To: Interested Parties
Fr: Democratic Leader’s Press Office
Dt: March 6, 2014
Re: The Truth About the GOP War on the Poor
This winter has seen brutally cold temperatures and repeated snowfalls across much of the country but the frosty weather is no match for the cold cruelty of House Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s War on the Poor.
Today at a politically charged conference in Washington, D.C., Chairman Ryan had the audacity to say the President and Democrats in Congress are offering the American people “a full stomach and an empty soul.”
Huh? This from a leader of the party that has called repeatedly for slashing or eliminating funding for food stamps, WIC benefits for pregnant women, young mothers and small children, reduced fare breakfast and lunch programs at schools, meals on wheels for low income seniors with reduced or no mobility.
In fact, on Monday, Ryan released an error-riddled report which tried to assert that federal initiatives designed to help low-income people don’t work and should be scrapped because there are still low-income people in our country. Only in the Republican Party does it make sense to declare helping those in poverty requires slashing and eliminating initiatives designed to help the most vulnerable among us.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for economists, budget experts, and journalists to highlight the report’s errors and flawed ideological conclusions.
Fiscal Times – Economists Say Paul Ryan Misrepresented Their Research
An exhaustive critique of the federal social safety net released by Rep. Paul Ryan on Monday is meant to be the intellectual foundation for an overhaul of the federal anti-poverty programs. But interviews with economists – a number of whom are cited in Ryan’s paper – suggest that he may be building his house on sand…
However, several economists and social scientists contacted on Monday had reactions ranging from bemusement to anger at Ryan’s report, claiming that he either misunderstood or misrepresented their research.
Los Angeles Times – How big a mess is Ryan’s report on poverty? Scholars say: Very big.
Unfortunately for Ryan, several experts on the War on Poverty have now taken their licks at the report. Doubly unfortunate for Ryan, some of them are experts whose work he cited in the report, and they say they’ve been misrepresented. That’s important, because the goal of Ryan’s report is to show that existing poverty programs are ineffective, and therefore should be changed (mostly by cutting them). But he cooked the books…
Even beyond misquotation of scholars’ statistics, the report is extremely one-sided and sloppy in its interpretation of research on poverty programs.
Sharon Parrot with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s new report on safety net programs and poverty is disappointing. Though it purports to be a balanced, evidence-based review of the safety net, it falls far short of that standard. It’s replete with misleading and selective presentations of data and research, which it uses to portray the safety net in a negative light. It also omits key research and data that point in more positive directions.
For several years now, Chairman Ryan (R-WI) has proposed annual budgets that would deeply cut programs for the poor. The Ryan budgets have consistently secured between 60 and 67 percent of their budget cuts from programs for low- or moderate-income people.
Esquire – The New Adventures of Old Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan’s entire political career has been about eliminating the federal government’s ability to do anything except raise an army and keep the tax burden on the country’s wealthiest citizens low. This is the Makers And Takers guy, remember? There is no compelling reason now to believe he’s changed at all.
New York Magazine – Paul Ryan Tries to Enlist Social Science to Back Up His Poverty Plan, Disaster Ensues
Basically everything in Ryan’s report turns out to be wrong. The Fiscal Times contacts a number of researchers whom Ryan cites, and they all report that Ryan knows nothing of their work…
Ryan’s budget absolutely slays the budget for anti-poverty programs – the vast majority of his spending cuts come from the minority of federal programs aimed at the poor. That fact has led to his current predicament: Democrats have painted him as a cruel social Darwinist, causing him to become concerned about his image as an “Ayn Rand miser,” causing him to re-brand himself as a poverty wonk, causing him to dive into scholarly literature. But scholarly literature is never going to show that his plans to impose massive cuts to the anti-poverty budget will help poor people.
The Week – Can Paul Ryan’s poverty blitz survive contact with reality?
The thing to remember about Ryan’s misleading attacks on the War on Poverty is that they’re born of necessity. Ryan’s ideology won’t allow for the success of social safety net programs — he believes they provide “disincentives” to work and turn people into wards of the state.
To dismantle that safety net, he has to argue that it has failed the people it was designed to help. And the only way to do that is through the sort of creative manipulation of data on display in his report.
New York Times Editorial – Mr. Ryan’s Small Ideas on Poverty
Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman, has an important role to play within the Republican Party. He provides polished intellectual cover for his party to mow down as many antipoverty programs as it can see. Most Congressional Republicans would love nothing more than to eviscerate programs like Medicaid, Head Start and food stamps. But so as not to appear cruel and uncaring, they need a high-minded excuse to do so…
It’s easy to find flaws or waste in any government program, but the proper response is to fix those flaws, not throw entire programs away as Mr. Ryan and his party have repeatedly proposed.
It is clear that the GOP-Ryan agenda is nothing more than an empty plan to tackle poverty and soulless political agenda that does nothing to help the American people. Chairman Ryan and House Republicans need to put aside their partisan agenda and work with Democrats to pass policies that are proven to help struggling Americans and their families.
Raise the Minimum Wage
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Renew UI for millions of jobless Americans still struggling to find work