UN Special Rapporteur Alston questions the US Government on the extreme poverty in the United States!
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Yesterday, something rare happen, the United Nations addressed big issues within the United States and their ways of governing. Clearly, this is starch message. If this was a poorer and weaker state. The United States Special Rapporteur Phillip Alston would have condemn their actions. Instead, he is describing it and addressing it. Which is a fresh look from the United Nations, that is worried about the growing poverty in the US. It is special that it happens in this period and time. When the ruling party and majority in both chambers of the Congress. Is working on a bill to give tax relief to the wealthiest, the corporations and growing deficit on the federal budget. Clearly, the value of the middle-class and the poorest doesn’t matter in this calculation. Since, the taxes will grow for the ordinary and the poor, while the richest get more cash.
Therefore, what the UN Special Rapporteur is writing is damning. It is demeaning. This isn’t a fairy-tale or a Disney adventure. This isn’t the dream of gaining fortunes at Silicon Valley. This is the real deal, the issues, the ghetto’s, the slums and the ones living on food-stamps all around the US. The way the United States is governed, might be also a reason for the rampant poverty. Since the Federal State is so far away and the limitations on the States. Barres the State governments from actually delivering necessary welfare and provisions to help their poorest citizens. It could be in their DNA, as everyone is supposed to be self-made and can become millionaires. Even if it is just a tiny group of people who is able to go from the slums and ghetto’s and become vastly wealthy. They are more rare, than the norm. The Rapporteur really paints a story of an American Nightmare and not the American Dream. Alston is describing a bleak picture and shows, that the United States got a lot of work to do. If their citizens are supposed to have equal rights and equal opportunities, because the contrasts and the different spectrum’s of wealth should worry the politicians. Clearly, it doesn’t when we know how the Tax-Plan is and who will benefit in the coming years.
“The reality that I have seen, however, is very different. It is a fact that many of the wealthiest citizens do not pay taxes at the rates that others do, hoard much of their wealth off-shore, and often make their profits purely from speculation rather than contributing to the overall wealth of the American community. Who then are the poor? Racist stereotypes are usually not far beneath the surface. The poor are overwhelmingly assumed to be people of color, whether African Americans or Hispanic ‘immigrants’. The reality is that there are 8 million more poor Whites than there are Blacks. Similarly, large numbers of welfare recipients are assumed to be living high on the hog. Some politicians and political appointees with whom I spoke were completely sold on the narrative of such scammers sitting on comfortable sofas, watching color TVs, while surfing on their smart phones, all paid for by welfare. I wonder how many of these politicians have ever visited poor areas, let alone spoken to those who dwell there. There are anecdotes aplenty, but evidence is nowhere to be seen. In every society, there are those who abuse the system, as much in the upper income levels, as in the lower. But the poor people I met from among the 40 million living in poverty were overwhelmingly either persons who had been born into poverty, or those who had been thrust there by circumstances largely beyond their control such as physical or mental disabilities, divorce, family breakdown, illness, old age, unlivable wages, or discrimination in the job market” (…) “There is no magic recipe for eliminating extreme poverty, and each level of government must make its own good faith decisions. But at the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the USA, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated” (…) “Reflecting on these developments, leading poverty experts have concluded that: Because of this rising joblessness, the U.S. poverty population is becoming a more deprived and destitute class, one that’s disconnected from the economy and unable to meet basic needs. … 40 percent of the 1999 poverty population was in deep poverty … [compared to 46 percent of the 2015 poverty population … . Likewise, rates of extreme poverty (i.e., living on less than $2 per day per person) are also increasing, again because of declining employment as well as growing “disconnection” from the safety net” (Alston, 2017).
This words are striking, these words are address big problems within the American society. That cannot be taken easy. There isn’t proper institutions, programs or even state provisions to help out the ones need. The growing poverty and extreme poverty is weird when you consider the vast amount of wealth residing the same nation. It is like it was rigged to be this way and they are playing demographics and also politics must really be damaging. Since, there aren’t any clear indication that these issues are addressed or significantly cared about by the federal state or the states themselves. The ignorance of the needs of their own, should shatter anyone caring about fellow human beings. That they accept the dire poverty, while the riches families can own estates bigger than some European Kingdoms.
If that isn’t a signal of something in need of change, while so many are struggling to survive and to pay the next rent. That there are a lack of understanding of the generation after generation of struggling individuals in the ghetto’s and slums. These are not looked after or tried to fix, but with small patches and civil society based organization who try to do charity. However, they cannot make them prosper or change the evil circle of lack of jobs and no safety net from the state.
This is political choice and by political will, by the ones that actually are in power. They have to show their concern. Give their legislation and make sure that these people are addressed and have a future. Since they can leave the groundwork and framework so they can live life beyond the hand-to-mouth. But actually own a home and live decent. Instead of struggling with every single penny. Worrying about if either you or any other person in the family ending up in the hospital. If so, they have to collect more debt and struggle more because of lack of coverage and funds to be able to pay for health-insurance. That could be typical issue for Americans on the poverty line. The forgotten by all powers and shown these days by the tax-plan as well, who will make Medicaid and other programs get grave cut. While the corporations are getting tax-holidays.
There is something really wrong these days in America. The riches are really poor. They cannot afford to pay tax or even contribute to the society they are earning their fortunes in. They are so poor, they cannot stomach paying points on the dollars, so the poorest and their workers can get some social benefits. So they can be more healthy and work better for them. Instead, their greed and their draconian ways, will make the extreme poverty even worse and grow numbers of people in dire needs. With time, the corporations will also have fewer costumers. Since they cannot afford to buy their products. So it won’t gain growth, when making more people poor, while a minority will get even wealthier. Peace.
Alston, Phillip – ‘Statement on Visit to the USA, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights*’ (15.12.2017)