Gingrich: Laws preventing child labor are 'truly stupid'
November 19th, 2011
07:38 PM ET
9 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. Alina1

    It is tragic letting Newt to hold the microphone, so much stupidity coming from him while making millions on it, that you wonder in sanity of Americans.

    November 19, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. DarthRandall

    Please sir, may I have some more?

    November 19, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. operaman

    This could work! The poor can attend the same classes, but after lunch they can clear the plates for the rich kids. After school, when the rich kids are studying and advancing their opportunities for a great career, the poor kids can stay late and mop the floors. In Gingrich's world this all works out. This will prepare the poor kids for a minimum wage career later in life – taking care of rich people. The poor stay poor (or die), and the rich get richer. Everyone remains in their proper economic station in life. Newt for President!

    November 19, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. pmk1953

    I had a paper route at 11. That was MY choice. I don't think any kid wants to be a janitor for their school while attending class there. Next he'll be saying that children can be hired to dig ditches, too. Probably only wants to pay the kids 50 cents an hour or less also.

    November 19, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. Stacey

    Yep Newtie – get rid of unionized janitors and hire slave labor in the form of poor black and latino children. That's the future for the poor – slavery, again.

    November 19, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. Joan

    I wish I could trust Newt to really care for 'poor ' kids!! I do not!! By firing the union janitors and giving their jobs to 'poor kids' I see slave labor for the kids and loss of jobs for the janitors!! I don't trust Newt on any issue except to be the Snake he is!!

    November 19, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  7. ED FL

    PS!! Boehner cleaned up his fathers bar when he was a kid. Look how he turned out. The worst speaker of the house ever [at least since Ginhrich] only Boehner has earned his failure by putting the screws to the AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE GUIDINGAND HELPING instead oof hiring stooges to prey on the civil rights of legitimate protestors. Hopefully he will be gone back to bar cleaning in the 2012 melection.

    November 19, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. Alan

    So, instead of both parents working to keep a roof over their family's head, it's going to be just like when my grandparents were kids. "Sorry junior, i would love for you to go to school and learn something, but i need you to go to work instead." With no one in school, it makes it easier for the republicans to have their canon fodder for their next big oil war.

    November 19, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  9. bigjilm

    You're a fool, Newt. There are no laws that say children can't run paper routes. I myself ran paper routes, bailed hay, and did yard work w/o these phantom menace union masters trying to stop it. These kids today can also legally run a paper route, do yardwork, etc.

    I know you can't wait to exploit children in your buddy's coal mines, but you should really try a different phantom menace.

    November 19, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  10. hope

    Reminds of his orphanage recommendation for poor kids back in the 90's. Remarkable...

    November 19, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  11. kurtinco

    Great idea. Let's replace adult jobs with under privileged students and continue to perpetuate divisions among economic classes between students AND by eliminating more jobs for adults. I love republicans. They have the most awesomest ideas. (Note: grammar and spelling checkers need not reply)

    November 19, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. Jason D

    He wants adults to work to 80, take away their pensions, take away their healthcare, welfare, education and make the kids start work at 9 years old...this man is a monster...make him work, take all his money off him and give him back his dignity, if he feels working hard makes the man then siting on his ass taking millions for dumb advice that a $5 hotdog vendor could give, maybe he should try working for a living instead of trying to take america back into the age of dickens, workhouses, poor house, slave labor, debtors prison and contract labor.

    This man stoops to the lowest leavels anyone could stoop from adulterer to workhouse bully...."HUMBUG!"

    November 19, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  13. Alan

    unbelievably out of touch with reality.....maybe he would like a few minority kids cleaning his about his shoes...? What a fool....

    November 19, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Dan

    Taking away full-time hours, sometimes with benefits, from poorer parents with children. What a short-sighted moron, but we knew this 12 years ago.

    November 19, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  15. Doug

    Yes, that's right. Child labor laws are stupid. Now you tell us Newt. What were we thinking all this time? These little ingrates should have the opportunity to work after hours in the same schools that they'll be attending a few short hours after their shifts end. They just need to buck up and figure out when they'll get their homework done and they'll need to realize that time for character-building extracurricular activities are for the haves not for the have nots. And maybe the fact that their parents are no longer allowed to earn a decent wage as janitors will supplant the value of extracurricular stuff anyway-mom and dad not having a job will surely help to build even more character. Thanks for the lesson Newtie!

    November 19, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. Matthew

    So many issues raised here...instilling a work ethic in children is a very important lesson. But Mr. Gringrich has made me uneasy with this proposal. He's willing to eliminate a union and replace at least some of the workers with children. He also seems to limit this to the people of lower socio economic status. He seems to imply that this lesson needed only by the poor, and thus by extension, a chils is poor, and grows up to be a poor adult because they have no work ethic. Work ethic is instilled by the parents, priviledged or not. Being divisive and elitist is no way to being America together.

    November 19, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. This sounds familiar!!!

    Poor neighborhoods... Single "Master" janitor... Child labor... This sounds awfully familiar...

    November 19, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. matrix09

    Yes Newt, lets break the back of those unions with child labor. Them kids don't need no education, especialy in your world were they would all be slaves anyway. You're truly stupid Gingich, and the only ones any denser are the ones who follow you.Lets get those sweat shops back workin again Newt, you and your bro's could make a bundle off of that huh? It's hard to beleive human being come as disgusting as this animal.

    November 19, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  19. Kathy

    Why didn't he just come out and say it....slave labor..what an ass.

    November 19, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  20. Meta

    Lol.. Kids can't even clean their own rooms so what makes you think they will clean their own school.

    November 19, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  21. Mike

    Sure, Newt, you say pay them but if the time comes (it won't), you will just make them do it for nothing.

    November 19, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. Bubba

    Our children have the "job" of going to school for an education, not to clean the schools. The Newster is a complete idiot.

    November 19, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  23. borisjimbo

    Shouldn't the poor kids especially be studying instead of working so they have a chance at a better future?

    November 19, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. jimmy

    this is wrong in so many ways, I don't even know where to start,

    November 19, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. William dodge

    So the rich kids could laugh at the poor kids lets Creat more rich bully's

    November 19, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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