Reform, of course, will be stridently opposed by the reactionary liberals who earn their fat salaries and pensions by administering dozens and dozens of DC-based federal programs that demonstrably fail to help the poor rise from their station in life...but do allow liberals the joy of seeing redistribution of hardearned income to Government programs....
Mr. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a leading voice in his party on fiscal matters, said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute that the federal government represents the “rear guard — it protects the supply lines. The people on the ground, they’re the vanguard. They fight poverty on the front lines.”
Mr. Ryan’s proposal gives new policy backbone to Republicans’ recent promises to address poverty and is part of a broader political strategy to increase the party’s appeal. This has given Mr. Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president in 2012, the opportunity to show that he and his party are as concerned about the poor as Democrats are while offering a dramatically different approach to addressing poverty.
His plan includes a mix of both traditional Republican tax proposals to expand the earned-income tax credit and reduce regulations and some new commitments to reducing criminal sentencing and recidivism.
Other Republicans, like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who, like Mr. Ryan are considering a 2016 presidential run, have echoed his broad call to broaden their party’s appeal. Mr. Rubio spoke about broken families at Catholic University in Washington yesterday, and Mr. Paul will address the National Urban League in Cincinnati tomorrow.
Mr. Ryan tumbled somewhat awkwardly[says the Times, anyway] into the anti-poverty discussion this year when he said a “tailspin of culture in our inner cities” perpetuated poverty, a comment that Democrats and some African-American groups called racist. [naturally] But since then, Mr. Ryan has appeared to try to make amends, traveling the country to listen to Americans in poorer cities as he prepared to unveil this proposal.
The “Opportunity Grants” resemble block grants to individual states, which would have autonomy to spend on whatever anti-poverty programs they desire as long as Washington approves the plan. The federal government currently spends about $800 billion on social welfare programs like food stamps and housing assistance. Mr. Ryan said total spending would remain the same and that his plan was revenue-neutral.
Mr. Ryan’s previous broad policy introductions outlined in his budgets have focused on deficit reduction, but he stressed that this anti-poverty proposal focused on reforming, not curtailing, the safety net.
“It is important to note that this is not a budget-cutting exercise — this is a reform proposal,” the policy discussion draft said. “This proposal seeks to create the space and flexibility necessary for local, state, and federal government to add value without making judgments about the right level of spending.”
If a state opted into the pilot program, it would have low-income residents meet with case managers who would craft an “opportunity plan” offering both financial advice and coordinating the provision of the several different programs they need to survive. A neutral agency would evaluate each provider’s success at moving poor Americans out of poverty.
“The point is, don’t just pass a law and hope for the best,” Mr. Ryan said. “If you’ve got an idea, let’s try it. Test it. See what works.”
The proposal also gives childless workers the chance to claim a larger earned-income tax credit, which grants a subsidy to low-income families with a working parent. The credit was greatly expanded during the 1990s when Republicans similarly homed in on poverty as a policy priority. Mr. Ryan’s proposal recommends doubling the maximum tax credit for the childless poor and lowering the age of eligibility from 25 to 21.
President Obama and House Democrats have also signaled support for an expansion of the credit, and Democrats applauded Mr. Ryan’s plans to tackle recidivism.
But when push comes to shove, The Party of Government will refuse to reform failed bureaucracies...because the secret is, Democrats care more about their precious Government programs and Government unions than they do about the poor...