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Category Archives: Poverty

UN representative reports on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to US

Via Common Dreams: “The United Nations has released a scathing report on poverty and inequality in the United States. The findings, which will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council on June 21, follow an official visit to the United States by Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, to investigate whether economic insecurity in the country undermines human rights. The conclusions are damning. “The United States already leads the developed world in income and wealth inequality, and it is now moving full steam ahead to make itself even more unequal,” the report concludes. “High child and youth poverty rates perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty very effectively, and ensure that the American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion.” The U.N. explicitly lays blame with the Trump administration for policies that actively increase poverty and inequality in the country. “The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality. The consequences of neglecting poverty and promoting inequality are clear,” it concludes. “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.”“The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality” In December, Alston visited seven locations throughout the country—ranging from Los Angeles’s Skid Row neighborhood to rural Alabama, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico—to meet with people experiencing deep poverty, along with experts and civil society groups…”

The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights visited the United States of America from 1 to 15 December 2017, in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 35/19. The purpose of the visit was to report to the Council on the extent to which the Government’s policies and programmes relating to extreme poverty are consistent with its human rights obligations and to offer constructive recommendations to the Government and other stakeholders…During his visit, the Special Rapporteur met with government officials at the federal, state, county and city levels, members of Congress, representatives of civil society, academics and people living in poverty. He also received more than 40 detailed written submissions in advance of his visit. He visited California (Los Angeles and San Francisco), Alabama (Lowndes County and Montgomery), Georgia (Atlanta), Puerto Rico (San Juan, Guayama and Salinas), West Virginia (Charleston) and Washington, D.C…The strict word limit for this report makes it impossible to delve deeply into even the key issues. Fortunately, there is already much excellent scholarship and many civil society analyses of the challenges of poverty in the United States. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur aims to bring together some of those analyses, identify the key poverty-related problems and explain the relevance of the international human rights obligations of the United States in this context…”

Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment

Curbed: “Why isn’t homelessness seen as a national crisis? Cities call on the federal government to confront the growing numbers of homeless residents…The group, called Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, intends to work with HUD to make sure cities don’t lose federal dollars, and come up with new and innovative ways to fund… Continue Reading

World Bank Report Finds Rise in Global Wealth, but Inequality Persists

“Global wealth grew significantly over the past two decades but per capita wealth declined or stagnated in more than two dozen countries in various income brackets, says a new World Bank report. Going beyond traditional measures such as GDP, the report uses wealth to monitor countries’ economic progress and sustainability. The Changing Wealth of Nations… Continue Reading

Oxfam – The State of Inequality in the World

“Our new report about the state of inequality in the world reveals how our economy is delivering unimaginable rewards for those at the top by exploiting millions of ordinary workers at the bottom…Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. This huge increase could have ended global extreme… Continue Reading

U.S. Welfare Reform Efforts Have Been Based on an Availability of Work that Doesn’t Always Exist

“Hilary W. Hoynes, an NBER research associate and professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, specializes in the study of poverty, food and nutrition programs, and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low income families. In this video, she outlines successes and failures of federal efforts to… Continue Reading

World Inequality Report 2018

“The World Inequality Report 2018 relies on a cutting-edge methodology to measure income and wealth inequality in a systematic and transparent manner. By developing this report, the World Inequality Lab seeks to fill a democratic gap and to equip various actors of society with the necessary facts to engage in informed public debates on inequality. … Continue Reading

Visualizing Unequal Distribution of Gun Violence in the US

The Guardian: “The map of America’s gun violence epidemic can seem overwhelming. There were more than 13,000 gun homicides in the US in 2015, across nearly 3,500 cities and towns. But the toll of this gun violence was not distributed equally. Half of America’s gun homicides in 2015 were clustered in just 127 cities and… Continue Reading

Massive new data set suggests economic inequality is about to get even worse

Washington Post – “…inquiries into how fast wealth grows relative to the economy have been hampered by a lack of good, complete, comparable long-term data on the rates of return for various assets: stocks, bonds, real estate and the like. You’d want this to know what you’d expect a “natural” rate of return to be in… Continue Reading

UN Special Rapporteur report on extreme poverty and human rights in US

– Statement on Visit to the USA, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, December 15, 2017. “I have spent the past 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… Continue Reading

The Human Cost of the Ghost Economy

The Human Cost of the Ghost Economy Melissa Chadburn | Longreads | December 2017 | “Last year I worked undercover at a temp agency in Los Angeles. While I took the assignment for an article I was working on, I’d also been unemployed for over a year. It seemed I was in that middling space of… Continue Reading

World is drowning in unprecedented rise in garbage

Washington Post – “The world now produces more than a billion tons of garbage a year, which it incinerates and buries and exports and recycles. In New York, barges transport as much as 3,600 tons of waste down the Hudson River every day. In the Netherlands, which has a sophisticated recycling system, residents throw away… Continue Reading

Wealthy countries throw out up to 40% of food

The New York Times: “Globally, we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year, or a third of all the food that we grow. That’s important for at least two reasons. The less the world wastes, the easier it will be to meet the food needs of the global population in coming years.… Continue Reading