the war on poverty-stricken kids

A Children’s Treasury of Newt Gingrich Ratcheting Up Tensions With Poor Kids

Pick daisies on your own time, kid.Last night’s Republican debate in the former U.S. territory of South Carolina brought the declaration of not one but two wars! Which, thank goodness, we were just about to run out of wars! Rick Perry predictably bumbled South Carolinians into Civil War 2. And useless talking marshmallow Newt Gingrich finally and officially declared war on America’s poor children, after a long series of cross-border raids and minor skirmishes. Join your favorite warblog as we trace the run-up to Newt Gingrich’s War on Destitute Kids!

Gingrich first floated a trial balloon for his inchoate jihad several news cycles ago when he came out weirdly strong against child labor laws, which you probably (and quite wrongly!) assumed have been “off the table” since 1938. This was quickly followed by Gingrich stage-whispering that, if you ask him, what’s wrong with the future poors of America is they’re a bunch of shiftless criminals, that’s what:

“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,” Gingrich claimed.

“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,” he added.

Gingrich has long been noted for his exacting historian-sociological technique so there’s no way he’s just TOTALLY MAKING THIS ALL UP as he goes along. And you can tell, because he understands that schools in really poor neighborhoods operate pretty much like your local Walmart, with an unsupervised child greeting you as you pull up in your truck, looking for meth and day laborers:

Newt Gingrich does not want to send your children into the coal mines.

So he said on WNYM this morning, telling radio host Curtis Sliwa that when he suggested putting kids to work in their schools, he wasn’t thinking of the Dickensian child-labor force his critics imagine.

“They could be the person who greets you when you walk in the door,” Gingrich said, per POLITICO’s Ginger Gibson. “They could help in the school library. They can help in the kitchen. They can help clean up after lunch.”

Impoverished kids apparently have not gotten with the program fast enough for Gingrich’s liking. And so, when asked last night about his jobs plan for our newest and cutest domestic enemies, he had no choice but to go nuclear:

New York City pays their janitors an absurd amount of money because of the union. You could take one janitor and hire 30-some kids to work in the school for the price of one janitor, and those 30 kids will be a lot less likely to drop out, they will actually have money in their pocket, they’d learn to show up for work. They can do light janitorial duty, they can work in the cafeteria, they can work in the front office, they can work in the library. They’d be getting money, which is a good thing if you’re poor. Only the elites despise earning money.

Anything to gin up a few more miserable votes, right? [The Root]

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      1. real_dc_native

        By fed do you mean fed with food or federal assistance? I imagine Newt is against both of them for the poors.

    1. DaveJ

      "Please, sir, I want some more."
      –amazingly, this was also spoken by Newt Gingrich, in reference to the concept of "wives."

  1. nounverb911

    "Really poor rich children, in really poor rich neighborhoods have no habits of working".


  2. SorosBot

    Not only will our children be working, but a whole bunch of janitors will now be unemployed. They really do hate poor people, the sick fucks.

    1. spends2much

      What a brilliant way to drive down labour costs- make less skilled workers compete with destitute children for low-paying jobs. Honest to god, a generation ago, he'd be shouted/laughed off the stage for saying something like this.

      Hey, Newt, when are you setting up the Thunderdome?

  3. BaldarTFlagass

    “They could be the person who greets you when you walk in the door,” Gingrich said,

    I'm sure that Walmart would absolutely love to pay children to do this instead of retired seniors trying to stay off the cat food diet plan.

      1. widestanceshakedown

        Here, here. We greeted ourselves with our own bootstraps and didn't need some snot-nosed, taxpayer-paid welfare prince to do it for us.

      2. tessiee

        "my school didn't have paid greeters"

        The school where my mother used to teach (before she retired) had walk-through metal detectors, do those count as greeters?

        1. not that Dewey

          "Good morning, future criminals. My name is Stan, and I will be demeaning you and undermining your chances of a decent education today. Please place your shivs in the basket and step through me."

          1. tessiee

            it's not pleasant to relate, but over the years, the neighborhood the school was in had declined from "poor" to "dangerous hellhole". Cars were stolen out of the parking lot, some teachers had been robbed, and at least one child was abducted and sexually assaulted not far from school grounds, so it wasn't the *kids* carrying weapons that was their primary worry.

          2. not that Dewey

            I hope you don't think I was trying to trivialize the situation — my point was actually that the kids in those situations were getting punished, their hope of an education diminished, for something that wasn't their fault. It was cheaper and more expedient to scan everyone for weapons than it was to address the causes of poverty and ensure that kids could attend safe schools. (was this during the Reagan Years, by any chance?)

