Friday, December 02, 2011

Gingrich says "really poor children" don't know how to make money unless "it's illegal"

You'll recall that Newt Gingrich came out a couple of weeks ago in support of child labor as a way to deal with poverty. Well, now he's making gross generalizations about poor children that feed right into the right-wing view of poverty not as a systemic problem implicating a greed-oriented socio-economic structure and those on the top (the 1%, including Newt himself) but as individual and community failure (particularly when "poor children" is just another way of saying black children):

"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," Gingrich said.

"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."

Gingrich said every successful person he knows started working at an early age in explaining his position that schools should hire poor children in their neighborhoods for part-time jobs as assistant librarians or assistant janitors. 

Again, there's a difference between saying all young people benefit from working part-time jobs, like having a paper route or something, and picking on poor children and saying they should be forced to work. And what Newt, supposedly the GOP's in-house intellectual, is saying about poor children isn't just misguided, it's utterly despicable. He probably believes it, but of course he's also playing right to the conservative prejudice against the poor, the deeply entrenched conservative view, dominant throughout the GOP, that the poor are a bunch of violent criminals out to take your stuff -- and that the poor are deservedly poor for not being better people, people like Newt and his ilk. Here's the WaPo's Jonathan Capehart:

A lot can be said about the plight of families unlucky enough not to make $60,000 for a half-hour of bloviation or about their equally unlucky children who are deprived delightful cruises through the Greek isles. But Gingrich's blanket condemnation of "really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods" is unbelievably disgusting. And it's disrespectful of the overwhelming majority of those children and their families who live their lives with far more integrity and far less cash than Gingrich ever will. 

Newt is all about the 1% and against the 99%. And especially against those on the very bottom who usually through no fault of their own are struggling just to find food and a roof over their heads.

Truly disgusting, indeed. But all too believable coming from such a "know-it-all" piece of plutocratic shit.

And so very telling, as Laura Clawson writes at Kos, that "[t]his is what a Republican presidential candidate on the upswing chooses to help him continue his ascent." In the Republican Party, after all, race-baiting and pissing on the poor can take you right to the top.

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