: "week" is not a typo for "year". This isn't a typo; it's a substantive error, and in any case, should have been caught before its release. I'd like to see someone explain how one can have a typo that turns "week" into "year". As a defense, it's rather ... week.


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