          3. Boojum_Reborn

            Those kids need GUNS for protection, against CRIMINALS who would rob them of their childhood!

            Speaking of which, that sounds suspiciously like Newt.

          4. not that Dewey

            Well, considering that the criminals from whom the kids need defending in this case are Republican politicians who would remove social safety nets and defund public education, Newt might find himself in something of a pickle.

    1. tessiee

      "I'm sure that Walmart would absolutely love to pay children to do this instead of retired seniors"


  4. memzilla

    As Boss Tweed said in Gangs of New York, you can always hire half the poor to kill the other half.

  5. ManchuCandidate

    Fuck those little brats. Always crying about nap time, sharing toys, who touched who and complaining about the food. Fuck them.

    Wait, we're not talking about GOPer candidates?

  6. MissTaken

    Finally! Just this morning I was thinking how lovely and civilized it would be for some little girl to fix my hair and makeup for me while I peruse Wonkette.

    But will I have to feed the little varmint?

          1. widestanceshakedown

            Who doesn't? I only pause long enough to comment, and then back to admiring my p-ness.

  7. paris biltong

    "They have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.
    When they're underage, it generally IS illegal. Including to employ them.

    1. widestanceshakedown

      Newt obviously had a very different kind of childhood, and knew taking cash was his true calling.

      1. Boojum_Reborn

        Republicans have a long tradition of telling children "I give you cash and you do this. Yes, but faster. Squeeze it harder." That's how poor children should make their munnies.

    1. SorosBot

      There's a reason Newt announced this in South Carolina, which has a bit of a tradition with that.

  8. paris biltong

    Another good idea would be to let children give speeches in place of politicians, and get paid 50,000 dollars or more a shot.

  9. bravo_sierra

    Has there been any mention at all about rich kids working in school? What about economically mixed schools? Would the poor kids be singled out for cafeteria clean up, while the rich kids take "how to converse with your help" Spanish?

  10. slowhansolo

    Children are notorious disease vectors, so making them Wal-Mart greeters might simply be Newt's underhanded way of lightening the load on the entitlement programs.

  11. Barb

    "Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working…"
    And the really rich kids in the really rich neighborhoods work so hard?

    1. orygoon

      It's too late for moi, but here's a corollary: could have home schooled and required the kids to do all the "home" work. No reading or science until them terlets are scrubbed!

    2. Fare la Volpe

      It takes a lot of hard work to inherit millions of dollars in trust funds.

      First you gotta rub out Grandma and Grandpa, and sever the brakes on Dad's car, and sabotage Mom's tanning bed…

    3. Mariecohn

      Bar, I was wondering if you had gone missing. So glad you're back now. (Were you gone, or is it my imagination?)

  12. freakishlywrong

    No snark. Really, what the fuck is wrong with these people? The media, all saying he "won" the debate, and not a peep about how truly deplorable he and his ideas are.

    1. orygoon

      We already have a terrible safety net for poor children and send them to horrifying schools. So you expect outrage about this?

    2. GOPCrusher

      The fact that he can say something so Gawd-Awful stupid and nobody is calling him out on it, makes me sad for the future of America.

  13. orygoon

    "Those rugrats do not pay taxes yet either; they just cost the rest of us money. We'll give them jerbs, convert to flat-taxes-only-on-labor, and fix that!"

        1. RavenRant

          I'm thinking any black person with a shred of self-preservation can hear it pretty clearly, too.

  14. MzNicky

    There is possibly nothing lower that will ever been seen by the human eye than this gang of Repugnikans pandering to a crowd of redneck racist South Carolinians. I've taken three showers since last night and still feel befouled.

    1. tessiee

      Really, you'd think there wasn't a poor *white* person in the whole state that could see through this, "Poor people are lazy and want handouts, that's why they're poor" bullshit. So much for the effect of 400 years of inbreeding on a gene pool's collective IQ.

  15. OneYieldRegular

    They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me stock options, book royalties, outlandish speaker's fees, and a half-million dollar line of credit at Tiffany's unless it is illegal,” he added.

  16. Generation[redacted]

    “They could be the person who greets you when you walk in the door,”

    Now there's a job that means instant popularity at any school!

    1. GOPCrusher

      If by "instant popularity" you mean having your underwear waistband over your ears, then I concur.

    2. flamingpdog

      I seriously doubt anyone has ever seen the words "instant popularity at school" and "Newt Gingrich" in the same sentence until now.

  17. karimv

    If he'd ever spoken to any actual families, he would know that constant budget cuts are already ensuring that school kids (and teachers) do 'light janitorial duty'. For free.

    And they can't work in the cafeteria, because that's all been outsourced to big donors like Sodexho.

