The United Nations says the U.S. has a poverty problem. Ambassador Nikki Haley says we don’t. Who’s right? The United Nations is indeed correct and Nikki Haley is naught but a Trump mouthpiece. Ms. Haley claims that the U.S. is “the wealthiest and freest country in the world”. Not so, Ms. Haley. The UN report acknowledges that the U.S. is among the wealthiest societies, however it also states …
“But its immense wealth and expertise stand in shocking contrast with the conditions in which vast numbers of its citizens live. About 40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty. It has the highest youth poverty rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the highest infant mortality rates among comparable OECD States. Its citizens live shorter and sicker lives compared to those living in all other rich democracies, eradicable tropical diseases are increasingly prevalent, and it has the world’s highest incarceration rate, one of the lowest levels of voter registrations in among OECD countries and the highest obesity levels in the developed world.”
Read that one a couple of times, folks. This is a nation where there is indeed great wealth, and it is largely owned by the uber-wealthy. The wealthiest 1% of this nation own more wealth than the lowest 90%. That figure … that 40 million live in poverty? That equates to roughly 12% of the population. The report goes on to say …
“The United States has the highest rate of income inequality among Western countries. The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality.”
Surprise, surprise … that tax cut was just what we said it was … a benefit for the wealthy.
“But in 2018 the United States had over 25 per cent of the world’s 2,208 billionaires. There is thus a dramatic contrast between the immense wealth of the few and the squalor and deprivation in which vast numbers of Americans exist. For almost five decades the overall policy response has been neglectful at best, 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.”
Need I say more? Nikki Haley had more to say:
“It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America. In our country, the President, Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and City Council members actively engage on poverty issues every day. Compare that to the many countries around the world, whose governments knowingly abuse human rights and cause pain and suffering.”
Wake up, Ms. Haley … members of Congress have been so busy for the past 17 months licking Trump’s boots and kissing his patootie that they haven’t given a thought to those who can barely pay for their medicine, buy food, pay rent, etc. Her comments came just two days after the U.S. pulled out of the UN Human Rights Council, allegedly because Trump, and presumably Haley did not like the fact that the UN was holding Israel’s feet to the fire on human rights issues and its treatment of Palestinians. I am inclined to believe that the withdrawal had more to do with the extreme human rights violations being committed by the U.S. in its treatment of immigrant children who are being separated from their families.
Also in the UN report …
“Defenders of the status quo point to the United States as the land of opportunity and the place where the American dream can come true because the poorest can aspire to the ranks of the richest. But today’s reality is very different. The United States now has one of the lowest rates of intergenerational social mobility of any of the rich countries. The equality of opportunity, which is so prized in theory, is in practice a myth, especially for minorities and women, but also for many middle-class White workers.”
The report suggests that the tax cuts will have long-term effects, “creating disparities in the education system, hampering human capital formation and eating into future productivity”. In other words, as we suspected, the rich will get richer while the poor are kicked into the gutter. I wonder who the rich people think will be around to build their fancy homes, manufacture their expensive automobiles, grow & harvest their food, clean their houses, educate their children, etc.?
Take a few minutes to read the report, at least the ‘Overview’ and ‘Conclusions and Recommendations’ sections, for they are interesting and enlightening. The full report is 20 pages long and you can view it here, or download it to a Word document. It is well worth the read. As for Nikki Haley? She is just another sycophant whose opinion doesn’t merit further discussion. The UN report is far more interesting than anything she has to say.