A United Nations expert slammed the alarming levels of poverty in the US on Friday, saying that the situation is likely to get worse under US President Donald Trump.
Official US figures show that more than one in eight Americans live in poverty, but the UN official warned that the numbers are likely to rise under the Republican’s new tax reform plan.
The downward spiral of poverty
Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, undertook a two-week fact-finding visit to several US states and Puerto Rico. Alston detailed several examples of poverty he found during his tour, including:
- Hookworm, an intestinal parasite, has returned in several communities in the South
- Wal-Mart workers who rely on government-issued food stamps
- Children raised in poverty have little to no access to healthcare, quality nutrition or decent education
- Poor people are often in and out of prison, making many unable to vote due to their criminal records
‘Inequality will skyrocket’
In a statement, Alston called out several Trump administration policies that will lead to an increase in poverty, saying:
- “The US Congress is trying desperately to pass a tax bill that, if adopted, would represent the single most dramatic increase in inequality that could be imagined.”
- Trump’s proposed cuts to social welfare programs will damage a safety net for the poor that is already “riddled with holes” and that should the cuts become reality, “inequality will skyrocket.”
- “The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion, as the US now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries.”
- “Poor people have no chance of having their voices heard, no chance of influencing public policy.”