UN Sent Philip Alston On A Tour Of The US

Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur explores Skid Row in Los Angeles, California— Photograph: Dan Tuffs for the Guardian

Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur explores Skid Row in Los Angeles, California—Photograph: Dan Tuffs for the Guardian

In December 2018, Philip Alston, United Nations 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.  In his travels through California, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Washington DC, he spoke with dozens of experts and civil society groups, met with senior state and federal government officials and talked with many people who are homeless or living in deep poverty. 

The new 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

His visit coincides with a dramatic change of direction in US policies relating to inequality and extreme poverty. The new 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 President Trump and former 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. 

The United States is one of the world’s richest, most powerful and technologically innovative countries; but neither its wealth nor its power nor its technology is being harnessed to address the situation in which 40 million people continue to live in poverty.

To read Philip Alston’s UN report, please visit The Guardian