If you've ever seen the musical Oliver!, chances are you didn't walk out of the theater thinking that the main character was a lazy, entitled asshole who didn't need another helping of gruel as much as he needed a swift kick in the shorts. Well, apparently, there is one person in America who thought that, and he's currently fucking running for fucking President. During an appearance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, GOP candidate Newt Gingrich called child labor laws "stupid," arguing, "it is tragic what we do in the poorest of neighborhoods, entrapping children in… child laws, which are truly stupid."
But wait! Maybe that just seems horrible out of context. Maybe he said "entrapping children in child laws, which are truly stupid… if the children in question appeared in Baby Geniuses, because damn, that was a stupid movie." Or maybe he followed up his statement by tugging on a cord, releasing a giant shower of Smartees from a trap door, and gleefully tossing them to the audience.
However, it seems like none of these things happened, and Newt does, in fact, believe that child labor laws are stupid:
Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising… you're going to see from me extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America.
So correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like Gingrich is proposing that poor children — presumably under the age of fourteen, which is the minimum age for minors to work under the Fair Labor Standards Act — get off their poor, tiny asses and start scrubbing urinals for a few bucks an hour, or perhaps run for district superintendent. Clearly, this man has read the Wayside School series enough times to think that it serves as an appropriate model for public education; of course, it does not, and the Industrial Revolution similarly does not serve as a template for modern-day child labor laws.