Newt, Child Labor, And A Permanent Underclass

Posted by | November 22, 2011 18:59 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The Internet is buzzing with criticism of Newt Gingrich’s statement supporting child labor.

Core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization against children in the poorest neighborhoods, crippling them by putting them in schools that fail has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy. It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.

Much of the criticism has justifiably focused on the physical dangers to children of working in McDonalds or worse.  But Newt says he is about big ideas and the big idea part is where he gets really dangerous.

Remember all that stuff about don’t get a hamburger flipping job? The worst possible advice you could give to poor children. Get any job that teaches you to show up on Monday. Get any job that teaches you to stay all day even if you are in a fight with your girlfriend. The whole process of making work worthwhile is central.

So, when evidence increasingly shows that not just a high school education but a college education is necessary for entry into the middle class, Gingrich is advocating taking poorer kids out of school and putting them in the workforce.  This would essentially deprive them of any chance of advancing up the social ladder into the middle class.  And it would create a class of poorer (largely minority) people who are forced into careers of menial jobs and poverty.  This may be the worst idea to come out of the campaign thus far (and that’s not easy to achieve).

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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