    We can't have school kids interferring in the transfer of wealth from the public treasury to private corporations, after all.

  18. Fare la Volpe

    I have a friend who grew up in a Michigan school that had this exact program. The kids who worked janitorial staff were complete pariahs, even by the faculty. One of his own teachers took his cup of coffee and spilled it all over the floor as one of the poor kids walked by. "Clean up!" he cackled as the student picked up her mop. Then he went out to huff a cancer stick.

    Welcome to Newt Gingrich's America.

    1. natoslug

      The Victorian Era has such a romantic ring to it. Newt must be feeling horny and nostalgic. For most of us, this can be solved by sleeping with an ex-girlfriend to remind us why the past was not as wonderful as we remembered — we don't need to drag the entire fucking nation back with us.

      1. tessiee

        "The Victorian Era has such a romantic ring to it. Newt must be feeling horny and nostalgic."

        Can you blame him? the Victorian Era was the last time Newt could get a girl without chloroform and a wad of $100 bills.

        1. natoslug

          It's about time we embrace the Republican version of SteamPunk. Roll back the progress and relive the glory. Today's fingerless working children are tomorrow's tasty meat pies.

  19. Allmighty_Manos

    "New York City pays their janitors an absurd amount of money because of the union."

    So you suck if you don't work, but suck if you do. Geez nonwhite working people can't get a fucking break from this guy.

    1. Negligently_Joe

      Some these poor kids who are unfamiliar with the "dignity of work" are the kids of aforementioned janitors, undoubtedly. So, Newt's plan is to unceremoniously lay off their parents, and force the kids to work for subminimum wages in their stead. Instead of studying for school.

      To teach them about dignity, and the importance of working hard to attain your potential, and shit.

    2. RavenRant

      This bloated sack can talk about 'absurd' wages when he collected $1.8M for his skills as a historian?

    3. tessiee

      "So you suck if you don't work, but suck if you do."

      Exactly. If you don't work, you suck because you're a lazy bum who wants to live off of everyone else's handouts (because it's such a luxurious lifestyle). If you do work, you suck because you want to make a living wage for your fulfilling career scrubbing toilets and mopping up third-graders' vomit, instead of just groveling gratefully when Mr. Burns tosses a handful of pennies at your head.

  20. SayItWithWookies

    Lazy children are definitely the problem — when you compare American industry, with its restrictive, authoritarian laws that don't permit children to earn a living, to the more successful industrialized nations that allow this growing labor pool to be tapped, then you see why we're so far behind those nations. And I'm speaking here of Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and all those other nations whose success we aspire to recreate.

    1. tessiee

      Yup. Anybody who's seen "Slumdog Millionaire" or "Salaam Bombay" knows that those countries are pretty much a kids' paradise — and a regular utopia for the grownups, too!

  21. Dashboard Buddha

    "They can help in the kitchen. They can help clean up after lunch.”

    That's right, dammit. What's an economic recovery without humiliating poor children?

  22. kissawookiee

    "they’d learn to show up for work."

    And since experience is the best teacher, they'd learn firsthand why they're going to lose their jobs when they're old enough to be paid an adult wage and thus must be replaced by children.

  23. kissawookiee

    I posted this in some other damn thread, but it's more apropos here, so you get to read it twice:

    I do not understand why people who rail against the $5-an-hour Messicans stealing American jobs turn around and cheer for the idea of replacing an American worker with 30 $5-per-day kids.

        1. RavenRant

          Aside from douchiness and dickishness, they don't really have any strong suits, do they?

          I am trying to maintain the snark, but this whole crowd of fourth-rate sociopaths and their odious, repugnant, mouth-breathing 'base' are wearing on my last nerve.

  24. elviouslyqueer

    Louder, Newt, in case dogs in Uruguay didn't hear you. Also, needs much more "those people," also.

  25. SenileAgitation

    Good thinkin', Newt! Maybe these enlightened urchins would further supplement their custodian or greeter incomes with the sale of loosies, dime bags, test answers and protection from beatings. You know, learn to maximize earnings from additional income streams.

  26. BlueStateLibel

    Better watch out, Newt, the little raggamuffins are also really good at spying – remember Sherlock Holmes' underage little brigade? – they'll be peeping at your Fannie May contracts and spilling the beans in revenge if you don't watch out.

  27. Fare la Volpe

    "If they would rather die,'' said Gingrich, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

  28. donner_froh

    Of course kids in wealthy neighborhoods who are chauffeured by mom or the nanny to play dates, hockey practice and cheerleader camp, get iPhones when they are ten, cars when they are 16 and boob jobs (for the girls) when they are 18 are learning the lessons of hard work and self-reliance that they will need as adults.

