Paul Ryan Poverty Plan: Punish Poor Americans for Being Poor

Blame the victims

Via Media Matters

Failed 2012 Vice Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is back again with a so-called “poverty plan” that blames the victims. In reality, poverty is the result of systemic inequality of opportunity – not a lack of individual initiative.

Rep. Paul Ryan’s poverty proposal, which would in part punish impoverished Americans for not getting themselves out of poverty on a specific timeline, is based on the conservative myth pushed by right-wing media that blames poverty on individuals’ “spirit” and personal life choices.

…The “discussion draft” submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to the House Budget Committee on potential solutions to poverty in America includes the proposal that low-income Americans would have to sign “contracts” in order to remain eligible for social safety net benefits, such as food stamps, or SNAP. The contract would include: benchmarks, such as finding a job, enrolling in employment training, or even meeting “new acquaintances outside circle of poverty”; a “timeline” in which individuals are contractually-obligated to meet those benchmarks; bonuses for meeting benchmarks early; and “sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract”

…Annie Lowrey of New York magazine explained that Ryan’s proposal is based on the assumption “that the poor somehow want to be poor.”

Ryan’s poverty-shaming plan is nothing more than a vehicle for right-wing propaganda.

Here’s a better alternative than the Tea-GOP is offering: a $15 per hour minimum wage.

More Info:

The Worst Part Of Paul Ryan’s Poverty Plan Is Based On A Media Myth
Seattle raises minimum wage to $15 an hour
Fast food workers vow civil disobedience

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on July 28, 2014 - 9:47 pm

    I like that guys protest sign. Concise and true.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on August 18, 2014 - 2:24 pm

    Paul Ryan Shuns Conservative Media’s “Makers And Takers” Rhetoric, But His Policies Still Rely On Those Myths

    But Ryan’s proposed policies still blame poverty on the poor. He thinks Americans will stop being poor if can find more ways of shaming them.

  3. #3 by Larry Bergan on August 19, 2014 - 10:13 pm

    I kiss the ground every time I remember that Romney and Ryan lost the election.

  4. #4 by brewski on August 21, 2014 - 8:07 am

    “Growing gaps between rich and poor in recent decades have been exacerbated by a divergence in the behavior of the two groups. No feasible amount of income redistribution can make up for the fact that the rich are working and marrying as much or more than ever while the poor are doing just the reverse. Unless the poor adopt more mainstream behaviors, and public policies are designed to move them in this direction, economic divisions are likely to grow.”

    Isabel V. Sawhill is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She serves as co-director of the Budgeting for National Priorities project and co-director of the Center on Children and Families. She holds the Cabot Family Chair. In 2009, she began the Social Genome Project, an initiative by the Center on Children and Families that seeks to determine how to increase economic opportunity for disadvantaged children. She served as vice president and director of the Economic Studies program from 2003 to 2006. Prior to joining Brookings, Dr. Sawhill was a senior fellow at The Urban Institute. She also served as an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995, where her responsibilities included all of the human resource programs of the federal government, accounting for one third of the federal budget.

    Her research has spanned a wide array of economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty and inequality, welfare reform, the well-being of children, and changes in the family. In addition, she has authored or edited numerous books and articles including Creating an Opportunity Society with Ron Haskins; Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2005: Meeting the Long-Run Challenge and Restoring Fiscal Sanity: How to Balance the Budget, both with Alice Rivlin; One Percent for the Kids: New Policies, Brighter Futures for America’s Children; Welfare Reform and Beyond: The Future of the Safety Net; Updating America’s Social Contract: Economic Growth and Opportunity in the New Century; Getting Ahead: Economic and Social Mobility in America; and Challenge to Leadership: Economic and Social Issues for the Next Decade.

    Dr. Sawhill helped to found The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and now serves as the President of its board. She has been a Visiting Professor at Georgetown Law School, Director of the National Commission for Employment Policy, and President of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. She also serves on a number of boards. She attended Wellesley College and received her Ph.D. from New York University in 1968.

    • #5 by Richard Warnick on August 21, 2014 - 8:19 pm

      The strategy of blaming the victims is false, immoral, typical of the right-wing and often very, very effective. Sometimes uninformed people even internalize these bogus talking points.

      The rich, the very rich, the ultra rich and the uber-rich are not getting richer because they are “working more than ever.” They rig the economy and tax system in their own favor, just because they can. The poor are not working, or working for less – because there aren’t enough jobs, and the jobs available don’t pay a living wage! Working harder is not the answer. The harder you work in America, the less they pay you. Everybody knows this, except think tank Ph.D.s who are paid to justify runaway income inequality.

      The laziest people I ever met were being paid in excess of $100K.

      BTW the right wing of the Democratic Party is still the right wing in my book. I have not forgotten Michael O’Hanlon’s cheer-leading for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

      • #6 by brewski on August 22, 2014 - 6:46 am

        CMD began primarily as a project of career far-left activists John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, who used CMD as a platform from which to publish a series of books. Since Stauber and Rampton’s retirements, CMD has been run by Lisa Graves, a career Democratic Party and left-liberal activist who previously worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

        • #7 by Richard Warnick on August 22, 2014 - 7:28 am

          What is CMD?

          • #8 by brewski on August 22, 2014 - 11:36 am

            CMD is the owner of Sourcewatch, Your source.

  5. #9 by Richard Warnick on August 21, 2014 - 9:10 pm

    Low-Paid Jobs Now Pay Even Worse Than Before The Recovery Began

    Those who work in jobs that pay poorly are now making even less than they were when the recovery began, according to a new analysis from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

    As the report notes, since the recovery started in 2009, “Lower- and mid-wage occupations experienced greater declines in their real wages than did higher-wage occupations.” Jobs that pay in the top two tiers saw a decline in wages between 2.1 and 2.5 percent. But those in the bottom three groups in terms of pay saw wages decline between 3.6 and 4.6 percent.

