Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, June 05, 2014

A generation ago, nearly three of every four teens spent their summer vacation tending lawns, bussing tables or lifeguarding at the local pool, squirreling away cash for a car, spending money on the weekends or saving for college in the fall. Today the employment participation rate of 16-to-19 year-olds working during the summer is down around 40 percent


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While a teen I was a caddie for six years--best job I ever had.

Young people should work, and should have lousy jobs--dirty, sweaty, in unpleasant conditions. Such jobs will teach them (1) to stay in school, and (2) to respect those for whom only a lousy job exists, yet they come in every day and get a lousy job done.

#1 | Posted by catdog at 2014-06-05 01:49 PM | Reply | Flag:

Plenty of kids this age are taking courses at local universities and community colleges. It makes them far more likely to earn scholarship money and gain admission to the college of their choice than flipping burgers for minimum wage. Once they are at college, the credits they earned during the summers might get them out of school a semester or two early, saving the parents tens of thousands of dollars more.

School or burgers? If the parents are well-off enough to provide the kid with a choice, it seems like a no-brainer to me.

#2 | Posted by censored at 2014-06-05 01:50 PM | Reply | Flag:

When I was in high school I worked as a dishwasher at a restaurant for a while, before landing a part time job at the local Shop Rite in the produce department. These days, those jobs are all taken by full time employees. There aren't a lot of jobs for high school age kids anymore.

#3 | Posted by schmanch at 2014-06-05 02:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

School or burgers? If the parents are well-off enough to provide the kid with a choice, it seems like a no-brainer to me.
#2 | POSTED BY CENSORED AT 2014-06-05 01:50 PM | FLAG:

The article states that 50% of teenagers go to school, but that 1/2 of them (25% of teenagers) also have summer jobs. That means, if my math is correct, 25% of teenagers just go to school, 15% just have jobs, and 25% of teenagers do both, totaling 65%, or 2 out of three, teenagers in either school or work. That means that there are still 35% of teenagers doing neither, and I think that's problematic.

FTA: "While the number of 16- to 19-year-olds not in the labor force who want a job has remained relatively flat since the mid-1990s, the number not wanting a job has steadily increased."

That would suggest that a lack of jobs is not the prevailing reason the numbers of unemployed teenagers in the summer is growing.

#4 | Posted by bartimus at 2014-06-05 02:32 PM | Reply | Flag:

While Natasha and Malia are enjoying one of their many vacations they can thank all poor teenagers that work and pay the taxes that made their fabulous lives possible.

#5 | Posted by visitor_ at 2014-06-05 02:53 PM | Reply | Flag:

I went to work at age 15.5, and have never had more than a week (or a couple of times, two weeks) off work since that time. Today's kids are soft. There, I said it! :-)

#6 | Posted by cbob at 2014-06-05 03:09 PM | Reply | Flag:

Today's kids are soft. There, I said it! :-)

All thanks to the impeccable parenting of the Baby Boomer generation. Thanks BOOMERS!

#7 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2014-06-05 03:11 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

they can thank all poor teenagers that work and pay the taxes that made their fabulous lives possible.

#5 | Posted by visitor

Poor teenagers don't pay income taxes.


#7 | Posted by rstybeach11

The boomers are old enough to be grandparents. Most of these teenagers are at least two generations away from the boomers.

#8 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-06-05 03:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

There are a lot of reasons why kids are not working like they used to. A big part of it is liability. Insurance companies won't allow it. I bagged and stocked groceries when I was 15. Now my local grocery store can't even accept an application from anyone under 18. My Hopsital used to hire HS Seniors interested in going to Nursing School to give them exposure(think paid Candy Stripers). Now, we can't even accept volunteers under 21. Also the cost of actually hiring a minimum wage summer help employee is now about the same as hiring a CEO. And it takes time. Lab work, HR costs, orientation, compliance with minor work permit laws, etc. It costs more to hire them than they will produce in 90 days. Bottom line is it is not all about the economy. IMHO, it's more about regulatory prohibitions that, right or wrong, all but prohibit employers from being able to hire kids. And there are only so many lawns to be mowed.

#9 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2014-06-05 04:11 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

20 hours work, 20 hours volunteering, all through the summer before and after
senior year in hi-skule. inner city volunteering is what got me my current job, so i never knock it.help others in order to help yourself.

#10 | Posted by NerfHerder at 2014-06-05 04:20 PM | Reply | Flag:


Valid point. My daughter works at Starbucks and they couldn't hire her until 18 because you can't use so much of the equipment. Heck you can't even take trash out until you are 18 because the compactor requires 18 and over operations. Then add on the number of older people taking those jobs because that is all that is out there and it is a pretty bleak picture for the under 18 crowd looking for work.

It is out there but not like when I was a kid.

