Paul Ryan's reality check on budget hysteria: GOP plan bolsters the safety net
Congressman Paul Ryan explains why the GOP's 2012 budget not only prevents a fiscal disaster, it strengthens America's safety net by directing more assistance to those who need it most.
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Another successful aspect of welfare reform was that it required recipients to either be looking for work or training for work, thus encouraging able-bodied citizens to achieve greater control over their lives. The best welfare program is one that ends with a job and a stable, independent life for the individual, but our budget realizes that it is not enough to provide incentives for work. In addition to a number of measures that promote job creation, the House-passed budget streamlines and strengthens federal job-training programs to help the less-fortunate get back on their feet.Skip to next paragraph
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Emulating the bipartisan successes of the mid-1990s will help make federal antipoverty programs stronger and more effective, but that is not enough. There is a key difference between then and now: Today, we face an unsustainable trajectory of government spending that is accelerating the nation toward a ruinous debt crisis.
Mounting debt also threatens our poorest and most vulnerable citizens, because those who depend most on government would be hit hardest by a fiscal crisis. Harsh austerity would be the only course left. A broke government unable to finance its spending commitments would be forced to make indiscriminate cuts affecting current beneficiaries of government programs – without giving them time to prepare or adjust.
End welfare for corporations
As we strengthen welfare for those who need it, we end it for those who don't. We end wasteful welfare for corporations such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, big agribusinesses, well-connected energy companies, and others that have gotten a free ride from the taxpayer for too long.
The aim of the social safety net should be to empower individuals, putting them in a stronger position to achieve. Government can play a positive role in this area with policies that help those who are down on their luck get back on their feet. The House-passed budget strengthens the social safety net and promotes policies that help people recover from poverty and lead self-sufficient lives.
Hysterical predictions about what would happen to low-income Americans under our budget are not just wildly unrealistic – they are dangerously deluded about the urgent need to avert a crisis that would have devastating effects on the poor. By making our safety net stronger and more sustainable, we can prevent that crisis, promote independence, and move instead toward a more prosperous society – one that maximizes upward mobility and opportunity.