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Gingrich's poverty solution: Pay poor kids to be janitors

Gingrich's poverty solution: Pay poor kids to be janitors



Republican presidential hopeful and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks to a crowd at a Hilton Hotel on November 25, 2011 in Naples, Florida. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A few weeks ago in an appearance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said: "It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid." The former Speaker then went on to propose that in poor neighborhoods, the "schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school." Poverty solved.

Gingrich was thought to be a longshot for the Republican presidential nomination. His campaign was in its infancy when his campaign manager and other key aides abruptly and unexpectedly quit back in June, leaving pundits to wonder whether he could manage to recover and be a true contender.


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And he wasn't -- as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney became the front-runner, followed by a host of second place contenders, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Romney's closest competitors have won favor among the extreme right-wing of the GOP, branded "Tea Party candidates," but each has seen their surge come and go, as they have not stood up to the pressures of presidential campaigning. Bachmann's dismissal of facts, Cain's sexual harassment/assault/fidelity issues, and Perry's poor debate performances have left the staunch conservative wing of the Republican party searching for an alternative to Romney's moderate, flip-flopping candidacy.

Enter Gingrich, who has experienced a surge in the polls after the implosion of Cain's campaign. Conventional wisdom still holds that Romney will be the nominee, but Gingrich has presented an interesting challenge. His conservative bonafides can't be argued, as co-author of the 1994 "Contract with America" that is very similar to the Tea Party platform, and he is perceived to be candidate best equipped to challenge President Obama in the debates. Also, having been a public figure for the better part of three decades, his past has been vetted, all of his indiscretions and controversial positions made public record. Voters know what they're getting with Newt.

So we thought. Whether this is an attempt to throw his candidacy because his campaign was never meant to be more than a promotional tool to sell books and increase speaking fees (as some pundits have hypothesized) or a result of his front-runner status offering him a larger platform to bloviate freely, Gingrich is upping the ante on controversy. Not in terms of potentially alienating his base by proposing to take a "humane" approach to the issue of illegal immigration, but by doubling down on an issue one would think has long been solved: child labor laws.

It isn't enough that Gingrich essentially wants to repeal child labor laws that would set the county back not the 1980s but the 1880s, but he demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding on the ways in which poverty works.

He further confirmed this ignorance this week when he said: "Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday," and adding, "they have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal."


Gingrich also, in an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper, took the time to point at the black teenage unemployment rate (43 percent) and suggest that Obama must experience "cognitive dissonance because how can he look in - how can he say, 'This is the community I have done so little for?'"It's clear this is a strategy to chip away at black support for Obama. Note to Newt: Bachmann andCain have both tried this. It ain't gonna work.

More importantly, as income inequality and economic security become larger political issues as a result of the Occupy movement (that Gingrich has so disgustingly dismissed), exhibiting such levels of ignorance on the issue of poverty will be a liability. Gingrich believes that the poor are poor because they don't work, when 72 percent of low-income people are indeed employed (latest data as of 2009).

Children living in poverty have more familiarity with work than Gingrich thinks when, according to the Working Poor Families Project, the "average annual work effort for low-income working families is 2,552 hours, roughly one and one-quarter full-time jobs." This is in addition to the fairly new classification of "near-poor" that according to the New York Times looks "more like The Brady Bunch than The Wire." This group is barely scraping by, to the point that missing one paycheck could prove utterly and irreversibly devastating.

However, that wouldn't fit Gingrich's conservative narrative of the poor as lazy and unwilling to work. This information would suggest he, and others like him, needs to re-evaluate his core beliefs. It's best for him to ignore these statistics and continue to cash $60,000 checks for speaking engagements and rack up consulting fees of $1.5 million from Freddie Mac.

The New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper made news when their editorial board officiallyendorsed Gingrich's campaign, in part because, according to publisher Joseph W. McQuaid, "Gingrich is going to have a better time in the general election than Mitt Romney. I think it's going to be Obama's 99 versus the 1 percent and Romney sort of represents the 1 percent."

As Gingrich gears up for a meeting with the original Tea Party champion, Donald Trump, he does more and more to firmly establish himself, not just financially but ideologically, as a part of the 1 percent. It plays well with the ignorant wing of his party because, as Nobel prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman put it, "he's a stupid man's idea of what a smart person sounds like."

What it won't do, if he manages to make it out of the GOP primary as the nominee, is help him build the broad coalition of voters necessary to be successful in the general election.















"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins









Last edited by sunnubian
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Quote: "The former Speaker then went on to propose that in poor neighborhoods, the "schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school." Poverty solved."...."he demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding on the ways in which poverty works".


Gingrich does have a lack of understanding about poverty, it's that he doesn't care nothing at all about poverty in this country.....None of the Republican candidates do.


THIS IS WHY I hope that Democrats are really paying attention and not being lazy to the Republican field of candidates hoping to become POTUS.


All these Repub candidates, no matter how they each frame their rhetoric and message, think, act and feel the same way that Gingrich does and they all are devoted students of the Ronald Reagan philosophy of embracing the rich, deregulating corporations and allowing the "trickle down economic" effect to drip, drip, drip....nickle and dimeing down to the middle class and poor to live off the scraps left behind.


This elections is going to be a hard & slow slog through the mud and Dems better be ready because with the Iowa Caucaus a few weeks away, it will boil down to two candidates: Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney (both corporate lobbyist's best friend) and the Repubs will stop at nothing to ensure that one of them will susceed President Obama and totally change the landscape of this nation going forward forever.


The Republicans have been showing their hands and true colors since Obama became President and continue to do so but because of the economy and it's slow turn to positive recovery, Dems have seem to forgotten all about 8 years of Bush and how Reagan's vision of corporate de-regulation which causes these terrible economic bubbles that swell and burst to the disadvantage of the middle class and poor.


Dems slept on the Nov. elections and now see the negative results of that. Allow the Repubs to keep Congress and take the White House?


Very, very bad news going forward.

Newt Gingrich is just a prime example of a Self-Hating White person; the White equivalent to the Self-Hating Black.  Gingrich was born to a teen-aged mother who was very very briefly married to his father (probably was a shot-gun wedding) from a poor background.  The only thing that saved Newt from the trailer park was the fact that his mother later married a military man after leaving and divorcing Newt's father.  So, Newt is just the White version of the many Black people that make it out of the "ghetto" or poverty (and more often with the help of others than they will admit), and once out, they hold a disdain for where they really come from and any and all still stuck there.  


If you will notice, Newt's politics is saturated with trying to make it even harder on the poor, single mothers, poor children, like he has an underlying obsession with trying to be in control of situations often related to poverty that mirror his own (pre-military step-father) life.  


So, I'm sure that Newt actually has hatred and/or disdain for all poor people, poor children, minorities (who usually are seen the stereotype of America's poor), young parents, single mothers and poor parents of any persuasion.





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