Applause Line

From last night's debate.

“I think every person up here worked at a young age,” Gingrich declared. “What I suggested was kids ought to be able to work part time in schools, particularly in the poorest neighborhoods.”

“If you take one half of the New York janitors, who are paid more than the teachers. An entry-level janitor gets paid twice as much as an entry-level teacher. You take half those janitors, you could give lots of poor kids a work experience in the cafeteria, in the school library, in the front office, in a lot of different things. I’ll stand by the idea young people ought to learn how to work.”

After Newt was done spewing bile, the debate audience cheered for laying off half of the adult work force to replace them with children who may or may not be paid.

No word on what those adult janitors, who are supposedly paid more than teachers -- an assertion which I call bullshit on -- are suppose to do for a job.

What bothers me the most about this idea is Newt's singling out of poor kids. As if we should get a head start on training poor kids to be our janitors and food servers while rich kids wait idly by for their free ride to the Ivy League.

The psychological damage to children in such an environment, where poor kids are serving the rich kids lunch, would be incalculable. And given the demographics of poverty, in many cases you would end up with minority children serving white children.