Elizabeth Warren Rips Into Paul Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Plan

“It looks more like an agenda for creating poverty.”

Ron Sachs/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


On Tuesday, Paul Ryan unveiled a new anti-poverty plan in Washington, DC. News coverage of the event largely ignored the contents of Ryan’s proposal, instead focusing on his statement that Donald Trump’s attacks on a Hispanic judge constitute the “textbook definition of a racist comment”—but that he’d still be voting for Trump anyway.

But liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren wanted to make sure Ryan’s policy ideas didn’t go completely unnoticed. The Massachusetts senator took to Facebook later in the day to tear apart Ryan’s plan as a retread of old Republican proposals. “It looks more like an agenda for creating poverty than reducing it,” Warren wrote. “In fact, if you look closely, Paul Ryan’s new plan is just a shiny repackaging of Paul Ryan’s old plan: Keep huge tax breaks and special loopholes open for billionaires and giant corporations, gut the rules on Wall Street, then say there’s no money for Social Security, for Medicare, for education, or anything else that will help struggling working families.”

Warren is hardly alone in that assessment. Ryan’s anti-poverty plan rests on some of his favorite pet causes: furthering the ’90s-era welfare reform emphasis on pushing people toward work and block-granting funding for programs while giving states more leeway on how they run the programs. The left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities noted that it’s nice to hear Republicans focused on poverty but blasted Ryan’s proposal. “In several areas,” CBPP’s Robert Greenstein wrote, “the plan repeats standard congressional Republican positions in bashing a series of federal laws and regulations designed to protect low- and middle-income families.” Slate‘s Jordan Weissmann highlighted the absurdity of the fact that Ryan’s plan to help poor people includes repealing the Obama administration’s fiduciary rule, a regulation that forces financial advisers to offer retirement advice in the best interests of their clients. “The basic consumer protections offered by the fiduciary rule aren’t going to deprive anybody of essential financial advice,” Weissmann wrote, “and fighting it is an obvious sop to a powerful industry. Trying to cloak it in the language of an anti-poverty effort is as sad as it is hilarious.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest