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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Newt Gingrich earned the loudest applause of the night during Monday’s Republican debate when he repeated his absurd, profoundly misleading argument that students should replace unionized janitors in schools.

Gingrich first advanced his controversial argument in November, when he told an audience at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that child labor laws were “extraordinarily stupid,” and that he would fire janitors and pay the students to clean schools instead. Two weeks later, he told an Iowa crowd that

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

Then last night, when moderator Juan Williams asked Gingrich if he understood how his comments could be viewed as insulting, Gingrich doubled down on his position.

“New York City pays their janitors an absurd amount of money because of the union. You could take one janitor and hire 30-some kids to work in the school for the price of one janitor, and those 30 kids would be a lot less likely to drop out. They would actually have money in their pocket. They’d learn to show up for work. They could do light janitorial duty. They could work in the cafeteria. They could work in the front office. They could work in the library. They’d be getting money, which is a good thing if you’re poor. Only the elites despise earning money.

Putting aside Gingrich’s laughable assertion that “only the elites despise earning money” — which makes one wonder whether having a $1,000,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s makes Gingrich elite, and whether he himself despises earning money — Gingrich’s claim about New York janitors is flat out wrong.

  • GoodGuyNY

    Do you really believe that he was referring to small, elementary school age children? I am pretty sure he was referring to High School students where the average starting age is 14. 14 is when most “kids” get working papers anyway so they can get some kind of part time job. Gee, you liberals really like to spin things.

  • MsTerry of FL

    OK< the kids get the janitor's jobs. That leaves the janitors unemployed doesn't it? It'll leave the janitors needing unemployment & food stamps for their families won't it? Come on Newty get real.

  • terango.lf

    Capitalism at its best. Just like you can hire three or four illegals for every two citizens at the same price.
    My father worked in a glass factory at eight years old, as a result of this, he never learned to read or write. Myself began doing odd-jobs for money at about eight years old and then a paper route at 11 yrs old. From age 13 I worked for legitament buisnesses till I was through with high school. I would bet that 80% of the occupational duties that I performed, would now be forbiden for minors to do because of liability issues.
    I would also add that I used to follow our one eyed school janitor Mr. Dean and help him clean up our athletic fields, sweep and mop floors. All for free, just because I wanted to. It wouldn’t be allowed now.

  • MimiHigham

    He said 9 yrs olds should start doing that, I backed up my DVR to make sure I heard him right. Last I knew kids still erased the used to be blackboard now the marker board. and had to pick up anything that was on the floor before school let out. Kids worked in the office as aids during study hall, lunch that is usually split schedules and kids would miss class, not exceptable. But paying these kids no, school is their job as it is my job to earn our living. I’m not going to let my 9yr old work and where do you draw the line, if they are allowed to work at school why not a factory? Someone is feeding their family on this persons wages and i’m going to send my child poor or not, in a work force for pennies so Newtor Mitt can make more money I think not. Stupid stupid idea. You guys send your kids or grandkids to work but not mine.

  • dpaano

    If we can’t pay our teachers a decent salary to teach our children skills….how does Newt want to fund putting children to work as janitors? And, if you lay off all the janitors and pay the children to do their work….how much will it cost in unemployment benefits, etc. for the unemployed janitor? Seems to me, with some intelligence, anyone could see that the cost of replacing a janitor with a bunch of children (who should be concentrating on learning so they can get DECENT jobs when they graduate) is more than what they want to pay the students! Personally, I think they should spend MORE money on teachers, smaller classrooms, decent books, etc. before they start worrying about replacing janitors! Newt is so ridiculous it isn’t even funny! Just another Republican idiot!

  • patricia wiseman

    Don’t we have high enough unemployment? Is he for real the best way for children to learn about money is from watching their parents work. As we have exported are manufacturing jobs overseas and hire illegals to work in the trades all that’s left is mopping up and he wants to make the kids do that. I see a basic plan here he doesn’t want to pay any more than pernuts for anything so that he can keep his money.

