And It Begins

Newt Gingrich may not be my first choice this primary season, but I have a sinking feeling that left-wingers are going to help me get over whatever reservations I may have.  Newt is getting hammered for comments he made yesterday:

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” the former House speaker said at a campaign event at the Nationwide Insurance offices. “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.”

Gingrich lately has been unspooling an urban policy, beginning with his comments at Harvard University last month when he discussed child labor laws. “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods,” Gingrich said then, “entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.”

Children in poor neighborhoods, he said, should be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools to earn money and develop a connection to the school.

Yes, what an absolutely crazy notion – allowing kids to develop a work ethic early in life.  I mean it’s not like we’ve trained an entire generation of people to just simply expect handouts:

“Somebody needs to be held accountable, and they need to pay.”

But yes, let’s attack Newt Gingrich for suggesting that young people develop work skills at an early age.

I also wonder how many socially “moderate,” economically “conservative” types will see this video and grasp that inconsistency.  Maybe Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint have a point after all.

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Dante alighieri


  1. The problem with his remarks is that slum populations thirty years ago were a jumble, containing low-wage workers, episodic dole recipients, elderly pensioners, and the chronic welfare and career criminal population. (In the intervening years, the number enrolled in the principal long-term dole for the working-aged (AFDC/TANF) has declined by about two-thirds). There are a great many people in the slums who have not properly and truly entered into adult life. However, it is wrong to speak as if no one there has a proper job (though that may be nearly true in certain housing projects).

  2. “Children in poor neighborhoods, he said, should be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools to earn money and develop a connection to the school.”

    Having hired people do this work is a fairly recent innovation historically speaking. Prior to World War II many schools would have teachers supervise kids in cleaning schools. Minor repairs were often done by students or their parents.

  3. But, but, if kids do some very minor work as early as high school, how will they prepare to do nothing when they hit college?!?!?! What on earth will happen if they get the idea they should work for what they get?


    It bucks the recent flow of history, but I like the idea of making it easier for kids to work. It is a mindset, and it is getting less common.

  4. Parts of what Newt said about welfare should divide Republicans. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/fact-checking-newt-gingrichs-food-stamps-claims/

    “So more Americans now get food stamps therefore and we now give it away as cash. You don’t get food stamps. You get a credit card and the credit card can be used for anything. We’ve had people take their food stamp money and use it to go to Hawaii. And you know, they give food stamps now to millionaires.”

    Food stamps is a stupid program. People will buy food without you having to police them. Sure, they may buy other stuff too which is actually great. We don’t want people buying food they don’t need. Food stamps is an obesity promotion program. Just give them cash like Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan wanted to do. I might entertain a more paternalistic welfare program when children are involved though.

    As for food stamps for millionaires. It’s happened and it’s legal because eligibility for government programs is usually determined by income, not assets. Do you want a new government bureaucracy auditing assets?

    I do like the the Gingrich make-work program to give people the dignity of work in exchange for welfare. I have suggested the same thing on this blog and it has been discussed (I think it was DarwinCatholic who posted it) and dismissed by most here. Now that Gingrich supports it, it’s taken more seriously. Just goes to show that sometimes perception matters more than policy.

  5. I washed dishes and scrubbed floors at the Country Club in my small town all through high school. They paid me the princely sum of a $1.15 per hour, I was allowed to do my homework in slow periods and they fed me a good meal each night. I saved up $3,000.00 for college which was a considerable sum in 1975. I probably learned more that helped me in my future life from that job than in all in my high school courses combined. Before I entered high school I worked at detasseling corn and rogueing corn.

  6. Won’t help.

    The weak link – the common denominator – is in that “community” the two parent, father and mother family doesn’t exist.

    I blame Bush.

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