tv House Speaker Paul Ryan Discusses Poverty and Economic Mobility CSPAN January 3, 2017 6:21am-7:00am EST
eastern. >> up next, house speaker paul ryan offers comments about expanding economic activities for black americans. engaging more was nongovernmental agencies. is is about 40 minutes. [applause] speaker ryan: -- host: thank you very much. in morning, ladies and gentlemen. in addition to a thanks to all the sponsors, a special thanks to those who work so hard to put this event together. it is my privilege to introduce house speaker paul ryan. i cannot think of anyone better positioned to kick off an event on economic mobility than speaker ryan. ever since his days working with the late jack kemp added power america, paul ryan has been sounding the alarm on our failing anti-poverty system and offering bold ideas to empower
americans to overcome the economic challenges they face. he spoke passionately about solving poverty while on the republican ticket in 2012. two years later he unveiled an innovative plan at the american enterprise institute to turn federal anti-poverty spending over to the states. earlier this year, he did it again, releasing a proposal from a house task force to assemble armed poverty opportunity and upward mobility.
speaker ryan understands that our anti-poverty programs often do more to trap people in poverty that lift them out of it. these are complex problems that require thoughtful solutions. that means there is no easy route, no shortcut. while many in washington run from these problems, speaker ryan has run towards them. you can always count on him to be the guy who will think deeply and pay more attention to the difficult details. his anti-poverty proposals has broken new ground and helped reinvigorate a bipartisan conversation about economic mobility. now, speaker ryan is in an historic position to turn ideas into reality. i know all of us are here and stand ready to help. the u.s. chamber is committed to advancing because of greater opportunity and economic mobility. we will do it because it is the right thing to do and we will do it because it is critical to our
nation's overall economic health. business cannot succeed and our economy and our citizens cannot prosper if our people cannot reach their potential. fortunately, speaker ryan has proven that he has the courage and intellect to tackle our nation's biggest challenges. in addition to championing efforts to help people out of poverty, he has been fighting for fiscal responsibility, tax reform, regulatory reform, and so many other policies for his entire career. we're going to need him to keep it up and keep this fight going like never before. there are few people in our country with more on their shoulders today than speaker ryan, but he is well-equipped to confront the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.
after his remarks today, the speaker will sit down with veteran wall street journal reporter in columnist for further discussion. please doing me in welcoming and encouraging, speaker paul ryan. [applause] speaker ryan: thank you so much. in oer words, no pressure. gee, thanks, tom i will try to keep my remarks fairly brief so we can get onto a conversation. first of all it is just really nice to be here. and where isert, jimmy? give him a hard time for that one. i want to thank everybodon the
placard for being involved. what is this? where coming to a consensus on how to fight poverty and restore upper mobility in america. number one, we agree this these before. we agree far too many people are slipping to the crack spirit we agree that opportunity is lacking. we agree to this beautiful notion, the american idea that the condition of your birth doesn't determine the outcome of your life. it is an idea a lot of people do not leave it anymore. if some people do not believe in it is not true universally at all. it is our job to restore this. this is what conservatives have been working on for years and this is what is exciting. it the center-right movement. we have been spending so much time trying to figure out how we can better solve these problems, how we can take our principles, plight into problems to offer really good innovative solutions that are effective. i would just say a few things on that, other than to say you have in front of you a very willing and a very engaged congress ready to tackle this issue. we have spent years on this, in
particular the last year we spent putting together a very specific and coherent blueprint on providing upward mobility and fighting poverty. number one works. work works. we have got to do more to make it easier for people to join the workforce. do more to make it easier for people to transition to the workforce. stop preventing people from getting on the workforce. we have innovative solutions to do that. we cannot keep thinking that washington knows best. we have to stop the commodification of the bore.
the commodification of the poor. we have to stop fighting this idea of poverty as if it is some sterile concept we do not like them crates and program in washington, then parachute into communities and push them aside and say we know what is best. we have to stop doing that. if you had to describe the war on poverty, as noble as it was, this war is a stalemate. what we learn what we go into communities is there are people who are doing tremendous work were fighting poverty eye to eye, soul to soul, person to person, who we all need to work from. instead of displacing that work we do to back it up. the government has a very important role to play. manning the supply lines but not dictating the front lines. that, to me, is one of the really important acknowledgments that we have to express. stop displacing civil society. stop pushing aside l, homegrown, proven poverty fighters.
