The nation's half-century War on Poverty hasn't worked, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday.
Ryan, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," said more federal money is not the solution to ending the problem of poverty in big cities like Baltimore, the scene of this week's civil unrest.
"After a 50-year war on poverty and trillions of dollars spent, we still have the same poverty rates, 45 million people in poverty," Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and former GOP vice presidential nominee, said. "This isn't a Republican-Democrat thing. It's we as a country need to say, that's not good enough. We're not getting the results we need. What do we do to get results?"
Ryan has written several House GOP spending blueprints calling for reduced federal spending. He also authored a book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, which calls for changing the way the federal government addresses poverty.
Ryan said Sunday that federal money needs to be spent more effectively. And the federal government must step back and let local governments find solutions.
He said he would consolidate federal programs and allow states flexibility to customize welfare benefits, which he said are part of the reason people are not re-entering the work force.
"We're actually disincentivizing a person from getting on with their life and going to work," Ryan said. "It pays not to take that risk to take a job to go help improve your life because of the benefits you lose."
Ryan said anti-poverty programs should measured on results.
"And that means listening to people on the ground fighting poverty, not telling them," he said.
Show host Bob Schieffer took a jab at Mitt Romney when he asked Ryan how he would persuade Republicans to take on poverty, which many Democrats have accused the party of ignoring.
Romney, Schieffer said, "pretty well said, 'these are votes I'm never going to get.' "
Ryan told Schieffer, "That's not what's in Mitt's heart. I can tell you that."