While President Donald Trump has been falsely taking all the credit for the improved U.S. economy, a United Nation’s report criticized his policies for the harm it’s doing to poor people.
One of the “shameful statistics” highlighted is the link between racial discrimination and poverty. African Americans, it noted, are 2.5 times more likely than whites to live in poverty and their unemployment rate is more than double.
Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty, will present his findings to the United Nations Human Rights Council in upcoming weeks. It’s based on visits to several locations, including a downtown Los Angeles slum.
President Barack Obama put policies in place that have lowered the unemployment rate and expanded the economy. Trump came into office with key economic indicators going in a positive direction. Good news about the economy has overshadowed his war on the poor. But the report sheds a light on his agenda.
U.S. policies have historic been “neglectful” toward the poor, with the United States having the highest youth poverty rate in the industrialized world. “But the policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship,” said Alston, an Australian native who teaches at New York University Law School.
Among the policy criticisms, the reported pointed to the administration’s tax overhaul as particularly troublesome. The reforms, passed by the Republicans in December, permanently cut corporate taxes but granted only temporary tax relief for working families. The result will be a widening of the gap between rich and poor.
The report also slammed the planned “dramatic cuts in welfare,” which will “shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes” for the almost 41 million Americans who live in poverty.
Reigning in the food stamp and Medicaid programs is a perennial goal for Republicans. They see an opportunity through the pretext of reducing the budget deficit explosion they created. On top of cuts to food stamps and Medicaid, the GOP wants to add a work requirement for receiving benefits.