A new report finds millions of children are without food and homes, and the prospect of escaping poverty is impossible under Trump’s tragic policies.
The Trump administration must pay urgent attention to the shockingly high number of children living in poverty in the US, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty declares in a heavyweight report on the condition of America today.
Philip Alston, who acts as the UN’s watchdog on poverty and inequality around the world, spells out in blunt and unremitting terms the damage wrought by child poverty in one of the world’s richest countries.
In his findings on conditions in the US, he highlights the personal suffering of millions of children who are left without food, homes and futures and warns that such deprivation is killing the American dream.
He lays out the brutal statistics as 18 percent of American children some 13.3 million were living in poverty in 2016, making up almost a third of the total poor.
More than one in five homeless people are children, including 1.3 million school students who were without a home during the academic year.
Infant mortality is at 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, is almost 50 percent higher than other advanced nations. The US ranks 25th out of 29 industrialized countries in terms of the amount it invests in young children.
“This is tragic and unconscionable, to treat so many children in this way, but it is also a totally self-defeating economic policy,” Alston said in an interview with the Guardian.
“The ramifications are clear and considerable – the US is building a future citizenry that is under-nourished, under-educated, under-stimulated, and that in turn will rebound dramatically on the society itself.”
While child poverty has been a pressing problem for many years in the US, Alston warns that policies being pursued by the Trump White House are likely to make it much worse.
Food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or Snap, helped almost four million children stay out of the clutches of poverty in 2015 – now Trump is proposing in his 2019 budget to cut the program by almost a third.
Carolyn Miles, president and chief executive of Save the Children US, said the food stamp program was critical for struggling families. “This is certainly not the time to be cutting these benefits in America,” she said.