With the race for the White House now in its final stretch, Congressman Paul Ryan delivered his first major policy speech as a vice presidential nominee Wednesday, pitching a vision the Republican ticket hopes will lift America’s most vulnerable out of poverty.

“Upward mobility is the central promise of life in America but right now, America’s engines of upward mobility aren’t working the way they should,” Ryan decried.

“Mitt Romney and I are running because we believe that Americans are better off in a dynamic, free-enterprise-based economy that fosters economic growth, opportunity and upward mobility instead of a stagnant, government-directed economy that stifles job creation and fosters government dependency.”

Ryan accused big government for stalling those engines, and derided the idea of simply throwing money at anti-poverty programs without achieving results as one that has decimated families and communities — especially, he says, under President Obama.

“During the last four years, the number of people living on food stamps has gone up by 15 million. Medicaid is reaching a breaking point, and one in four American student fails to attain a high-school diploma,” he said. “In this war on poverty, poverty is winning. We deserve better.”