If there is one area conservatives have struggled over the last three decades to make inroads with lower income and working poor Americans has been their attitudes toward poverty. Conservatives for the longest time were content to go with “Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps!” pablum that sounded good to some constituents but didn’t offer much in the way of solutions. Simply saying, “Get a job” is not a solution because many people who are poor want to work.
Speaker Paul Ryan has developed a policy plan called ‘A Better Way’ that has a number of ideas associated with it:
- Reward work. A good job is the surest way out of poverty. If you are capable, we will expect you to work or prepare for work.
- Tailor benefits to people’s needs. Instead of the same failed one-size-fits-all approach, we will match poverty-fighting programs with your needs so that it’s easier to keep a job and start a family.
- Improve skills and schools. To help protect the next generation from poverty, we will make sure that poor kids have more opportunities to succeed at every stage, from childhood through college.
- Plan and save for the future. To help you stay on the path from dependence to independence, we will make it easier for you and your family to plan for the future and be retirement-ready.
- Demand results. We will open up the system to accountability and collaboration with local communities, backing ideas that work on the front lines every day.
In looking for more innovative and effective ways to deal with poverty, Speaker Ryan became involved with Opportunity Lives as they worked on a series of videos called, “Comeback.” OL describes it:
Comeback tells the inspiring, true stories of real-life Americans overcoming adversity in our nation’s cities and communities.
The videos are not long, but they are inspiring. It reveals a way in which government can help, but more at a local level working in local communities rather than from a centralized bureaucratic station in Washington, DC. The vides are worth watching.
Since people love good comeback stories, Opportunity Lives is launching ‘Comeback 2’ a second season that tells similar stories. One of them tells of stories in Dallas, involving two men, Omar Jahwar and Antong Lucky. Jahwar is a pastor and a gang intervention specialist who was always near Dallas Police Chief David Brown following the tragic murder of five Dallas area police officers. Lucky is a former Dallas Bloods gang member who has developed a non-profit designed to help young people escape the gang life.
Here is a trailer:
People do believe in a comeback.