"Newt's War on Poor Children"
This is how Republican mainstream views the poor (I figure a leading candidate must represent mainstream thought within the party). Compassionate conservatism is alive and well:
Newt’s War on Poor Children, by Charles Blow, Commentary, NY Times: Newt Gingrich has reached a new low, and that is hard for him to do.
Nearly two weeks after claiming that child labor laws are “truly stupid” and implying that poor children should be put to work as janitors in their schools, he now claims that poor children don’t understand work unless they’re doing something illegal.
On Thursday, at a campaign stop in Iowa, the former House speaker said, “Start with the following two facts: Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.” ...
He comes across as a callous Dickensian character in his attitude toward America’s most vulnerable — our poor children. ...
Gingrich wants to start with the facts? O.K.
First, as I’ve pointed out before, three out of four poor working-aged adults — ages 18 to 64 — work. ... Furthermore, according to an analysis of census data by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College, most poor children live in a household where at least one parent is employed. ...
You can tell how much hard work Newt does daily from that impressive Newtonian physique.
The idea that some of the hardest working people in our society -- the people toiling daily for next to nothing at the dirty, grimy, repetitive, difficult, mind-numbing labor nobody else will do -- are lazy is an attempt to remove any moral responsibility for their plight. It's a convenient myth for those who want to avoid paying for the social costs of the people the system casts aside as they amass their fortunes on the backs of the very people they are calling lazy. In recent decades, the wages of the poorest members of the working class haven't even kept up with their rising productivity, those gains have gone to the people at the top. Yet they show up for work anyway only to be called lazy by those who'd rather turn their backs when they have no more use for the underpaid workers who help to generate the profits that make them rich.
Posted by Mark Thoma on Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 11:07 AM in Economics, Politics, Social Insurance |
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