Gingrich: Obama Hates It When Poor Kids Work

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press

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During the Fox News debate in South Carolina Monday night, Newt Gingrich took on a familiar target: liberal elites who routinely thumb their noses at hard work. When asked by moderator Juan Williams about his (arguably racially charged) statements on Barack Obama as the “food stamp president,” former front-runner Gingrich quickly rejected the accusations of race-baiting and pivoted to explaining one of his alternatives to government benefits.

Gingrich repeated his call to ease child labor laws in order to allow poor kids to work as, for example, school janitors—an idea that has its roots in Gingrich’s controversy-laden Earning by Learning program from the early ’90s. “Only elites despise earning money,” Gingrich said, as he accused the president of hating when poor but enterprising children tried to make their own money.

One thing Newt forgot to mention: President Obama’s American Jobs Act explicitly includes sections on summer, as well as year-round, jobs for kids in low-income families. The bill, which Gingrich derisively labeled as the “American Government Rebuilding Act”—would allot a grand total of $1.5 billion for programs that provide employment opportunities for youths. (Specifics can be found here.)

A billion and a half bucks is a funny way of showing how much you hate seeing schoolchildren earn their own lunch money.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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