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

    Then, why didn't you guys pass "JOBS-BILL"? Talking thugs. Better shut up.

    January 10, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  2. current state of the union

    Amazing, he is saying we need to cut the help to the poor, and is trying to convince you thats the key to ending poverty, wow, just wow.

    January 10, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  3. current state of the union

    Another gop, in order to save the villagers, we had to kill them, nice.

    January 10, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  4. Norma Vessels

    Of course, Paul Ryan would say it is a failure. He always says anything our President does is a failure. He doesn't know any other word, and he certainly will not ever say anything positive about our President. He's a stuck record, with plenty of flaws of his own. He needs to clean up his own agenda.

    January 10, 2014 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. michael

    Wow, this coming from the guy who at first was anti-medicare, anti-social security, then wanted to privatize social security and balance the budget on the backs of the poor, middle class and seniors! What hypocrites repuglicans are! Double speak is their political language and lying is their nature with a bible in the other hand!

    January 10, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Poor Ryan. He is trying so desperately to be like our boy blunder, Marco.

    January 10, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    The war on poverty can NEVER succeed with hand outs. That is a never ending process.

    The war on poverty can only succeed, when we have shown people how to provide for themselves, and how to gain upward mobility, during their lifetime. That is not about hand outs.........that is about jobs.

    January 10, 2014 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "Rep. Paul Ryan gives U.S. a 'failing grade' in war on poverty"
    In other words, he gives the war on the war on poverty a passing grade. Paul Ryan lost all eceonomic credibility with me during an interview that he conducted within days of being selected by Romney to be on his ticket. Republican budget guru and Ayn Rand admirer, Paul Ryan, was asked about indepedent ratings of his 'Ryan Plan' budget. He was told that the President's plan would erase the annual deficit in about ten years, but Ryan's budget would not balance the budget for at least 30 or 40 years.

    Ryan was asked what would the national debt look like by the time his budget plan balanced the budget 30 or so years from now. His reply was simple. "I haven't run the numbers, yet." Are you kidding me? He didn't know. He had no idea. If he actually admitted to not "runnning the numbers," how on earth can be make all of the fantastic claims that he did? That's when I realized that this man is selling "Ayn Rand" ideology, not an actual budget. And, if he wasn't selling ideology, then he was a complete quack.

    January 10, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    J'Cincinnati'Redd wrote:

    "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. ... ..."
    What you say is true to some extent. But, at least they're spending their money, which grows the economy.

    January 10, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  10. ghostwriter

    That was a long winded way of saying that he's not big on welfare. Shocker.

    Republicans are against anything that may aid the poor. Didn't they make a big stink on college aid programs? And on college as a whole? Maybe that was just Pretty Ricky Santorum. But it's real simple. Provide a college education and you will see an immediate rise from poor to middle class. Invest in early education (and not just money). And you can make a real difference.

    Not just talking bout it.

    January 10, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  11. Jack clemons

    This guy thinks his kiss up, kick down policies can be sugar coated enough to slip past our BS sensors. Not mine. Nothing specific. Cut federal aid and pray seems to be his plan. Does anyone have any doubt the savings will eventually be spent on another corporate tax break or a tax cut for "job creators"?

    January 10, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So the guy who has spent most of his career fighting against the provisions of the War on Poverty gives the US a failing grade? That shows real chutzpa! This guy is responsible for more roadblocks in those programs than just about everyone else combined!

    January 10, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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