Last month, the United Nations released a report about poverty in America. A single researcher spent two weeks in our country, visiting four states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. His report was harshly critical, condemning America for “punish[ing] those who are not in employment,” among other farcical notions.
Everyone knows there is poverty in America. Thousands of public officials at the federal, state, and local levels of government attempt to address poverty, as they should. Thousands more nonprofit, charitable, and religious organizations honorably dedicate themselves to fighting poverty in our country.
As governor of South Carolina, I saw firsthand the struggles of poor communities that often lack the economic and educational opportunities enjoyed elsewhere in America. And we did something about it. During my administration, we brought record-breaking numbers of new jobs to South Carolina, spanning each one of our state’s 46 counties; moved thousands of citizens from welfare to work; and made unprecedented investments into the education of students in economically challenged parts of our state. The fight against poverty is a complicated, multi-dimensional battle, but it is one that has the attention of Americans at all levels.
It certainly has the attention of the Trump administration. Its economic policies have helped bring unemployment down to the lowest level in decades. Its tax-reform law included a landmark measure to direct billions in new capital into distressed communities in every state.
But as the United States ambassador to the United Nations, my job is to help protect American interests and tax dollars at the U.N. It is patently ridiculous for the U.N. to spend its scarce resources — more of which come from the United States than from any other country — studying poverty in the wealthiest country in the world, a country where the vast majority is not in poverty, and where public and private-sector social safety nets are firmly in place to help those who are.
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