Gingrich: Laws preventing child labor are 'truly stupid'
November 19th, 2011
07:38 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich: Laws preventing child labor are 'truly stupid'

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich proposed a plan Friday that would allow poor children to clean their schools for money, saying such a setup would both allow students to earn income and endow them with a strong work ethic.

Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the former House Speaker said his system would be an improvement on current child labor laws, which he called "truly stupid."

"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid," Gingrich said. "Saying to people you shouldn't go to work before you're 14, 16. You're totally poor, you're in a school that's failing with a teacher that's failing."

Gingrich then proposed a system he said would help those students rise from poverty.

"I tried for years to have a very simple model. These schools should get rid of unionized janitors, have one master janitor, pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work; they'd have cash; they'd have pride in the schools. They'd begin the process of rising."

Gingrich pointed to successful acquaintances as examples of the benefits of beginning a job early in life.

"Go out and talk to people who are really successful in one generation," Gingrich said. "They all started their first job at 9 to 14 years of age. They are selling newspapers, going door to door, washing cars. They were all making money at a very young age. What do we say to poor kids in poor neighborhoods? Don't do it. Remember all the stuff about not getting a hamburger-flipping job? Worst possible advice to give the poor children."

Gingrich said his idea would be "making work worthwhile" for children.

Filed under: 2012 • Jobs • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (528 Responses)
  1. Charlie from the North

    Would they make minimum wage? Or do you consider that stupid as well? Newt you may be the smartest of the field of candidates but you are the meanest SOB's in the current Republican field. I hope you enjoy your 15 minutes as front runner pal. If ,God forbid, you get elected, you will need a big storage unit somewhere because you have way too much baggage to be President.

    November 20, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. annie s

    Republican rule – first have kids clean schools, then put them back in the sweat shops. Obama Biden 2012, for America's sake.

    November 20, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. Ron

    No Newt. What's truly stupid are the things you say and believe! You know darn well child labor laws are not in place to prevent kids from mowing lawns, babysitting, or washing cars!! It's amazing how stupid you are, particularly when you get a bounce in the polls. I guess it's Rick Perry's turn to play flavor of the week. You guys are an embarassment to the GOP. ALL of you should just disappear. Go live in a cave someplace where you can have your way with 9-14 yr olds. I will NEVER vote for an idiot like you.

    November 20, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22