  • freethinker

    Critics of Newt’s child working comments need to get a grip. It is certainly plain to anyone who looks that too many of our children are being trained into an entitlement society. He is trying to provoke you into thinking about a possible way to create doers not takers. Most of us who are over 50 all started working in one way or another at early ages. Farm kids certainly started working at very early ages. The most successful people I know were doing jobs for money during their grade school years. If you don’t want your kids or grandkids to learn the value of work and money, so be it, but I would bet the odds are that they will ultimately be working for someone who did learn to work as a kid.

  • Epicatastasis

    First of all, as an infection control specialist and a concerned citizen for the environment, being a good, safe and effective janitor is not an easy job—not if you do it right–requires training and discipline. In our world, there are no unimportant jobs and all are important. Having recently suffered lost luggage on an airline reminded me of that. Seeing a family member cheated by a bad remodeler, having a bad haircut, car mechanic problems—-all very stressful. I no longer encourage people to chase the Bitch Goddess Success but to see how, in a incredibly complex and interconnected world, to reach for excellence in any job and for us to respect all jobs and workers.

  • Epicatastasis

    First of all, as an infection control specialist and a concerned citizen for the environment, being a good, safe and effective janitor is not an easy job—not if you do it right–requires training and discipline. In our world, there are no unimportant jobs and all are important. Having recently suffered lost luggage on an airline reminded me of that. Seeing a family member cheated by a bad remodeler, having a bad haircut, car mechanic problems—-all very stressful. I no longer encourage people to chase the Bitch Goddess Success but to see how, in a incredibly complex and interconnected world, to reach for excellence in any job and for us to respect all jobs and workers.

  • JimMorrell

    As a 12 year old, I got my first job mopping floors, washing windows and cleaning public restrooms. It bought my 1st motor scooter at 14. As I grew, my jobs got better, and I bought my 1st car, and went to the University of Southern California. Today, those jobs have been stolen by illegal alliens. Deport them, and give the jobs back to America’s youth. Make the United States strong once more!

  • ChrisSchultz

    This is the Right’s grab to kill two birds with one stone, destroy janitors’ unions and eliminate child labor laws. It reminds me of a Demotivational poster, showing two children, both apparently under 12, standing barefoot on an industrial loom. The caption read: “If you don’t believe in free enterprise, remember, before the government got involved, these kids had jobs.” And that’s how it would be with Newt’s janitorial kiddie corps. I don’t care if they’re 9 or 19, I don’t want an untrained, and immature person handling a boiler or attempting to clean a heating, air conditioning and ventilation system.

  • 1olderbutwiser1

    Newt’s idea is a really good one, regarding janitors. These responses show the fear of educated rivals among union members. It takes about a month to learn how boiler systems work, but of course the highly paid unionized education system overall, would take 4 years to teach something as simple as a boiler system. About 6 months of education to understand and implement repairs of, all the systems one may find in larger buildings. The muscle strength to do some repairs requires adult strength. A sharp 12-year old can himself instruct the muscular guy what to do. He only has to know left from right, and read numbers to about 200. Unions, particularly public employee unions, have screwed this countey royally. Newt is of course not talking about 12 year old airline pilots or air traffic controllers…..but simple chores…..and you who want to deny youth the fruits of meaningful efforts, are voicing your failure to be responsible adults. I’ll tell you though, most of these fearful-of-brains people are nonetheless reasonably good spellers.

  • dfrosenzweig

    I’ve heard of idiotic ideas for providing more jobs to the economy, but never one as stupid as this one. Did he ever hear of chld slavery, or learn that there still is such a thing as minimum wage? Does he think about the fact that if these kids were to work at their ages for income, living in low-income, inner-city neighbothoods, that they would become the breadwinners of their homes, and the parents who could work and pay taxes will continue to be lazt and not do so? I sure hope Newt one day learns to think before he speaks – especially to society at large.

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