U.N. probe should tell whole truth

Next month, a United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights will travel through the United States to “investigate government efforts to eradicate poverty in the country, and how this relates to America’s obligations under international human rights law.”

It would be nice to believe Professor Philip Alston, of the New York University School of Law, will be honest in his assessment, and tell the truth about what generations of government “help” has done for poverty.

Perhaps he should add topics such as the federal government’s effort to increase dependence upon itself; the federal government’s encouragement of the substance abuse epidemic, in its early stages; the federal government’s attempt to wipe out an industry on which much of the state depends; and the failure of many-decades-old federal programs.

It would also be helpful to the U.N., should that organization be genuinely interested in studying the matter, to do some long-term research. For example, a look at the results of more than 50 years of federal government money disingenuously thrown about.

Those results would not merely be a comparison of government money with corporate investment. They would be a comparison of generations of people being told they need to depend on the government for handouts to survive with a couple of decades of people being told they are valuable enough to warrant investment – their skills, their work ethic, their loyalty and their determination have attracted the kind of jobs that will allow them to survive.

All that is a lot of work, and a lot of bureaucratic giants, for someone like Alston to tackle. Then again, any job worth doing right means some hard work. Let us hope Alston is up to the task.