The Trump administration's crippling policies are forcing poor Americans deeper into poverty, a United Nations human rights investigator has found.
The United Nations' human rights office said Monday that Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty, spent months visiting communities across America and has prepared a report that faults "successive administrations" in Washington for failing the impoverished.
While preparing to present the report to the United Nations next month, Alston specifically targeted the Trump administration for its recent $1.5 trillion tax cut, saying it brings "financial windfalls" to the rich and large corporations while punishing the poor.
Alston visited poor communities in Alabama, California, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
"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," Alston wrote. "With political will, it could readily be eliminated."
He criticized "caricatured narratives" that portray the rich as drivers of economic progress while stereotyping the poor as "wasters, losers and scammers."
Alston said while extreme poverty in American is nothing new, "the policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protection 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."
An official at the U.S. mission to the U.N. in Geneva said Monday that "the Trump administration has made it a priority to create economic opportunities for all Americans."
Alston said on his Twitter account that critics of his report point out that the data he used is before Trump took office.
Critics of my US report say that the poverty figures I used are from 2016 and don’t include the Trump years. They’re right. My report refers to the latest official poverty figures by the US Census Bureau for 2016, which were published in September 2017.— Philip Alston (@Alston_UNSR) June 3, 2018
...The poverty figures for 2017 won't be published until Sept 2018. Poverty is a structural problem, but I strongly believe, backed up by extensive evidence, that a 1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich and the hollowing out of welfare benefits, will make things worse, not great.— Philip Alston (@Alston_UNSR) June 3, 2018