Speaking Tuesday at an annual dinner honoring the late Jack Kemp, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the federal government could have taken the trillion dollars it spent last year on welfare programs and instead given a check for $20,000 to every American living in poverty.

Ryan said the government wasted all that money “trying to fight poverty through government programs,” but the result has been 46 million people living in poverty; during the last four years, the number of people on food stamps has increased by 15 million.

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