Here's Why the Ryan/Rubio Anti-Poverty Campaigns Are So Radical

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 14 2014 8:49 AM

Here's Why the Ryan/Rubio Anti-Poverty Campaigns Are So Radical

Rad, by Republican standards.

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday, to not much fanfare, Rep. Paul Ryan gave the keynote address at a liberal think tank's half-day poverty summit. It was the conclusion, for now, of a weeklong series of speeches meant to mark the anniversary of LBJ's first State of the Union address, the one that announced and defined the "War on Poverty." By the end of last week, I'd watched most of these speeches in person, and heard Ryan, Marco Rubio, and even a group of House conservatives try to reframe their economic goals as solutions to poverty.

Rubio and Ryan ended up sounding—for Republicans, in 2014—fairly radical. Both suggested that the government, that tax redistribution, could be tools for the relief of poverty. Cash payments, consolidated down from the mess of current anti-poverty programs, were worth talking about.


Why do I call it radical? Look to South Carolina, where state Sen. Lee Bright is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham from the right and telling fellow Republicans that the income tax encourages the sin of envy and enables welfare dependency.

This entitlement to other people’s property because you want their stuff is just wrong. And I think most of our problems in our country are spiritual problems, but there again it is about liberty. And liberty is just the right to keep what is yours. And when you raise taxes and put that burden on people you take away their freedom. And what they do is that is how they control us, with that tax code. 

That's the conventional wisdom, even if it's coming from a primary challenger.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.