The Untied Nations

The Obama administration is not the only government that wants more of your money, reports Salt Lake City’s Deseret News:

“No one should live below a certain income level,” stated Milos Koterec, President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. “Everyone should be able to access at least basic health services, primary education, housing, water, sanitation and other essential services.”

These services were presented at the forum as basic human rights equal to the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The money to fund these services may come from a new world tax.

“We will need a modest but long-term way to finance this transformation,” stated Jens Wandel, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Program. “One idea which we could consider is a minimal financial transaction tax (of .005 percent). This will create $40 billion in revenue.”

“It is absolutely essential to establish controls on capital movements and financial speculation,” said Ambassador Jorge Valero, the current Chairman of the Commission on Social Development. He called for “progressive policies of taxation” that would require “those who earn more to pay more taxes.”

Valero’s speech to the forum focused on capitalism as the source of the world financial problems.

When asked where she expected the money to provide all needy people with a basic income, healthcare, education and housing would come from, Fatima Rodrigo, one of the presenters at the forum, mentioned the “very small tax of .005 percent.”

She added, “There is plenty of money, we just need to stop spending it on militaries and wars.”

David McElroy demolishes the whole idea in two sentences:

The people proposing the tax promise it will be very tiny and only raise about $40 billion. Once such a monster is set in place, though, do you honestly believe there’s any limit to how big it will grow?

That’s independent of the fact that the UN has no taxing authority. The only way this tax can be instituted is if UN countries agree to tax themselves and then send the proceeds to the UN. I can see President Obama agreeing to the tax; I cannot see the House of Representatives passing it, and any senator who votes for a UN tax should be impeached.

This is also independent of the fact that promoting the general welfare, to quote the U.S. Constitution, is the responsibility of national governments, or even levels lower than national government:

“Despite the global exhortations of the United Nations, the most successful development efforts clearly arise from grass-roots initiatives, often at the individual or family level,” claims Vincenzina Santoro, an international economist, in a new book on the family and the Millennium Development Goals.

report by the secretary-general on poverty eradication includes other methods for helping rural farmers increase their profit margin and their ability to be more self-reliant. The report says, “key among these is improving yields by ensuring that farmers have better access to high-yielding crop varieties, fertilizers, credit, markets and rural infrastructure.”

What is stopping poor countries from improving themselves is those countries’ incompetent or corrupt governments. A worldwide tax to take from the haves to give to the have-nots’ oppressors will only give more money to those who have created and sustained poverty in the first place.

This brings up a larger point in the mind of Jonah Goldberg:

I’ve never quite understood the idealistic enthusiasm people have for the United Nations. First of all, it’s a club pretty much anyone can join so long as you have a government, internationally accepted borders, and someone is willing to vouch for your existence. As far as organizations go, that’s a pretty low bar — like a club exclusively for humans with a pulse.

The whole thing stinks from the top down. The Security Council isn’t a democratic entity; it’s based on brute force. Russia and China became permanent members when they were totalitarian dictatorships. They have seats because they are powerful, not because they are decent or wise or democratic. And the same is true for us. Our seat was bought with might, not right.

I think part of the confusion stems from a category error. We tend to anthropomorphize countries, talking about them as if they were people. U.N. members vote for stuff, so people think the U.N. is somehow democratic in more than a procedural way. But that’s not true. There’s nothing in the U.N. Charter — at least nothing that has any binding power — that says a government has to be democratic or even care for the welfare of its people. When the ambassador from North Korea claims to speak for his people at the U.N., it has no more moral legitimacy than a serial killer speaking for the victims he has locked in his basement.

Goldberg has an alternative:

Sure, the U.N. does good things from time to time, but that is because good nations want to see good things done.

What would be so terrible about giving those good nations someplace else to meet? And by good, I mean democratic. A league, or concert, of democracies wouldn’t replace the U.N., but it would offer some much-needed competition. …

A permanent global clubhouse for democracies based on shared principles would make aiding growing movements easier and offer a nice incentive for nations to earn membership in a club with loftier standards than mere existence.

A league of actual democracies, or democratic republics such as ours, could be created to promote not just political freedom, but economic freedom as well.

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