Depending on how cynical you are, Republicans have either noticed they won't win elections without caring about poor people, or they've realized they have a lot of "opportunity" to offer.
Three of the GOP's 2016 presidential hopefuls will present or have already presented anti-poverty plans this week. On Thursday Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled his budget plan to expand opportunity in America. The day before, Sen. Marco Rubio pitched his ideas on social reforms, and on Friday Sen. Rand Paul will focus on helping ex-cons escape the cycle of prison and poverty.
As The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb wrote Thursday, this is all a major shift from the "47 percent" GOP of the 2012 presidential election. While it's dangerous for conservatives to show compassion — especially on issues like immigration, as Rep. Eric Cantor learned — it's also dangerous to appear not to care about low-income families. Or as Ryan put it, “I think conservatives have a lot to offer here and we have ignored this space for too long." Here's breakdown of the main points of each plan:
Rep. Paul Ryan
During a speech Thursday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, Ryan introduced a plan that would consolidate federal funding for 11 safety net programs into one lump sum, according to MSNBC. States that opted for the "opportunity grant" would then be able to disburse the aid between the programs as they saw fit. “We’re reconceiving the federal government’s role,” Ryan said.