Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is trying to use the Baltimore riots as an excuse to take away food and housing from poor adults and children.
During an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation, Rep. Ryan (R-WI) dressed up his Ayn Rand fantasies of starving the poor as economic opportunity.
It’s really not a more money thing. Spend the money we have more effectively. I think we need to do another round of welfare reform — not to save money, but to save lives. And so it’s not a function of pumping more money into the same failed system because we’ll just get the same failed result. It’s rethinking how we actually attack the root causes of poverty. All we do these days effectively is treat the symptoms of poverty.”
I would consolidate many of our federal poverty programs into flexible programs that go to our states to customize a welfare benefit for person’s particular need. Because what you do when you stack up all these poverty programs on top of each other, we have this thing called the poverty trap, where we’re actually disincentivizing a person from getting on with their life and going to work. It pays not to take a risk to take a job to go out an prove your life because of the benefits your lose.
As usual, Ryan completely avoided discussing what his plan actually does.
According to an analysis by the CPBB, Ryan’s plan would take food away from poor adults and children:
While Chairman Ryan describes the proposal as maintaining the same overall funding as the current system for each participating state, that would be a practical impossibility. His proposal would convert the nation’s basic food assistance safety net — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps — from an entitlement that responds automatically to increased need into part of a sweeping block grant that gives each state fixed funding for the year and, thus, cannot respond in the same way. This would be a particularly serious problem when need rises, such as in recessions.
While Chairman Ryan says he’s driven by evidence and research, his plan would jeopardize basic nutrition assistance for poor children, which research has shown is highly effective not only in reducing child malnutrition, but also in improving children’s long-term prospects. A path-breaking recent study examined what occurred after food stamps gradually expanded nationwide in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It found that poor children with access to food stamps in early childhood (and whose mothers had access during pregnancy) had an 18-percentage-point higher high school graduation rate — and were less likely as adults to have stunted growth or heart disease or to be obese — than comparable children who lacked access to food stamps because their counties hadn’t yet implemented the program. By eliminating poor families’ entitlement to SNAP and placing funds for basic food assistance at risk of being diverted, the Ryan plan would jeopardize these crucial gains.
In other words, Paul Ryan is trying to use the Baltimore riots as an excuse to cut poor people’s access to food all across the country. In Ryan’s view, the best way to create “opportunities” for those who have the least is to create an unstable survival situation for them. Ryan relied on that old Republican myth that poor people don’t want to work to support his plan. In fact, poor people do want to work. There are tens of millions of Americans who go to work, but are still poor. Getting a job isn’t a cure-all. People need good paying jobs.
Paul Ryan’s solution isn’t really a solution at all. Ryan is dressing up more Ayn Rand fiction and trying to pass it off as public policy.
The Republican “idea man” has once again come up empty.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association