U.S. Republican Paul Ryan wants choice in delivering aid to poor

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
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Few details at this point but the concept sounds like it's worth debating. Of course, the Democrats have already panned it.

Aiming to shake up the debate over fighting poverty, Republican Representative Paul Ryan on Thursday called for charities, community groups and even for-profit firms to compete with government in spending taxpayer money to aid the poor.

Presenting his plan for a sweeping revamp of social safety net programs, Ryan said he wanted to give families more choice in how they receive taxpayer-funded assistance. He proposed replacing some 11 programs ranging from food stamps to housing vouchers with "opportunity grants" given to states to tailor aid to individual needs.

The plan would shift the federal government's anti-poverty role largely to one of vetting state programs to distribute aid, and they would have to give the poor a choice of providers.

"There wouldn't just be a federal agency or a state agency," Ryan said in remarks prepared for delivery to the American Enterprise Institute. "Instead, they could choose from a list of certified providers. We're talking non-profits, or for-profits, or even community groups unique to your neighborhood."

He described the case of a 24-year-old single mother of two with a high school education, two years of retail work experience and dreams of one day being a teacher. Instead of relying on food stamps, housing vouchers and welfare checks, she could go to a social services provider, sit down with a case manager to develop an "opportunity plan" to meet her goals, targeting money where it is needed most.

This could result in payments for transportation and child care so that she could meet her goals of going to college while working in retail. The catch: she would have to sign a contract and meet certain benchmarks for success, such as learning new skills or seeking work. Failure would means a cut in aid while exceeding expectations would earn a bonus. There also would be a time limit on assistance.

Ryan argued that current federal programs only treat symptoms of poverty and do little to get people's lives back on track.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/24/usa-fiscal-poverty-idUSL2N0PZ0B820140724?feedType=RSS&feedName=bondsNews
 

gibbz

macrumors 68030
May 31, 2007
2,691
91
Few details at this point but the concept sounds like it's worth debating. Of course, the Democrats have already panned it.



http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/24/usa-fiscal-poverty-idUSL2N0PZ0B820140724?feedType=RSS&feedName=bondsNews
I'm a democrat and I think it sounds like something to debate. He makes some very valid points. Like you, I would like to see actual details. Ryan (like all politicians) is skilled at making something sounds broadly good (like his budget), while the details are often less appealing.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
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I'm a democrat and I think it sounds like something to debate. He makes some very valid points. Like you, I would like to see actual details. Ryan (like all politicians) is skilled at making something sounds broadly good (like his budget), while the details are often less appealing.

Agreed. I'm more inclined to believe this is all part of him wanting to run for President rather than really change policy.
 

iBlazed

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2014
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Agreed. I'm more inclined to believe this is all part of him wanting to run for President rather than really change policy.
I have a hard time believing that any plan that Paul Ryan comes up with is actually going to be beneficial to poor people. I feel like it's a mask for something, just can't quite put my finger on it yet....
 

Tilpots

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2006
4,191
71
Carolina Beach, NC
Just starting the debate to move some 50 million people in poverty over to a program like this is going to need some pretty focused details to even think about beginning the conversation on a serious level. Right now, it seems like a pie in the sky concept. Big talk with few details deserves panning when it's obvious political posturing.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
Case management involves case managers. If case managers are going to spend additional time counseling poor people, collecting data on their performance against benchmarks, and coordinating and assigning benefits accordingly, they are going to expect to be paid for their time. Paul's plan sounds like it calls for a booming new industry: poverty case managers, which presumably could only be funded by diverting funds from poor people to the case managers.

That being said, this could be effective for some people, assuming that case managers are qualified, motivated, non-abusive, and good at their jobs. But then, aren't all interventions good if you assume they'll work perfectly?

