Like our current President, Newt is also, by profession, an academic, being a professor of American history.
He sure knows his stuff.
Ever since the 2010 Midterm campaign, I've been hearing scary stories of various state legislatures in the Midwest and, I imagine, the South, trying to scrap child labour laws, at least on a state level. One state, allegedly, has no problems with twelve year-olds flipping burgers or climbing up chimneys.
But Newt has just proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that this Republican party, the mainstream part of it which Newt represents, wants to return to veritable Dickensian times. Like the late great Joe Bageant always maintained, the Republicans now are wanting to create a generation of under-educated or uneducated peasants, which will breed even more peasants, to keep the workforce massive and lowly paid.
Make public education as difficult to achieve as possible, even phase it out, if you have to do so, and just give us a drone workforce, who'll work as much as possible for as little as possible and under any condition.
In a speech Friday at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Newt killed two bugaboo birds with one stone, busting unions and helping student unemployment along the way. From CNN:-
Newt Gingrich proposed a plan Friday that would allow poor children to clean their schools for money, saying such a setup would both allow students to earn income and endow them with a strong work ethic.
Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the former House Speaker said his system would be an improvement on current child labor laws, which he called "truly stupid."
"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid," Gingrich said. "Saying to people you shouldn't go to work before you're 14, 16. You're totally poor, you're in a school that's failing with a teacher that's failing."
Gingrich then proposed a system he said would help those students rise from poverty.
"I tried for years to have a very simple model. These schools should get rid of unionized janitors, have one master janitor, pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work; they'd have cash; they'd have pride in the schools. They'd begin the process of rising."
Gingrich pointed to successful acquaintances as examples of the benefits of beginning a job early in life.
"Go out and talk to people who are really successful in one generation," Gingrich said. "They all started their first job at 9 to 14 years of age. They are selling newspapers, going door to door, washing cars. They were all making money at a very young age. What do we say to poor kids in poor neighborhoods? Don't do it. Remember all the stuff about not getting a hamburger-flipping job? Worst possible advice to give the poor children."
Gingrich said his idea would be "making work worthwhile" for children.
That's right. First, bust the unionised janitors who professionally clean schools; then make the poorest students in the school do the janitor's job - which includes replacing fixtures and fittings, general repair, heating maintenance, grounds clearance. Janitors start early at schools and leave late, but -hey - these kids will be grateful.
Ron Paul condones this, and you know if someone as mainstream as Newt likes this, then you know Mitt's not going to be off-base with it either.
The idea is to keep the poor - black, white and brown - firmly in their place, with dead-end jobs at dead-end wages. On the back of this is sure to come a dismantling of the minimum wage, amongst other things.
My father left school at the end of his sixth grade year and was working for peanuts at twelve, still a child; but that was during the Depression. I guess that's the good old days to Newt.