Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan argued Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s policies have caused upward mobility to stagnate and poverty to rise.
“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,” Ryan said at Ohio’s Cleveland State University, according to prepared remarks.
Ryan argued that the government should adopt policies that foster opportunity and economic growth, instead of dependency.
Ryan noted that 46 million people in America are living in poverty — the highest number in generations — and that food stamp rolls have increased by 15 million in the last four years. One in four students fails to graduate from high school, Ryan said, while the government spent more than a trillion dollars in means-tested welfare last year alone.
“In this war on poverty, poverty is winning,” Ryan said. (RELATED: Federal government spent more than $1 trillion on welfare-related programs in last fiscal year alone)
“With a few exceptions, government’s approach has been to spend lots of money on centralized, bureaucratic, top-down anti-poverty programs,” he added. “The mindset behind this approach is that a nation should measure compassion by the size of the federal government and how much it spends.”
The chairman of the House Budget Committee also took on the Randian label that critics have attached to his political outlook.
“[T]o hear some tell it, we think everybody should just fend for themselves. But that’s just a false argument – a straw man set up to avoid genuine debate,” he said. “The truth is, Mitt and I believe in true compassion and upward mobility – and we are offering a vision based on real reforms for lifting people out of poverty.”