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by
Bridget Johnson

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April 22, 2014 - 5:01 pm

A Democratic congresswoman from Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) home state said that the Congressional Black Caucus is eager to meet with the House Budget Committee chairman on Wednesday to discuss his comments on inner-city poverty.

“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” Ryan said last month on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America when talking about welfare-to-work requirements.

The CBC sent Ryan a letter calling the original comments “highly offensive.” Ryan said his comments had “nothing to do whatsoever with race.”

“After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make,” he said in a statement. “I was not implicating the culture of one community — but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities.” The CBC invited Ryan to come to one of their weekly meetings to talk about poverty.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) told reporters on a House Democratic caucus call today that they see the meeting, scheduled to take place after Ryan’s committee holds a hearing titled “A Progress Report on the War on Poverty: Lessons from the Frontlines,” as an “opportunity.”

“You know, Congressman Ryan is a nice guy. And, as such, you know, he has tried to frame the comments that he made about inner-city folks as just sort of inarticulate ways of communicating,” Moore said. “We’re gonna challenge his assumptions about that, and really raise with him a couple of very specific proposals.”

“One is to really focus and target in on job opportunities for inner city and rural men. There is a program that was modeled in the stimulus package called the 10-20-30 program. And it was to target 10 percent of economic resources in those communities where 20 percent of the population lived in poverty for over 30 years,” she continued.

“And when you look at it, this is not a partisan thing. It’s not a racial thing. It’s not an urban or a rural thing. If we were to implement that, it would touch Republicans, like 50/50 Democrats-Republicans, rural areas and urban communities.”

Moore said they really hope to bend Ryan’s ear during the meeting.

“He says that he wants to, you know, his take on talking about poverty is to say, ‘We’ve spent billions or trillions of dollars on poverty programs and poverty won.’ And we see that essentially as just a sort of playing with statistics or numbers, because in fact these poverty programs have helped raise people into the middle class by giving them job experience,” she said.

“And it has literally been a lifeline to millions of people, and not just people of color, but seniors. We all know, for example, that the Medicare and Medicaid programs, Social Security, literally lifted seniors out of poverty. And so, we are happy that Representative Ryan wants to engage in this conversation and we’re not going to let him get away with sort of a, you know, a sleight-of-hand on this. We know how to crunch numbers as well.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Lets see... Detroit - Chicago - LA - Oakland - and so many other democratic oasis's. What is the common denominator with all these hell-holes?

Couldn't be that they are all controlled by democrats, could it?

Naw!

That would be racist!

27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I was not implicating the culture of one community "

Actually, that needs to be brought up and addressed. The culture of black Americans, particularly in poor neighborhoods is toxic. As is rap.

The Harlem Renaissance was very good. Contrast that with Jay-Z, the new Beyonce etc. It has gone downhill.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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Ryan will waste his time talking to these close minded idiots who don't care anything about the poor youths. The want to keep racism alive so they can feed off the carcasses of their troubled youth.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see no reason for Paul Ryan to enter that Liberal Lions' Den. What was his thoughtcrime? He contradicted liberal orthodoxy that has insisted for the last half century that urban poverty is caused strictly by racism. Cultural and family disintegration are inconvenient facts.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It's not a racial thing. It's not an urban or a rural thing."

No, perhaps not, but it is a cultural thing. And throwing money around won't help and in many cases actually exacerbates the problem.

But she's right, it's not just the inner city black culture that's at issue here. People who try to work with children in Appalachia, for example, are constantly frustrated by the fact that having a learning-disabled child is a financial boon to the family and the monthly government check becomes more important than the future welfare of the child.

Scratch a community where 20 percent of the population has lived in poverty for 30 years and you'll find cultural rot. Guaranteed.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
white R called on carpet to be scolded by black racists who will not fail to make sure Ryan is branded, tarred, feathered, and lynched no matter what he says now, no matter how many "apologies" for saying nothing wrong--to them he will still be a white RACIST! RACIST RACIST!

recipe for one more PR disaster
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Minority children have been indoctrinated for many decades to resent what is presented as an oppressive dominant culture. I'm not sure how this tendency can be reversed. See http://clarespark.com/2011/03/26/'race'-class-and-gender/. 'Black' or 'brown power has done dreadful harm to minority groups, while the sources of their condition remain hidden from them. All the Right can come up with is returning Father to the head of the family. I would prefer that we address the curriculum and teach subjects that actually help children survive and prosper.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just don't get why it's somehow racist or offensive to point out something that is not only factual but glaringly obvious. I'm no fan of Ryan, but his comments do not seem to indict the entire Black population or imply that an unwillingness to work is somehow a racial characteristic common to all Blacks simply because they are black.

The fact is that too many young black men have no interest in going to school or getting a job. They father inordinate numbers of children they will never support with different women they will never marry. The are perfectly content to be wards of the state and complain that they are victims of a racist society.

That is the message the CBC needs to hear and accept instead of continually playing into the race grievance industry.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lets see... Detroit - Chicago - LA - Oakland - and so many other democratic oasis's. What is the common denominator with all these hell-holes?

Couldn't be that they are all controlled by democrats, could it?

Naw!

That would be racist!

27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I was not implicating the culture of one community "

Actually, that needs to be brought up and addressed. The culture of black Americans, particularly in poor neighborhoods is toxic. As is rap.

The Harlem Renaissance was very good. Contrast that with Jay-Z, the new Beyonce etc. It has gone downhill.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope Ryan carries them the message they rejected because they need to hear it.
To the degree that poverty associates with race, and that degree is sadly very high, those who claim to lead a race with high poverty need to see what the roots of that poverty are. And it ain't me keeping anyone down.
He can try for a collegial tone but the CBC needs this message. And they're going to excoriate Ryan unless he rolls over. Rolling over would be politically worse for Ryan than being principled.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope Ryan bends a few ears, too.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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