UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston tours a homeless area in Downtown LA with General Dogon (right) of the Los Angeles Community Action Network. Photo © 2017 Dan Tufts

Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights spent two weeks visiting the United States, at the invitation of the federal government, to look at whether the persistence of extreme poverty in America undermines the enjoyment of human rights by its citizens.

Alston’s visit coincides with a dramatic change of direction in US policies relating to inequality and extreme poverty. He believes that the proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of Americans.

The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by the President and Speaker Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes.

Read Alston’s statement here.