Congressman Paul Ryan Believes In Untapped Potential Of The Poor
Congressman Paul Ryan, joined by Robert Woodson, Sr., Founder of Center for Neighorhood Enterprise, spoke Friday morning at SALT 2014, not to promote policies that aimed to benefit the personal agendas of the affluent audience, but to inspire support for the upward mobility of the impoverished.
Woodson set the stage, defining the left and the right as both having misguided ideas of how to empower the poor. “The political left, they see the poor as victims. The political right, they see that what has been done hasn't worked, so let meritocracy judge winners and losers.”
“There has to be a third way. Take the principles of the market economy that work and apply them to the social economy.” Woodson categorizes the poor in three categories. The first is the group that, “uses welfare as an ambulance to get back on their feet.” The second is the group that chooses to stay on welfare, and stay poor, telling a story of a woman who stayed on welfare and saved the money to pay for her daughter's college tuition and was ultimately charged for misusing the system.
The third group of poor is those who have character deficits. Woodson says, “[this group] needs a transformation of value and character. What we must do is go into areas and inspire changes.” He demands this type of change requires “grass roots leaders.” “It's possible to help more poor people with less money if we invest in people.”
Handing the stage over Paul Ryan, he proclaims the incredible abundance of untapped wealth and resources available in America today, such as fracking. “Fracking is such an obvious place for growth.” Included in the untapped potential in America is the poor. Ryan states, “Go into poverty stricken communities and you can see that untapped potential. There are people in this country fighting amazing odds and doing incredible things.”
Tax payers spend $800 billion to fight poverty. Ryan suggests the metrics of the fight against poverty are way off. “We fight [poverty] based on the inputs, the number of programs, not on the outcomes. How many people are we getting out? Are we treating root causes or just making it more tolerable?”
The key is to focus on good growth policy and getting jobs to those who need them. “Aid needs to be personalized and customized. The government approach is a hodge-podge of programs that have piled up over the years. We need to customize support and get people climbing the runs. This is what we talk about when we talk about upward mobility.”
Ryan is working to change the way the government views its aid of the poor. He says, “There are people who succeed in spite of all this. Let's learn from them and do more of it.” A material mindset transformation is necessary for Ryan's new plan to work. The country needs people on the ground, impacting the lives of less fortunate citizens.
Ending his speech, Paul Ryan charges the audience with getting involved. He says that, “[the notion] that paying your taxes and the government will take care of it is not enough anymore.”
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