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Paul Ryan to try and soothe over racist remarks

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March 14, 2014

Paul Ryan: Under fire for remarks

Paul Ryan: Under fire for remarks

Republican Representative Paul Ryan on Friday agreed to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus after members of the group branded his remarks about inner-city poverty this week “highly offensive”.

The controversy began on Wednesday after Ryan said on William Bennett’s talk radio show, “Morning in America,” that there was a “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 the value of work.”

Representative Barbara Lee of California, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Ryan’s remarks a “thinly veiled racial attack.”

“Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black’,” Lee said in a statement.

Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, is known for budgets with proposed deep cuts to programs that help the poor. The potential 2016 presidential contender has made a point of proposing Republican solutions to ease poverty that focus on the private sector.

The Wisconsin lawmaker, who chairs the House Budget Committee, said in a statement that he “was inarticulate” about the point he was trying to make.

“I was not implicating the culture of one community, but of society as a whole,” Ryan said. “We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities. The predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity.”

Last week Ryan released a report on the federal government’s 50-year-old “War on Poverty” that concluded that many of the 92 federal programs aimed at assisting the poor were “haphazard” and contributed to a “poverty trap” that keeps people dependent on welfare benefits.

Representative Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Representative Gwen Moore, also from Wisconsin, sent Ryan a letter in which they called his talk radio remarks “highly offensive” and invited him to a meeting of the caucus to discuss ways to eradicate poverty.

“A serious policy conversation on poverty should not begin with assumptions or stereotypes,” they wrote.

Ryan spokesman William Allison said on Friday the House Budget Committee chairman “would welcome a productive conversation on how to better fight poverty, and he looks forward to meeting with the CBC in the near future.”

Allison declined to comment on the timing for Ryan’s 2015 budget plan.

House Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said the House would pass a budget this year that would reach balance within 10 years. This would require deep cuts in federal benefit programs, especially if previously agreed discretionary spending levels for 2015 are maintained.

Republican lawmakers and aides said on Friday that party leaders were polling rank-and-file members to gauge support in the caucus for a budget that balances in 10 years, indicating some uncertainty over the path forward.

No Democrats are likely to vote for a Ryan budget, so to pass, it would need 218 votes out of the party’s 233 House members.

A two-year budget deal negotiated by Ryan and Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray had to rely on Democrats for passage as 62 Republicans voted against it.
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2 Responses to Paul Ryan to try and soothe over racist remarks

  1. Keith

    March 14, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Let’s be clear….

    Mr. Ryan is absolutely correct.

    Rather than attacking the messenger, perhaps Representative Lee needs to focus on looking for ways to help correct the problem.

    The sad truth is that that our inner cities ARE…”in a tailspin of culture, … of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work.”

    Anyone with half a brain can easily look up the statistics, analyze the demographics and then compare the facts.

    And while she’s at it, perhaps Ms. Lee (along with people like Mssrs Jackson and Sharpton (et al) who make their living stirring up racial hatred) might want to also comment on the horrifically out of proportion “black on black” murder rates in places like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and New York City.

    All too often, the only murders that seem to “count” in these person’s minds are when a white person murders a black person. They consistently remain distressingly silent about all the rest.

    The truth is that all those “other” murder victims are just as dead (and they leave behind just as many grieving families and friends) as every other senseless inner-city murder.

    Bill Cosby is right. The black community needs to STOP blaming everyone else for what are clearly their own (largely self-inflicted) cultural problems.

    • woody188

      March 17, 2014 at 8:13 am

      I have to agree. While Ryan did say “in our inner cities in particular” he was making a generalized statement about poverty. I didn’t know what “Appalachian White” was until I attended college in the early 1990’s. This is an actual demographic used by universities for distributing educational grants and scholarships to poverty stricken student applicants from Appalachia.

      Later in life, I married into a family with Kentucky/West Virginia roots and we visited frequently. Half the family down there was on welfare and food stamps and didn’t work. And most of them were middle aged, 30’s and 40’s. We always said if they would spend half the energy working that they did scheming and “working the angles” that they wouldn’t need the government welfare. They still have government cheese!

      Fact is, whites make up 42 percent of the poor, but take in 69 percent of the government benefits.