Philip Alston, a human rights expert commissioned by the U.N. to examine “extreme poverty,” argues that the massive income inequality in the U.S. is a choice made by politicians, as AP News reports. Alston prepared a report for the U.N. that blames “successive administrations” for creating the gap between rich and poor, and points to the Trump administration as the reason the gap is still widening.
Alston is a New York University law professor who was born in Australia and was recently commissioned by the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council. His report is based around a two-week trip through America from Puerto Rico to D.C. and multiple states in between. Alston concludes, “At the end of the day, however, particularly in a rich country like the United States, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.” So, the rich politicians could fix poverty and make everyone equal in class, but choose not to? Shocking.
Overall, the report details how America is the wealthiest country in the developed world and condemns the way it “makes itself more unequal,” or ultimately does nothing to help its poor citizens. Alston states, “The way in which people living in poverty are treated across the U.S. system amounts to a violation, in effect, of their civil and political rights.” Trump is one of the main targets of Alston’s report, specifically the $1.5 trillion income tax cuts that he approved in December. Alston notes the tax cut plan, often deemed as one of Trump’s biggest accomplishments, “benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality.”
The report goes on to call out how these tax plans and other policies written by “power-wielders and other vested interests” impact society. He argues that ultimately, American society has been infiltrated by “caricatured narratives” that make the rich appear more important and capable of driving the economy, while stereotypes portray the poor as “wasters, losers and scammers.” These statements end in a call to action for the U.S. to “decriminalize the poor.” He also calls for Americans to “get real about taxes” and recognize that “taxes are not only in their interest, but also perfectly reconcilable with a growth agenda.”
The report has not been fully reviewed by the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva, but an official stated, “the Trump Administration has made it a priority to create economic opportunities for all Americans.” However, he went on to support Alston’s report by stating that the U.S. values U.N. expert’s efforts to “to raise attention to important issues around the globe.”
Despite the U.N.’s efforts to defend Trump, it’s not surprising that a “businessman” from the top one percent will continue to push the poor further away from the wealthy until they completely disappear.