Rep. Paul Ryan gives U.S. a 'failing grade' in war on poverty
January 9th, 2014
09:36 PM ET
4 years ago

Rep. Paul Ryan gives U.S. a 'failing grade' in war on poverty

(CNN) - On the heels of the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s call for an "all-out war on human poverty," Rep. Paul Ryan said efforts to reduce poverty should happen outside think tanks in Washington, and instead in the communities where the fight is succeeding.

The Wisconsin Republican said he would give the United States a "failing grade" in efforts to curb poverty since Johnson's declaration five decades ago.

"We should have done better on this. We can do better than this," Ryan said in an interview with "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams in Washington.

"What we should do is not sit in our think tanks in Washington and say, ‘Oh, it's this program’ or money here or money there. Let's talk to the people who are actually fighting poverty successfully and see what we can do to support them."

Ryan, considered a likely 2016 presidential candidate, said "If we do these cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approaches here in Washington, we'll miss out."

The 2012 vice presidential running mate and chair of the House Budget Committee said the nation's approach needs to be rethought and we need to stop "quarantining the poor."

"What we have learned is that this isn't as much about deprivation. It's about isolation. And in many ways our strategies have isolated the poor from the rest of society. We need to reinvigorate and reintegrate the poor into our communities," he said, adding that citizens just paying taxes and expecting government to take care of the issue doesn't work.

The government provides a safety net, Ryan said, which is important for income support, but federal programs have also frustrated community efforts to combat poverty on a local level.

"We keep dumping money into programs that we know don't work and that means we are not funding ideas that do," he said, pushing for education and job training.

Filed under: Paul Ryan
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Paul Ryan and his Mom came out pretty well when his father past away. Fortunately for this hypocrite, he did not have a republican congress keeping benefits from the Ryan family.

    January 9, 2014 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    If it was not for social Security and Medicare, 40%of our seniors would be living in poverty. Ayn Ryan is wrong again.

    January 9, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  3. Winston Smith

    If the republican party were to be given a grade, what would he give his party and himself. Here's where the failing grade comes into play. Since the war on poverty was implemented by LBJ, the republican party has been in the process of dismantling it, just like the programs put forth by FDR.. The programs of both men LBJ and FDR, have been under attack for years, and the whole motive for this is to make sure they fail, or are as weak as possible for political purpose. The republicans have not now, nor have they ever been a friend to the poor, working poor or the working class in any way shape or form. They've been obstructive in every sense of the word because of corporate contributors being in control of the area in Washington known as K-Street. Their agenda comes first with the republicans. Always has, always will. Unless you are a corporate contributor, you matter not.

    January 9, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. newsreader

    Paul ryan is living up to the republican ideals I'm surprized his mask didn't fall down when he pretended to care about anyone not really wealthy. Greed . Scares you to think the republicans believe this bull and repeat it like it's real.

    January 9, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  5. Liz the First

    This is a real hoot! a republican complaining about us not doing enough to eliminate poverty. he of the party that is doing everything it can to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. his party has done nothing to help this country recover from the recession HIS PARTY caused. he has some gall complaining that the party that's actually trying to help the poor hasn't been able to do as much as we've wanted to do. And if the answer is the private sector and not government, why is there any poverty at all in a country with a church practically on every corner?????????

    January 9, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  6. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    The war on poverty is a big joke. American is rich and there is plenty of money to go around. But poor people want nothing to do with hard work and smart work. If u give a poor a man a 17hr job,he wont start a family or buy a house. No, because poor people love to be seen.they buy name brand clothes and and drive fancy cars. They willl never build wealth because they want to look rich. The war on poverty is a waste of time. The people in poverty want to be in poverty.

    January 9, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  7. richie

    Want the poor vote? One word, . WAGES!

    January 9, 2014 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  8. GCBK

    Seriously?? Sorry, I am from Wisconsin. I work in public health and non-profit. I see on a daily basis what Ryan's so called solutions do.....this is one of the last people who should be grading anything related to public policy dedicated towards making society better.

    January 9, 2014 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  9. S. B. Stein

    How does he define it not working? I would like to know what his definition is of "not working" when it comes to the anti-poverty programs. It isn't really clear to me.

