Paul Ryan’s Poverty Plan Is a Scheme To Shift Federal Funds To Corporations


A pilot program, also called a feasibility study or experimental trial, is a small-scale, short-term experiment that helps an organization learn how a large-scale project might work in practice. Paul Ryan, an Ayn Rand devotee, introduced a pilot program he claims reveals the depth of his newfound compassion for the plight of Americans mired in poverty due to Republicans’ opposition to creating jobs, living-wage or otherwise

. However, not only is Ryan’s plan an experiment in privatization, government control of poor Americans’ lives, and a slick way to give Republican states another tool to shift federal funds to religious organizations and corporations, it is as far from compassionate.

First, Ryan’s “Expanding Opportunity” pilot program depends heavily on Republicans’ long sought-after “block grants.” A block grant is a one-time yearly federal payment to the states to use the money as they see fit with no input or regulatory oversight for how states use the money. Republicans love the “block grant” idea because there are no provisions for economic downturns, cost-of-living increases, or requirements to follow federal oversight for how the money is spent. In Ryan’s plan, funding for several programs from food stamps to welfare (11 federal programs in total) are bundled and handed to states to allot the money according to conservative ideology.

Under the Ryan-American Enterprise Institute plan, he envisions local private religious groups like Catholic Charities, religious non-profits, and private organizations “delivering customized services with a private third party evaluating the results;” more federal money for the religious right and private enterprises, but nothing for job creation. After several Republican states rejected free federal money to expand Medicaid, shift federal tax dollars for public schools to private Christian schools, or giving the wealthy tax cuts, handing Republican states federal “block grant” money for the poor is a dangerous idea.

Republicans are wont to decry any government meddling and control over Americans’ lives, unless of course they are women or living in poverty due to no available jobs or only minimum wage employment. In the Ryan’s American Enterprise Institue-envisioned scenario, religious and “specially selected” providers to design and adjudicate contracts with families in poverty with no jobs will design customized “life” plans according to Republican-religious-corporate roadmap out of poverty. Religious and private groups will craft “a life plan” that includes, at a minimum; a contract outlining specific and measurable benchmarks for success,a timeline for meeting the benchmarks, sanctions for violating the terms of the contract, and a time limit for remaining on assistance. There are no provisions for new jobs or living-wage jobs that allow the poor to get out of poverty.

Republicans have worked diligently to ensure Americans who are poor stay in poverty by either killing jobs with drastic cuts to domestic programs, cutting food stamps, rejecting a minimum wage hike, failing to extend unemployment benefits, eliminating overtime pay, or giving tax breaks to corporations that ship American jobs overseas. So Paul Ryan’s newfound compassion for Americans barely making it is phony at best, and at worse a deliberate attempt to send the poor deeper into poverty under the guise of helping them. Helping them by dictating how they will “succeed” according to the American Enterprise Institute and Republicans steeped in job-killing austerity for the masses and rewards for the rich; Ayn Rand would be proud.

Since Paul Ryan’s storied economic “wizardry” consistently fails under scrutiny, instead of an experimental pilot program to get people in poverty to go to work under threat of religious and private enterprise sanctions, the pilot program should target Republicans in Congress; particularly Republicans in the House. It is true House Republicans are not poor by any means, and already have a job, but they still should be forced to work to continue receiving their taxpayer-provided welfare. They should adhere to the conditions of the Ryan-AEI “life plan contract” that will be designed by and adjudicated by the people with severe sanctions for violating the terms of the contract for success.

Conservatives, particularly Republicans and teabaggers, adhere to the belief that any American receiving taxpayer dollars must work for what they get; including children receiving free or reduced-price school lunches. There is absolutely no reason congressional Republicans should not be held to the same standards including Ryan’s plan to force people in poverty to sign a contract. Therefore, every Republican in Congress should be forced to sign a contract similar to Ryan’s and abide strictly by the main points he laid out for the poor. What the contract would entail is “outlining specific and measurable benchmarks for success” to fulfill the terms of the contract such as passing a minimum number of bills that help the American people. Tax cuts for the rich and corporations, environmental and workplace safety deregulation, phony investigations, suing President Obama, Draconian domestic cuts, subsidies for the oil industry, or other job-killing legislation does not count as helping the people.

Republicans, especially in the House, will also face a strict timeline for meeting the benchmarks with severe sanctions for violating the terms of the contract that includes a very strict schedule to qualify for their taxpayer-funded bloated salaries and benefits few other Americans receive. The contract will also strictly define what is considered “work” that will includes 52 40-hour work weeks, no paid vacations, no gym memberships, no office allowances, and immediate secession of taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits for violating the terms of the contract for success. It is a pilot program the people would enthusiastically support and at the rate House Republicans refuse to work, withholding their salaries would save the government much-needed funds.

