Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan will deliver a speech on poverty and economic mobility in Ohio today. According to the campaign, Ryan plans to argue that “Mitt Romney offers a better pathway for low-income Americans to improve their lives through opportunity and upward mobility.”
“We are here in partnership on behalf of an idea — that no matter who your parents are, no matter where you come from, you should have the opportunity in America to rise, to escape from poverty, and to achieve whatever your God-given talents and hard work enable you to achieve,” Ryan will say, according to speech excerpts. “Upward mobility is the central promise of life in America.”
However, Ryan’s policy prescriptions don’t match his rhetoric. Here are the key facts to know about Ryan, his budget, and how it would treat the least fortunate Americans:
1) RYAN AND ROMNEY’S SUPPLY SIDE POLICIES DON’T REDUCE POVERTY: Romney’s and Ryan’s economic prescription — which an spokesperson described as the Bush program, “just updated” — has failed to pull people out of poverty when its been tried in the past. During the Bush administration, 8.3 million people fell into poverty and child poverty rose by 3 percent. President Clinton’s policies, meanwhile, lifted 8 million people out of poverty. This chart compares the two administrations.
2) THE RYAN BUDGET INCREASES INCOME INEQUALITY: The budget Ryan authored makes a “priority of rewarding wealth over work,” which would increase income inequality. This chart shows that as a country grows more economically unequal, it becomes more likely that a parent’s income will act as a predictor for his or her child’s income.
3) 62 PERCENT OF RYAN’S CUTS COME FROM LOW-INCOME PROGRAMS: According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Ryan’s budget “would get at least 62 percent of its $5.3 trillion in nondefense budget cuts over ten years (relative to a continuation of current policies) from programs that serve people of limited means.”
4) RYAN’S BUDGET GUTS FOOD STAMPS: By turning the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as food stamps, into a block grant to the states, the House Republican budget would eliminate food assistance for millions of households, or reduce benefits for millions more. Food stamps reduced the poverty rate by nearly 8 percent in 2009, and kept 3.9 million people out of poverty last year.
5) RYAN’S BUDGET GUTS HEALTH CARE FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES: According to the Congressional Budget Office, Ryan’s plan to block grant Medicaid — which provides health care to low-income individuals — would “involve reduced eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP, coverage of fewer services, lower payments to providers, or increased cost sharing by beneficiaries — all of which would reduce access to care.” A new study by the Urban Institute finds that Ryan’s plan would reduce Medicaid enrollment by a whopping 50 percent.
6) ROMNEY PROPOSES CUTTING CHILD TAX CREDIT: Reforms implemented by the Obama administration expanded the Child Tax Credit for low-income families. Romney calls for repealing those reforms, reducing or eliminating the credit for the families of 15.8 million children. The child tax credit kept millions of women out of poverty last year.
7) ROMNEY PROPOSES CUTTING THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT: Romney also would repeal an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit that was implemented by Obama, meaning that “a two-parent family raising three children on $30,000 of earnings would lose $1,076 a year.” President Reagan called the EITC “the best antipoverty” measure to come out of Congress. Last year, the EITC kept 5.7 million people out of poverty.
8) RELIGIOUS LEADERS SLAM RYAN’S PLAN FOR ITS EFFECT ON THE POOR: Religious leaders have severely criticized Ryan’s budget for its treatment of the poor. The PICO National Network, the largest national coalition of religious congregations, said of the plan: “The mission of the Church is to ‘bring good news to the poor’ and to protect the vulnerable, not to justify the impoverishment of the very young, the very old and the sick in order to enrich the wealthy.” Ryan has said that budget was driven by his faith, driving further criticism. “It’s the height of hypocrisy for Rep. Ryan to claim that his approach to the budget is shaped by Catholic teaching and values,” said Fr. John Baumann. “A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects ‘the least of these’ (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.”