WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, Wisconsin’s First District congressman and speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, spoke with Big AM 1380’s Stan Milam.
Stan Milam: “One of the projects you’re working on, one of your initiatives . . . I will call it the poverty initiative. To me, [this] signaled an opportunity where there could be some bipartisan cooperation. . . . Can you give our listeners an idea of your plans with [the] poverty initiative?”
Paul Ryan: “Sure, two of the issues we are working through the process now. One of them we already passed, which is a bill [Senator] Patty Murray and I actually wrote together—it passed, it’s now law—changing the way we measure the effectiveness of poverty programs. In the past we based it on effort, inputs; how much money are we spending? . . . How many people are on the programs? Now, we’ve changed it to . . . measure the effectiveness of these programs based on outcomes. Are we actually getting people out of poverty? Do these programs work to achieve their objective of [lifting people up] and on their own feet, out of poverty? And changing the way we measure programs will change the way programs work. That bill is already passed and into law.”
“Criminal justice reform is part of our poverty plan, and those bills are working their way through Congress. We also have a poverty and upward mobility taskforce that is working its way in the House that will be making more comprehensive reforms. We think we need to rework the welfare system so that it is producing work incentives, not work replacement. . . . It needs to become a work incentive system [to] pull people into work. It’s not doing that right now. It’s in many ways encouraging people not to work, and we think that’s a real detriment to people and to the welfare system. That is going to take a bigger, more wholesale reform, and that is what our poverty taskforce is working on.”