Saturday, 07 July 2012

UN Report Pushes Global Taxes to Fight Poverty

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The United Nations continues to reveal itself as the main advocate and vehicle for global government, this time by pushing for a global tax on the wealthy to finance development and other needs worldwide, including so-called climate change.

The “billionaires' tax,” as its been dubbed, has been proposed by the UN's World Economic Social Survey (WESS), which asserts that it will raise nearly $400 billion a year. UN officials claim that such a tax is necessary to push the global body’s agenda “in the midst of difficult financial times.” Survey author Rob Vos, director of the UN's Development Policy and Analysis Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, declared in a statement,

Donor countries have fallen well short of their aid commitments and development assistance declined last year because of budget cuts, increasing the shortfall to $167 billion.

Although donors must meet their commitments, it is time to look for other ways to find resources to finance development needs and address growing global challenges, such as combating climate change.

We are suggesting various ways to tap resources through international mechanisms, such as coordinated taxes on carbon emissions, air traffic, and financial and currency transactions.

This year’s WESS includes provisions for a currency transaction tax of .005 percent, to be imposed on all trading of the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen, and the pound sterling.

CNS News provides some background:

The European Union’s executive Commission has proposed the introduction of such a tax — 0.1 percent for shares and bonds and 0.01 percent for derivatives — in the 27-member union with effect from January 1, 2014, an initiative expected to raise just over $70 billion a year. The WESS says a portion of that could be earmarked for international cooperation.

The WESS also recommends an allocation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) that would be used for development. The survey suggests that the SDRs could generate $100 billion a year. According to CNS News, the SDRs are not themselves currencies, but have value “based on a basket of the dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen.” In fact, some nations are advocating for SDRs to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

And of course, the WESS promotes the implementation of the billionaires' tax — one percent on individual wealth holdings of over one billion dollars — “with the revenue destined to finance internationally agreed global development purposes.” The survey asserts that such a tax could raise $50 billion a year. The report notes that there are more than 1,200 billionaires across the world — 425 in the United States, 315 in Asia, and 310 in Europe — whose net worth is $4.6 trillion.

“The ’average’ billionaire would own $3.7 billion after paying the tax,” according to the report. “If that billionaire spent $1,000 per day, it would take him or her over 10,000 years to spend all his or her wealth. Would this hurt them?”

The report also suggests expanding a levy on airline tickets to fund UNITAID, a UN initiative to raise money for drugs for poor nations. But the airline industry is opposed to any extension of the tax, asserting it already pays high rates.

Though UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has not yet commented on any of the taxes proposed in the report, he stated that in order for the recommendations to be effective, a “strong international agreement is needed.”

Vos echoed his sentiments: “Realizing the potential of these mechanisms will require international agreement and corresponding political will, both to tap sources as well as to ensure allocation of revenues for development.”

Unsurprsingly, the radical recommendations in the WESS have drawn heavy criticism from groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which warns that compliance with the UN’s directives would mean yet a further loss of national sovereignty. Myron Ebell, CEI's director of energy and global warming policy, declared,

The chief ambition of the United Nations for many years has been to increase funding for their vast bureaucracy by creating some sort of new global tax that flows automatically without any control by the U.N.’s member governments.

Such a taxing authority would thus be totally unaccountable to elected officials in the U. S. (or to officials in any other country for that matter). Money is power: hundreds of billions of dollars in additional annual revenue would allow the U.N. to create the institutions of global governance that are contained in several U.N. environmental treaties but that have never been realized due to lack of funding.

The WESS does not attempt to hide its intent to invest heavily in climate change programs. The report highlights the failure of European Union members to commit revenue to the massive regional body’s cap and trade system, largely because of the financial pressures plaguing the EU.  

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly observed, “It’s become clear that the real purpose of the UN is to steal the wealth of the United States and transfer it to anti-American dictators all over the world.”

The report notes that though the recommendations of the WESS are likely to be met with opposition, nations should sign on to them for the sake of future generations:

Politically, tapping revenue from global resources and raising taxes internationally to address global problems are much more difficult than taxing for purely domestic purposes.

But like all political decisions taken for the next generation and not just for the next election, this should be assessed carefully against alternative scenarios, including the very dangerous one of continuing polarization, exclusion, confrontation and insecurity in the world.

Human Events points out, however, that such schemes of “fixing” poverty by “transcending national sovereignty” are both false and detrimental:

They reinforce the destructive notion that “social justice” can be achieved by empowering authoritarian government to shower money upon those it finds “deserving,” while asserting an increasing level of control over those it deems too successful. If the United Nations were given such a power, the world itself would become poorer, because vast amounts of precious economic freedom would be sacrificed.

Additionally, regardless of how the revenue generated from such taxes would be spent, most critics assert that the money would largely disappear into bureaucracy and be seized by authoritarian regimes that are responsible for the very poverty the tax program is allegedly targeting.

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