Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, March 25, 2019

For the sake of America’s poor, a sincere conservative effort to improve the programs that serve them is very desirable – especially so long as Republicans control the House of Representatives, where they habitually yearn to cut or defund those same programs. For months Washington has eagerly awaited the latest version of “compassionate conservatism,” promised by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his publicists.

But what the House budget chair and 2012 vice-presidential candidate delivered on Monday must drastically lower any such expectations.

“The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later” produced by Ryan’s House Budget Committee staff is merely more of the same old right-wing propaganda against the safety net, and worse.

Promoted as a scathingly rigorous analysis of the impact of poverty programs since the Sixties, its 200-plus pages cite dozens of academic researchers. Yet it more resembles an ideological tract than the social science meta-study it purports to be. Having determined in advance that nearly all of the nation’s anti-poverty spending is wasteful, counterproductive, and damaging to the work ethic of poor people, Ryan and his staff perform an audacious statistical stunt: They prove those programs have failed by pretending those programs don’t exist.

Poverty in America is officially determined by household income, and any official measurement of the number or percentage of poor Americans – those living “below the poverty line” — is determined by their income alone. But in order to measure the effectiveness of government programs designed to reduce the impact of low incomes, it would seem logically necessary to add in those extra sources of cash, goods, and services. A family that receives food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit may be raised out of poverty, even if their income remained below the official poverty line.

But the Ryan report rejects such plain logic, relying instead on the official poverty numbers without assessing the impact of those programs – and then insists that because the number of families with low incomes remains around 15 percent, those programs have failed.

As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains in a pithy review:

The report features the “official” poverty measure even though analysts across the political spectrum — and all three witnesses at a recent hearing that Ryan held, including the two Republicans he invited — have warned that the official poverty measure is deeply flawed for tracking changes in poverty over recent decades and for evaluating the impact of the safety net today.  The official measure ignores a very large share of the safety net — including SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), tax-based benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, and low-income housing assistance, among other programs.  Using a more comprehensive measure of poverty that analysts broadly favor, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), Columbia University researchers recently found that poverty had fallen markedly, from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012.  Ryan buries this fact, failing to note the deep reductions in poverty under the SPM since the 1960s until page 201 of his report.

Moreover, the SPM shows that in 2012, the safety net cut poverty nearly in half — shrinking the poverty rate from 29 to 16 percent.  Yet in its 200-plus pages, the Ryan report fails to mention these findings.

In other words, Ryan cooks the books (again!), this time to denigrate programs that the Republicans want to cut drastically, notably SNAP and Medicaid.

  • Share this on Google+0
  • Share this on Linkedin0
  • Share this on Reddit0
  • Print this page
  • 382

25 responses to “Lying Again? Scholars Detect Deception In Ryan’s Poverty Report”

  1. docb says:

    The repub brightest and best on fiscal policy caught lying again in just ONE DAY! Brilliant!

  2. Sand_Cat says:

    Another surprise! Who woulda thunk?

  3. old_blu says:

    Lyin’ Ryan. NO! That can’t be.

  4. Independent1 says:

    In addition to lying, Ryan is a sleazebag. On top of the omissions and distortions in Ryan’s absurd report on poverty, is the fact that Ryan and his faked report totally ignore the fact that it’s predominately red states that are dramatically elevating today’s poverty percentages. Of the 23 states in America with more than 15% of their residents living in poverty, 20 of them are GOP-run red states (that’s about 2/3s of the red states in America have more than 15% of their citizens living below the poverty level); only California, New York and New Mexico are blue states with more than 15% living in poverty.
    Ryan and his fake group of supposed experts, also have ignored the fact that it’s not the failure of federal government programs to reduce poverty in America, but rather, the grossly incompetent governance of GOP governors and legislators. By being fixated on small, supposedly balanced budgets, which has required cutting state government payrolls and subsidies to the bone, especially for programs of those driven to need help by the Great Recession, its GOP misguided governance that his forced millions to live below the poverty level.
    And it’s not just living below the poverty level, it’s living in states that are actually dangerous to ones health and wellbeing; which is clearly shown by the fact that people live on average 2 year shorter lives in red states than blue states; and possibly as much as 3-5 year shorter lives if we compare the 4 red states with longevity projected to only 75 with the 9 blue states with longevity projected to 80 and over.

    • dana becker says:

      They put their party over country and citizens. All for politics. For that alone they should never be in power again. You shouldn’t be allowed to govern when you play games with people’s lives all for political gain.

