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Your Views: Rep. Paul Ryan ignoring problem of trapped, untapped labor

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March 18, 2014

Congressman Paul Ryan complains that government has “created a poverty trap that builds barriers to work.” He adds that “A stable, good-paying job is the best bridge out of poverty.” That last part I agree with, but I do not agree that government is necessarily to be blamed for creating that barrier.

Mr. Ryan adds that the poor are isolated, which is true. But government is not responsible for their isolation. That isolation is due, in part, to Ryan's rich supporters in business, for unless businesses locate near this workforce, how are the poor to find and get to those jobs? Many are without transportation or money to commute. I do not believe that it is “society” and “government” alone who must do something.

Mr. Ryan says he has “witnessed amazing people fighting against great odds with impressive success in poor communities.” Amazing? Yes. But those who succeed are the exception, not the norm. They would probably do well no matter their circumstances. It's Joe Average who needs a better chance. He needs to feed his family. He needs a job he can get to. And Mr. Ryan could help that happen by encouraging his supporters in the business arena to make jobs available to this potential workforce.

But unfortunately, I believe too many in Big Business believe it is to their interest to keep people in poverty, thus forcing workers into isolation or to settle for poor wages and few if any benefits.

DONALD ALLISON

Janesville



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