Child Labor Applauded By Audience During Republican Debate In Iowa

Author: December 11, 2011 2:04 pm

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.


facebook comments:


  • Let’s not get this confused. This is Newt’s idea not everyone’s. I worked in the tobacco fields starting at the age of six years over the summer months (this was my choice and not my parents). I purchased my own school clothes (or I could have let mama make them) and I was very proud of myself. However, in that day and time we got up early and worked the gardens (that were really fields), ate, got dressed and waited on the school bus. Got home at 5 p.m. (because we rode the bus) and did chores. There was little homework in that day, we did our learning at school. The proudest day of my life was when I made enough money in tobacco that I was able to buy a t.v. for my bedroom. of course, we made $6.00 a day and $3.00 a half day as a hander. Today, kids socialize at school and do their work at home so, this life just don’t work anymore. hmmmmmm….wonder what changed. Greed, selfishness, well, that is a good start.

  • This is the party of the religious right? Just one more example of the disconnect between religion and morality.

  • The first sentence of your second paragraph I think should read, “Newt Gingrich has been calling for an end to child labor LAWS”. I’m tempted to say you can put them to work just as soon as you unionize them. Though I have to say, asking kids to clean up some of their own messes at school wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing.

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