Good morning, friends, and welcome to Wednesday!
At a time when anger and frustration can mar our politics, yesterday left me hopeful and optimistic.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and members of the Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility Task Force visited the House of Help City of Hope in the Anacostia neighborhood of our nation’s capital. At the residential treatment facility, Ryan unveiled a blueprint to reduce poverty and lift up Americans.
To better understand why a new approach to combat poverty and expand opportunity is necessary, it’s useful to look at how the federal government’s approach has fallen short. In 1966, two years after President Johnson launched the Great Society’s “War on Poverty,” the federal poverty rate was 14.7 percent. Fifty years after the War on Poverty’s inception and following the creation of many over-lapping, one-size-fits-all federal programs, the poverty rate stood at 14.8 percent. To put that in perspective, 45 million Americans, or the aggregate population of 24 states, live in poverty.
America needs a better way to reduce poverty.
This is precisely why House Republicans’ approach is so important. Their anti-poverty plan rewards work, an important factor in leading a more fulfilling life as well as developing greater dignity and self-worth. The task force’s proposal also seeks to better match assistance programs with people’s needs, improve skills and schools, and make it easier for individuals to save and plan ahead.
“House Republicans have laid out an ambitious blueprint of initial reforms. For the sake of current and future generations, these reforms need to be enacted and built upon,” said Neil Bradley, the Conservative Reform Network’s chief strategy officer. Bradley praised the efforts, “Speaker Ryan’s decision to launch the agenda project by focusing on poverty and upward mobility sends an important signal that House Republicans have their priorities right: policies that lift up Americans, restore the American dream, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their God-given potential.”
In a column you don’t want to miss, Scott Winship evaluated the blueprint as “impressively thoughtful and wide-ranging.” Winship, the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributor to CRN’s Room To Grow projects, observed, “It is clearer than ever that the freshest thinking around antipoverty policy today comes from conservatives.”
I hope you share my hopefulness and optimism.