Opinion: The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas [Washington Post]
With his slightly round form and thatch of white hair, Newt Gingrich might, with a little blush and a beard, pass for St. Nick. But any poor kid writing a letter to this particular GOP hopeful might end up with a lump of coal or a bucket and mop.
Rather than back off his plan to rethink “stupid” child labor laws and put children as young as 9 to work as school janitors — scrubbing, cleaning and moving around file cabinets — Gingrich has doubled down.
“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,’’ he said recently. “They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it is illegal.”
Others have pointed to the Dickensian tone of his callous remarks, taking from the beloved “A Christmas Carol” not the transformed Scrooge’s generosity of spirit and Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, every one!” but the miser’s unrepentant reply to those collecting for the poor: “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”
Gingrich’s image of poor homes would be laughable if it weren’t so widely and perniciously accepted among those who have never set foot in one. The stereotype that wealth is a reward for good behavior and poverty is more character flaw than economic circumstance is ubiquitous. You can see why wealthy types who sent manufacturing jobs overseas and manipulated financial systems for their benefit would find Gingrich’s words appealing; they eliminate any cause and effect between their actions and a growing poverty rate.
Police have rescued 178 abducted children following a six-month sting involving forces across 10 provinces and regions.
“All of the children have been placed safely in welfare institutes, and some sick ones are receiving treatment in hospital,” Chen Shiqu, head of the Ministry of Public Security’s anti-trafficking task force, told China Daily on Tuesday.
He said the youngsters are aged from one month to four years, adding that most are boys.