UN slams GOP's tax scam for 'overwhelmingly benefiting the wealthy'


The Republican Party's tax giveaway to the ultra-rich has gone from a national farce to an international embarrassment.

The GOP tax giveaway to the rich is so unpopular that the party has already abandoned it as an electoral strategy. Now, a United Nations panel on extreme poverty and human rights has rebuked it as well.

At the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, Philip Alston, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, presented his report on the United States, which included a scathing indictment of the tax scam that Republicans rammed through Congress last December.

"My starting point is that the combination of extreme inequality and extreme poverty generally create ideal conditions for small elites to trample on the human rights of minorities, and sometimes even of majorities," Alston said. "The United States has the highest income inequality in the Western world, and this can only be made worse by the massive new tax cuts overwhelmingly benefiting the wealthy."

Alston noted that 40 million Americans live in poverty, and of those, 18.5 million live in extreme poverty.

"In addition," he continued, "vast numbers of middle class Americans are perched on the edge, with 40 percent of the adult population saying they would be unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense."

Alston then took aim at the Trump administration and the GOP for sabotaging health care and attacking social safety net programs.

"For example, a Farm Bill approved yesterday by Republicans in the House of Representatives would impose stricter work requirements on up to 7 million food stamp recipients," Alston said. "Presumably this would also affect the tens of thousands of serving military personnel whose families need to depend on food stamps, and the 1.5 million low-income veterans who receive them."

That farm bill, which House Republicans passed without a single Democratic vote, would impose strict work requirements that make it harder for families who need food assistance to get it. As many as 400,000 households could lose their aid entirely.

"The US health care system already spends eight times as much to achieve the same life expectancy as in Chile and Costa Rica, and African-American maternal mortality rates are almost double those in Thailand," Alston said. "Babies born in China today will live longer healthy lives than babies born in America."

Alston also noted that the booming economy that Trump inherited from President Obama is not benefitting working Americans.

"Hourly wages for workers in 'production and nonsupervisory' positions, who make up 80 percent of the private workforce, actually fell in 2017," he said.

"Expanding employment has created many jobs with no security, no health care, and often with below-subsistence wages," Alston said. "The benefits of economic growth are going overwhelmingly to the wealthy."

Alston's report does not even take into account the effects of Trump's trade war, which is already hurting American workers and businesses, and could kill as many as half a million jobs a year.

Trump and the GOP thought they would coast to victory in the November midterms by touting their massive tax scam. But few Americans believe it's doing them any good, and now the United Nations has also condemned it for the giveaway to billionaires that it really is.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.