The Gingrinch Solution: Legalize Child Labor

Its official, Washington insider and Lobbyists, Newt Gingrich is surging and leading, as GOP presidential candidate, amongst the GOP base. The new Republican presidential frontrunner, Newt Gingrich, claims America is ignoring an untapped labor resource: child labor. He tried to clarify his comment calling child labor laws “stupid” in a recent interview with The Washington Post, while refusing to back away from his statement and idea.

Newt said he was not advocating restructuring child labor laws or suggesting children drop out of school to become janitors. “I’m talking about working children (age 9-14) about 20 hours a week and being empowered to succeed.” “The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in their schools, they’d begin the process of rising.” Foolproof, Newt!

Gingrich, however, repeated the idea yesterday in his meeting with the “Donald”, saying that replacing unionized janitors with students would be “dramatically less expensive.” Is anyone surprised that the leading Republican presidential candidate would create new ideas to exploit child labor while striking a blow against good paying jobs for Americans? Amazing how Republicans just keep protecting the rich and corporations while they dismantle the working middle class.

Federal guidelines state that minors aged 14 and 15 generally may not work more than 18 hours a week when school is in session, and no more than 3 hours per day when school is in session. Some states have stricter limits.

“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid,” said the former House speaker Friday at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. “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.” He also said, “Poor kids have idea how to work, stay on the job all day and make an honest living. They are use to making money illegal ways.”

Newt’s gross generalization of the poor and struggling middle class shows how out of touch Mr. Gingrich is with reality. He makes $60,000 for an hour speech while the poor single mother’s of these poor kids’ works three jobs for minimum wage and a wage of 20,000 a year. This is the typical attitude of the out of touch 1% who has no clue of the struggle of the working middle class and poor.

It is troubling that Republican presidential candidates continue to support wing-nut ideas. But if it wins favor with their rich friends, what a great strategy, destroy the “high wages” standard of living of the middle class while paying poor kids to perform “low wage” child labor. What better way to continue the attack on organized labor while addressing the issue of what to do with those poor kids. We could always use poor kids as replacement workers for Republican union busting efforts. Really?




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