    1. Mariecohn

      Wait wait wait – I am an authentic cocksucker, and that pisses me off. Am I being just a little too literal?

  29. BigDumbRedDog

    Typical rich guy thinking. Got to teach these poor kids there place. Serving and cleaning up after everyone else. Asshole.

  30. MinAgain

    If only Jonathon Swift were alive today, he would be kicking himself in the ass for only proposing that the Irish eat their impoverished children.

  31. BaldarTFlagass

    Maybe all those poor children can join the Army. It's worked really well in equatorial Africa for years.

  32. DetectiveGrey

    No snark on this one; Isn't it common in Asian schools for students to assist in chores and cleanup? As part of a class duty or something, they switch the job of cleaning classrooms between students on a semi-regular basis. I doubt Newt is taking a page out of their book, but I think a system like this could work, provided it were incorporated as more of a learning experience and less of a "schools get cheap labor" thing (which is what Newt seems to be advocating).

    1. RavenRant

      If all the children, from whatever socioeconomic background, had to participate at the same level, it could be useful.

  33. colschick

    This is someone who stiffed his OWN children on child support. Why would he care about anyone else's?

  34. ElPinche

    Gingrich , the snack-food president.

    Ooooh how I wish Calista's robot brain would malfunction HAL-style then choke a fatassed racist bitch.

  35. real_dc_native

    But if these school children have to work after school, they won't be at home to take care of their half dozen younger siblings while their parents are out doing crack and having sex with everybody and robbing white people.

  36. RavenRant

    Newt has been on the government tit his whole life. Assistant Professor at a public college, in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1998, when he was forced to resign in disgrace, for an underhanded bit of graft.

    The only 'work' he's done since is to monetize his time in government in an elaborate edifice of graft and grift, peddling influence and his 'relationships' with other politicians. This parasite holding forth about the free market and the virtues of honest work… Oh, well, he has the gall to talk about the sanctity of marriage, too.

  37. comrad_darkness

    Someone please ask him how he added sufficient economic value at Fannie/Freddie to justify 1.7 million payday. Really. Please ask this godlike economic master.

    For example, 7% of the ipad's value input is labor. To actually earn 1.7 million $ Newt would have had to assemble 48,571 fucking ipads. He's been a busy boy. I'm surprised he didn't burn off more fat in the process.

  38. notreelyhelping

    And just imagine how cool they'd be to the other kids! Sure Janie had to mop up that sick kid's puke 'cause her mom doen't have a job, but look at all the bucks she's making! No fair!

  39. real_dc_native

    "They have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

    However, this habit is well entrenched in the Congressional culture. Unethical? Sure. but not illegal.

  40. iburl

    I may be wrong, but this whole plan to get kids cleaning bathrooms seems like it might just be Newt's way of auditioning future wives in an appropriately pantsless setting.

  41. Steverino247

    Let me guess. Newt was wearing a classic sailor outfit with the words "STA-PUFT" embroidered on the front of the cap?

  42. grandinquisitor

    Dear Newt,

    Let's meet and settle this on the playground after school.

    A former poor kid who worked a lot

    PS: Better bring your government health insurance card.

  43. chicken_thief


    Newt, in his quest to transform the nation's poor youth into self-reliant model citizens, has partnered with Jerry Sandusky. The coach will be in charge of Hygiene 101 while Newt will focus on Ethics.

  44. BZ1

    "Are there no prisons?" asked Newt. "Plenty of prisons," "… And the Union workhouses???" (with abject apologies to Dickens)

  45. Chet Kincaid

    "Why do we need a U.S. Postal Service when these kids, who I believe are called 'shorties', can run packages of legitimate mail across town? They are already delivering crack cocaine, so why not redirect that energy while taking freeloading black adult postal leeches off government 'workfare' and cutting the postal payroll to a tenth of its current size? You're welcome."

    1. tessiee

      We should be so lucky. That fucking parade float will live to 100, like Strom Thurmond, taking ever younger and more plasticized wives to cheat on.

  46. Naked_Bunny

    It never ceases to amaze me watching someone like Newt Gingrich, who makes obscene amounts of money without producing anything useful or even entertaining, dis janitors for making too durned much money for doing backbreaking labor involving hazardous chemicals and disease.

  47. Naked_Bunny

    Of course, after the school fires the janitor and replaces him with 30 children, they'll need to hire a manager or two to train and supervise them, at five times the wage the janitor made.

  48. Antispandex

    Yes, it's easy to see the strong work ethic possessed by, oh, say, Paris Hilton. Can't poor kids get a job like hers?

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