    …Overall, across all jobs, median hourly wages have declined 3.4 percent between 2009 and 2013.

    This trend is also troubling because these jobs have seen some of the strongest growth in the recovery, outpacing better paying ones. The NELP report notes that low-wage industries have accounted for 41 percent of job growth over the past year, employing 2.3 million more workers than when the recession began, while mid-wage industries have only made up 26 percent and high-wage ones have made up 33 percent. “Today, there are approximately 1.2 million fewer jobs in mid- and higher-wage industries than there were before the Great Recession took hold,” it says. This continues a trend NELP has been tracking over recent years.

  6. #10 by Richard Warnick on August 21, 2014 - 9:16 pm

    My Heartbreaking Walmart Story: How Working There Devastated My Family

    My dad worked for over 25 years as a machinist at Inland Steel, caring for me, my sister and our mom with his single income. He was able to buy us a comfortable house and car and put food on the table. When we got treated to the movie or a restaurant, I felt special, but I also knew my dad didn’t feel stressed out by the expense – he wanted us to be happy and to believe in working hard and in enjoying the rewards. Above all, he felt hopeful that his children were on a path to greater security and success.

    By the time I was ready to enter the workforce, I didn’t feel that same hope. In fact, it no longer seemed like you could take care of a family with one full-time job. I have my own children now, and I worry that they aren’t growing up with any belief in a better life.

    …[T]he hard reality is that Wal-Mart’s treatment of workers continues to hold our country back. Being paid less than $25,000 a year – as most Wal-Mart associates are – while the company brings in $16 billion in profits and spends millions on ads is not OK.

    • #11 by brewski on August 22, 2014 - 6:48 am

      WalMart’s profit margin is 3.3%.

      How narrow would you find acceptable?

      • #12 by Richard Warnick on August 22, 2014 - 11:40 am

        If Wal-Mart Paid Its Employees a Living Wage, How Much Would Prices Go Up?

        Look, Wal-Mart made a $17 billion profit last year. Why are taxpayers paying for food stamps for Wal-Mart employees? It’s corporate welfare.

        Wal-Mart is America’s biggest employer. If they treated their workers fairly, maybe people who avoid Wal-Mart like the plague might reconsider. It would be good for business.

        • #13 by brewski on August 22, 2014 - 12:34 pm

          I have answered all of these exact same questions before. Go back and read my same answers again. Apparently you didn’t get the point.

          • #14 by Richard Warnick on August 22, 2014 - 1:07 pm

            My questions above are rhetorical.

            If you were to answer them, I suppose you could say that $17 billion a year profit is just barely enough for the Walton heirs and shareholders to scrape by, and that’s why Wal-Mart must have taxpayers subsidize their work force. But that would be pure b.s.

          • #15 by brewski on August 22, 2014 - 1:30 pm

            So you think the California Teachers’ Retirement System makes too much and we need to cut teachers’ pensions?

          • #16 by brewski on August 22, 2014 - 1:32 pm

            So you want to raise prices to all the hardworking customers?

          • #17 by brewski on August 22, 2014 - 1:32 pm

            Why just WalMart? Why not the same logic on all retailers?

          • #18 by Richard Warnick on August 23, 2014 - 3:10 pm

            General Motors used to be the nation’s largest employer. Now it’s Wal-Mart. That fact says a lot about the fate of the American middle class. Maybe if Wal-Mart led the way, other retailers would follow. Costco already pays their workers fairly.

            Even if you assume 100 percent of the cost of paying Wal-Mart employees decently would be passed on to customers in the form of higher prices, the price of Mac and Cheese would go up by 1 cent. And taxpayers save $300 million because Wal-Mart’s work force would no longer be on SNAP (aka food stamps). Watch the video.

          • #19 by brewski on August 23, 2014 - 3:32 pm

            GM “used to be” precisely because the UAW priced themselves out of the market.

            Ever heard of the downward sloping demand curve?

        • #20 by brewski on August 23, 2014 - 3:19 pm

          Gee, it’s in the video from some Berkeley kid whose never employed a person in his life. It must be right.

          The comparison of a WalMart employee to a Costco employee is laughable. Costco pays a whole lot more exactly for the reason because they want to be able to only hire the cream of applicants, meaning, not the ones who get jobs at WalMart. Your ignorance is startling.

          • #21 by Richard Warnick on August 23, 2014 - 4:45 pm

            There ya go again… to quote RR. Blaming the victims.

          • #22 by brewski on August 24, 2014 - 1:20 am


  7. #23 by piss poor "progressivism" on August 22, 2014 - 2:24 am

    Nothing to be but your own boss in business, or riot apparently. Read today 35.6% of the US population is officially on welfare.. And that the ratio of that to working people is about the same, with 92 million Americans of working age, not working. Hmm.

  8. #24 by piss poor "progressivism" on August 23, 2014 - 12:28 pm

    No matter what Walmart does, brick and mortar will have their troubles..internet sales increasing every year with all kinds of goods delivered to your door.

    Mate this with emerging tech and there are soon to be even less viable jobs. The advent of 15 dollar an hr jobs at fast foods places may happen, but you will be ordering on a tablet attached to a will also pay that way given some time, the only front staff will be a food runner.

    All would do well to study some on the Luddite rebellions in England..1813. The British crown at the time fought that domestic war the same time as the war of 1812 and Napoleon in Europe. More troops fought Luddites than both other wars combined..elites won’t tell you the results of technology displacements, they just do it and then working people live it.

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