You can tell the labor market’s still hot enough for workers to be choosy about where they agree to work — and under what conditions.

During the pandemic, many low-wage, low-benefit, and dangerous workplaces lost employees as workers sought better pastures. Now, instead of trying to make those jobs more appealing — which should be market economics 101 some employers are asking their friends in state legislatures to, well, bring back child labor.

Unfortunately, you read that right. This week in OtherWords, Tom Conway surveys some of the states where politicians are tying to push kids into longer hours at often unsafe jobs and argues that we need to be expanding protections in the workplace, not eroding them.

Meanwhile, did you know that wealthy individuals don’t pay a dime in Social Security taxes on what they make over about $160,000? The result is a $1.4 trillion hole in the program, Linda Benesch explains this week — one easily patched by having the affluent pay the same Social Security taxes the rest of us do.

Also this week, Paul Armentano reports on some encouraging data on declining underage cannabis use since America’s legalization experiment began a decade ago. And Jim Hightower skewers Missouri for passing a dress code exclusively for its women members.

New This Week…

The Unconscionable Push to Bring Back Child Labor | Tom Conway
Rather than offering wages attractive to adults, employers want lawmakers to push teens into some of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

Inequality Costs Social Security Trillions. Here’s How We Fix It. | Linda Benesch
There’s no need to cut Social Security. If the wealthy simply paid the same tax the rest of us do, we could even expand benefits.

In the Era of Legal Marijuana, the Kids Are Alright | Paul Armentano
Opponents thought legalization would lead to more teens using marijuana. Ten years since the first states legalized, the reverse has happened.

Are the Women of Your Statehouse Properly Attired? | Jim Hightower
Instead of fixing their image by legislating responsibly, some state lawmakers say a dress code will suffice — for women, of course.

Cartoon: Where’s the Money Going to Come From? | Khalil Bendib
It’s certainly going somewhere…

In Case You Missed It…

This Women’s History Month, We Won’t Renegotiate Our Place in the Economy | Domenica Ghanem
Out of touch lawmakers are rolling out economic plans that would set women back generations. Not this time!

All Communities Must Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism | Svante Myrick
As far-right violence against Jewish people rises, the Jewish idea of an “eruv” can teach us all to enlarge our humanity.

Let’s Get Broadband Done the Right Way | Britni Cuington
As our country finally invests in broadband, we need to make sure the job gets done right — by skilled union workers, not low-wage contractors.

Rail Workers Warned Us: Greed Is Dangerous | Rebekah Entralgo
Following derailments across the country, rail workers have a solution to the nation’s rail crisis: public ownership.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the communications director of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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