Monday, November 21, 2011

Gingrich Says Child Labor Laws Should Be Rolled Back So Kids Can Be Janitors

TPM reported, Gingrich: Roll Back Child Labor Laws. Here's the whole post, "New frontrunner Gingrich says child labor laws are a major cause of growing economic inequality. His first suggestion: fire unionized janitors and have kids do the clean-up."

Sounds pretty stupid on it's face, but follow the links and you find this slightly more detailed report, Newt: Fire the janitors, hire kids to clean schools.

"You say to somebody, you shouldn't go to work before you're what, 14, 16 years of age, fine. You're totally poor. You're in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I've tried for years to have a very simple model," he said. "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 added, "You go out and talk to people, as I do, you go out and talk to people who are really successful in one generation. They all started their first job between nine and 14 years of age. They all were either selling newspapers, going door to door, they were doing something, they were washing cars."

"They all learned how to make money at a very early age," he said. "What do we say to poor kids in poor neighborhoods? Don't do it. Remember all that stuff about don't get a hamburger flipping job? The worst possible advice you could give to poor children. Get any job that teaches you to show up on Monday. Get any job that teaches you to stay all day even if you are in a fight with your girlfriend. The whole process of making work worthwhile is central."

Now that sounds a little more reasonable, at least something you could discuss. Though if the child labor laws are so tough, I'm not sure how these successful people managed to get their first job at 9-14. Maybe there are some jobs for kids. Though again, that "stay all day" stuff might interfere with school. Yeah, maybe when you look at his comments in a little more depth, they do sound pretty stupid even if they're wrapped around something that almost kinda wants to sound reasonable.

1 comment:

The Dad said...

Hmm...well, I'm not really against the idea of kids doing the cleanup in schools in some situations, but in more well-to-do suburbs I could see that being the start of a bullying issue. For example, our school district plays host to a wide variety of income level families, and I could see "the poor kids" getting picked on by "the rich kids" because they have to clean school bathrooms. Situations like that could be really messy. Oh, and I'm not saying the rich kids shouldn't take part in the cleaning, I just know that would never happen. There'd be a lot of "no way MY son's going to be cleaning toilets!" going on. Just sayin'.

As for the concept of getting a job at a younger age, I'm all for it. Kids these days (even my own) are way too entitled. I got my first job around 14, working under the table for a carpet store, helping to do installations and move inventory. It was real work (them carpets are heavy) and I enjoyed it. It taught me the benefits of hard work and the value of money. The store was owned by family friends, and they would often take me boating over the summer for being an all-around good kid. Of course, not every kid can end up with such an ideal situation.