I don't think that is the whole problem as was already pointed out a lot of the 16-19 crowd aren't even looking, not sure if that is because they are discouraged, or because they are lazy. These days I would believe either one or even both.

#11 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-06-05 04:28 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

My step-dad told me "You get a job, I'll buy you a car" when you turn 16. At 16, I went down to Johnny's Rest. and Deli. They had a sign in the window for a Dishwasher. I went to the counter and said I would like that job. The owner yelled back to the head cook "Poochieeee!", "This boy wants a job!" Poochie came from the back and said, "Come on son, time to get to work." I washed dishes there for two years after school and all day Saturdays. Poochie and the guys weren't the best bunch. I think all of them had criminal records. They used to steal beers from the owner's freezer and drink on the job. I had my first beer there. I remember one Sat we were closing early, the boss was gone. Poochie walked in as I was finishing up a lot of dishes and said, "Here boy, drink this, it'll put you on the BEACH!" It was a bud light. I drink Bud to this day...

#12 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-05 04:32 PM | Reply | Flag:

Bottom line is it is not all about the economy. IMHO, it's more about regulatory prohibitions that, right or wrong, all but prohibit employers from being able to hire kids. And there are only so many lawns to be mowed.

#9 | Posted by bogey1355

I know, huh?

I too miss the old days when we could hire 9 years and pay them crap wages under the table and have no responsibility for them at all.

Why can't we just do that again? What's with all these freakin rules to "protect" the workers? They are Workers! It's not like we have to care about them if we hire them or anything.

The rich people with all the money should be making the dang rules.

That IS the Golden Rule isn't it?

#13 | Posted by donnerboy at 2014-06-05 04:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

They don't make jobs like that anymore. You cant even walk into a business today and ask for a job, it's all online..

It's a shame.

#14 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-05 04:38 PM | Reply | Flag:

When we criticize some regulations for going to far, we're actually asking for anarchy. It's either 1984 or Lord of the Flies.

#15 | Posted by visitor_ at 2014-06-05 04:43 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

My city's public works had a program for highschoolers to cut grass, clean parks, take care of the baseball fields, etc. Made union wages back then, over 10 bucks an hour. Times change and nobody is going to offer anything remotely similar nowadays.

#16 | Posted by CrisisStills at 2014-06-05 04:50 PM | Reply | Flag:


1) Wasn't passing judgement. I don't know anyone that believes that employers should'nt provide safe working conditions and a fair wage. What constitutes "safe" and "fair" is, however, debatable.

2) Irregardless of the above, why would any employer hire an employee that would cost them more money than they would make them?

#17 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2014-06-05 04:56 PM | Reply | Flag:

Just the other day I read that only 26% of teens have summer jobs.

#18 | Posted by SammyAZ_RI at 2014-06-05 04:58 PM | Reply | Flag:

With a few exceptions, I generally couldn't be bothered to look for a summer job until summer came. So a couple of summers I ended up just temping.

The big downfall was knowing the employer was paying at least 50% more for me than I was getting. And the quality of the jobs varied greatly.

What I liked about it was that I was not doing the same thing all summer. I could actually schedule time off (unpaid). I could tell the boss to screw off and have another job lined up the next day (only happened once).

Over a couple of summers I had jobs painting (outdoors and offices), working in a warehouse, working on a factory line, working as a porter, working in the mailroom, putting furniture together and working demolition (by far the most fun).

All that stuff probably goes to experienced workers now.

#19 | Posted by Sully at 2014-06-05 05:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

I started working 50+ years ago at a my uncle's A&W Root Beer drive-in when I was 12, I still have the kiddie size glass mug to remind me of those great times.

#20 | Posted by SammyAZ_RI at 2014-06-05 05:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

I had a summer job at a distributor running a machine that would put tax stamps on the bottom of packages of cigarettes. We would take a case, IIRC there were 48 cartons per case, and feed the cartons one at a time into this machine that would open the bottom of the carton then a hot iron would come down and fuse the decal tax stamps on the bottom of each pack. The machine would then reseal the flaps on the bottom of the carton and one of us on the receiving end would repackage the cardboard cases and seal them back up for distribution to retailers.

Now and then the machine would malfunction and destroy a portion of a carton of cigarettes and they would get discarded into a special bin. We could buy a pack from that bin at the end of the day for 10 cents. We were like 15-16 years old then, but it paid well for that time.

#21 | Posted by path at 2014-06-05 05:22 PM | Reply | Flag:

I was mowing lawns when I was 10, working in commercial greenhouses when I was 14, managing an apartment building when I was 17.. None of that would be possible for most kids now.

#22 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-06-05 06:00 PM | Reply | Flag:

I hear you W-L, I started about 10 with two paper routes one in the early wee hours for a Chicago morning paper (Trib) and one in the late afternoon for a local daily. If I wasn't in school, I was working or doing homework. Weekends were play time. 80% of my earnings went into the bank, the rest was my allowance to do what I pleased which included buying b-day presents for family.

