Citing Charles Murray, the libertarian academic and pundit who has previously argued that poverty is largely a consequence of low IQ and race, Rep. Paul Ryan told right-wing radio host Bill Bennett on Wednesday morning that poverty in America is largely a product of 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 and the culture of work.”
“So there’s a real culture problem here,” Ryan continued, “that has to be dealt with.”
Ryan appeared on the influential Bennett’s show in part to promote his recent “survey” of the government’s many anti-poverty initiatives, nearly all of which Ryan believes do more to perpetuate poverty than reduce or eliminate it, a conclusion that’s been strongly criticized by others, including some of the academics Ryan references in the study itself.
Despite his belief in cutting most programs designed to combat poverty, though, Ryan made clear to Bennett that he doesn’t support letting the poor simply fend for themselves. On the contrary, he urges Bennett’s audience to “get involved” and show that “civil society” rather than “government” is the way to help the underprivileged. (Salon)