The U.N. Human Rights Council is not only anti-Israel; it is also anti-United States.
A new report commissioned by the group, which reads like a Bernie Sanders campaign pitch and is mired in the wrong-headed economic philosophies that failed the Obama administration, confirms it: The Trump administration was entirely correct to exit the council.
The U.N. report blasts the U.S. for excessive poverty, racial discrimination, inadequate health care and many other flaws. On some fronts (like below-par education) the critique is accurate.
But the overarching message is that under President Trump, the U.S. has become a “champion of inequality” and that the country is heading in the wrong direction.
The author notes that most of the issues raised “could not reflect the policies of the Trump administration,” since they were decades in the making. But he condemns the very policies — such as the GOP tax cuts — that are boosting the economy and creating new opportunities for rich and poor alike.
As even the Washington Post reported recently, “America’s poverty rate has likely gone down — not up — since [Trump] took office because the economy as a whole continues to improve, according to poverty experts.”
The report was previewed last December, so the author did not have to explain why:
- Unemployment is at the lowest level in 18 years, with the jobless rate for African-Americans and Hispanics at all-time lows. Unemployment claims are at about a 45-year low;
- Real weekly income is beginning to inch higher, and with employers reporting widespread pay hikes and productivity starting to rise, that increase will accelerate;
- As a consequence of requirements initiated in numerous states mandating recipients work or engage in job training, food stamp rolls have declined since 2013. Because of the booming jobs market, they are down 2.6 million since President Trump took office and 1.1 million since the GOP tax cuts were passed;
- For the first time in the nation’s history, there are more job openings than job seekers. Unemployment is down for people with disabilities, convicted felons and the untrained;
- After the Obama years, during which most of the income gains fostered by a sluggish recovery went to the top 1 percent, all Americans are now enjoying increased wages and after-tax pay.
The report’s author is Phillip Alston, an Australian who teaches law at New York University, apparently deciding that the U.S. offers better opportunities than his home country. He based his report on two weeks of travel through select states.
“The proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of Americans.”
Alston apparently has swallowed whole the flawed inequality dogma presented by Thomas Picketty in “Capital in the Twenty-first Century” that was eagerly adopted by the Bernie Sanders crowd, which ignored in its calculations the sizable income redistribution that is a constant in the U.S. economy.
As a report by Michael Tanner from the Cato Institute pointed out, thanks to taxes paid by those in the upper income brackets and transfers to low-income Americans from the 100 anti-poverty programs orchestrated by the federal government, inequality in the U.S. is grossly exaggerated.
Alston ignored these programs, and in any event, sees them under threat, writing of phantom “dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by the President and Speaker Ryan…It is against this background that my report is presented.”
This is the “background” against which Alston went touring. He appears to have been guided by left-leaning non-governmental organizations (NGOs) eager to publicize their missions, rather than following a more balanced path.
For instance, he wrote: “In Alabama and West Virginia I was informed of the high proportion of the population that was not being served by public sewerage and water supply services,” which is an alarming premise, if true.
But, he conceded that “…in neither state was I able to obtain figures as to the magnitude of the challenge or details of any government plans to address the issues in the future.” So, maybe it’s not so true.
He warned of alarming health developments, such as “neglected tropical diseases, including Zika, are increasingly common in the USA.” Just 20 cases were reported in 2018, and they were all by travelers returning from trips abroad.
He worried that, “A 2017 report documents the prevalence of hookworm in Lowndes County, Alabama.” Indeed, it appears that in the country’s poorest county, 19 people were found to have trace amounts of the disease, which most experts thought to have been eradicated.”
A jerry-built sewage system prone to flooding was blamed for the outbreak; an embarrassment in a rich country, yes but an epidemic, no.
Alston was skeptical of an “illusory emphasis on employment,” noting that a declining percentage of the working age population has a job.
He quoted a 2016 report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, which “concluded that reductions in labor supply are far less important than reductions in labor demand in accounting for the long-run trend.
“Factors such as automation and new technologies such as self-driving cars, 3D printers, and robot-staffed factories and warehouses will see a continuing decline in demand for low-skilled labor.”
It seems Alston is a bit out of date; demand for labor is at a record high.
His overarching conclusion is that, “Because of this rising joblessness, the U.S. poverty population is becoming a more deprived and destitute class, one that’s disconnected from the economy and unable to meet basic needs.”
As it happens, the United States is flourishing, outperforming every other developed nation, with an increasing number of people being pulled into the workforce, wages rising and the number of people saying they are satisfied with the direction of the economy hitting a 12-year high.
Take another look Mr. Alston; what you’ll see is a country to which people from all over the world want to come, even, apparently you.
Published on The Hill