The poster child for just how little Republicans understand about poverty, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), proved once again how deranged the GOP is about impoverished Americans when he suggested that the chaos we recently saw in Baltimore is all linked to a systemic problem tied to ‘lucrative’ welfare programs.
“After a 50 year war on poverty and trillions of dollars spent, we still have the same poverty rates,” Ryan told CBS host Bob Schieffer during a discussion about the recent events in Baltimore. “This isn’t a Republican-Democrat thing. We as a country need to say, that’s not good enough. We’re not getting the results we need.”
Amazing isn’t it? To Republicans, poverty has nothing at all to do with the greed of the richest among us who continue to hoard cash by the billions, but it’s all about people who would rather live on welfare than get a job. Republicans like Ryan also never like to mention that there are millions of Americans on welfare who have full-time jobs, they’re just not paid enough at those jobs to take care of their families.
“I think we need to do another round of welfare reform, not to save money, but to save lives,” he continued. “And so it’s not a function of pumping more money into the same failed system because we’ll just get the same failed result. It’s rethinking how we actually attack the root causes of poverty. All we do these days effectively is treat the symptoms of poverty.”
Granted, his comments sound solid – but we all know his real “plan” is to gut these programs, throwing millions of Americans off programs that they rely on just to feed their families.
Then, finally, his true colors showed.
“Because what you do when you stack up all these poverty programs on top of each other, we have this thing called the poverty trap, where we’re actually disincentivizing a person from getting on with their life and going to work,” Ryan stated. “It pays not to take a risk to take a job to go out and prove your life because of the benefits you lose.”
“The American idea is that the condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life,” he continued. “Anybody in this country can overcome their current circumstances and make a better life for themselves and their kids. We [Republicans] were taught believing that. There are a lot of people who don’t believe that.”
And there’s the usual “we’re all given the same opportunities/welfare is too lucrative to get people to look for jobs” nonsense we’re used to seeing from Republicans.
While I fully admit there are people out there who do abuse our welfare system, they certainly don’t make up the majority of those who receive these types of benefits. All that sort of statement represents is hate-mongering by Republicans to get people angry about the “lazy person living off their tax dollars.”
And don’t even get me started on the absurd belief that anyone can overcome their current situation. There are millions of people born into situations that doomed them before they could even walk. While some do indeed make it out, statistically speaking, it’s far more difficult for someone to make something out of themselves when they come from an environment that’s not conducive to that. To discount the often overwhelming obstacles someone needs to overcome to take themselves from a broken home and poverty to success as an adult shows that Ryan doesn’t understand a damn thing.
But for Paul Ryan to try to use everything that went on in Baltimore, and everything that might have led to it, as an excuse to push for cuts to programs that help poor people is absolutely disgusting. His comments serve as a reminder to all of us just how little Republicans care about the poorest among us or the problems plaguing impoverished Americans.
Watch the video below via CBS News: