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Monday, July 28, 2014

 9:12 AM 

Ryan calls for customizing government assistance

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan says the government needs to customize its anti-poverty programs to cater to individuals' needs.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," the Janesville Republican pushed his call to consolidate 11 federal anti-poverty programs, including food stamps and public housing assistance, into a system the states could administer.

Ryan said the current programs don't work with each other and end up being counterproductive. His approach, he said, would allow states to customize aid to poor families to give them a path out of poverty.

"If you want to have a healthy economy and have real solutions, you have to have a healthy safety net, and a safety net needs to work to get people out of poverty," Ryan said. "So my argument here is let's not focus on effort, on input, how much money you spend. Let's focus on outcomes. Are we actually getting people out of poverty?"

Ryan, the House Budget chair who's looking to become Ways and Means chair, also addressed his past comments about a "dependency culture." He said his intent is not to blame those in poverty, but argued the government's approach sometimes creates a disincentive to work.

"Able-bodied people should go to work and we should have a system that helps them do that so that they can realize their potential," Ryan said. "That for me is a far better system to get people out of poverty long term than to just spend more hardworking taxpayer dollars on a program that is not getting the results that people deserve."


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