More than any single person in the country, Gingrich is responsible for the reckless take-no-prisoners strategy that the Republicans have adopted over the past 20 years.
It was he who assailed the regulatory state with his Contract with America.
It was he who brought the government to a halt under Bill Clinton.
It was he who hypocritically pushed the impeachment of Clinton while he himself was having an affair.
It’s he who (along with Rick Perry) wants to tear up the guarantee of Social Security.
And it’s he who (along with Ron Paul) even wants to repeal the child labor laws.
At a talk at Harvard last Friday, Gingrich said child labor laws have done “more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy.”
There is no evidence, of course, for that bald-faced lie. Tax cuts to the rich have done the most to create income inequality, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson prove in their book, “Winner Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.”
Child labor laws have also prevented the most grotesque form of exploitation in the workplace. That’s why progressive reformers campaigned for them for decades.
But Gingrich is OK with child exploitation. He prefers the sharp-edged capitalism that Charles Dickens described than the one that FDR tried to smooth over.
Gingrich called child labor laws “truly stupid,” and urged schools to “get rid of the unionized janitors” and hire students to do that work.
Never mind their playtime or homework or sports or music or drama. If you’re a poor kid, grab a broom.
Newt is more Grinch than Gingrich every day.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Police Use Excessive Force against Occupy Movement."
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