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IN HER DETERMINATION to slam the Washington Times, Nicole Kraemer seems to have lost track of her common sense (“The Children’s Crusade,” 9/6). She attacks the Times for giving kids commission for selling papers. I’m glad to see that there’s someone out there trampling down any spark of initiative and entrepreneurial spirit in kids, especially poor ones.
I don’t know about Kraemer, but I certainly had jobs as a child that violated the child-labor laws, as did almost everyone else I have asked. These jobs provided me with my own money, something to do when I wasn’t in school, and an invaluable sense of independence and competence. In fact, Kraemer notes that once one child begins selling papers, others join in. She fails to recognize the significance of this fact: Rather than representing some form of exploitation, it seems that kids recognize the value of having a job and tell their family members when they find a good opportunity.
The suggestion that the Times hire adult workers and pay them minimum wage with benefits is particularly absurd. Sellers would need to sell 21 papers per hour to break even. The more likely result of shutting down this program would be a loss for everyone: no opportunity for the kids and no jobs for adults.
Institute for Justice