House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) went out of his way in recent months to express an interest in poverty, even touring several parts of the country as part of a fact-finding mission. It’s unclear, however, what kind of lessons the congressman learned from the experience.
For example, Ryan published an audit, of sorts, criticizing federal efforts to combat poverty, but the Republican was soon accused of misrepresenting much of the research he cited in his report. Soon after, Ryan suggested low-income children who rely on the school-lunch program aren’t treasured the way wealthier children are, relying on an anecdote that wasn’t true anyway.
The Wisconsin lawmaker continues to dig deeper.
In his latest remarks on poverty in America, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan accused residents of “inner cities” of having a “real culture problem” and lack of work ethic during an appearance on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show Wednesday. […]“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” Ryan said.
ThinkProgress posted the audio.
Let’s note that chronic poverty has also plagued many rural areas in the United States, but for whatever reason, the congressman has had far less to say about the cultural decline and decay plaguing rural men.
What’s more, Ryan may want to give some additional thought to whose work he’s prepared to cite on the air.
Ryan also pointed to the work of Charles Murray, a white nationalist, who has used “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.“That’s this tailspin or spiral that we’re looking at in our communities,” he told Bennett. “Your buddy Charles Murray or Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this.”
As a rule, it’s problematic when far-right lawmakers complain at length about inner-city men while citing the word of Charles “Bell Curve” Murray.