Seriously now. Why did I not just intuitively realize that the solution for the skyrocketing rates of poverty and hunger among American children was as simple as returning to the good old days when children were free, FREE I say, to work all day in menial jobs like doing the janitorial work in their schools.

As Newt so sagely recommends, you get to save all kinds of money by firing all the adult custodial workers, and just have one full time supervisor to direct the kids on their daily rounds of mopping and cleaning toilets.

Here is the response from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL–CIO.

Go to the link and sign the petition.

Newt Gingrich wants to fire union janitors and hire kids to clean schools instead. Seriously. He wants to assign 9-year-old kids to do hard manual labor cleaning up after their more fortunate classmates. It’s vicious, backwards and wrong.

Really, Newt? Let him know what you think of his ‘idea.’:

The US outlawed child labor because it denied children the chance at a real education and allowed employers to exploit children — and because children were often injured or killed on the job. That’s why labor unions fought to pass laws outlawing child labor and protecting all workers.

Thus from a man with millions in lines of credit at Tiffany’s, who as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac was pulling down at least $1.6 to $1.8 million dollars. Oh, and that was a little more than the $300,000 he claimed originally. But of course, as he said, he was providing them with important history lessons.

Newt Gingrich Freddie Mac Fees: Former House Speaker Reportedly Received At Least $1.6 Million From Housing Giant

I think Newt missed the chapter in the history books about the sordid tragedy of child labor. Of course, it was all the rage under the 19th century captains of industry and the Robber Barons. Seems a good fit for the 1% and their current takeover of America.

History certainly matches the current GOP emphasis on destroying unions, taking away workers rights, and destroying the public education system. Note the passages I have set to bold in the following.

Forms of child labor, including indentured servitude and child slavery, have existed throughout American history. As industrialization moved workers from farms and home workshops into urban areas and factory work, children were often preferred, because factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. Growing opposition to child labor in the North caused many factories to move to the South. By 1900, states varied considerably in whether they had child labor standards and in their content and degree of enforcement. By then, American children worked in large numbers in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, home industries, and as newsboys, messengers, bootblacks, and peddlers.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, the numbers of child laborers in the U.S. peaked. Child labor began to decline as the labor and reform movements grew and labor standards in general began improving, increasing the political power of working people and other social reformers to demand legislation regulating child labor. Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined, and common initiatives were conducted by organizations led by working women and middle class consumers, such as state Consumers’ Leagues and Working Women’s Societies. These organizations generated the National Consumers’ League in 1899 and the National Child Labor Committee in 1904, which shared goals of challenging child labor, including through anti-sweatshop campaigns and labeling programs. The National Child Labor Committee’s work to end child labor was combined with efforts to provide free, compulsory education for all children, and culminated in the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which set federal standards for child labor.

Child Labor Education Project

From the petition linked to above, this letter to the Newtster:

Dear Newt,

Our country outlawed child labor. Almost a hundred years later, in the middle of the worst unemployment crisis in decades, you want to bring it back. Seriously?

Doing janitorial work in a school entails sanitizing toilets, handling hazardous cleaning chemicals, and scrubbing floors hunched over a mop for hours. It’s hard to imagine a nine-year old doing any of those tasks. Come on.

The US outlawed child labor because it denied children the chance at a real education and allowed employers to exploit children — and because children were often injured or killed on the job. That’s why labor unions fought to pass laws outlawing child labor and protecting all workers.

And the people you want to fire and replace with kids? A lot of them are parents. That job puts a roof over kids’ heads, food on the table, and provides them with health care and the chance to get an education. That job is the only thing between a kid and poverty. Firing someone’s mom and hiring the kid for less money isn’t exactly the “process of rising.” It is, in fact, the process of falling. It is the process of exploiting and destroying working families. The fact that you don’t get that makes you not only out of touch, but utterly unqualified to serve in any elected position, let alone President of the United States.

Count me in as one more person who thinks you and your ideas are vicious and wrong.

The following picture commentary comes from from Jesus’ General web site, from post By Their Own Bootie Straps .

As the General reports, “It’s about time someone got tough with goldbricking children. I liked Newt’s idea so much, I made him this ad.”