Holding Republicans in Congress to the same standards they want to impose on the poor is more than fair; particularly since Republican legislators refuse to work and still take public assistance without conditions or harsh sanctions for being lazy moochers. Ryan’s plan is another gift to religious organizations, privatization advocates, and Republican-controlled states to direct funds for the poor to their corporate cronies or religious backers. It is also a devious plot to exert control over poor Americans’ lives by demanding they adhere to the conditions of a contract designed and adjudicated by groups like Catholic Charities, other local religious non-profits, and private businesses, all with no provisions for creating jobs that pay a living wage.

The revelation that Ryan’s “Opportunity Grants” was an attack on the poor was the valuable assistance from the American Enterprise Institute, and like the Heritage Foundation’s Path to Prosperity budget, there is nothing whatsoever remotely resembling compassion for America’s most vulnerable citizens. Americans in poverty do not need religious-designed contracts, sanctions, or time limits; they need living-wage jobs. Ryan’s plan is a gift to Republican states to allot “block grant” funding where they see fit, another gift to religious organizations, and privatization of federal domestic programs meant to help Americans living in poverty through no fault of their own.

To be fair to Ryan and determine if his compassionate plan to reduce poverty will work as planned, the pilot program should first be a small-scale, experimental trial involving Republicans in Congress to determine if a larger-scale project might work in practice. Based on the work ethic of Republicans in Congress, they would violate the conditions of Ryan’s contract on the poor immediately and there would be no greater justice than subjecting Republicans to the harshest possible sanctions for violating their contract to serve the people and still earn government welfare for doing absolutely nothing.


35 Replies to “Paul Ryan’s Poverty Plan Is a Scheme To Shift Federal Funds To Corporations”

  1. Paul Ryan is nothing more than a Koch cheerleader and a stuck up snob who thinks he can trick poor people into believing he gives a rats ass about helping. He really should be called Eddie Haskell with the Eddie Munster haircut. He will lie to your face, then accuse you of it.

  2. Wake up people. You have one vote per person. You need to rally your communities and not only vote in 2016 but this year 2014. If you don’t, the damage that will be done to the US by Paul Ryan and the GOP/GOTP may be irreversible.

  3. Screw a bunch of Republicans, they are the bane of American society. The sooner we get them out of power, the better.

    I am so sick-and-tired of their attempts to destroy this country. Republicans are the takers, and they definitely don’t make anything except trouble for people not like them, and of course money for their masters and themselves.

    All my siblings are right wing evangelical baptists so I know first-hand what they are like. They are working-class yet vote against their own best interests all the time.

    The only thing that still amazes me is how many of these people there are in this country.

    Sorry if I am a little agitated, I just had a discussion with my RW brother about climate change, and the Republican war on the working-class, I’m sure many on this site can guess how that went.

  4. No no no no. Privatization of services that should be public is wrong. Privatized prisons is incentivizing the judicial system to put more people in prison for longer terms. Charitable organizations in charge of pubic assistance will guarantee that assistance comes with a religious condition and cannot possibly be ubiquitous nation wide. All of it wrong wrong wrong!

  5. Talk about intrusive government and UN-freedom of religion! These guys definitely need to be held to their own standards. I have agreed with Warren Buffett for some years that er could put a serious dent in the deficit by stopping all perks and privileges of congress and the senate. They serve at our pleasure. We need to show them we aren’t pleased! Vote them out!

  6. Great article.

    I like the idea of having the Republicans beta test Paul Ryan’s idea for all our federal and state representatives. We should put it on the ballot. We pay their salaries and it’s best time they start remembering it; and if they can’t, they should go into another profession like loan sharking.

    I like the paragraph that clearly defines what Republicans do. They don’t do their jobs of creating jobs and then they insult most of us by saying WE ARE THE LAZY ONES – because THEY failed to do their job.

    ‘Republicans have worked diligently to ensure Americans who are poor stay in poverty by either killing jobs with drastic cuts to domestic programs, cutting food stamps, rejecting a minimum wage hike, failing to extend unemployment benefits, eliminating overtime pay, or giving tax breaks to corporations that ship American jobs overseas.’

    Says it all. VOTE Democrat in 2014 and 2016. Our lives depend on it!

  7. TerryLF, great post. You should be agitated, we all should be. The GOP is a real threat to the middle class and working poor, and they won’t stop until we are their slaves. They view us as dirt, and Paul Ryan is at the top of the list.

    If he wants a pilot program..try it on his family first. Give up every account, work minimum jobs, pay your healthcare, feed and clothe your it for a year, take your own challenge. Then..let us know how it works out for you.

