Trump’s America: The Poor Are Getting Poorer As The Administration Decimates Safety Nets, Says U.N. Expert

The Trump administration is "punishing and imprisoning the poor," says Philip Alston.

poverty is getting worse under trump
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

The Trump administration is "punishing and imprisoning the poor," says Philip Alston.

Poverty in America is getting worse under the Trump administration, says U.N. poverty expert Philip Alston, as the administration removes “safety nets” for the poor.

As Yahoo News reports, poverty in America has been getting worse for decades, but under Trump, the divide between the rich and the poor is only getting wider. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been slashing the safety nets that millions of poor Americans rely on – including access to health care, food stamps, and other forms of welfare.

Meanwhile, tax cuts benefit the rich, reinforcing the old adage that “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.”

Alston, who is Australian, toured L.A. slums, hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, devastatingly-poor areas of rural Alabama, and other parts of the country, and deemed that the poverty in America is nothing short of “shameful.”

The Failure Of The War On Poverty

To be fair, the problems related to poverty in America date back decades. But the policies enacted by Lyndon Johnson, as part of his ’60s-era “War on Poverty,” are “neglectful at best,” according to Alston. And even those policies are now threatened by the Trump administration.

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

Criminalizing Poverty

Making things worse is that the law enforcement apparatus in this country treats poverty like a crime and it unfairly punishes the poor. For example, many poor people find themselves in jail over the most minor of minor crimes – such as parking tickets, as evidenced in this Inquisitr report – jeopardizing their jobs. Many poor will plead guilty to crimes, even though they’re innocent, simply because they can’t afford bail and can’t afford to risk losing their jobs because they’re incarcerated.

The Statistics

According to census data, about 41 million Americans live in poverty, and 18.5 million live in “extreme poverty.” What’s worse, that poverty disproportionately affects children: one in three of America’s poor are under 18. That means that the U.S. has the worst youth poverty rate of any industrialized nation.

In fact, America is fast on its way to becoming one of the poorest industrialized countries, says Alston.

“Its citizens live shorter and sicker lives compared to those living in all other rich democracies, eradicable tropical diseases are increasingly prevalent and it has the world’s highest incarceration rate…and the highest obesity levels in the developed world.”

To be fair, notes Reuters writer Stephanie Nebehay, as of this writing, there is no reliable Census data to compare poverty rates from before the Trump administration to after the Trump administration.