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Paul Ryan: Anti-Poverty Programs Worsen Poverty

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AP Photo / Eric Gay

Ryan released a 205-page report on Monday, conducted by Budget Committee Republicans, examining federal spending on anti-poverty programs like cash and food aid, education, housing, health care and social services. The report casts doubt on the efficacy of such programs, although it stops short of calling for their elimination or proposing specific changes.

Ryan said the existing system "sets up a perverse incentive that we call the poverty trap, where people get on these programs, and if they try to leave these programs to go work at a job, they're worse off. And so it sort of traps them where they are and freezes them in place. And that's why we have economic immobility."

Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former economist for Vice President Joe Biden, wrote a blog post seeking to counter Ryan's claims and accused him of waging an "aggressive pursuit of YOYO (you're-on-your-own) economics."

About The Author

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.