First published on January 8, 2018
January 7, 2018–Just as the U.S. Congress was preparing to vote on the controversial tax reform, UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston released a damning report on poverty in the United States, on December 15, 2017. Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and also a professor at NYC Law School, spent two weeks touring the United States at the invitation of the federal government. He visited California, Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Alston contends that 41 million Americans live in poverty, while the Republican tax bill will transfer more wealth to the rich.
In the introduction to his report he states,
“The proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of Americans. The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by the President and Speaker Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes. It is against this background that my report is presented.”
This article will lay out, from a present and past standpoint, the urgency of the federal government to act in defense of the American people. As Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated in 1933, revolutionary change is required. Until federal government intervention occurs, people are going to continue to die needlessly.
On Dec. 19 Alston gave an interview to “Democracy Now” on his findings, in which he asserted that tax reform will make the U.S. “World Champion of Extreme Inequality.” Alston contended,
“[M]y job is to try to highlight the extent to which people who are living in extreme poverty are jeopardized by government policies. What I see in the United States now is not just a tax reform bill, but a very clear indication by government officials with whom I met, by the Treasury in their analysis, that this is going to be funded in parts by cuts to welfare, to Medicare, Medicaid. And so what you’ve got is a huge effort to enrich the richest and to impoverish the poorest.