Unfortunately for Ryan, several experts on the War on Poverty have now taken their licks at the report. Doubly unfortunate for Ryan, some of them are experts whose work he cited in the report, and they say they've been misrepresented. That's important, because the goal of Ryan's report is to show that existing poverty programs are ineffective, and therefore should be changed (mostly by cutting them). But he cooked the books.
Rob Garver of the Fiscal Times has collected several of these complaints in one place. The scholars, he observes, "had reactions ranging from bemusement to anger at Ryan’s report, claiming that he either misunderstood or misrepresented their research."
Other analyses, such as this one from Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones, pick apart other assertions in Ryan's report.
Even beyond misquotation of scholars' statistics, the report is extremely one-sided and sloppy in its interpretation of research on poverty programs. We referred to its misuse of the notorious Oregon study of Medicaid outcomes. There's also his claim that Social Security disability payments were "sometimes called 'crazy checks' based on the suggestion that if children 'acted crazy' at school they could readily qualify."
This is one of the enduring canards about disability, and to find it repeated in a congressional report without qualification is simply shocking. More to the point, it undermines Ryan's claim to be taken seriously. The fact is that the "crazy checks" business is and always was a fabrication, as we explained here. Charles Pierce has delved even deeper into the accusation, tracing it to a student paper at
Ryan's paper is being treated as a major platform plank in his campaign to be taken seriously as a critic of U.S. poverty policy. Washington should be ashamed to take him at his word. At the very least, any journalist who writes a profile painting Ryan as a poverty statesman should do better research than he did.