Republicans for Child Labor

[Content Note: Child exploitation; class warfare.]

Georgia Representative Jack Kingston is the latest Republican to suggest that poor children should become janitors in exchange for food. You know—so they can learn the lessons about hard work and bootstraps that their lazy parents aren't teaching them.
On Saturday, Kingston, who is vying to be his party's nominee in Georgia's Senate race next year, spoke at a meeting of the Jackson County Republican Party about the federal school lunch program.

Under that program, children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty line are eligible for free meals. Students from families with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level can receive lunches at reduced prices.

But on Saturday, Kingston came out against free lunches, saying that children should have to pay at least a nominal amount or do some work like sweeping cafeteria floors.

"But one of the things I've talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don't you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria -- and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people -- getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch," he said.
Republicans think people aren't entitled to food. REPUBLICANS THINK PEOPLE AREN'T ENTITLED TO FOOD.

Republicans think poor, hungry children aren't entitled to food, and that it is a smart idea to make children who are already not getting enough calories in their daily diets do manual labor in exchange for food.

Here is the goddamned deal: If you want to support an unfettered, unregulated, unholy model of capitalism, in which some people can become obscenely wealthy by exploiting the fuck out of other people, then you don't get to call those exploited people lazy and shiftless and undeserving. What you do is SUBSIDIZE THEIR BASIC NEEDS. The end.

Kingston is, of course, not the first Republican to suggest child labor in exchange for food. Earlier this year, West Virginia State Del. Ray Canterbury said during a floor debate on a school lunch bill: "I think it would be a good idea if perhaps we had the kids work for their lunches: trash to be taken out, hallways to be swept, lawns to be mowed, make them earn it. If they miss a lunch or they miss a meal they might not, in that class that afternoon, learn to add, they may not learn to diagram a sentence, but they'll learn a more important lesson."

And in December 2011, then-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested, "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." And then defended that proposal by saying: "Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits for working and have nobody around them who works."

My contempt for this colossal indecency cannot be measured on a scale fathomable by human intellect.

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