  5. X Communicator says:

    Now, now, let’s be charitable here. This tome was 200 pages–that’s right, 200 pages!–and each doubtlessly painstakingly written by Ryan on his high-tech exercise bike thoughtfully provided for all Congos in their private health center (immune from govt. shutdown, of course). And by the way, do you know that Ryan majored in Economics and actually has a BACHELOR’S DEGREE? Give him some room!

  6. dpaano says:

    Apparently, the Republicans feel that if you take away all of these support programs from the poor, they will suddenly become rich!!! His nose should be out to the west coast by now!! What a lyin’ sack of bandini!!! It amazes me where these Republicans get their logic…..if they have any at all!

  7. elw says:

    Fact, Ryan is a liar. He has been caught over and over again with presenting misinformation as if it was the word of God. He lies about everything, even thing that do not count, you know, like how long it takes him to run a marathon. The guy has got problems but the problem he has that bothers me the most is his lack of empathy and compassion. I have yet to hear him talk about how many children and families each avoid hunger and malnutrition because they get a few extra dollars a month that must be spent on food; or how many children can now listen to what the teacher is saying because their breakfast in the school cafeteria has kept their stomach fool and their energy up. Until he can explain what he will do for those with food insecurity – he is on a losing track. I know people say the guy is smart, but how smart can he be if he thinks he will get away with present crap and no one will question it. I say the very least we can do in this Country is make sure people have food in their belly, a warm place to sleep and a doctor when they need one. We should be doing more not less. If we need money I say cut back on the Military budget, stop being the world police man and make the richest amongst pay a bit more in taxes instead of taking what little the poor has away from them.

    • Sand_Cat says:

      All he has to do is get away with it in his district, which I’m sure is solid red with lunatics.

      • elw says:

        You never know, I live in Darrel Issa district and in his last election he won by a smaller margin then in the past. I is going to have problem when he runs again, since the district is turning more and more blue. Same could happen to Ryan. But than I am forever the optimist.

    • TZToronto says:

      He thinks he’s preaching to the choir–and he is. He can say that all of the unemployed actually have jobs that pay $100K per year, and his supporters will believe him. He could say that there are really no kids who go to bed hungry because their mothers have secret stashes of gourmet food that they feed them six times a day, and his supporters will believe him. No lie is too illogical or extreme for the true believers to swallow.

  8. dana becker says:

    He lied throughout the entire campaign so why would anyone expect him to not lie again. And again. And again. It is so Christian of him. Isn’t that in the 10 Commandments? I guess they pick and choose. Just like the Constitution. Only the parts they like get applied.

  9. Lynda Groom says:

    They don’t call him Lying Ryan for nothing. Repeating decades old canards is not offering anything coherent to address the very problems he wants to trash. Finger pointing is so 90’s.

  10. MBDElf says:

    A professional fighter learns quickly that blows to the head are PAINFUL; while to be endured, he knows that they are to be minimized.

    I have to wonder how and why there are so many professionals in government who seem to be so complacent with the idea of “taking a 2×4 to the forehead” — which is, in essence, what giving necessary financial investigative functions to a fraud like Ryan IS.

    It is unconscionable to allow this horrid subhuman to continue promoting an agenda under the color of expertise.

  11. 4sanity4all says:

    This just proves that you can be educated, yet still be a liar and a weasel. I would like to wipe the smarmy smile off of Ryan’s face with some actual facts. He embodies the tendency of the right to take a bit of fact, drag it through the mud, then pound on it until it in no way resembles the truth any more. Ryan lies about poverty, he lies about the effect of government programs, he lies about his physical prowess; is there anything about which he tells the truth? Would he even KNOW the truth if he heard it? Just because he has a degree does not mean that he learned anything, and his tendency to lie about everything makes him an unreliable source of information. With all of the distortions of the facts in his report, the only thing it would be useful for is to line the bottom of a birdcage. And sadly, our tax dollars paid for it.

  12. Daniel Jones says:

    Trying to use the dire figures if he succeeds to justify killing the programs leaves only *one* conclusion–Ryan **WANTS** the poor to suffer that badly and is catering to the mean-spirited people that also want this.

  13. idamag says:

    That is the face of a liar. He looks devious.

  14. Angel Perea says:

    THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Ryan loves to talk about his Catholic beliefs and religious up-bring! So speaking as a Catholic, Ryan’s hypocritical “talking positions” are incongruent with his actual policies as well as in direct contradiction to both his religious and politically insensitivity! He at times demonstrates his prejudicial and ignorant views on poverty that are based upon his misassumptions or clearly bias stereotypes. I learned from father, if you must judge, you judge someone by half of what he says and ALL of what he does! How this guy can look himself in mirror each day and reconcile his hypocritical positions is remarkable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.