Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, last week criticized a new UN report on extreme poverty in the United States, calling it “misleading and politically motivated,” and arguing that the UN should instead focus on developing countries beset by corruption and human rights violations.

Not so fast.

Based in part on a researcher’s visit to California, Alabama, Puerto Rico and West Virginia last year, the report focuses on where the world’s richest and most powerful country is falling short of its stated values. It cites rising income inequality, lack of access to health care, child poverty, racial discrimination, and high rates of obesity, child mortality and incarceration as large structural problems that amount to unceasing attack on the poor. In a damning critique of the American Dream, Philip Alston, a NYU professor who led the study, writes, “The equality of opportunity, which is so prized in theory, is in practice a myth.”

For every American who works hard but can’t get ahead because of stagnant wages, nonexistant job security, and the ever-rising costs of living, that’s far from misleading.

And if Haley doesn’t like the politics of the report, then maybe she’s on the wrong side. While the problems cited in the report predate the Trump administration, the UN is correct in saying that things have gotten worse since President Donald Trump took office.

Trump and fellow Republicans passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut that largely benefits corporations and the wealthiest Americans — entities that were already enjoying the bulk of the rewards from the most recent and ongoing economic expansion.

At the same time, they continue to try to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act, which specifically benefited the poor, increasing access to care and lowering costs.

Meanwhile, the farm bill passed last week by House Republicans, including Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine, and trumpeted by the president, would impose work requirements on low-income Americans seeking food assistance. These requirements have been shown to do little to lift people out of poverty; in Maine, they have contributed to the rise in hunger and extreme poverty.

Those same House Republicans also recently unveiled a budget that would cut at least $302 billion over a decade and place at risk for diminution programs that help the poor, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid. It’s unlikely to go anywhere at this time, but it at least shows what they’re aiming at.

In her criticism of the report, Haley pointed to the country’s staggeringly low unemployment rate. In doing so, she proved part of the report’s point.

The American economy is strong by most indicators, but few of the benefits are reaching the bottom. In the decade since the Great Recession, more of the nation’s wealth has become concentrated at the top, while hunger and hopelessness have become a fact of life for those at the bottom.

A raise, the accumulation of savings, a home, retirement — these things are simply out of reach for too many Americans. An economy built on insecure low-wage jobs has placed them forever on the edge of disaster, and the safety net designed to help them is now increasingly full of holes.

That might make us better than the Democratic Republic of Congo, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of concern.

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