In a speech at Harvard, Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich suggested replacing union janitors at inner city school with the children who attend the school. He called laws that prevent children from working before the age of 14-16 “totally stupid.” He did not say what restrictions – if any – he would put on child labor.
What Gingrich doesn’t consider is how many adults his plan would throw on the street. He claims to be doing what is best for the children. Looked at more clearly, his real target seems to be public union employees who have been the targets of Republican governors across the U.S.
This proposal is foul on two levels. First, it seeks to make children workers rather than learners. Second, it would increase unemployment and income inequality he claims to want to lower by putting adults, many of whom are supporting children, on the streets. This solution would make the problem worse.
Gingrich has long been one of the most cynical politicians in the U.S. With this “modest” proposal, he has reached a new low.