Mofo Politics
Mofo Politics

A closer look at Paul Ryan’s “detailed” anti-poverty plan   June 8, 2016

h/t Red Chalk.

This is the most common criticism of Trump’s plans:

But how??

You keep saying you’re going to do this and that– but how??

Tell me, specifically, H-O-W are you going to do those things!? Give me detailed solutions, like Paul Ryan does!

As it happens, House Speaker Paul Ryan recently unveiled the anti-poverty plank of “A Better Way”— Ryan’s “bold vision for America”.

For the heck of it, let’s apply #NeverTrump standards to the Speaker’s “detailed solutions”…

About A Better Way

Our Vision For A Confident America
Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility

Our nation is on the wrong path. We can complain about it, but that won’t change things. To get America back on track, we have to raise our gaze. We have to go bold. That’s what A Better Way is about. It is a full slate of ideas to address some of the biggest challenges of our time.

Okay, but how??


All of us should have the chance to make the most of our lives no matter where we start.

Okay, but how??

Our country is all about striving, but too many of our people are stuck. Over the years, Washington has made many promises, created many programs, and spent many trillions to fight poverty. Yet today in America, if you are raised poor, you are just likely to stay poor as you were 50 years ago. The key word here is ‘stay.’ Our welfare system is rigged to replace work, not encourage work. Washington measures success by how many programs it creates, not by how many people it helps. The system traps families in a cycle of poverty, shuffling them from program to program instead of helping them break free altogether.

Okay, but how??


  • Reward work. A good job is the surest way out of poverty. If you are capable, we will expect you to work or prepare for work.
  • Tailor benefits to people’s needs. Instead of the same failed one-size-fits-all approach, we will match poverty-fighting programs with your needs so that it’s easier to keep a job and start a family.
  • Improve skills and schools. To help protect the next generation from poverty, we will make sure that poor kids have more opportunities to succeed at every stage, from childhood through college.
  • Plan and save for the future. To help you stay on the path from dependence to independence, we will make it easier for you and your family to plan for the future and be retirement-ready.
  • Demand results. We will open up the system to accountability and collaboration with local communities, backing ideas that work on the front lines every day.

Okay, but how??

Unfortunately, that’s it. That’s the end of the website.

After emailing Speaker Ryan’s office, I was referred to a 35-page PDF. See for yourself— the PDF is just as short on specifics, apart from some questionable (albeit, colorful (much appreciated)) data sets.

For ex: This chart on race and poverty…

I informed Speaker Ryan’s office that “Hispanic” is not generally considered a “race”– and questioned the curious exclusion of other “races”/ethnicities under his broad definition:

  1. If Hispanics are included, why are Asians, Asian-Indians, and Jews excluded under this broad definition of “race”?
  2. If Asians, Asian-Indians, and Jews are excluded due to their relative prosperity as compared to Blacks and Hispanics– what gov’t program led to this disparity?
  3. Please answer this question specifically:

    What gov’t program took Asians, Asian-Indians, and Jews out of poverty?

I have yet to hear back.

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