get their stories told so that their success can be replicated. cross pollinate across the country. get everything and everyone working hand in hand on the same page in the same direction. civil society. faith-based charity. secular charities. everybody in between. right now fighting at odds with each other. right now we has conservatives want to do his make sure everyone is working on the same page with the right incentives. number three, test results. this is not partisan. patty murray and i wrote a bill, passed into law a year ago, creating a policy commission. some of the members are probably here in this room. so that we can better measure the success of our efforts, better measure the success of programs that we test results in we judge success in the war on party and the -- aupr mobility not based on effort, not on how many programs they are creating or dollars sending, but based on results.
are we getting people out of poverty? are we creating upper mobility? does it work? let's focus on the results. if we do those fundamental things, make sure that we smooth it have to work, make sure it always pays, remove barriers, stop taxing people $.80 only -- on the dollar from taking a step into the workforce. make sure we do not display civil society, that we work with civil society and local poverty fighters and as our results. with respect to providing upper mobility on all levels of the scale of the income scale, we have got to close the skill gap and get economic growth. that is a big, full agenda. it involves things like tax reform, making america more competitive. making our industrial base more vibrant. it involves closing the skills gap. him so that him
people are able to to get the skills they need and getting employers involved in the pursuit of doing this. it involves getting government to respect his limits in removing the barriers and then putting policies in place that it is the growth we need to give us the jobs and opportunities. closing the school gaps and going after, fighting the heart -- hard, persistent problems with persistent property. that is why we think -- persistent poverty. that is why we think this conversation is right. want to take this conversation, moving in the right direction and then start putting results out there. getting bills passed. this is what we're serious about doing. it is a moment that i think should not be a partisan moment. this is one where we see the evidence in front of us and go with that works. all i want to do is say thank you for doing this. i see a lot of familiar faces here. we are very excited about this. we're very excited about having the opportunity to tackle one of the more persistent and stubborn problems that we have enjoyed with as a country and we are excited about learning from the people on the ground let me to difference and making sure that we can see more of that. removing these barriers and getting everyone on the same page. thank you very much for being here and look for to the conversation. thank you so much. i appreciate it. [applause] >> thank you, mr.
speaker. i think a speak for all of us when i say thank you for bringing some of that janesville whether to us. [laughter] speaker ryan: it is going to be 19 below zero. this isn't cold. inches of snow0 on sunday. >> packers weather. i appreciate the chance. it is hard for me to start a conversation like this without talking about jack kemp. i wrote about him, you worked for him. his name is up there, as you noted.
if he were here today, still preaching the optimistic, happy, big tent brand of conservatism that he liked to talk about, what would he be pleased about and displeased about in terms of where we are right now? speaker ryan: i remember we would have conservative meetings about fighting poverty and he -- and you could sit everyone around one table at his office. it wasike, six people. this is exciting just to see this effort. i think he wou be really excited. if jac herk wereor if his son were on time -- [laughter] remind him i said that. he would be excited that the call the battle of ideas has really matured to the point where we have so many more people engaged in this fight. my mentor, in addition to jack kemp, is bob woodson. i met bob through jack rack in the early 1990's. bob and i spent a lot of time over the years traveling the country. i just asked for a tutor. teach me. i want to learn. i have these principles and a
good opinion on what they look like and how they work. i learned that from jack kemp. let's see how it works in reality. what i'm excited about is more and more and more people. i haven't getting house your public is to do this -- getting out and communities to do this. i think what jack would be excited about is the engagement and the participation of so many people in the senate right on this issue. when he would be really upset about is the polarization of our politics. he is a happy warrior. we think of ourselves as happy warriors. the gls life is half-full, er angels. of people. you have rigorous debates on ideas but it is done in an inclusive way.
