Republican Congressman Jack Kingston: Make Poor Kids Work for Their Meals
A Republican US congressman has raised eyebrows and ire by proposing poor children be forced to work in exchange for their government-subsidized meals.
The Huffington Post reports Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who is trying to become the Republican nominee for Georgia’s US Senate race next year, addressed a gathering of the Jackson County Republican Party on Saturday. The topic of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which provides free or subsidized school cafeteria meals to poor and low-income children, came up for discussion.
Rep. Kingston spoke against free lunches for hungry children, opining that everyone should pay for their meals or at least work for them:
“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… 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.”
Responding to Kingston’s plan, HuffPo’s Amanda Terkel wrote that it “could create significant embarrassment for low-income children, who would be sweeping cafeteria floors while their wealthier peers did normal kid activities.”
“And while the low-income children would supposedly be learning the lesson of hard work, their wealthier peers would simply be getting a free lunch from their parents,” Terkel added.
Rep. Kingston isn’t the first Republican to advocate rolling back child labor laws to force lower-income children to work. Two years ago, former House speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich proposed firing the janitors in schools with low-income children and forcing the students to do the work themselves, for pay.
Child poverty is a serious and growing problem in the United States. Among OECD nations, the US has the second-highest child poverty rate, after Romania. More than one in five US children is poor; among Hispanics, the child poverty rate soars to nearly one in three. Fully 38 percent of black children are poor.
Tagged Amanda Terkel, child poverty, Jack Kingston make poor kids work, Jackson County Republicans, National School Lunch Program, newt gingrich fire janitors, Rep. Jack Kingston, Republicans, US child poverty rate, war on the poor