Newt Gingrich spoke at an education forum in midtown Manhattan this evening hosted by the College Board, and naturally the conversation-turned to Occupy Wall Street, the now weeks long demonstrations in Lower Manhattan.
The former House Speaker had a suggestion for where the protests should go next:
“If the Occupy Wall Street people really wanted to help children, they would have an Occupy Teacher’s Union Headquarters Movement, because that is a major cause of income inequality in America,” he told moderators Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City school system and Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal.
The event was sponsored by the College Board and News Corporation.
Mr. Gingrich also suggested that if the protesters really want to see how “The 1 Percent” live, they should head to Harvard and Yale, which still charge students despite possessing enormous endowments.
“Somebody who has $36 billion in their endowment has to have an amazing level of chutzpah to then charge people to come as undergraduates. They just have to take a tiny share of the interest on their endowment to give away the undergraduate education for free. If the Occupy Wall Street people want to see what the upper 1% looks like, go look at a place that has $36 billion and still charges thousands of dollars to undergraduates,” he said.
Mr. Gingrich added that he understood the demonstrators.
“I am very sympathetic at their anger,” he said. “I share their frustration at a system in which the government has colluded with the big boys to take care of each other. I focus more on Ben Bernake at the Federal Reserve and with Geithner at Treasury and with Dodd and Frank in Congress, but I sympathize with their anger.”
In a press conference after his talk with Mr. Klein and Mr. Gigot, the former House Speaker made it clear however that he believed the protesters were ultimately misguided.
“I think their solutions are mostly absurd. There is no place on the planet where a government-dominated Socialist model has worked. And it takes an enormous avoidance of reality to suggest that that could possibly work,” he said.
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