A Republican congressman from Georgia who is hoping to be party's next Senate nominee said over the weekend that poor children should have to pay or sweep floors if they wanted to eat school lunches.
"I'm on the Agriculture Committee, we have jurisdiction over the school lunch," Rep. Jack Kingston explained to the Jackson County Republican Party in a clip obtained by The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel. "School lunch program is very expensive."
"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?" he suggested. "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," Kingston added.
While campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also floated the idea of replacing unionized janitors with children during a talk at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
“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,” the Georgia Republican insisted. “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.”
“If you take one half of the New York janitors, who are paid more than the teachers,” Gingrich explained to a Republican debate audience in late 2011. “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.”
Georgia Senate candidate Rep. Jack Kingston wants us to believe his comments about children sweeping the floor to pay for their school lunches weren't targeted at any particular income group. Read more...
A Fox News guest on Thursday argued that hungry students would have a "teaching moment" if they were refused access in the cafeteria line to school lunches because their parents hadn't properly filled out the right paperwork.