Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Wednesday suggested that men in “inner cities” who refused to work were one of the main causes of poverty in the United States.
In an interview with conservative radio host Bill Bennett that was first noticed by Igor Volsky at Think Progress, Ryan reflected on his controversial poverty discussion at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
“We call it a poverty trap,” he explained. “There are incentives not to work, and to stay where you are.”
Ryan also pointed to the work of Charles Murray, a white nationalist, who has used “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“That’s this tailspin or spiral that we’re looking at in our communities,” he told Bennett. “Your buddy Charles Murray or Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this.”
“Which is, we have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working, and just generations of men not even thinking about working and learning the value and culture of work,” Ryan opined. “So, there’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”
The Wisconsin Republican added that he had been criticized for opposing the War on Poverty.
“We got to have the courage to face that down, just like we did with welfare reform in the late 1990s,” he said. “And if we succeed, we can help recitate this culture. And get people back to work, and get people back to meeting their potential.”
Listen to the audio below from Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, broadcast March 12, 2013.