i think he'd be upset about the polarization of politics today. gerald: there was a related agenda that i think really emerged in this election and with the election of donald trump. how do you address the concerns of the working class, for lack better term. let me ask you this philosophical question. as aree-market conservative, someone who believes in the wer ofree markets and the privacy of markets, how do you then address the concerns of people in this working-class, which issued a primal scream that markets do not work for them. how do you deal with that concern? speaker ryan: you are pretending we have an upright with free-market economic policies and we have not. what we have our policies that have produced slower economic growth and more disparity of income and less opportunity. i think a lot of our own
policies, our own government domestic policies have been a big cause for that. whether it is the poverty trap because of the way the welfare program works or does not work. whether it is a regulatory state which is really hurting jobs, especially small businesses, manufacturers. whether it is our tax policy which makes us extremely uncompetitive. i live in wisconsin, live on the block i grew up on. the people i went to high school with, most of them either went to the gm plant or something like that in janesville. our big employer since 2009 was -- until 2009 was general motors. there for about 85 years. you could get a really good job there and have a very nice life and your kids can do the same. that just went. we lost the plant like that. now they are all made in texas. there really was not anything to replace those jobs. the guys want to high school with, they either moved because they had seniority so they went indiana, or ar couple other places, arlington,
?peaker ryan: really i didn't know it went that far west. there is a perfect example -- his name, john --of the anxiety and the lack of opportunity. i can give you stories. wisconsin is like that. huge anxiety. what do we do about it? i see johnson controls, biggest company in wisconsin, now is an irish company. they are moving to ireland. they have a 12 and a half percent tax rate. we are a big miller town. we brew the beer there but the headquarters is now overseas. we are losing our base. we're losing our companies. we're losing our competitiveness. then you take a look at all of the buried regulations that are making it really hard for better just to replace those jobs. then the skill gap is a huge issue. we are beginning to grow local businesses, local manufacturers, people with 52 150 jobs. but now with all this atrophy we have experienced how they don't have the skills to line up with it. we cannot find weldersn wisconsin. you can make a very goodncome as a custom high skilled welder. employers are now just taking it upon themselves to train people. we have got a situation where i think this election uncovered
this -- there are a lot of working-class people who were doing well and are doing much, much worse, who do not see good prospects in front of them, and we do not have an education system that can help them were -- help them acquire the system -- the skills they need to get a better job. that is why this issue of upper mobility should not be a segment -- we should not be talking to people as if they are stuck in class. we believe in class mobility. we have a policy where we will have ideas to deal with economic growth, american competitiveness, restoring jobs, manufacturing, closing the skills gap, and doing with the welfare poverty trap so we can get people unstuck from a trapped therein. that, to me, is one of the biggest messages we should get from this election. >> you are defining in the
extremely broad agenda. in the prioritizing that you're going to have to do, where is the property program fit in? speaker ryan: it is among the highest. i do not see these as mutually exclusive. i think what most of us -- because of where we come from, we are very familiar with the working-class economic anxiety issues. that is where i am from. a lot of us had to go and end time in the persistent work a lot of us had to go and spend -- poor communities in rural and urban america. go to appalachia. i can list the name of places. that, i think come is the more persistent problem that requires emergency surgery. that, to me, is about the stuff that everyone on this placard are talking about. did akemp and i with aei big summit in south carolina. we have been talking about these ideas, now we want to execute them. i believe the multigenerational poverty, the persistent poverty is what we need to go at right
away. that, to me, is who is voting - hurting the most. if we can crack ms will be easier to solve. >> where are you going to get cooperation from democrats? where will they fight you? speaker ryan: we're going to test it everywhere. i would like fixing the poverty cliff is something we can all agree on. take someone's benefits, they will have benefit cut offs that hthecentivize taking next step in the workforce. we are a bigger, diverse country with more states, it is harder to do that here. i really do believe that we need to get more local control involved so that we can
customize benefits to a person's particular needs. this is the kind of mistake i think we have made before. we think we can come up with a better mousetrap on the way benefits need to be structured but everyone has a slightly different problem, a slightly different benefit mix. i think you need to go more for benefit customization. i would like to think we can get consensus on breaking up the poverty monopoly. >> is there consensus this trap exists? speaker ryan: yes. i think a lot of us agree on this. it is a good way of helping pull people into the workforce and smoothing the benefit cliff. i would like to think we can get consensus from moving it from an end of the year lump some to getting a embedded in the paycheck. ithink it is better if we do that way. there are a lot of details involved in that but that is something i think we can get consensus on. i would also like to think because if you look at success and our communities, where we have broken up the poverty
monopoly, not just being the welfare agency distributing benefits, seeing people as a line item on a spreadsheet, but involving and empowering other groups, whether salvation army, catholic charities, america works, social services, whoever -- to be the actual distributor of benefits and the ones to have the navigator -- fort worth has a really good program on this where they actually -- they call it wraparound benefits. they tried to come up with a benefit customization to work with a person to get them from where they are and where they need to be and where they want to go. you have to break up the welfare monopoly to get that dynamic writ large. i'd like to think we can get consensus on that.
