The End of the Social Safety Net

A new report from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations chastises the United States for allowing so many Americans to live in poverty.
June 6, 2018, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A new United Nations report is getting plenty of national media attention for predicting President Trump will exacerbate hardships for America's poor by weakening the nation's safety net," reports Jeff Stein.

Here are the headlining stats about the conditions of poverty in the United States:

  • 40 million Americans living in poverty.
  • 18.5 million Americans living in "extreme poverty."
  • 5 million Americans living in "Third World conditions of absolute poverty."
  • 13.3 million American children living in poverty.

The report, titled "Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to the United States of America" [pdf], is notable for also describing worsening conditions for impoverished Americans even before the Trump Administration came into power. "These statistics largely 'could not reflect the policies of the Trump administration,' since the best existing poverty data predates his inauguration, said the author of the report, Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, in an interview," writes Stein. Still, the report says the poverty and human rights failings of the United States is the fault of the political class, and experts are already following up the findings of the report with predictions that Trump Administration will exacerbate the problems of poverty, despite the improving economy.

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Published on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 in The Washington Post
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