Stupid or Evil?
The wrong side of history
They hate us for our freedom
Taking current GOP front-runner, Newt Gingrich—and his plan to put inner city children to work as janitors—to task, Crooks and Liars managing editor Tina Dupuy writes of her own experiences working as a child janitor for the princely wage of $4.25 an hour (she made $75 a week before tax!). As Dupuy writes, it’s not that America’s poor children need jobs to discipline them and to make them better workers, it’s that the jobs need to be better for America’s adults!
Full disclosure: I, too, worked as a janitor at a municipal park in West Virginia at the age of 14 and made this exact same wage. I don’t really think it harmed me in any way. In fact, I wanted to do it so I was able to buy punk rock records, marijuana and LSD, but that’s not the point here: It’s that apparently Newt Gingrich thinks that America’s adult workforce should be competing with their own children for jobs that pay a third world wage.
Why isn’t it being framed like that in the media? It seems so obvious, doesn’t it?
Now 49 million Americans live in poverty – with 2.6 million falling into the category last year. That’s 16 percent of Americans. There are more Americans living in poverty than there are Canadians on the planet.
Gingrich is trying to equate poverty with a moral shortcoming. It’s a warped offshoot of the prosperity gospel – riches are a sign of god’s love – poverty is a sign of his indifference.
But also in this richer-and-therefore-holier-than-thou diatribe of Gingrich’s is an attempt to bust unions. He suggested firing union janitors to hire children to clean their own schools. Yes, a janitor with a job that pays him enough to live on is, in Gingrich’s eyes, a problem. In the call for hiring children and ending child labor laws is the call to end working for a living.
All the anchors of a middle-class living (pensions, benefits, decent salaries) are being dubbed “luxuries” by Republicans, to be sacrificed so magical “job creators” can be cajoled into saving us all.
Because, really, the greatest threat to America is that janitors are paid too much. Please. Wealthy janitors are, to borrow Gingrich’s phrase, “an invented people.”
Gingrich has a dark vision for a Shining City Upon a Hill: where poor children work in place of union labor. It’s basically the 20th century played in reverse.
Working (even scrubbing toilets) should mean making a living. If someone who works is still eligible for food stamps and government assistance – it’s really the employer who is federally subsidized. These “job creators” are taking advantage of government programs so they won’t have to cut into their profit margins to pay living wages.
The best example of this is also the biggest private employer in the country: Walmart.
If Newt and his Republican same-thinks want to go after Welfare Queens and those who don’t value work – go after the Walmart heirs. According to economist Sylvia Allegretto in 2007 the six Walmart heirs own more than the bottom 30 percent of Americans. And that was four years ago when their wealth was estimated at $69.7 billion, now it’s thought to be around $93 billion.
KA-POW. ‘Nuff said.
And this evil piece of shit is the Republican front runner!
On point, it’s hardly because GOP primary voters are rejecting Mitt Romney for a more conservative candidate: They just want someone MEANER!
Confessions of a Child Janitor (Crooks and Liars)