Rep. Paul Ryan published a 204-page report that criticizes the U.S. government’s anti-poverty programs and proposes cuts to welfare expenditures.
Ryan (R-Wis.), who is also the chairman of the House Budget Committee, believes Washington should focus on reforming the welfare program and recommended “a sweeping overhaul of social programs,” according to the Washington Post.
“There are nearly 100 programs at the federal level that are meant to help, but they have actually created a poverty trap,” said Ryan. “There is no coordination with these programs, and new ones are frequently being added without much consideration to how they affect other programs.”
Moreover, he continued, “This document is a precursor not only of our budget but of our larger project to introduce poverty reforms over the course of this year. The president may focus on inequality because he can’t talk about growth. We’re focused on upward mobility, speaking directly to people who have fallen through the cracks.”
The following day, however, President Obama unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget for next year. According to Investopedia, Obama’s budget would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to help a million Americans get out of poverty.
“Under the new plan workers would get 15.3 cents credit for each dollar earned up to $6,570, for a maximum credit of $1,005,” said Investopedia. “That amount would be set until the worker earned $18,070.”
Unfortunately for Ryan, his report was not well received by many economists. Jared Bernstein said that it is misleading to tell the American people that anti-poverty programs result in even more poverty.
“While much of the commentary suggests that federal antipoverty efforts have failed and are fraught by wasteful duplication, the evidence – some of which is in here and much of which is conspicuously missing [sic] – belies that facile claim,” said Bernstein.
In the meantime, it is uncertain which direction Washington will take to address the growing inequality in America’s biggest cities as well as the poverty that is already present throughout the country. However, many economists who have more experience than Ryan believe that his report is inaccurate.
– Juan Campos