Skip to main content

Congressman Paul Ryan after being introduced by Mitt Romney as vice presidential choice, 11 August 2012
Rep. Paul Ryan's effort to brand himself as a Republican anti-poverty crusader continues. The House Budget Committee chair and former Republican vice-presidential nominee went on Bill Bennett's radio show to talk about his ongoing desire to address poverty by eviscerating most of America's existing anti-poverty programs. That means doubling down on the damage of the 1996 welfare reform and, of course, a lot of racist dog whistles masquerading as talk about "the dignity of work" and "the culture of work." Ryan told Bennett:
“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.”
Got that? In case your ears don't catch the frequency Ryan is speaking at, let me translate: The problem is "in our inner cities" (where the black people live) where men (black men) are "not even thinking about working." It's a "real culture problem" (black culture). Blow, blow, blow into that dog whistle, Paul. In case he wasn't being clear enough, though, Ryan cited Charles Murray, a conservative political scientist who has argued that race and IQ are genetically linked and "a lot of poor people are born lazy."

Paul Ryan wants us to believe that America's persistently high poverty is because of the moral and cultural failings of poor people. And not just any poor people, but the specific ones who live in inner cities. As if the people who are victims of economic inequality as a form of racial inequality are responsible for that racial and economic inequality. This is a country where a study has found that it's easier for a white felon than for a black non-felon to get a job. But please, Rep. Ryan, as part of your push to slash anti-poverty programs, do tell me about how the "real culture problem" is that "generations of men" in the inner city don't "value the culture of work."

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 08:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site