Home / News / Expresso / Issue of the Week: Paul Ryan and the Bradley Foundation Team Up to Tear Down the Safety Net
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Issue of the Week: Paul Ryan and the Bradley Foundation Team Up to Tear Down the Safety Net

paulryanap-500x333
Google+ Pinterest Print
Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan is at it again. The alleged intellectual leader of the Republican Party is trying to find ways to look concerned about poor people at the same time he’s dismantling safety net programs that help poor people. He’s relied on novelist Ayn Rand, created scary graphs about the nation’s deficit, participated in a poorly done fake photo-op of him at a soup kitchen, and, most recently, lied about the benefits of the school lunch program.

Now he’s bringing it all back home and returning to his Wisconsin roots. In a recent radio show, Ryan decried the “tailspin of culture in our inner cities” in which “generations of men [are] not even thinking about working or learning the value and culture of work.”

If you think Ryan is talking about inner-city white men, you’d be wrong.

Ryan cited as a source for his comments the work of Charles Murray, whose controversial and basically discredited book The Bell Curve was laced with race-baiting observations about intellect, which was essentially laughed at by much of the social-science community. In fact, Murray’s entire body of work is aimed at taking down the social safety net and promoting the idea that some people—including some groups of people—are smarter than others. In short, Murray was well paid to try to make racism seem scholarly and reasonable.

Murray is a darling of the right wing and, not surprisingly, has long had the backing of the ultra-conservative Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, which has funded him throughout his career, as well as the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. His work is part of the Bradley Foundation’s larger agenda to privatize public schools via vouchers, back the warmongers who invaded Iraq, and dismantle the government so that the “free market” can reign supreme.

The head of the Bradley Foundation, Michael Grebe, is the co-chair of Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaign so it is not surprising that the governor has taken the organization’s agenda to heart and implemented it at the state level. 

Unfortunately, Paul Ryan, who has the power to shape the nation’s budget, is, like Scott Walker, someone who seems to simply repeat what the right-wing organizations like the Bradley Foundation and the right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers put forward for them. We hope that his crusade to tear down the social safety net gets the reality check it deserves, like many of the “factual statements” Ryan made during his vice presidential campaign that were exposed as blatant lies.