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Forum Post: Trump's 'cruel' measures pushing US inequality to dangerous level, UN warns

Posted 3 years ago on June 26, 2018, 9:20 a.m. EST by factsrfun (8300) from Phoenix, AZ
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Donald Trump is deliberately forcing millions of Americans into financial ruin, cruelly depriving them of food and other basic protections while lavishing vast riches on the super-wealthy, the United Nations monitor on poverty has warned.

A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America Read more Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur who acts as a watchdog on extreme poverty around the world, has issued a withering critique of the state of America today. Trump is steering the country towards a “dramatic change of direction” that is rewarding the rich and punishing the poor by blocking access even to the most meager necessities.

“This is a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own. Once you start removing any sense of government commitment, you quickly move into cruelty,” Alston told the Guardian.

Millions of Americans already struggling to make ends meet faced “ruination”, he warned. “If food stamps and access to Medicaid are removed, and housing subsidies cut, then the effect on people living on the margins will be drastic.”

Asked to define “ruination”, Alston said: “Severe deprivation of food and almost no access to healthcare.”

Alston sounds the alarm in the final report of his investigation into extreme poverty in the US that is published on Friday and will be presented to the UN human rights council in Geneva at the end of June. His findings are based on a tour he carried out in December through some of America’s most destitute communities, from Skid Row in Los Angeles, through poor African American areas in Alabama, and the stricken coal country of West Virginia, to hurricane-racked Puerto Rico.

The report amounts to one of the most scorching assessments of Trump’s leadership in his 16 months in the White House. It is likely to spark debate across the political aisle as well as globally about the US president’s rapid drive towards heightened inequality.

The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest Philip Alston The Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told the Guardian it was profoundly important that international observers were speaking out about Trump’s impact. “This administration inherited a bad situation with inequality in the US and is now fanning the flames and worsening the situation. What is so disturbing is that Trump, rather than taking measures to ameliorate the problem, is taking measures to aggravate it.”

Top of the list of those measures was the $1.5tn tax cuts enacted by the Republicans last December that slashed corporate tax rates. “Can you believe a country where the life expectancy is already in decline, particularly among those whose income is limited, giving tax breaks to billionaires and corporations while leaving millions of Americans without health insurance?” Stiglitz said.

The UN monitor similarly excoriates Trump and the Republicans in Congress for passing a tax bill that “overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality”. Alston added that “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”.

He cautioned middle-class Americans from thinking they were immune from the lash of such policies, as Trump’s assault “bodes ill for society as a whole. The proposed slashing of social protection benefits will affect the middle classes every bit as much as the poor.”

The Federal Reserve annual economic survey released last week underlines the large pool of people who are vulnerable to any further erosion of the safety net. It found that four out of 10 Americans are so hard up they could not cover an emergency expense of $400 without borrowing money or selling possessions.

Cory Booker, the US senator from New Jersey, described the UN report as “disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising. We live in a land where great wealth lives alongside unconscionable poverty, and the Trump tax bill makes this dire situation worse by showering the wealthiest with huge tax breaks while Republican leaders seek to make drastic cuts to the social safety net.”

Booker, who has introduced legislation to combat poverty, said fellow policymakers should see Alston’s investigation as a wake-up call to take bold action, such as a jobs guarantee, healthcare for all and help for former prisoners to reintegrate in society. “People who disagree on politics can agree that no child in America should go to bed hungry, no home should lack access to a working sewer system, no illness should drive a family to bankruptcy.”

As one of the world’s wealthiest societies, the US is what Alston calls a “land of stark contrasts”. It is home to one in four of the world’s 2,208 billionaires.

At the other end of the spectrum, 40 million Americans live in poverty. More than five million eke out an existence amid the kind of absolute deprivation normally associated with the developing world.

The symptoms of such glaring inequality include:

Americans now live shorter and sicker lives than citizens of other rich democracies; Tropical diseases that flourish in conditions of poverty are on the rise; The US incarceration rate remains the highest in the world; Voter registration levels are among the lowest in industrialised nations – 64% of the voting-age population, compared with 91% in Canada and the UK and 99% in Japan. Against that backdrop, the UN rapporteur identifies a slew of what he calls “aggressively regressive” policies coming out of the Trump administration that are sending the country “full steam ahead” towards greater inequality. In addition to the tax breaks, there are new work requirements for welfare recipients, cuts of up to a third in the food stamp program, a recent proposal from housing secretary Ben Carson to triple the base rent for federally subsidized housing, and a burning of government regulations that offered protections to middle-class and poor families.

“This is an across the board attack on those who are living on the poverty line or below it,” Alston said.

The UN monitor contends that what amounts to Trump’s punishment of low-income Americans is based on an unfounded assumption that such people are lazy, work-shy and dedicated to defrauding the welfare system. Several senior government officials told Alston during his tour that scamming by welfare recipients was rampant, yet little convincing evidence was provided to support that caricature, he notes in his report.

The scrutiny now falling on Trump from the UN is significant in that the US stands increasingly as an outlier in the world community. Alston’s report adds to a mounting body of criticism emanating from global organisations warning the US that unless it pulls back from its current course it will end up isolated from all other developed countries.

The statistics speak for themselves. In 1980, the US and Europe stood side by side in terms of inequality – in both cases, the richest one percent earned about 10% of national income.

Fast forward to 2017, and in Europe the 1% has edged up to 12% of national income. But in America the same elite now gobbles up 20%.

Last year the IMF, a world body not renowned for being hyper-critical of countries that fail the poor, said: “The US economy is delivering better living standards for only the few. Household incomes are stagnating, job opportunities are deteriorating, prospects for upward mobility are waning and economic gains are increasingly accruing to those that are already wealthy.”

