Is Newt Gingrich Wrong About Why Kids Are Lazy?

Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich thinks poor kids are lazy and child labor laws are dumb. This controversial opinion is, of course, bereft of facts, but that’s Newt Gingrich’s schtick–provocation through outlandish remarks. His claim here is based in part on the premise that these children lack adult role models to teach them what it means to work.

Statistically this could be debunked using Census Bureau data showing that 3 out of 4 working adults (18 – 34) considered to be poor have one or more jobs and another 25% work part-time. The data also indicates that 50% of children living in extremely poor homes have at least one working parent in the household. The numbers, I suppose, could be debated all day, yet Gingrich raises an interesting question about our children’s work ethic.

At age 12 I started working in one of the feed mills my father owned, and by my early teens this became a full-time summer job. It was hard physical labor, and my dad, to his credit, didn’t cut me any slack as the “boss’s kid” either. I may have resented my father being tough on me, but in hindsight, it was one of the best lessons he ever taught me. Without that, who knows where I’d be.

In response to Gingrich’s statements, Geraldo Rivera (yes, that Geraldo) echoes this same sentiment about fathers teaching ...continue reading.

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