Donald Trump Has No Platform. Paul Ryan Isn’t Helping.
Zaid Jilani reports in The Intercept about how the GOP is making it easy to vote for Hillary Clinton by doing a political version of the Keystone cops.
House Speaker Paul Ryan spent the past week announcing policy plans designed to fill the void left by the party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, who has virtually no detailed policy proposals save for outrageous propositions like building a giant wall on the U.S.-Mexico border at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.
But Ryan’s plans are themselves little more than platitudes and proverbs, offering few actionable policies.
Take the poverty plan. It states that we should “expect work-capable adults to work or prepare for work in exchange for welfare benefits,” something that’s already required under the 1996 welfare reform law.
Under “Policy Recommendations,” Ryan calls on Congress to use the next authorization of the nation’s welfare programs “to strengthen the focus on work and work preparation by requiring states to engage more recipients in activities that will help them advance up the economic ladder.”
What exactly that means is anyone’s guess. Does he mean more job-training,a temporary public works program, government-backed internships? If Ryan is proposing to toughen work requirements or the sanctions against people who fail to meet them, why doesn’t he explain that in any detail? Who will it apply to, how will states implement it, and what is the timeline for that implementation? What’s the proposed budgetary impact?
“The language is incredibly vague, it’s full of mantras and platitudes and old Republican talking points,” Rebecca Vallas, a poverty expert at the Center for American Progress, told The Intercept. “At points he acknowledges problems that exist — the importance of child care in terms of removing barriers to employment for parents who have children — …and then he has no solutions for it.”
In another section, Ryan proposes a serious change to the government’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which offers income support primarily to disabled adults and children.
The speaker complains that the “average lifetime stay on SSI for people who come onto benefits as children is an incredible 26.7 years.” His solution is to end the SSI cash payment program: “access to needed services in lieu of cash assistance, whether it be mental or physical therapies, or special-education services in school should be the focus of the SSI program.”
When you’re fundamentally transforming a program that serves 8 million people — many of whom suffer from crippling disabilities — into something completely different, more detail than a single sentence is required.
“That would be absolutely devastating to 1.2, 1.3 million kids,” Vallas said. “They need cash. They need the income support and most of them are living in poverty or close to it. And he’s talking about what, giving them vouchers for services?”
There are a handful of actual policies sprinkled throughout the document. For example, . . .