It's also important to understand that our economic system is not designed for full employment.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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I'm under the impression that the biggest federal welfare programs are already done largely as grants and managed by state and local governments. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm not against rethinking and refining our social safety nets, so long as the goal is to improve them, not remove them.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
2,428
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America's Third World
I wouldn't be opposed to trying it out in some willing state as a pilot. It might work, it might not.
I'd love to see this worked out in a state. If a state was successful with it, many more may follow.
The proposal suggests trying it out in several states, rather than just one state -- "a new pilot project in a select number of states" ... "the Opportunity Grant program would begin in a handful of states".
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
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Shady Dale, Georgia
The proposal suggests trying it out in several states, rather than just one state -- "a new pilot project in a select number of states" ... "the Opportunity Grant program would begin in a handful of states".
I'm even cool with it being used in a few states. There's an axiom in business that the government should keep in mind when rolling out new projects… "Fail fast, fail cheap". Unfortunately, when a program doesn't work they keep nursing it along for years. Try something and if doesn't work pull the plug quickly.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
2,428
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America's Third World
I'm even cool with it being used in a few states. There's an axiom in business that the government should keep in mind when rolling out new projects… "Fail fast, fail cheap". Unfortunately, when a program doesn't work they keep nursing it along for years. Try something and if doesn't work pull the plug quickly.
I was involved in a DOL pilot project back in the '90s that was conducted in "a handful of states". Having multiple states involved worked well. For one thing, the participants "tried harder" because there was a real sense of competition.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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I'm even cool with it being used in a few states. There's an axiom in business that the government should keep in mind when rolling out new projects… "Fail fast, fail cheap". Unfortunately, when a program doesn't work they keep nursing it along for years. Try something and if doesn't work pull the plug quickly.
What programs aren't working?

Please specify.
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
2,329
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Scotland
In general I do not support charities over properly funded and run government programmes. Charities are too easily swayed by the personal whims of their founders, and often come with strings attached (having to listen to sermons for instance). Also, the overheads of many charities make me very suspicious of those running them. Don't get me wrong - I think many charities are excellent (Red Cross for example), but I am fine with paying taxes for social programmes and donating to charities.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
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Ryan's plan is supposed to address ways in which we can reduce the mass incarceration that seems to affect many low-income communities. Ryan is supported in this regard by Sen. Rand Paul.

The fact that two leaders on the right of the political spectrum even broach this subject seems, to me at least, encouraging. Of course, the devil is in the details, and I think it probably best to withhold judgement until more is known.

The idea of devolving more control for social programs to the States is nice in theory. But unfortunately experience seems to show that those States with the worst poverty problems tend to be those with Republican Governors and Legislatures - which somehow find a way to make a bad situation worse. As in those Republican-dominated states that rejected Medicaid expansion as a way of broadening health insurance coverage. That - more than anything else - is what worries me about Ryan's plan.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
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Shady Dale, Georgia
What programs aren't working?

Please specify.
It would be simpler to try and determine which ones are working. Look at SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps. It is supposed to be a temporary program to help people have better, nutritious foods. It's a mess. More people on it than ever before… no one even tries to buy healthy. Many spend every dime on the card, the first week and are broke the rest of the month. Some are on the program for years and years.
 

samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
1,575
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Atlanta, GA
How on earth could you have a private company whose job it was to educate and disperse aid to poor people? Who would be paying for it? Where would their profits come from? Would they have shareholders? It's all a bit fishy.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
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It would be simpler to try and determine which ones are working. Look at SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps. It is supposed to be a temporary program to help people have better, nutritious foods. It's a mess. More people on it than ever before… no one even tries to buy healthy. Many spend every dime on the card, the first week and are broke the rest of the month. Some are on the program for years and years.
And? What's your alternative?

So long as it involves getting food to those in need, I'm all ears.

If the plan is, "there are some problems, so let's get rid of it", then you've lost my support.
 

Michael Goff

Suspended
Jul 5, 2012
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It would be simpler to try and determine which ones are working. Look at SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps. It is supposed to be a temporary program to help people have better, nutritious foods. It's a mess. More people on it than ever before… no one even tries to buy healthy. Many spend every dime on the card, the first week and are broke the rest of the month. Some are on the program for years and years.
I would love a source on that.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,409
It would be simpler to try and determine which ones are working. Look at SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps. It is supposed to be a temporary program to help people have better, nutritious foods. It's a mess. More people on it than ever before… no one even tries to buy healthy. Many spend every dime on the card, the first week and are broke the rest of the month. Some are on the program for years and years.

Is this based on those you follow from the supermarket checkout (hey, I thought you said they all shop in convenience stores) and follow to their luxury cars or some statistical analysis you're holding back?