Monday, December 5, 2011

Gingrich criticism shows disdain for working class

    Let’s get something straigt. America’s child labor laws are truly stupid. Children ought to be able to work a few hours a week. It’s good for them and good for society.
    Newt Gingrich, of course, has been coming under fire for saying exactly this. In explaining his position he explained that poor children might be offered jobs working at school, such as helping in the office or assisting the janitor in cleaning the bathrooms.
    Needless to say, the liberals are up in arms. Bathrooms! They say any suggestion of any jobs for children other than that of president of the Coca-Cola Company is demeaning and will subject the children holding these jobs to ridicule. Note that no one is talking about forcing these children to work, only about allowing them to work if they wish to.
    I took over my brother’s afternoon paper route either at age 9 or on my 10th birthday. I remember my horror shortly after noon on Christmas 1970 when my older brother walked into the house with an air of satisfaction and said, “I picked up your papers for you.” I never dreamed there would be paper delivery on Christmas Day!
    I survived. When the weather was truly bad my mother would make my brother drive me on my route, or else she drove me herself. So I didn’t suffer, but I did sometimes get rained on. The notion that allowing children to work will kill them is just a giant load of, well.... But the average liberal today would never allow such a job.
    My paper-route job was actually part of a job chain. My brother had the route before me, and before him Franklin Harrison, and before him Don Dent. I don’t know who had it before him. Each of these three graduated from the paper route to shining shoes at Mr. Walker’s Barber Shop, and then to a job a Peel’s Drug Store. I retired after the paper route, but my brother followed the job chain.
    That meant he shined shoes at Mr. Walker’s Barber Shop. At the end of the day he was expected to sweep and mop, and as I recall was not paid one penny. His services were considered rent payment for the right to shine shoes in the store.
    Imagine, if you will, that Newt Gingrich were to suggest that a poor person might take a job at a barber shop shining shoes. “Shining shoes? How demeaning.” “Sweeping without pay? Slave labor!” You can bet if the liberals had their way jobs like shining shoes at Mr. Walker’s Barber Shop would simply no longer be available (and in fact they aren’t, as people don’t go to barbers much, anymore).
    The outrage of liberals over Gingrich’s comments demonstrates for me the disdain these people have for the working class. These people claim to represent the working class, yet they are outraged over the notion that a student might work as a janitor’s assistant to earn a few extra dollars. The idea of janitorial work is so repugnant to them that they can’t imagine that any person, student or otherwise, would want to do it. This is work Americans Won’t Do; that’s why liberals want to import so many illegal immigrants, which of course drives down wages to make sure that such work is work that American’s Won’t Do.
    I happen to like Newt Gingrich, but I recognize that those who dislike him are not without grounds. It boils down to having a different vision for America.
    Make no mistake, I’d rather be a brain surgeon than a school janitor. And I’d be more than happy to put America’s schoolchildren to work assisting brain surgeons, if they are able. But if not, perhaps they can assist the school janitor, instead.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Alan Grayson campaign ad.

I will contribute to Orlando's Alan Grayson's campaign. I did not know that he was seeking re-election.

You do know that he is a Huey P. Long admirer and is closest to the Kingfish that we have in Congress, now that Jim Traficant is in retireemnt.

Ignatius said...

I watched "Up" with Chris Hayes on MSNBC this weekend. He and his panel could be described as "liberal." Newt's quotes came up for discussion, and I agreed with them every step of the way. We do need child labor laws, and the ones that we do have allow most children to work to some degree. So, let's keep the laws in place. Check this table and tell me that it is burdensome, Colonel:

The only criticism that the panel had was that the children work as janitors. Why? Because it's actually dangerous work. The chemicals involved (ammonia, bleach). Think that they were blowing that out of proportion? I know an adult who mixed the two and ended up having to have weeks of breathing treatments.

The panel actually agreed that Newt has a good point about putting kids to work; he just chose the wrong job in which to employ them.

