Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, the present frontrunner in some polls for the Republican Presidential nomination, has come out for the revival of child labor for children under the age of 14-16, as a way to promote the work ethic and earn some money.
Suggesting that younger children be employed to clean the schools they attend, replacing union employed janitors, Gingrich said it would promote pride in their schools and encourage learning for poor children. He called the present child labor laws, passed in 1938 under the Fair Labor Standards Act, “stupid”!
Imagine this, after a century of child labor laws, first passed on the national level under President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the 1920s, and then finally established under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Newt Gingrich wants to go back to the days of children younger than 14 working and supporting their families, which aged them rapidly, caused dropouts from school, and denied them their childhood to have fun, to learn, to play, to grow up, before going to work as mid teenagers.
It has been shown that many high school students who work do poorly in school, and often drop out at age 16 or 17 without graduating high school, which just guarantees low income and poverty for the long haul of their lives.
Newt Gingrich stands for the “sweat labor” conditions of factories and mines in Great Britain and the United States, before social justice brought about the idea that children under 14 should not be acting as if they were adults, and should be encouraged to get an education.
While it is true that work never hurt anyone, it is outrageous and disgraceful that we should be advocating a return to the 19th century and early 20th century of the Industrial Age in the 21st century!
Have we come this far to go backwards and make for a class of poor children who will, effectively, be “serfs” for our schools, and making far less than the minimum wage?
It is obscene that Gingrich would have the gall to propose such a harsh idea, particularly for one who has never known what it is to work hard, other than to bloviate ad infinitum about his own virtues, and to make a career of promoting division and turmoil in his quest for wealth and attention from the American people!