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Your Views: Why not join Rep. Paul Ryan in looking for ways to reduce poverty?

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March 18, 2014

Congressman Ryan is being criticized for a paper he recently released looking at our many federal poverty programs. Ryan wants to help those in poverty get out of poverty. No one can honestly argue that the War on Poverty has been successful. I am glad Ryan is brave enough to look at the problems we are having. I hope Democrats will look to address problems in these programs instead of attacking Ryan for trying to help those in poverty better their circumstances.

President Johnson launched the War on Poverty in 1964, pledging to “cure” and prevent poverty. Since then we have spent about $20 trillion on the “cure.’ We are spending almost $1 trillion annually on multiple means-tested programs. Sometimes incentives in federal welfare programs encourage dependence, even for generations.

What has this accomplished? The poverty rate remains nearly as high today as it was in the 1960s. Throwing more scarce resources into failing programs is not the answer. Under existing programs, those in poverty are destined to remain in poverty. Ryan wants to permanently lift people out of poverty.

Ryan wants to do more of what is successful and fix those things that are not working, while intelligently using taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

Spending $20 trillion has not moved the poverty needle. Instead of attacking Ryan for trying to reduce the number in poverty, why not join him in looking for ways to improve the plight of those in poverty?

LARRY HOLTERMAN

Milton



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