Henry Lamb
The audacity of ignorance
By Henry Lamb
April 22, 2012

When Obama was elected President, he thought "foreign policy" meant strategies to organize the Chicago suburbs of Oak Park and Glen Ellyn. Now, well into his fourth year as President, he has added Iran and Syria to the list of "suburbs" he thinks can be organized by sitting down with their leaders and explaining what he wants them to do.

Sadly, he has appointed cabinet officials and czars who either agree with his warped understanding of the role the executive branch has under the Constitution, or who just don't know the difference. A great example of this audacity of ignorance comes from the Department of Labor. Nothing in the resume of Secretary Hilda Solis suggests that she has ever stepped in a pile of cow manure, or even seen one. Nothing suggests that she has ever been on a farm — yet she has the audacity to dictate to farm families what their children may and may not do.

Solis has great experience with labor unions. She has extensive experience promoting social justice and environmental protection. She served as Representative for Los Angeles County before Obama chose her to be Secretary of the Department of Labor. She was also appointed to the United States Interparliamentary Group. Judging by the new rules issued by her department, she knows absolutely nothing about farming, but assumes that she knows better how farm kids should be raised than do their parents.

Solis believes farm kids should never work on projects that are higher than six feet above the ground. That means that kids would be excused from putting hay in the hayloft, or getting hay from the loft for winter feeding. Solis believes that kids younger than 16 should not operate any equipment that is not powered by human hand or foot power. If Solis gets her way, farm kids will no longer be able to mow the lawn, or use a power washer to clean the barn or driveway.

Missouri hog farmer Chris Chinn, told the House Small Business' Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, that Solis' new rule HR1 would prohibit farm kids from driving a tractor. She said that milking a cow was prohibited by HR4; cutting weeds would be banned by HR3; building or repairing a fence would be banned by HR6.

Since the rule was originally proposed, Solis has said the she would re-propose a parental exemption. Obama -lovers think this re-proposal solves the problem. Farm families know that it does not. If the parental exemption stays in the rule, it means that kids may continue to work on a farm owned totally by one or both of the parents. There is no certainty that the exemption will stay in the new rule. Even if it does, a farm kid could not work on his grandfather's farm. Nor could he work on a neighbor's farm, or another relative's farm. Should the parent need to take on a partner, all exemptions would evaporate.

What's worse than the specific tasks prohibited by this DOL rule is the very idea that a bunch of Washington bureaucrats think they have a higher level of parental wisdom than do the actual parents. Even worse, is their blatant arrogance that compels them to impose their ideas on the public.

Obama and most of his appointees have demonstrated a belief that they know best how everyone else should live. They have not been at all reluctant to impose their ideas — whether or not they authorized by the Constitution or by legislation or by rule, or by a mere utterance of Obama's command.

Aside from the fact that traditional farm life produces healthy, productive, moral citizens — an example that should be championed — the DOL's new rule essentially destroys traditional farm life.

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) says it pretty well. He says:

"...we don't need folks in Washington, who have never worked a day in their life on a farm, to set up new regulations that do nothing but burden South Dakota agricultural producers."

Every Congressman should read this rule, and quickly take action to stop it. People who live in cities are not likely to pay much attention to this new rule, but they should. If the federal government can dictate what farm kids can do or not do, how far behind is the new rule that dictates what city kids can do or not do?

This administration has continually demonstrated that, one way or the other, they intend to control the life of all citizens. If Obama is re-elected, there is nothing to stop the complete "transformation of America" he promised before he took office in 2008. To be perfectly clear, this means the transformation of free markets to government-controlled markets; the transformation of private property rights to government-control of all land use; and government empowered by the consent of the governed to government empowered by the dictates of the President.

Americans who prefer the principles of freedom set forth in the U.S. Constitution, rather than the "fair share," and "we're all in this together" as pronounced by Obama, must convince their friends and neighbors to remove this Administrator, and the Congressional puppets who protect him.

© Henry Lamb


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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