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Ryan Checks in with Social-Justice Advocates for ‘War on Poverty’ Update

“We focus on how much money we spend. Instead, we should focus on results...on how many people get off public assistance."

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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August 4, 2013 - 12:00 am
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WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) continues his mission to bring attention to government policies he says have “failed miserably” to get Americans out of poverty, while critics of his budget maintain it is “morally wrong” to cut social assistance programs.

Ryan convened a panel of social-justice advocates and policy experts Wednesday to give lawmakers a progress report on the government’s battle against poverty.

Forty-nine years ago, former president Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “war on poverty” to address the problem of persistent poverty in the nation. Since then, the government has spent over $15 trillion in that war. Yet, around 46 million Americans live below the poverty line – the highest number since the fight against poverty began.

Ryan said the government has been doing a “lousy job” because it “focuses too much on inputs.”  He argued that government must tackle the causes of poverty, instead of perpetuating it by funding its symptoms.

“We focus on how much money we spend. Instead, we should focus on results. We should focus on how many people get off public assistance—because they have a good job,” he said.

Ryan compared government programs to a “giant sedimentary rock” with layers of programs built onto each other.

“In fact, there are so many of them—and there is so little coordination between them—that they work against each other. In effect, we penalize people for finding a job or getting a raise,” he added.

Whenever lawmakers argue over ways to reduce the budget deficit, one of the most popular ideas on both sides of the aisle is “means-testing” programs like Medicare and Social Security. Instead of wholesale benefit cuts, the idea is to reduce them for the rich and middle classes while leaving them intact for the poor.

Currently, there are 60 means-tested programs funded and directed by the federal government. In addition, state and local governments operate numerous similar programs. The Congressional Research Service has estimated that state and local governments supplemented federal spending on these means-testing programs by around 27 percent in 2004. Together, federal and state governments spend close to a trillion dollars a year on means-tested benefit programs, according to data from the Heritage Foundation.

Douglas Besharov, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, noted that government programs generate both good and bad incentives. He highlighted the importance of adopting the right incentives that encourage people to work without necessarily reducing the benefits under means-tested programs.

He said that the increase in social assistance expenditures does not belong to either political party, adding that “this is a story of 15 years of expansion of means-tested programs without thinking about their incentive effects.”

Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic lobbying group NETWORK and a leader of the recent “Nuns on the Bus” campaign, testified about meeting several Americans across the nation who had benefited from social assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP). She noted that the 2014 budget resolution proposed by Ryan and passed by the House in March would cut SNAP benefits. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that cuts could total $135 billion, close to 18 percent, over the next 10 years.

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$15 trillion is what the federal government has spent, And the states and localities have spent more? Helluva scam, but it allows phonies, like the sister above, to bask in the supposed morality as loving progressives, a second hand morality and dubious besides. As noted above, you set a program in motion and through the system it assumes a life of it's own.
A shame the cuts are only 18% over ten long years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'it is “morally wrong” to cut social assistance programs'

Anyone who says that is clearly a mental midget and has no idea what morality is. Hint: using force to take money from one group to give to another group is not moral. It's called 'theft'. You lose all claim to morality when it is no longer voluntary.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (17)
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“From my perspective, cutting SNAP is wrong morally and is not in keeping with the actual facts about the program,” Campbell said. “We are not suffering from a scarcity of resources for these programs. We suffer from a lack of political will.”

Sister Simone, I assume, since you are a Catholic that you are talking about Christian morality or the teachings of Christ. Nowhere in the gospels did Jesus tell his followers to create a huge federal bureaucracy, borrow trillions of dollars, and create a dependant underclass. Jesus told his followers, his church to minister to the needs of the poor. Jesus was and is about changing lives and freeing people from the oppression of sin, not just sending a check. The government can send checks, but cannot change the long standing habits and behavior, which can perpetuate poverty.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
my co-worker's sister makes $61 hourly on the internet. She has been fired from work for five months but last month her paycheck was $16062 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site http://www.wep6.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"“We are not suffering from a scarcity of resources for these programs. We suffer from a lack of political will.”"


