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House Speaker
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:31pm
Thu Mar 24, 2016

Ryan Renounces Previous 'Makers And Takers' Rhetoric As Progressives Rebuke GOP 'Austerity' Budget Plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) expressed regret this week for his past comments against poor Americans, saying in a major speech Wednesday that he was wrong for calling people "makers and takers."

"There was a time that I would talk about a difference between 'makers' and 'takers' in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong," Ryan said during his speech about the state of American politics. "'Takers' wasn't how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn't castigate a large group of Americans just to make a point."

In a question and answer session after his speech, delivered before a group of House interns, Ryan added, "I was callous and I oversimplified and I castigated people with a broad brush. That's wrong. And there's a lot of that happening in America today. I myself have made that mistake."

Despite Ryan's noteworthy change in rhetoric, and his push this year to make combating poverty a top GOP priority, critics say his policies speak for themselves.