by Sam Seder|
Story of the Week,
Up w/ Chris Hayes
At the Values Voters Summit on Friday, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan whose budget was approved by the House with sweeping cuts to aid for the poor responded to new figures from the Census Bureau this week showing that 46.2 million Americans were living below the poverty line last year—a rate basically unchanged from the year before—but a rate not seen in this country in nearly 20 years.
Here’s what Ryan had to say about Obama’s record on poverty:
“The Obama economic agenda failed, not because it was stopped, but because it was passed. And here is what we got: Prolonged joblessness across the country. Twenty-three million Americans struggling to find work. Family income in decline. Fifteen percent of Americans living in poverty. Here we are, after four years of economic stewardship under these self-proclaimed advocates of the poor, and what do they have to show for it? More people in poverty, and less upward mobility wherever you look.”
It’s not the first time this election cycle that we’ve seen the right raise the specter of the poor. But poverty is raised not to offer prescriptions or remedies but to be used as a cudgel, as a means of playing on middle class fears of losing ground by suggesting not so much that they, too, could become impoverished but that the threat to their economic stability is the poor themselves, who are taking that ground from them.