    Paul Ryan thinks he is superior to working people, and I cannot stand him. I hope he does not run for President, because I can’t stomach the sight of him.

  8. It amazes me how people keep voting these types of people into office. People voting against their own best interests. It’s no wonder this country has become a plutocracy and the Supreme Court corporate owned.

  9. Ryan, the self appointed budget wizard,is cynically subversive since he knows that it costs more to keep poor people on the government’s dole than to give them skills to work and get off the dole, pay taxes and otherwise contribute to society.

    He would create a modern plantation system with his “apartheid for the poor.”

    The solution is for voters to vote for candidates who are not fascist, Republican/Tea Party, anti-American hypocrites.

  10. Aptly named! It is a plan to keep the poor poor and make the rest of the middle class poorer! While enriching the Corporate thieves and giving the Reich Wing all the money it needs to ensure a Oligarchic Theocracy. The only people buying this load of bilgewater are those FoxBots and those ignorant enough to be Republicans.

  11. The one item that bothers me more then any thing else is: all this is being done with Christian consent and blessing. how these people live with them selves is way beyond me.
    AS for Mr. Ryan’s new found compassion, IT DOES NOT EXSIST!! Lies, deception, deceit, illusionary tactics,are his bag of tricks.
    He is an old hand at this sort of behavior. Having lived on the public dole his whole life.

  12. I can see where people are cajoled into head nodding mode by Ryan’s ideas. But when you dig beneath the surface it is all gibberish. He claims to be aimed at changing the system so it no longer acts as poverty management but what his proposal really amounts to is case management. This is not the smaller and less intrusive government the GOP says it stands for. This a major contradiction. Any person can have a long dry period then a short stretch of prosperity–then lose a good job. Will those Ryan labels “losers” then be set adrift? This is cleverly disguised deceit.

  13. Thanks! I’ve been off the hobby horse for a while, but hopefully I’ll get back into writing. My run for US House in 2014 and some issues with health (mainly because my unrelenting anger at the state of politics was making me sick) led me to pull back.
    Bound to get better soon, I’m sure. Especially since we don’t have those maddening issues anymore. Oh wait…. Nvm..

  14. Bundling all programs together makes it much easier to seize control of public funding at one fell swoop rather than having to go to the effort to wade through paperwork 11 for different programs. Its never about helping the poor, its about enriching Ryan’s cronies.

  15. Medicare’s financial health is improving, according to a new official forecast that says that the program will remain solvent until 2030—four years later than anticipated a year ago—because of the Affordable Care Act and lower-than-expected spending on hospital stays.

  16. What makes this Ryan plan even more scary is the fact it actually has a fighting chance at becoming law. Do you hear that sleeping Democrats in America? If you stay home and sit out this most important midterm election of your lives this Ryan budget will be one step closer to becoming national law. With two-thirds control of government the conservatives will be motivated like never before to win the presidency in 2016. Democrats across the board must get motivated NOW! VOTE in November and drive a family member or friend to the polls with you to vote also.

  17. The economic divide within the U.S. has increased dramatically during the 21st century.

    And how do fiscal conservatives respond? “Mission Accomplished … but we want an even greater separation of wealth distribution.”

  18. What the hell happened to separation of church and state! This is clearly unconstitutional! I wonder if he is another Dominionist. The last thing we need to do is increase the power of the religious right. Maybe if someone is gay and unemployed they will require him to go get “gay reparation” therapy and renounce his “evil ways”?

    There are all kinds of opportunities for abuse here. Imagine how they would treat single mothers. It is one thing for a Christian charity to expect people to listen to a short sermon before they hand out food as many do now, and quite another thing altogether to give all authority for social services to a church. That is like giving up all mental health care to the Scientologists! No meds for you!

  19. If it were possible, I bet a lot of Americans would have no problem having a amendment addressing that. We are sick of this. Grown men and women acting like children throwing mud pies at each other instead of getting work done! Suing the President with taxpayer money? And there should be limits on how many times you can try to repeal something and how many “investigations” you can have before laying a matter to rest.

  20. Thank you! That puts the lie to everyone saying we don’t have the money to help people! On the other hand it sure is damn depressing to see all that waste of money. My father was an aerospace engineer and I just sent this article to him. He always did good careful work and I think he will probably be disgusted with this! Some of the parts he designed for planes are still being used and he has been retired for 21 years!

  21. An Alternative to Capitalism (since we cannot legislate morality)

    Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: “There is no alternative”. She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

    I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to my essay titled: “Home of the Brave?” which was published in the OPEDNEWS:

    John Steinsvold

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
    Pogo quotation by Walt Kelly.

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