John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Friday, December 20, 2013

The American Prospect: Monica Potts- 'Paul Ryan's Misguided Poverty Plan'

Source:The Washington Post- U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (Republican, Wisconsin) 
"Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, launched by President Lyndon Johnson. But don't expect a golden anniversary party for the tired, poor, huddled masses.

Johnson's initiatives passed beginning in 1964 and throughout his second term, and were aimed at the communities left out of policies that had created the widespread prosperity enjoyed by most Americans after the Great Depression-especially the rural poor and African Americans. It wasn't long, however, before those programs came under attack. The next president, Richard Nixon, used resentment over expanded rights and anti-poverty legislation to wrench the votes of Southern whites away from the Democrats: Ronald Reagan began dismantling these programs in the 1980s. Since then the country has concerned itself more with policies that help businesses grow than with the plight of the least well off. It's part of the reason we suffered through the Great Recession, and why poverty remains stuck at 15 percent.

"John Harwood sat down with Congressman Paul Ryan to discuss his new anti-poverty plan." 

Source:Nightly Business Report- John Harwood, interviewing Representative Paul Ryan (Republican, Wisconsin)

From the Nightly Business Report

There are good progressive policies in dealing with poverty in America. Like increasing the minimum wage or even creating a new living wage of around twelve-dollars an hour. That I would be in favor of if it came with a thirty-percent tax break for employers, so their payroll costs do not go up too much, especially for small employers.

Another good progressive policy would be to have employers who pay their workers poverty wages to the point that they need both public and private assistance to survive, have employers subsidize their low-wage workers public assistance, instead of middle class workers.

Have these employers pay at least part of their low-income workers public assistance costs. Which would also make our debt and deficit outlook better as well. But going forward we need to think more liberally in how we try to reduce poverty in America. And get more pro-active and develop policies that empower these people to become economically independent so they can take care of themselves and move off from public assistance. It is not like we need to develop some new grand strategy or plan to combat poverty in America.

And we simply do not need to create some type of new War on Poverty or Great Society to do this. The information, evidence and facts are already in how you reduce poverty in America. First, yes you need public cash assistance for low-skilled adults whether they are working or not so they can cover their short-term bills. But long-term to actually move these people out of poverty, you have to be more liberal and less government centric and oriented.
We need to be less socialist when it comes to poverty and more about individual empowerment even. And be less about government taking care of people and become about empowering this population to be able to take care of themselves. And that gets to things like education and job training for adults who need it to finish their high school education. But moving forward moving to higher education with junior college and vocational opportunities opening up for these adults.
When it comes to combating poverty in America, you need to know what your goals and plans are, what are you trying to carry out. And for eighty-years this country has mostly been about giving people in poverty more money so they can live more comfortably while still living in poverty. What I’m interested in doing is actually empowering this population so they can move out of poverty into the middle class and become economically independent.

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