Paul Ryan’s latest plan: Second verse, different from the first

ASK liberals how to reduce poverty and they usually have a handful of policies ready to go, complete with spreadsheets suggesting their likely impact and a real-life example from a hitherto obscure province of Sweden. Compared with this, conservative proposals on tackling poverty can look thin. This is not necessarily because conservatives are a uniquely heartless bunch, but rather because what they propose is not an answer to the question but a process by which an answer might be reached. Paul Ryan’s recent thoughts on federal anti-poverty programmes, delivered in a report from the House budget committee and remarks to the American Enterprise Institute, fall into this category. Basically, the Republican congressman from Wisconsin wants to disrupt welfare. If this sounds like a mash-up of Silicon Valley and Detroit, that is no coincidence. Policy wonks are always glancing enviously at the private sector (all those ready metrics for success). And while Mr Ryan ranks among those who believe the government has a role in reducing poverty, he shares his party’s disdain for government bureaucracy and top-down solutions, which often fail to understand the needs at the bottom. The answer? Let the people who actually work with poor Americans create the programmes, and the government can fund the experiments. Some things will work, some things won’t. But …

Link to article: www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/07/paul-ryans-latest-plan?fsrc=rss

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