Work ethics were learned young.

#23 | Posted by path at 2014-06-05 06:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

Work ethics were learned young.

Posted by path

Is there an Ap for that?

-Today's lazy brats

#24 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2014-06-05 06:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

2) Irregardless of the above, why would any employer hire an employee that would cost them more money than they would make them?

#17 | Posted by bogey1355

Paying an employee more money than they make for the employer would be almost as silly as saying "irregardless" when you only needed to say regardless.

#25 | Posted by donnerboy at 2014-06-05 07:53 PM | Reply | Flag:


All that is true and on top of that, when you have such a glut of unemployment, I think most people would rather hire an adult with work experience, even unrelated to the job, than deal with a kid who has little to none.

I also think that there are few entrepreneurial opportunities either. I'm talking working jobs where, for the most part, you are your own boss.

Caddies, lawn care, babysitters, news paper, lifeguard at a community pool (like an apartment complex) etc were all big when I hit 7th grade (early 80's).

Most of those opportunities are no longer available, either phased out or commercialized years ago.

Tho I guess they could go hang out in front of the local Home Depot and find some day labor.

#26 | Posted by Lohocla at 2014-06-05 08:31 PM | Reply | Flag:

-Today's lazy brats

#24 | POSTED BY GREATAMERICAN AT 2014-06-05 06:33 PM | FLAG:

- Today's failed parents

#27 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-06-05 10:37 PM | Reply | Flag:

Just about all the young folks I know are anything but lazy. Most are working, taking summer classes, one helps his mom do her job because she can't do it herself since she is still recovering from surgery. Times change but I don't honestly feel my own generation was any harder working or superior in really any way at all. We live in a totally different world which presents completely different challenges and I'm not envious of this young generation, the cards are stacked against them in ways boomers never had to consider. IMHO, us boomers were probably the luckiest generation in history.

#28 | Posted by danni at 2014-06-06 08:37 AM | Reply | Flag:

28: Granted, but I think parents are different, too. And students/children are whinier. At least in my ever so humble experience...

#29 | Posted by pragmatist at 2014-06-06 08:45 AM | Reply | Flag:

Take away the smart phones and they'll get bored and want something to do.

#30 | Posted by wisgod at 2014-06-06 08:53 AM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

The answer is obvious. A fifteen dollar minimum wage.

Think about it: At fifteen dollars an hour, people have more money to spend and more people will be hired to support those extra goods and services.

#31 | Posted by Ben_Berkkake at 2014-06-06 10:30 AM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

We live under the omnipresent shadow of a political/economic system, which promotes materiality, selfishness and individual success over group wellbeing. It is a model of civilization that is making us miserable and ill. Dependent on continuous consumption, everything and everyone is seen as a commodity, and competition and ambition are extolled as virtues. Together with reward and punishment this trinity of division has infiltrated and polluted all areas of contemporary life, including health care and education.

It is a system that denies compassion and social unity. Unhappiness and mental illness, as well as extreme levels of inequality (income and wealth) flow from the unjust root, causing social tensions, eroding trust and community. Those who love material objects are less inclined to love other people and the natural environment. Love of objects strengthens the desire principle, causing fear and dissatisfaction, giving rise to anxiety, stress and unhappiness. Such perennial truths expressed by the Buddha, Christ and other visionary teachers as well as Krishna are ignored in the search for immediate happiness derived from sensory pleasure. Self-centered behavior, motivated by reward, not only erodes any sense of community and social responsibility, it breeds unhappiness.

Reward and punishment are major weapons of neo-liberalism, which has infiltrated almost every area of contemporary society. The destructive duality is a methodology common in many areas of education, and of course saturates corporate life. Goals bonuses, commission, perks: these are the language of business, the motivating force for and of activity.

With reward and punishment come desire and fear, desire for the reward and fear or anxiety over possible punishment if we fail. The effect is individual discontent and collective disharmony. Selfishness is strengthened, and, in opposition to the underlying impulse to be helpful, kindness is sacrificed, creating the conditions for depression and stress.

The materialist may hold that mankind is naturally selfish, and that competition, reward and ambition are necessary and good. Without them we would do nothing and society would grind to a dysfunctional halt, goes the narrow reactionary argument. This conveniently cynical view of man's nature is fundamentally wrong and is used to perpetuate the divisive model. Human kindness, selflessness and community service are not only positive attributes to aspire to, they are the healthy, natural and peaceful way for humanity to live. (Graham Peebles)


#32 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-06-06 01:03 PM | Reply | Flag:


The reward and punishment is some of the stuff that C.H. Douglas talks about. Basically how silly it is to inject morality into economics.

#33 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-06-06 07:03 PM | Reply | Flag:


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