Rep. Paul Ryan has come under fire in the past for throwing the poor under the bus to work towards a balanced budget. Ryan has been trying to undo some of those allegations that he doesn’t care about the poor in this country, and so he went on a tour to poor neighborhoods to get the real scoop on what poverty is. And, to be fair, Ryan has changed his tune on cuts to assisting the poor.
Instead, Paul Ryan would much rather hand all of that money being handled by a few agencies at the federal level over to 50 different agencies at the state level (because adding a middle-man is a fantastic idea for something didn’t need one). Why? Well, Ryan would like to make those states hold to more regulations in order to get that money. When I say, “regulations” I am referring to the extra paperwork and footwork required of people who need assistance in order to qualify for it.
For example, let’s say you are unemployed. It doesn’t matter that there are only half as many jobs as current applicants on the market… Ryan thinks you should just up your job skills and try harder or lose your assistance. If your minimum wage job qualifies you for food assistance through SNAP, then those foodstamps should require you to try to get a different job in order to survive. Just to show how insane Ryan is… he begins his proposal with statistics on the economic mobility of low-wage earners being better than ever (supposedly thanks to top-down economic policies).
“To be sure, most low-income families are better off than their parents. Of those raised in the bottom fifth of the income scale, 93 percent experience “absolute” upward mobility. After adjusting for family size and the cost of living, they make more money than their parents did at the same age. In short, economic growth has raised living standards across the board.”
Of course, Ryan is comparing an era of higher single-earners in a household to modern two-parent incomes. Of course the numbers are going to seem higher per family if both parents have a job, but unless they are double that amount… then it shows a significantly greater problem which Ryan only lightly touches on.
“Even so, poverty is too high, unemployment is too high, labor-force participation is too low, and wage growth is too slow. So how do we increase opportunity and upward mobility? No family can get ahead without a strong economy. But there are many factors that affect upward mobility.”
You see what he did there? That was more than just a writer’s tool in bringing the title to the message in the content. Ryan is about to start defending a healthy economy as the fix to poverty. He also does not mention the growth of the top 10% of wage earners in comparison to those numbers he believes shows a healthy growth in economic mobility. Why? Well, that would mean he would have to defend the extreme growth on one end and not the other… which would screw up his plan to sell us more top-down policies to fix the system that top-down policies have broken.
Since he is so focused on “poverty” in his drive to improve overall economic development, Ryan chooses to leave out anyone who makes over $100k per year in his conclusions. He also leaves out gaping loopholes which are available to higher income earners which juxtapose against those Reagan-era tax credits given in lieu of increasing the minimum wage.
No matter how much love that republicans pile onto Ronald Reagan, they sure seem to hate his policies. When Reagan held back minimum wage with the bonus tax credits (which created just about every Judge Judy episode on TV) the idea was that it was a give and take. Now, republicans like Ryan prefer to think of that as a take and a loss to conservative values… because raising the minimum wage would make baby Jesus sad.
Even though the main focus from conservative business news stations like Fox Business or CNBC is directly on poor wage growth, republicans in elected office are choosing to ignore that part and seek ways to give more breaks to businesses and top income earners (because why not).
And it just keeps getting worse as you read through the plan…
After skimming through Paul Ryan’s issues with the student loan system (which didn’t seem to have anything to do with poverty wages), he lands on a long finale about prison labor. Did you know that there are a lot of young working-age people in prisons that could be doing our labor for us? Wouldn’t that be awesome if we could just replace immigrant labor with prison-slave labor?
Hopefully you said, “NO” to that last question… because incentivizing a system that already seems to be growing larger than necessary has already been happening in Louisiana. Louisiana is now the prison capital of the world and it is run completely as a private industry. Their growth isn’t even a ‘chicken v egg’-argument either. The explosive growth of their prison population happened as a result of that privatization and so now there is a huge business in that state to make sure enough people go to jail in order to keep profits up.
Paul Ryan needs to just quit his War on the Poor. He isn’t fooling anyone. Just because his latest plan doesn’t directly cut Medicaid or Medicare, that seems to be Paul Ryan’s version of bi-partisanship in his overhauling of at least 4 government agencies in order to “help” the poor… which doesn’t seem to address the poor very well at all.
Here is a nice little montage to remind people that they shouldn’t let Paul Ryan tackle these types of issues in office.