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Freedom Alliance

Issue Brief 2002-03
February 6, 2002

United Nations Seeks $70 Billion Handout From U.S. Taxpayers

by Fred Gedrich*

 President Bush and other heads of state will gather in Monterrey,1 Mexico in March to address the challenges of financially supporting developing countries around the world. In January, UN delegates assembled in New York City for a final preparatory meeting before the Monterrey Conference in which they finalized documents to be addressed at the event. I had the opportunity to attend this preparatory gathering and discovered that through a pretense of Robin Hood heroics - and an effort to empower themselves - UN leaders are planning to finance human rights violators and tyrannical governments with billions of dollars from American taxpayers. 

 In a setting befitting a king, recent Nobel Laureate and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the proceedings before a packed assemblage of delegates representing the 189 UN member states and over 1,000 non-government organization representatives (NGOs). His goal: eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development to enable all members of the world community to advance to a fully inclusive and more equitable global economic system.

 The Secretary-General asked the delegation to "unlock the financial resources that are so desperately needed for development."2 He calls it "official development assistance" and sees it as a way to improve private sector activity and support education, health, growth of public infrastructure, and agriculture and rural development.

 The Secretary-General is particularly concerned about the financial disparity between rich and poor nations and tells anyone who'll listen that the richest 20 percent of the world's population earn 86 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) while the poorest 20 percent earn a measly one percent.3

 Mr. Annan has a plan - he believes that the best way to narrow the gap between rich and poor nations is to redistribute wealth. Accordingly, his primary proposal is to have developed countries, such as the United States, annually hand over 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP)4 to UN coffers for redistribution.

 Doesn't sound like much - particularly for a nation like the United States whose goods and services produced for 2000 totaled about $10 trillion5 - but it is. Mr. Annan's plan would cost American taxpayers nearly $70 billion - or approximately $59 billion more than the United States already gives to this cause.6

 This begs the question: which developing countries will benefit from the UN's growing money trough?

 The meeting's final draft does not tell us, but the likely candidates include the 133 members of the Group of 77 (G-77)7- a conglomeration of UN member states that represented developing countries during the recently completed session - and they want the money with "no strings attached."8 Seven countries in this alliance are designated state sponsors of terror9 and 84 have been labeled as human rights abusers.10 Many countries, like China, force citizens to work in sweatshops as economic slaves of the system.

 If this weren't bad enough, the G-77 and many NGOs support even more radical means for financing development. In June 2001, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo proposed an International Tax Organization and international taxes on currency transactions and energy11 - and some even considered taxing seabed mining, ocean fishing, and satellite launches.12

 Much to the dismay of the G-77 and many NGOs, the United States - through the efforts of public interest groups and concerned citizens - successfully opposed Mr. Annan and Mr. Zedillo's proposals.13 And the final draft report on these subjects has been watered down to a statement "urging" developed countries to give their developing neighbors 0.7 percent of GDP and encouraged strengthening "international tax cooperation."14

 Nonetheless, the United States will have to remain vigilant. The eventual goal of the global governance crowd is to expand the UN's authority. Among other things, they want a standing UN Army, a new international criminal court, and a new parliamentary body of "civil society" representatives (NGOs) - and the best way for them to get them is to implement global taxation and wealth redistribution programs.     

 Through his resounding success in leading the "War on Terror," President Bush has become the world's preeminent statesman and champion of freedom, democracy and human rights. He should use this much deserved stature to clarify for all Monterrey conference attendees that the United States has become the most prosperous nation in the world by relying on free enterprise and the creative ingenuity of the American people - and that he will never ask American taxpayers to provide "official development assistance" to states that sponsor terror, abuse the human rights of its people or prevent citizens from enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Endnotes

Group of 77 Chart

*Fred Gedrich is a senior policy analyst for Freedom Alliance (www.freedomalliance.org)

1 www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020130-7.html.

2 Press Release, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "Monterrey Conference Best Chance to Unlock Desperately Needed Financial Resources, Says Secretary-General to Preparatory Committee," SG/SM/8098, DEV/2360, January 14, 2002.

3 www.un.org/millennium/sg/report/ch1.pdf.

.

4 Press Release, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "Monterrey Conference Best Chance to Unlock Desperately Needed Financial Resources, Says Secretary-General to Preparatory Committee," SG/SM/8098, DEV/2360, January 14, 2002.

5 Economic Report of the President, George W. Bush, "Gross Domestic Product," p. 321, February 2002.

6 www.cbpp.ort/6-18-01bud.htm, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Isaac Shapiro, June 18, 2001.

7 www.g77.org/main/gen_info_2.htm.

8 Statement by Ambassador Milos Alcalay, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Financing for Development, January 14, 2002.

9 U.S. Department of State, "Patterns of Global Terrorism - 2000, Overview," April, 2001.

10 Author used information contained in human rights reports for 2000 issued by U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell (www.state.gov) and Freedom House (www.freedomhouse.org/ratings/index.htm), a non-profit and non-partisan, human rights group founded by Eleanor Roosevelt nearly 60 years ago, as the basis for this statement.

11 Letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the General Assembly, Kofi Annan, "Report of the High-level Panel on Financing for Development," A/55/1000, June 25, 2001, p. 26 and 27.

12 www.globalpolicy.org/finance/alternat/biblio/..

13 Akhilesh Upadhyay, "NGOs Sceptical of FfD PrepCom Outcome," TERRAVIVA IPS UN Journal Vol. 10 - No. 3, January 16, 2002.

14 www.un.org/esa/ffd/aac257-32.pdf.

 

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