Works Not Words Offer the Best Solution to Poverty

PaulRyan-npr photo

PaulRyan-npr photo

Last week on Bill Bennett’s radio program, House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R-WI) made some comments that can only be described as uninformed and insulting regarding the issue of poverty in American cities.  He said, “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.”

Ryan was addressing a report on poverty that he released earlier which detailed his version how federal spending was impacting our nation’s poor. The reaction was swift from journalists, political pundits, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to the Congressional Black Caucus. Ryan’s views on poverty are neither new nor surprising but the recurring attack on race and class in this country under the guise of the federal budget and big government is disingenuous and ridiculous rhetoric. The Lyndon B. Johnson war on poverty 50 years ago did not end poverty but his political response to a policy issue  cannot be understated or denied. The LBJ administration responded to poverty with action not rhetoric. The government raised the minimum wage; created programs to train and educate Americans for better jobs, provided rent subsidies and student loans as well as enacted Medicaid and Medicaid for those who could not afford healthcare.

The Congressional Black Caucus has invited Rep. Paul D. Ryan to a CBC meeting where a more robust and thoughtful conversation on poverty might be possible. CBC Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio has said that she thinks it could be a teachable moment, let’s hope so.

 

Comments

  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    Rep. Ryan spoke the truth and it’s not flattering, hence the backlash.

  2. To quote Richard Rothstein from his recent presentation Modern Segregation, “avoidance of our racial history is pervasive and we are ensuring the persistence of that avoidance for subsequent generations. For the public and policy makers, re-learning our racial history is a necessary step because remembering this history is the foundation for an understanding that aggressive policies to desegregate metropolitan areas are not desirable, but a constitutional obligation”.

    The history, laws and practices which have produced severe, chronic, devastating, multigenerational poverty and all it entails should impel the Congressman and his colleagues to do more than make a few provocative observations.

  3. Burroughston Broch says:

    The first step in correcting a problem is a frank appraisal and recognition that it exists. Apologists for multigenerational poverty and indolence delay correction of the problem. Some (especially some politicians) seem to have vested interests in not correcting the problem.

  4. Agree. Hence, my insistence the discussion include a review of public policy.

    • Burroughston Broch says:

      Then why did you write, “Ryan’s views on poverty are neither new nor surprising but the recurring attack on race and class in this country under the guise of the federal budget and big government is disingenuous and ridiculous rhetoric?”

  5. There is a clear difference between understanding the impact of history and public policy and his “attack on race and class under the guise of the federal budget and big government”.

    • Burroughston Broch says:

      Ryan said, “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.”

      Pray tell, exactly and simply, what in this sentence is an an attack on race and class.

    • Burroughston Broch says:

      Are you suffering from writer’s block or are you avoiding my request? It’s been three days.

    • Burroughston Broch says:

      Greetings from Tanzania. It’s now been 18 days since I asked for your response. Your silence is deafening.

    • Burroughston Broch says:

      It’s now 24 days since I asked for your response. Tanzania has some of the same problems as we have, among them being generations of people who do not work and demand that those who do work support them. The large public housing projects seem to all be painted pink.

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