gerald: essentially you are talking about energizing civil society and creating a way for government to work with that. how does that happen? speaker ryan: right now it is in spite of each other. the whole concept of wraparound benefits that the civil society sector is working on -- government is kind of doing this in its separate and distinct and counterproductive, so we need to wraparound and try to fix this. imagine if we did not have to think like that. gerald: how do you not think like that? speaker ryan: we have a specific solution for growth which means getting things back to the states, but not -- i know everyone hates the speaker ryan: we have a specific solution for growth which means" it is not a crude spending cut exercise, it is making sure these resources can be tailor-made and they must go to the purpose, they cannot be used to pad a budget or build a road. they must go towards their intended purpose. and we have to measure and test results. we did programs in the bush
administration. beta tests of these ideas. i really think that is the solution here, which is give local officials the ability to consolidate, to combine, to test, allow multiple providers to compete for the person's business and treat them like a client, not some commodity, and test results. thisd: by and large, does or is it nonexistent? speaker ryan: it is in lieu of it. civil society exists. in many places government pushes aside and ignores it. in some se this dis-ws it to breath. you have to have a growing economy. you have to have a growing economy to produce opportunities that you can help people
recognize. tryld: if you step back and this has not why worked -- speaker ryan: it did work. it lowered child poverty rates more than any other reform we had seen. 10-f is a $16.5 billion program. it's one program. there are 72 other programs that spend about $800 billion a year. so, that reform, which was more local control, work requirements, time limits, which the work requirements kind of atrophy. onse guys can explain more happened. it was one program out of dozens and dozens of other programs to never got the reforms, that never got the principles rejected. what ended up happening is the system took over.
it is time for a new round of welfare reform. 2.0.re reform this should be seen as a life-saving exercise. poverty fighting expertise -- respecting exercise that is where the sun to go. moderator: so the centrality work in these programs is true then and can be true now? speaker ryan: it has been displaced by other programs. we call it poverty trap. stacking benefits on top of each other. the highest tax rate is not buffett,warren $24,000 in benefits, it
is going to the working mom. it will pay not to work. why would we ever want to do that? how do you get at that. it is hard to do that from washington with some new formula. you need to be able to customize benefits. you need to be able to test results. the other thing, you don't have all the ideas. there are people in the communities that you have good ideas. let's learn from them, push them, test them. i love the evidence-based policy mindset is here. the evidence-based policy notion is a 21st century creation based on data, evidence, that is here to stay. let's see it through. that, to me, is the top of all this. test results and go with evidence and what works. right now, we are not able to do that because of government. moderator: in the wake of the election we started out talking
about, is there some tension between the working-class poor and the traditional nonworking poor? you sense some of that in the electorate this year. a certain amount of resentment. you are describing a situation where things ought to be pushing for both those classes of people in the same direction. could they work in opposite directions? ryan: they shouldn't be, and no one should try to exploit it. i can't stand that in politics. no one should play it. it is wrong. we have seen identity politics a lot and last handful of years. this is not a zero-sum game. some persons game does not come at another person's loss. that is not how a dynamic society works. i certainly don't see it that way. people may see it that way. and we have to labor to make not that they know that is
what it is. a growing economy and upward mobility and encouraging work is good for everyone. it is good for all of society. the notion that we have to attack, which i am excited about seeing a group like this instead of people sitting around the conference table, is unfortunately, indirectly, we as a society have reinforced this idea that the war on poverty is a government responsibility. pay your taxes and we've got the rest. don't get involved. anything.have to do you're busy in your life. two incomes in the household, reinforced this idea that this isn't your problem. if you pay your taxes, government will fix this. that is dead wrong and we need everyone to get involved in this. we need everyone's ideas and talents. and we need to reinvigorate and reintegrate the poor, all forms of poverty, into our society again. we have done too much displacing of this.
