After his humbling defeat as the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in the 2012 election, Paul Ryan decided to refocus his efforts. He remained the Budget Committee chairman in the House, still producing the annual Path to Prosperity budget request.
But Ryan also dove head first into a project he had wanted to do during the campaign but was denied: visiting inner city neighborhoods to get a first hand account of poverty in America, with the goal of changing how the federal government approaches the problem.
The fruits of that nearly two-year long effort were unveiled in the form of a draft document from his committee called Expanding Opportunity in America, a sweeping anti-poverty reform agenda covering everything from tax credits, criminal sentencing, and occupational licensing.
Ryan unveiled the plan at an event at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday morning. It’s not perfect, but it is an important first step both in actually tackling the frustratingly stagnant poverty levels around the country and in dismantling the narrative that Republicans don’t care about poor people.
While it is still an outline for federal legislation, in its introduction Ryan makes clear that government alone is not the solution to tackling poverty.