This is the problem. These people actually BELIEVE this! The fact that we are TRILLIONS in debt, and borrowing more each year, doesn't make a dent in their brains at all.

They STILL think "the government" has plenty of money!

And this is true across all socioeconomic and educational strata.

It's mind-boggling. There is no possibility of reasoning with such people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You can read more than this excerpt book review on the front page of the Washington post read by millions by end of the week

"Christie gets a lot of attention from Balz, and rightly so. If Romney had picked him for his running mate instead of Rep. Paul Ryan, he might have won. Balz reports that at one point Romney said, “Governor, are you prepared to resign to be my running mate?,” leading Christie to believe, embarrassingly, that he had the nod. But that was before Romney and Ryan conceived what aides called a “bromance,” in which two budget nerds fell into each other’s arms. It was folie a deux, as Balz tells it. The theory was that Ryan was such a good salesman, he could make sacking Medicare look like a reasoned response to debt apocalypse"

Christy and Rubio can bring back sanity to the GOP for the 2016 election whereas the Vatican with this new Pope begin to play hardball and not let Paul Ryan partake of Eucharest so they do not repeat the same mistake they made at the beginning of 20th century that ended up making Communism so popular with the tormented people.
Repent or Perish Jesus say in God's word the Bible. Pray the GOP REPENT soon before they set off another nuke stand on ground zero to find their pure paradise
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The best way to bring people out of poverty is to educate them to 'do' for themselves. This goes against popular liberal 'theology', make them dependent on us for everything, it's easier to control them if they have no where else to turn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
also easier to buy their vote- who gets more votes people who LIE or tell the truth - the free ice cream man / woman will always get the liberal dem vote
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
$15 trillion is what the federal government has spent, And the states and localities have spent more? Helluva scam, but it allows phonies, like the sister above, to bask in the supposed morality as loving progressives, a second hand morality and dubious besides. As noted above, you set a program in motion and through the system it assumes a life of it's own.
A shame the cuts are only 18% over ten long years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The war on poverty is an utter failure. It requires more upkeep than we have funds to sustain it. Most caught in the cycle just exist. Many do not work and can not tell you anyone in their environs who do. There are 3 generations of non workers in many families. The federal and state governments have over 200 assistance plans open for the taking. Gaming the system is very easy and quite enticing. Something for nothing: SIGN ME UP! And sign up and hang on they do. People in real need lose out. A medicaid card is pure gold and it is used unsparingly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The war on poverty is an utter failure."

No, Dylan, it's not a failure at all. It's been a resounding success.


Oh, you thought the goal was to eradicate poverty? Tsk, tsk.

You need to read Marx, so you know what's going on.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The war on poverty is an utter failure. It requires more upkeep than we have funds to sustain it. Go to sec. 8 housing area in your city and see for yourself. It isn't an area most would live in. My friend's daughter makes her living going there. Drugs, drug dealing and making her money lying on her back. She comes home after a 4 or 5 day stretch to recover 1 or 2 days at dad's house and back she goes. Sells food stamps for 'throwaways' or anything of urgent need. She's white. This sec. 8 is black. Ain't life grand?!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I believe we are on the right track for measuring the success of any given program by the number of folks who graduate to self support. All federal programs could use this simple measure. Unfortunately, the outcome based measurements are counterintuitive to employees whose livelihood depend on the programmatic rice bowl. http://coldwarwarrior.com/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'49 years ago l.b.j. declared a war on poverty'. immediately thereafter he broke open the social security lock box, stole the people's hard earned $$, left an i.o.u., and spent it on welfare programs to benefit himself, his political party and his friends. (sound familiar?)

I was an apprentice assigned to one of these const. projects to build beautiful new housing for the disadvantaged poor using our SS $$. when we went back a couple weeks after its opening to install a piece that was on backorder, there were holes in all the walls, spray paint everywhere, elevators practically destroyed, carpets ripped up, ceiling tiles gone, everything not bolted down stolen, and it smelled like a sewer.

I see evidence (online) our transparent commie-kenyan and his cronies are now looking at ways into our 401k's and i.r.a.'s. they say history really does repeat itself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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