For months, Republican budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has been telegraphing his plan to engineer a bold new conservative anti-poverty agenda. On Monday, the House Budget Committee which Ryan chairs began to lay the groundwork for that agenda by releasing a comprehensive report intended to judge the effectiveness of 92 federal anti-poverty problems.
The 204-page report, called “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later,” offers no new proposals or guidance on how to fight poverty. Instead, the report offers a scathing critique of federal programs designed to help the neediest of Americans.
“The very disarray among all these federal programs has created what’s known as the ‘poverty trap,’” the report said. “And because these programs are means-tested–meaning that benefits decline asrecipients make more money–poor families face very high implicit marginal tax rates. The federal government effectively discourages them from making more money.”