The Poor Are Becoming Poorer Under Trump, U.N. Expert Reports

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Paula Rogo Jun, 04, 2018

The poor are getting poorer under the crippling policies of the Trump administration, a report by a United Nations human rights investigator has found. 

Philip Alston, a U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty, plans to share his findings with the U.N. Human Rights Council later this month. He found that the 41 million living in poverty are now facing policies aimed at removing their safety net while rewarding the rich.

These slash policies include welfare benefits and access to healthcare insurance, Reuters reports. The new tax reform also benefits the rich to the detriment of the poor.

Though fighting poverty has not been top of mind for recent administrations, Alston says that “the policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections 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.” 

Let’s take a recent example by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. According to The Intercept this past January, Carson sought to delay the implementation of the Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) by two years, but the district court of Washington, D.C. ruled against his recommendation. The SAFMR rule will give Section 8 housing voucher recipients more choices in where to live, and will also help stop landlords from price-gouging when renting to voucher recipients.

Prior to the implementation of the rule, the monetary value of the vouchers only allowed for recipients to choose from housing in low-income or impoverished areas.

As for the tax overhaul that was passed by the Republican-controlled Senate last year, it permanently cut the top corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Yet the other tax cuts for individual expire in 2025. 

“The tax reform will worsen this situation and ensure that the United States remains the most unequal society in the developed world,” Alston said. “The planned dramatic cuts in welfare will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes.”
 

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