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EXPERTS: Dems’ Welfare Expansion Traps Americans in Permanent Poverty

October 20, 2021

Former Ways and Means Chair and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Robert Doar, President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), joined a Republican meeting of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support to discuss Democrats’ massive expansion of the welfare state included in their reconciliation bill.


Former Speaker Ryan discussed the need for comprehensive reform to our welfare system and said:


“In America we created a permanent dependent underclass, and we were sticking people in poverty. The government was basically paying people to stay where they were, telling them they were stuck in their current station in life, and they’ll give them a little bit of money to help them cope with it. It was really cynical, it didn’t work, and even on the left they acknowledged it.”


On Republicans’ approach to helping Americans reconnect with work to lift them out of poverty, Speaker Ryan said:


“We have the facts. We have the arguments. And most importantly we have the moral high ground, and we have history to explain that what we want is the best for all people. We want people to become the best versions of themselves. We want a society of mobility and upward mobility and opportunity, and we have better ideas for doing that.”

“These challenges require solutions which revolve around making sure that every single person in this country can be the best version of themselves. That the system of economic growth that we have is one that is an escalator of upward mobility, and not one that creates dependency.”


On Democrats’ endless spending holding back our recovery, Speaker Ryan said:


“If they succeed in passing this, they will hasten the debt crisis that we all know is coming in this country.”


Mr. Doar discussed how Democrats’ proposals are going to reduce work: 


“It’s going to reduce work, and I think it’s going to increase poverty. As earnings drop, benefits will not sufficiently replace the lost earnings.”


Mr. Doar examined how tying work requirements to welfare reform in the ‘90s lowered poverty and child poverty:


“We brought a work expectation requirement to the provision of cash assistance. And while lots of people worried that that was a bad outcomes, all the outcomes were in the right direction. Fewer people were receiving cash assistance, but more people were working. Their earnings rose, they were able to connect to other benefits, and come to supplement wages like the EITC and food stamp benefits, and poverty dropped.”

CLICK HERE to watch the full meeting.