The deepening poverty and income inequality in the United States threatens America’s social stability and political system, which is dominated by the country’s financial markets, says a peace activist and congressional candidate in New York.
Poverty in the United States is extensive and growing under the administration of President Donald Trump, whose policies seem aimed at removing the safety net from millions of poor people, while rewarding the rich, a UN human rights investigator has found.
As welfare benefits and access to health insurance were being slashed, Trump’s tax overhaul awarded “financial windfalls” to the mega-rich and large companies, further increasing inequality, Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, said in a report published Monday.
Alston called on US authorities to provide solid social protection and address underlying problems, rather than “punishing and imprisoning the poor”.
“This report is very alarming, because it shows that the international community is waking up and declaring unacceptable things that for far too long have been considered unacceptable; the widening gaps between the haves and have-nots,” said Sander Hicks, who’s running as independent candidate for Congress in this year’s mid-term elections.
“This is not for political stability, it’s not good for justice, it’s not good for a country that supposed to be a spiritual country, a country under God, but we’ve seem to have gone away from that, we’ve seem to be a country dominated by big money, by Wall Street; Wall Street controls both [political] parties,” Hicks told Press TV in a phone interview on Thursday.
The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has blasted the growing income inequality between the wealthy and poor in the United States.
Almost 41 million people in the US, or 12.7 percent, live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and children account for one in three poor, according to government data.
Alston said that a tax overhaul that passed the Republican-controlled US Congress in December will ensure the United States remains the most unequal society in the developed world.
Extreme poverty in the United States, however, is not new. Alston said US policies since former President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, including the so-called war on poverty, have been “neglectful at best.”
The international law scholar said invested interests in the US have made a “political choice” to preserve acute poverty in the country.
“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.”