AEI: Opinion: U.S. Representative Paul Ryan: Expanding Opportunity in America
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
I've seem some of the reactions from so called progressive publications like Salon and the AlterNet about Representative Paul Ryan's anti-poverty programs reform plan. Representative Ryan is of course the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee so he has solid knowledge of these issues because of the information he has to this subject because of his positions in the House. The reactions from Salon and others were typical of far-left publications when any poverty reform plan comes around that isn't about more cash assistance. But instead about empowering people to take responsibility over their own lives. Calling the Ryan plan cold and mean-spirited.
Libertarian publications like Lew Rockwell and the Economic Policy Journal called this plan big government and nanny statist. Which again are typical reactions from libertarian publications that see any reforms that aren't about eliminating public programs as big government. I don't agree with the reactions from either the far-left or libertarian-right because Representative Ryan's ideas are fairly mainstream. What he wants to do is reform the job training programs so more low-income adults can have access to college and finish their education. So they can get themselves a good job and no longer need public assistance.
The other idea that Representative Ryan had was expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit so low-income workers have more incentive to work and not quit and go on public assistance all together. The block grant proposal which would essentially turn the public assistance programs over to the states and locals to run is a bit controversial and comes with risks. But can be very effective as long as they come with conditions. That the money for the programs are used for exactly that and not used to build roads or tax cuts, but go to the people that the programs are for.
The one lump some approach which would be to essentially turn all of the public assistance into a credit to cover all of the people who are on the programs bills. I have a big problem with and can't support. Because instead of having public housing, Medicaid, Food Assistance, Welfare and whatever else you would give people a credit that covers the assistance of each of these programs. It would essentially be on public assistance check to cover all of these bills for people who are eligible for these programs. Which invites people to make bad choices with the money and use that money to pay for things that the credit isn't intended for.
All in all I believe Representative Ryan takes a good approach and a positive step to seriously dealing with poverty in America. That is more about empowering people in poverty to get out of poverty instead of just leaving people in poverty with a few extra bucks funded by taxpayers. But it is not something I would support completely, but would incorporate in a broader public assistance reform plan to move people out of poverty and off of public assistance and living in freedoms supporting themselves.