Worried that voters think he scorns low-income Americans and cares only about the rich, Mitt Romney sent Paul Ryan to give a speech on poverty yesterday in Ohio. Romney’s VP pick argued that their agenda offers the better fix for poverty — a claim directly refuted by their motives, their plans, and history. (Here’s a video laying bare Romney’s double-talking hypocrisy and more on Ryan’s soup kitchen fiasco.)
Fake photo ops and speeches can’t hide Romney’s plan to make the working poor pay more so the wealthy pay less.
We don’t want politicians who just talk the talk — we want them to walk the walk. Mitt Romney sent Paul Ryan to talk about poverty, but fake photo ops and speeches can’t hide their scorn for struggling families and their plan to make the working poor pay more so the wealthy pay less.
Ryan said 60% of Americans are "takers," but then tried to show his compassion with a fake photo op of him washing clean pans in an empty soup kitchen — costing the charity funding from donors upset by his political stunt. Their plan for America shows they’d govern the same way: take from hungry children and sick young mothers, end Medicare as we know it, and cut education — to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.
Tax cuts for the wealthy don’t trickle down. Faith leaders are calling out their agenda as "height of hypocrisy" for making the rich richer and the working poor poorer. Romney and Ryan try to hide their true colors with campaign speeches and staged photo ops, but the public is on to their hypocrisy. Ryan’s church is, too — the Catholic Bishops said the Romney-Ryan budget fails a "basic moral test."
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
CONCERN: "Anti-poverty programs don’t work."
- Look, politicians who say this have one thing in mind: cut vital programs for families striving to make ends meet and use the money to give their corporate donors more tax cuts.
- Federal programs for regular people do in fact keep millions out of poverty — and they keep our economy going too, which makes sense because it’s regular people who are the real job creators.
- Absolutely we have to do more to solve poverty in America. But when enrollment in anti-poverty programs goes up during economic downturns, it means the programs are working — they’re supposed to serve more people during hard times. That’s why we created them.
- Our government should reward hard work by increasing opportunities for families striving to make ends meet — not cut them off from education and health care like the Romney-Ryan agenda would.
- This is about doing what works and about what kind of a country we want to live in: an America where "we’re all in it together," with Americans lifting up and taking responsibility for one another and for themselves — or "I’ve got mine, you’re on your own."
- When Washington Republicans talk about turning these programs into "block grants," they’re using Washington-speak for Congress slashing funding and washing their hands of the problem.
- Just look at Medicaid — Ryan’s plan to repeal the health care law and block grant Medicaid would cut $1.7 trillion from the program and throw 35 million Americans off their health coverage.
- How does making kids and seniors sicker or unable to go to the doctor make all of us better off?
- It’s pretty rich of Romney and Ryan to complain about federal mandates on these programs while they attack President Obama for giving governors more flexibility to move struggling families into paying jobs.
MYTH: "Poverty exists because people are too lazy to work."
- People living in poverty include seniors who’ve retired from a lifetime of work, new moms, students, and job searchers still pounding the pavement. They’re calling them lazy?
- Poor people can’t afford to be lazy. In fact, many poor people are working harder than those who are better off – often working multiple jobs, skipping sleep to work multiple shifts, and doing hard manual labor.
- Working hard should mean getting ahead and not having to choose between taking your kid to the doctor or keeping a second job that pays the rent.
- But the less money you have, the less time you have to get ahead. Without a reliable car, taking the bus to work can take hours. No reliable child care means less time to find a better paying job.
- And when you have less money, every day is full of hard choices with harder consequences: which basic needs will you meet today — food, winter clothes, medicine — and which ones will you just have to go without?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Vital federal programs that serve regular people do in fact keep millions out of poverty — 4 million kept out of poverty thanks to food stamps alone and 20 million thanks to Social Security. These programs also improve our lives in fundamental ways that aren’t easily measured.
- 96% of Americans have been lifted up by what we all provide to each other through our government, like education and Medicare. The other 4% are just too young to have benefitted yet.
- Over 60% of the Romney-Ryan agenda’s cuts to home front funding come from programs that serve the working poor and struggling families.
- Most food stamps recipients have jobs or are seniors or children, and most leave the program after one year.
- Romney and Ryan’s plan for America would be the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the already-rich — top-down class warfare where the richest few get special tax breaks paid for by everyone else.
- Catholic bishops, nuns, and evangelicals condemned Romney & Ryan’s ideas for failing a "basic moral test." Catholic leaders even rebuked Ryan for twisting church teaching to justify his ideas.
- The working poor work hard. One out of four working families in the U.S. is low-income, and virtually all of those families, or 96%, work at least half-time and over 70% work full-time or more.
- One out of five American adults who have jobs are earning only $10.65 an hour or less. Even at 40 hours a week, that’s less than $22,000 per year — the poverty level for a family of four.
- Mitt Romney insulted "47%" of Americans who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes, saying these Americans "will never take personal responsibility" for their lives and see themselves as "victims." He also said "I’m not concerned about the very poor."