In a speech before a partisan crowd at Cleveland State University on Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan pitched a private charity-based strategy for fighting poverty, saying that top-down, government anti-poverty programs have created a “debilitating culture of dependency wrecking families and communities.”

The Republican vice presidential nominee, standing onstage before a row of flags in the music building’s plush auditorium, said, “We’re still trying to measure compassion by how much government spends, not by how many people we help escape from poverty.”