Child Labor Applauded By Audience During Republican Debate In Iowa

The audiences at GOP debates this year have told us many things about the Republican Party. In the last few debates, Republican crowds have cheered for letting a sick uninsured man die, booed a gay soldier, and cheered wildly for executions. During the GOP debate at Drake University in Iowa on Saturday night, the audience once again made their feelings known by cheering for child labor.

Newt Gingrich has been calling for an end to child labor laws. He thinks poor children should work part-time as well as go to school and has suggested that even children as young as five years old should be put to work. Gingrich has even stated that children should replace New York City janitors. Gingrich used that same talking point again during the debate while talking about child labor laws. Here’s the quote, courtesy of ABC.

“I think every person up here worked at a young age. What I suggested was kids ought to be able to work part time in schools, particularly in the poorest neighborhoods. If you take one half of the New York janitors, who are paid more than the teachers. An entry-level janitor gets paid twice as much as an entry-level teacher. You take half those janitors, you could give lots of poor kids a work experience in the cafeteria, in the school library, in the front office, in a lot of different things. I’ll stand by the idea young people ought to learn how to work.”

Once Gingrich finished, the Republican audience broke into cheers. It would seem that they too, want children to work from the age of five to adulthood.

Here’s the video.

The problem with children working is that they are easily manipulated and if you put them to work only part-time, employers don’t have to pay for health insurance and other benefits that full-time adult workers get. Also, once children grow up, why would businesses hire them when they can just put the next generation of children to work? It also puts a strain on education that kids desperately need. When do Republicans think kids can work? Unless these kids work really early in the morning or late at night, the only other option is during the school day. And when will they have time to learn or do homework? Adults have a hard enough time juggling school and work, we shouldn’t be making kids do it. Republican want to weaken education and acquire a cheap labor force. That’s the only reason why they want to eliminate child labor laws.