For all his so-called expertise on the subject, Paul Ryan knows very little about poverty

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan — the Janesville Genius, as I mockingly call him — pretends that he knows more about poverty in America than almost anyone else. But he doesn’t. In fact, much of what he claims to know is simply wrong, as we see HERE: [F]or all Ryan’s rhetoric on poverty, he’s also the author of a series of budgets that would absolutely wreck programs for the American poor, inflicting massive human suffering on the nation’s most vulnerable residents. It’s never been exactly clear how Ryan would resolve this tension, but his appearance on “Face the Nation” suggests he’s going to try to make his poverty programs work with his budgets‚ which is to say he’s going to argue that taking trillions away from the poor is somehow actually good for them. It doesn’t help that the first policy statement he makes is an out-and-out lie: “After a 50-year war on poverty and trillions of dollars spent, we still have the same poverty rates.” This sentence suggests that either Paul Ryan has absolutely no clue how poverty rates work, or he does know and is actively deceiving viewers. First of all, the specific claim in question isn’t even technically accurate. The poverty rate was 19 percent in 1964, when the War on Poverty was announced. In 2013, it was 14.5 percent. We do not have the same poverty rates we did then. Ryan is just wrong....

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Tragedy: Paul Ryan, the erstwhile Janesville genius, is suffering from acute amnesia

I can’t even bring myself to describe this heart-breaking situation. You can read about it HERE.

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Paul Ryan’s list of his six favorite books has one very curious omission

Paul Ryan, the Republican congressman and former vice presidential candidate from up the road in Janesville, Wis., was asked the other day to list his six favorite books on economics and government. A pertinent question for a so-called heavy thinker, right? But Ryan’s response was peculiar, not so much for what he included on his list but for what he excluded: There were no books by crackpot political philosopher Ayn Rand. (See HERE.) Speaking of lists, Jonathan Chait has put together a few examples of things Rep. Paul Ryan has SAID OR DONE to express his affinity for Ayn Rand’s views: 1. Spent the Bush years demanding larger, more regressive tax cuts than Bush himself was proposing, urging them to be less afraid of “class warfare.” 2. Spent the Obama years repeatedly proposing budgets that “would produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history.” 3. Listed Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, as one of the three books he most frequently rereads. 4. Told The Weekly Standard, “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.” 5. Repeatedly divided American society into “makers” and “takers.” 6. Declared that Rand’s thinking is “sorely needed right now” because we are “living in an Ayn Rand novel” and that “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this, to me, is what is [sic] matters most.” 7.  Appeared at a gathering of Rand devotees and declared Rand’s philosophy was “the reason I got involved in public service,” that he makes it “required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff,” and that her philosophy continues to inspire “almost every fight we are involved in here, on Capitol...

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Seven ways in which Paul Ryan has expressed his affection for Ayn Rand

Jonathan Chait has put together a baker’s half-dozen examples of things Rep. Paul Ryan has SAID OR DONE to express his affinity for the views of political philosopher Ayn Rand: 1. Spent the Bush years demanding larger, more regressive tax cuts than Bush himself was proposing, urging them to be less afraid of “class warfare.” 2. Spent the Obama years repeatedly proposing budgets that “would produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history.” 3. Listed Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, as one of the three books he most frequently rereads. 4. Told The Weekly Standard, “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.” 5. Repeatedly divided American society into “makers” and “takers.” 6. Declared that Rand’s thinking is “sorely needed right now” because we are “living in an Ayn Rand novel” and that “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this, to me, is what is [sic] matters most.” 7.  Appeared at a gathering of Rand devotees and declared Rand’s philosophy was “the reason I got involved in public service,” that he makes it “required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff,” and that her philosophy continues to inspire “almost every fight we are involved in here, on Capitol...

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Paul Ryan won’t let poor people testify at hearing on poverty

THIS is like holding a panel discussion among men only on the issues facing women: On Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will hold a hearing on poverty called “A Progress Report on the War on Poverty: Lessons from the Frontlines.”  While it will feature three experts, none of them are actually low-income Americans who struggle to get by. But that’s not for lack of trying from some poor people themselves. Witnesses to Hunger, an advocacy project that shares the stories of low-income Americans, has tried and failed twice to have some of their members who live in poverty speak at Ryan’s poverty hearings. “When Ryan had his first hearing last July,” Director Mariana Chilton told ThinkProgress, “we wrote to his office to see if we could testify, but they weren’t interested.” While Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tried to get one of their low-income members to speak, it was too late. They were asked to submit written testimony instead… Ryan’s office did not immediately return a request for...

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