After stressing that he was “proud of the campaign Mitt Romney and I ran,” Ryan, the 2012 Republican VP nominee delivering his first speech since he and Romney lost on election night, focused on the importance of giving Americans the opportunity to “escape from poverty” and move up the socioeconomic ladder.

“When 40 percent of all children born into the lowest income quintile never rise above it, what does it say about our country?” the chairman of the House Budget Committee asked at the Kemp Foundation Leadership Award Dinner at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. He argued that schools, families and communities are not doing a good enough job in providing a path out of poverty and that the economy “is failing to provide basic security, much less rising wages.” …

“Americans are a compassionate people. And there’s a consensus in this country about our obligations to the most vulnerable. Those obligations are beyond dispute. The real debate is how best we can meet them. It’s whether they are better met by private groups or by government – by voluntary action or by government action. The truth is, there has to be a balance.”