    January 9, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. toreropalido

    "Rep. Paul Ryan gives U.S. a 'failing grade' in war on poverty"
    Paul Ryan's been in government 15 years now. So he is a failure. Time to step down.

    January 9, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  11. YUCK

    who are majorities here in this country?

    January 9, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. Evergreen

    Ryan does not mention that poverty was reduced under former President Clinton. The solution to growing poverty is JOBS. Bring back the jobs that were out sourced, pass a jobs bill, invest in job training. Jobs and education will end poverty.

    January 10, 2014 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    Then for a start he might do well to voting for Unemployment extension and getting his and other republican states to go for the PPACA Medicaid addition.

    January 10, 2014 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  14. Roger

    As long as we have politicians always running for higher office, trying to make political hay, as Ryan is, than it'll always turn out to be "Lip Service." Ryan doesn't really care about solving the problems of unemployment and poverty. He cares more about elevating his own status in the Republican party, so he can be president.
    Poverty in our country will only be reduced through education and creating jobs. But unfortunitely nothing ever gets done, unless somebody can make money, or gain poower from it.

    January 10, 2014 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  15. BeenThereDoneThat

    #Rep. Paul Ryan, you talk a good game-this being an election year and all. You & your ilk are fooling NOBODY!

    January 10, 2014 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  16. proton14

    Sounds like a solid idea!

    January 10, 2014 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  17. Brownie Sartis

    A fifty year war that we spent TRILLIONS on ... and changed nothing for the better.

    Sounds about right.

    January 10, 2014 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  18. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Cut funding for EVERYTHING while the population INCREASES makes NO economic sence but only to the braindead GOP idiots. Their failed economic policies for the last 30 years will keep costing the GOP morons election after election and the house in 2014. Even GOP dumb voters won't vote for the proven failures that effect mostly red GOP states in the south where they cut food stamps and healthcare and education and KEEP their supporters in poverty, the GOP are the new robber barons from the 20s. They are incompetent and worthless while they make millions in congress, they should be thrown in jail and will be so day. Issa ,GOP from cal worth 450 million is worse then Romney !!!!

    January 10, 2014 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  19. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    That must be out of the NEW GOP talking points GOP play book while the millionaire GOP congress men do nothing and try to cut all social programs a don't raise the minimum wage, the GOP are incompetent loser and need to be kicked out of office while the hide behind obamacare. Can't wait for the elections and guess who I'm voting AGAINEST in Florida ?????

    January 10, 2014 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  20. Marcus (from...?)

    Oh well, the guy that wanted to privatize/dismantle social security feels like he can judge other people's actions on that subject... What's next? Ask Charles Manson about the crime rate in the USA?

    January 10, 2014 05:33 am at 5:33 am |

    Lyin Ryan and the Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts isolate the poor by calling them"takers" while farmers,Big Oil,Pharma and the military run off with the money that government gives them

    January 10, 2014 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  22. Michael MN

    Lets look at the American Business model – Take Boeing – Record planes shipped , record profits , record stocl price – CEO gets 20% pay raise to 27 MILLION a year , his pension was also increased – but the workers who build there product got there pay cut , got there pensions cut and basicly were told to cut your own throat or we will just move this to another state that we can extort the tax payers to pay us for moving jobs there that we will pay even less

    The top 1 % are increasing there wealth by millions as the average middle class worker see's there pay and benifits cut

    January 10, 2014 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  23. GOP = Greed Over People

    This stance makes one wonder why Ryan took the SSN stipend when his father died, if it did not keep him out of poverty.

    Just another GOP example of "I got mine, screw you" as they pull up the ladder to success, once they have used it.

    January 10, 2014 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  24. mickinmd

    The War on Poverty should be focused "in the communities where the fight is succeeding"???

    In the 1970's, the bottom 40% of Americans owned 0.9% of all American wealth. Now they own 0.2% because of the policies of Ryan and his party. There can't be many "communities where the fight is succeeding."

    January 10, 2014 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  25. sammy750

    And Paul Ryan has help create more poverty too. With his views on helping those in need and him saying people need to find a job not seek govt. help. But the Republicans have done nothing to help the job crisis. They won't even pass a higher minimum wage saying it loses jobs, which is just not the real fact. Minimum wages has nothing to do with new or existing jobs. But Republicans seems to be experts on all issues.

    January 10, 2014 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
1 2