Try not to paint "liberals" with such broad strokes, Colonel. It weakens your argument. We do have brains. We don't all take the opposite point of view just be contrary. And many of us, like you, worked hard as youngsters and learned a great value from it.

And Michelle Bachmann called your guy Newt a "frugal socialist" on Morning Joe this morning! Priceless ...

Col. Reb Sez said...


I agree that sometimes "liberal" and "conservative" and used with too broad a brush. After Gingrich made his comment all of the liberal sites I visited were full of comments vilifying him for wanting to put kids to work as "janitors." These comments had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with the low status of the job.

Being a janitor's ASSISTANT need not be dangerous at all. We're talking about helping to sweep the floors, empty the trash, or mop the floor with cleaning solutions that are kept in a cleaning closet under control of the janitor. Kids can mix bleach and ammonia at home just as well at school. Let's face it, when the teacher used to send me to clean the blackboard erasers I was technically doing "janitorial" work.

I'm glad the panel at least partially took up for Gingrich. Gingrich has pointed out that in some neighborhoods nobody works. This infuriates certain elements who see it as a broadside against the working poor, which it is not. It's a reality that we need to face and deal with.

According to this website,
Children age 13 and under under federal law may:
You can deliver newspapers.
You can work as a baby-sitter.
You can work as an actor or performer in motion pictures, television, theater or radio.
You can work in a business solely owned or operated by your parents.

To me the above seems a pretty limited list. Not talking about working these kids to death, just a chance for them to work a few hours a week to get the feel of it and earn some ice cream money.

Ignatius said...

I like the idea of the government making funds available for youth to make a few dollars and learn the value of work at the same time. I guess as long as we can get the kids covered under worker's comp then they can help the janitor out.

It won't create many jobs, though. Two adult janitors can cover a school of hundreds. But I guess we can hire some to help the librarian and a few to keep the grounds clean. I would like to see older students hired to tutor younger students. I've seen a program that did just that and all measurements were positive.

It's funny, though, I don't see parents - liberal or conservative - making their children get jobs, at least not like they used to. (My siblings and I were not given a choice.)

As an employer, it's the first thing that I look at on a resume. I don't care if it was McDonald's or being a janitor's helper, I have great respect (and give additional consideration to) any applicant who worked as a teen.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the Germanic Menonites are going to take the "English" meddling in and taxing their businesses, preaching to them on moraliy and ethics and all the while cheering their own lads as heroes as they march off to occupy more foreign lands and spread their bloodlust through out the Arab world.

According to the UN's own reports, over 600,000 Iraqi infants and children died as a direct result of the UN-imposed Starvation Sanctions imposed upon Iraq after George H. W. Bush's 1991 terror bombing campaign.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annon went on to win Norway's Nobel Peace Prize in spite of the horrific slaughter of innocent civilians that occurred under his watch.

Dag Hammarskjold must be still rolling in his grave.

Anonymous said...

Let's put an end to the myth and hyperbole that the US ruling class cares about the children.
Do you really think that a former US Attorney General and son of a former member of the SCOTUS could speak freely on the campus of Ole Miss?

I don't think so.

Col. Reb Sez said...


There is no question middle-class children work less today. In fact, they do spend more time on "programmed" activities today, and there seems to be more school work.

I talked to my brother today, and we were allowed to walk to ride our bikes to the "Square" at the age of six. We had to push across the streets and stay on the sidewalks, but the town belonged to us. And this was 30 years before cell phones.

I think we are viewed as permissive because we allow our kids the free roam of Oxford. The only rule is that they carry their cell phone. They tend to forget the phone, but they rarely roam. Neither of them has ever taken the bus anywhere, even though I have ridden it with them to show them how it works. You would think a sixth and seventh grader might want to go to Wal-Mart or something on their own, but no.

Different world.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the 600,000 dead Iraqi "children" caused by the UN Starvation Sanctions should read "infants and toddlers".--- defined by the UN as children under five years of age.

So, the total is probably much higher when the totals include those that were killed by air attacks and artillery barages on places like like Fallujah, the City of Mosques.