Following Saturday’s “Take a bath and get a job” slam on Occupy Wall Street, Grumpy Old Man Newt Gingrich continued his “Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn!” campaign for the presidency yesterday by advocating an end of Child Labor laws. Proving that there is truly nothing sacred in the right’s efforts to roll back the accomplishments of decades of progressive government, Gingrich said to an audience at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
First question: Has Gingrich ever seen how kids clean?
Second question: Do we really want 14 year old kids cleaning toilets?
Third question: When Gingrich talks about the tragic things we do in the poorest neighborhoods, do “truly stupid” Child Labor laws really top the list of the policies and programs we have promulgated? Are they really ahead of negligence, indifference, hostility and racism?
Fourth question: What’s next–restoration of the work houses?
“You’re going to see from me extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America,” Gingrich added. How much more extraordinary radicalism can we stand? Poor school districts across the country are cutting teachers, cutting labs, cutting books, cutting after-school study sessions, and cutting extra-curricular activities. I guess this radical rollback isn’t enough; this radical disinvestment in the future isn’t enough. Let’s pass out the Lysol. I’m all in favor of young people having jobs, and learning discipline and responsibility, but this proposal is squarely in mold of those middle-class destroying policies that lay off older workers in favor of cheaper youngsters, and lay off American workers in favor of cheaper workers abroad. It’s hard to send janitor jobs off-shore, so let’s end Child Labor regulations, and get minimum-wage teens to haul garbage instead of unionized workers.
Gingrich’s brainstorm is just a new rendition of the same GOP theme: the maximization of profit and its retention by the ownership class, at all costs, is the only thing it stands for.
[Cross-posted at JamieMalanowski.com]