Newt Gingrich’s desire to roll back Social Security is no secret. But apparently his quest to tackle decades-old New Deal policies doesn’t stop there.
Now Gingrich is taking on an issue he says “no liberal wants to deal with” — economically suffocating child labor laws.
During a Harvard address on Friday, Gingrich blamed child labor restrictions for doing “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…child laws, which are truly stupid,” said Gingrich.
“Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school,” he added. “The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
Gingrich likes to tout his credentials as a historian, so he may be aware that America’s first major federal child labor restrictions were enacted amidst an economic crisis even worse than today’s: President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act during the Great Depression. In part, the 1938 law passed because many adults were so desperate for work they were willing to take low-paying jobs normally reserved for children.