there's been books written on this. bob putnam writes a lot of stuff on this, about how we are segregating ourselves into various classes, various groups, ended our politics try to export -- exploit back, we are going in the wrong direction. our politics needs to break down those barriers and seek policies that stop the stratification of our society and get back to this beautiful idea of the melting pot or whatever you want to call it. that is the challenge in front of us right now, and the opportunity. think it is fair to say that you and the house republican caucus have established -- on this. what about the incoming trump administration? haveou had any conversations with him? brought this i've
times anda bunch of unprompted. we are probably farther down the path on this issue. i since nothing but enthusiasm to get working on this. i spoke with donalay aut this. i do believe there is a big desire and a lot of enthusiasm for this. moderator: you have the lead on it? is that fair to say? ryan: all bills start in the house, there's this other thing called the senate. i forget about that sometimes. moderator: i was just going to ask about that. speaker ryan: i don'ow if lead is the right word. this is a very high priority and we all plan on working on this. moderator: as you move down that path, i wonder how you deal with -- there is a kind of long-term notion of getting this right so it works in the long run.
there is also the short-term human element here which is that peopleis need by some right now. transitions are hard. gooder ryan: that's a question. transitions are hard, the sunni backed that in its going to be. -- the sooner you are able to start, the better its going to be. i think the fastest transmission for growth policy is regulatory relief. people in congress know this because we represent our district, but i hear more about the strangulation of regulation on businesses than anything else. even more than tax policy. if we can provide regulatory relief right away, back in sigh ofcan breathe a relief in the economoy and
animal spirits and if we can get our tax policies thosepretty soon, can help alleviate economic growth to solve problems. not all of them, but -- >> you have this act newt gingrich -- >> we are going to that analysis now. what can the new administration do on their own? what can executive order, what does the cabinet secretary do with regulation question mark and what do we do with the act?
-- speaker ryan: indiana has done a really good job. doctors won't take it. it is a loss leader. hospitals have to take it but don't want to. a lot of doctors won't take it. you can talk about dentists and the rest. there is a huge access problem. by giving states the ability to oraft reforms that are unique
their states, like we have badger care in wisconsin, healthy indiana, those are two i am the mayor with. job ofdo a better getting people familiar with actual access to health care. not just insurance but health care. that is a problem with medicaid right now. it is a program with dire physical problems and a program that the community is struggling with. gerald: we are running out of time so let me step back and ask you a final big picture question here which is, transitions are a confusion and optimism. however to mystic are you that you can get there and what is the timetable? how fast? how slow? ?ow difficult speaker brian: the big changes we're talking about whether it is welfare or health care take time. we are working on an aggressive
timetable for 2017. right now sitting down with senator mcconnell and the transition team to try to flesh out a realistic timetable so we get the legislation ready to go. translating the policy once the legislation is done takes time. if we can get some growth going, it is a huge accelerant. let's just take the poverty weird talking about. one out of a dozen programs took a long time. tommy thompson and another are the architects of that idea. i do not know how long it took from 1996 passing that though from michigan, putting it in place and getting in on the ground. today -- it takes time. and, is the senate the
graveyard? [laughter] i can think of another few words. no, we can move pretty fast. we play rugby, they play golf. that is the analogy i use. but i do believe we have a good plan. a lot of this should be bipartisan. a lot of this stuff does not need to be as against them. be packers need to versus the bears, which packers will beat the bears this sunday. i'm pretty sure of it. but this doesn't have to be so partisan. and i am hoping that is not thes case. the tax reform or obamacare, i understand ideological differences, that is what it is and that's fine. but on a lot of these things, i think we are hopefully getting to a consensus of common sense of what it takes to get these things done. i am hoping that we can make a difference.
gerald: we can close out on common sense. you have your hands full, mr. speaker. they keep taking the time to talk to me. [applause] speaker ryan: and joy this warm weather. >> the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday, january 20. c-span will have live coverage of all the day's events and ceremonies. watch live on c-span and c-span.org, and listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> it is the opening day of the 115th congress, and today on "washington journal,"