Ryan pushed the idea of a “balance” between government and private charity, where the community acts to fill in the gaps between the government and the individual.
“There’s a vast middle ground between the government and the individual. Our families and our neighborhoods, the groups we join and our places of worship – this is where we live our lives,” he said. “They shape our character, give our lives direction, and help make us a self-governing people.”
However, Ryan said, a Romney administration would also strengthen the government’s federal social safety net.
“For starters, a Romney-Ryan administration will clearly restore those parts of the welfare-reform law that have been undone or weakened. We will do this for the sake of millions of Americans who deserve to lead lives of dignity and freedom,” he said, notably returning assistance power back to the states who can “tailor welfare to the unique needs of their citizens.”
Ryan added that they would apply the philosophy to other programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, where the “federal government would continue to provide the resources, but we would remove the endless federal mandates and restrictions that hamper state efforts to make these programs more effective.”
He further advocated for education reform and school choice.
“Sending your child to a great school should not be a privilege of the well-to-do. Mitt Romney and I believe that choice should be available to every parent in our country, wherever they live,” he said. “Education reform is urgent, and freedom is the key.”
Ryan also acknowledged that, at times, the Republican message about bringing strength to low-income Americans has been clunky.
“My party has a vision for making our communities stronger – but we don’t always do a good job of laying out that vision,” Ryan admitted.
“Many of those living in poverty today were in the middle class just a few years ago,” he said. “We can help them regain the ground they’ve lost, with a focus on growth all across the American economy.”