Fighting poverty or fighting the poor

Speaker Paul Ryan released a plan June 7 to fight poverty. It identifies a lot of problems and recommends shifting a lot of funding to the states. 

The Coalition on Human Needs headlines release of the plan as The Ryan Plan: Exacerbating Poverty and Inequality in the U.S. The plan supports the GOP budget which "would cut low- income programs by $3.7 trillion over 10 years, mostly in health care, but also cutting SNAP by $150 billion (a 30 percent cut between 2021-2026), and cutting Pell Grants and other low-income education programs."

One specific example offered by the Coalition is Ryan's criticism of granting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to children with disabilities. Instead of cash assistance, Speaker Ryan calls for "access to needed services." But some of those needed services require cash, including time off work for parental caregivers to take the child to those service providers; gas money or taxi fare; co-payments; diapers; non-prescription supplies; specially processed food. It's a long list. These children who are eligible for SSI have severe, long-term disabilities. They need a lot of assistance, and a reduction in cash benefits will only make their lives tougher.

We live in a world gone mad, profligate with weapons of all kinds and chary of generosity to the poor lest it diminish other initiatives.


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