National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial has called out GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan over claims that he is committed to strengthening the social safety net standards in the fight against poverty.
The congressman gave his first policy speech yesterday and said the aim of a Romney-Ryan administration would be to restore upward mobility and fight poverty in America by limiting the federal government’s commitment to safety net programs.
Ryan said during the speech that, “Upward mobility is the central promise of life in America … But right now, America’s engines of upward mobility aren’t working the way they should. Mitt Romney and I are running because we believe that Americans are better off in a dynamic, free-enterprise-based economy that fosters economic growth, opportunity and upward mobility instead of a stagnant, government-directed economy that stifles job creation and fosters government dependency.”
However, Morial believes there is stark contrast between Ryan’s remarks on fighting poverty and his proposed budget plan, which he says will dismantle current anti-poverty programs.
In a statement released by the Urban League yesterday addressing Congressman Ryan’s speech, Morial said, “If Rep. Ryan’s budget were to become law, it would sharply intensify the deep economic disparity hampering the recovery … Ryan’s remarks today are completely at odds with his devastating plan.”
Adding that Ryan’s proposed $1.9 trillion across-the-board cuts will gut social safety net programs like SNAP, Supplemental Security Income for the elderly, disabled and poor, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, unemployment compensation, school lunch and other child nutrition programs.
Morial added that Ryan was wrong in his assessment that that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has weakened welfare work requirements, a claim that has been widely confirmed to be untrue.
“Several states had asked the federal government for more flexibility in connecting welfare recipients with jobs, and the Department of Health and Human Services granted it,” said Morial, adding, “on the condition that the changes produced 20 percent increases in the number of people getting work.”
“Why would Rep. Ryan object to an initiative that results in 20 percent more welfare recipients getting jobs?” Morial questioned.
Morial believes that the claims of economic growth that is supposed to benefit the poor and middle class would only benefit the wealthy based on the alleged fact that “almost all of the growth in incomes over the last 30 years has gone to the top one percent,” a trend that he sees continuing and possibly accelerated under the Ryan budget plan.