Extreme poverty in the U.S. could be eliminated but it is a “political choice made by those in power,” according to a new report published by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
“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,” the report reads. “With political will, it could readily be eliminated.”
The report said American democracy “is being steadily undermined.”
The report also made several recommendations for how to alleviate poverty in the U.S., saying that Americans must realize taxes “are in their interest” and that the U.S. “must recognize a right to health care.”
But U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley dismissed the report, saying it’s “ridiculous” for the U.N. to “examine poverty in America.”
“It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America,” Haley said in a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“The Special Rapporteur wasted the UN’s time and resources, deflecting attention from the world’s worst human rights abusers and focusing instead on the wealthiest and freest country in the world.”
The Hill added:
Sanders, along with several Democratic lawmakers in both chambers, earlier this month sent a letter to Haley asking her to show President Trump the conclusions of the report published by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
Sanders and the other Democrats called upon the Trump administration to provide Congress with a strategy to act on suggestions made in the United Nations report.
But Haley in her response to Sanders slammed the report as “misleading and politically motivated.”
“The report categorically misstated the progress the United States has made in addressing poverty and purposely used misleading facts and figures in its biased reporting,” Haley wrote.
“There is no question that poverty in America remains a serious concern, but it does no one any good to inaccurately describe its prevalence or its causes.”
However, Sanders said he believes that “it is totally appropriate” for the U.N. to publish the poverty report.
“I hope you will agree that in a nation in which the top three people own more wealth than the bottom half, we can and must do much better than that,” Sanders wrote in response to Haley, adding that he’d “love the opportunity” to talk to her about poverty in person.