Stiglitz said: “It’s clear that this administration is totally out of step with the rest of the advanced world that is looking at the US more askance on so many levels. For Americans who are fighting against the abnormality of the Trump administration it is heartening and reinforcing to know that the rest of the world is becoming more resolved in how it deals with the post-Trump US.”




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[-] 3 points by elf3 (4203) 3 years ago

This is being done in a very specific way. Landlording has become the most profitable business and tax shelter. Every small and large company shuffles money around through the properties they also own. Yes the same people who own hospitals, malls, banks and car dealers to small businesses also own all the housing in town. The same people cutting pay freezing wages and downsizing staff also charge your entire salary in rent. Worse.... Landlording doesnt create jobs. But because it is so much profit with so little work...there are no more mom and pops, no more doctors, lawyers, no more employers. Landlords don't hire. It doesn't feed the economy....yet they receive government money in the form of rental subsidies to meet their outrageous rates, capital gains tax breaks, and deferred tax when purchasing more properties. "Rich Dad, poor Dad". But specifically it is a business of generational wealth. Properties never leave the family. And old money buys new and more property. Walmart wants in on it. Rentals by Target. Best Buy housing block. Coming Soon! I would bet every member of Congress, every judge, every lobbyist and politician has their hand in the landlord game. In no other way can we see the haves and have nots divide as clearly as between the owner and rentier classes. The landlords did away with rent control. They bought up once affordable single family homes and turned them into rentals and hotel rooms which they use to launder bribe money and lobby money and escape taxes. They formed realty trust corps. and lobbys. They price set. They do away with rent control tricking us to meeting their ransom property rates. He who owns the land owns all the wealth. The cost of housing compared to pay determines the quality of life. As I drive along the roads of Massachusetts and see all the new mansions popping in among the old working class split levels, farm houses and ranches... I realize that is not a doctor, nor innovator, nor scientist, nor inventor, nor author, nor anything special. They are landlords our government is catering to, bending over backward to accommodate, and stick it to the little people, the youth, the struggling. And you have never seen mansions such as these...custom built solariums, gardens, bespoke doorknobs, bespoke everything right down to the doorbells....all of it brand new.... designed to look old New England. Just drive along 1A. Who hosed the working class? ... This is the new aristocracy. Building mansions that put the old mansions to shame. These are not doctors...or workers...or even anyone intelligent or remarkable in any way but clever rats and parasites happy to forage on the carcass of the working class.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 3 years ago

Apparently "Cory Booker, the US senator from New Jersey, described the UN report as “disturbing, but

unfortunately not surprising'' ... AS CORP. DEM DINGBATS LIKE BOOKER - ARE PUPPETS FOR EG.

BIG PHARMA AND HIGH FINANCE IN U$A! Corey Booker is a faux-progressive, Corp.Co-opted C*nt!

Also apparently - Poppy Harlow of Corporate News Network, CNN tried to press Democratic Socialist &

victor in NY Dem Primary for Congress Alex Ocasio-Cortez to say if she'd have voted for Hellary Rotten

Clinton! FFS!! Btw d'U think Stiglitz'd have also been critical of a hypothetical President $hillary Clinton?

multum in parvo ...

[-] -2 points by factsrfun (8300) from Phoenix, AZ 3 years ago

I see your point exactly this is a perfect time to attack the Democrats?!?

You are a fucking disease Shadz.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 3 years ago

It's always "a perfect time to attack the" CORPORATE "Democrats" factsRfukt but you hate that fact!

Referencing Corey Booker, why are U so desperate to kiss his Corporate Loving RW ass?! Also FYI:

U need to get over tribal, partisan Dem fixations & realize that they're mostly Corporate Stooges now.

IF I cause U dis-ease - then that's because your geriatric, conservative nature can't handle my truths,

et veritas vos liberabit!

[-] 0 points by factsrfun (8300) from Phoenix, AZ 3 years ago

I was just watching some Sean Hannity on youtube, reacting to the convection and guilty plea, the two of you have a lot in common, you and Hannity....

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 3 years ago

Watching Sean Insanity, huh?!!! Why am I NOT surprised?!! Have U anything to say about the Neocon

Foreign Policy loving and Neoliberal Necro-Economics pushing, RW War Monger extraordinaire - John

McCain?! Was he your senator and did U like him? Did your friends & family vote for - "The Maverick"?

How would any of that chime with your .. ''Kill The GOP'' Partisan Politics? + FYI, perhaps also try to ...

ad iudicium?

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 3 years ago

Still kissing Dem A$$ & avoiding points & evidential links, huh? I opened your link and noted that U are

still insistent that others here are "Green ego whores" ... whereby U prove that U are still trapped in the

Corp.Dem~Corp.MSM received wisdom lies about 2000's Al Gore loss to Bush. THAT was the clearest

example of a Stolen Election but Al Gore would rather take the loss ... than expose U$A's demoCRAZY

deMOCKERYcy for the crazy mockery that it is! Now this is an honest question, but do U actually know

how the Electoral College works? U really don't if U think Nader derpived U of a President Gore! Finally,

IF USA doesn't have a functional, activist 'Left', then pseudo-liberal, Centerist Dems become the willing

puppets of Oligarchy because history shows Liberals will move right, unless anchored by actual leftists!

With another #S17 coming up, get this: NO OWS; NO Bernie & NO Bernie; NO Alexandra O-C! Geddit?

IF U can't extend politics outside & beyond the Corp.Controlled "Choice" of Duopoly, your facts are fukt!

e tenebris lux?