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Freedom Alliance

March 28, 2002

Monterrey Money Grabbers Try to Exploit World's Poor

by Fred Gedrich

The UN Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey, Mexico was supposed to be about helping the suffering masses of the world the three billion people living in extreme poverty on less than $2 dollars a day and more than half of them governed by despotic rulers.  It wasn't.

Rather than limiting the conference debate to levels of financing necessary to achieve the eight key objectives of the UN Millennium Declaration relating to poverty eradication, conference activists brazenly attempted to expropriate $6.1 trillion in annual installments until 2015 from "wealthy" nations, for a host of dubious UN causes.

Unfortunately, the world's poor were pawns in this ruthless game of UN hegemony. UN bureaucrats and sympathizers have long yearned to install a global government with all the trappings of a failed Marxist ideology and borderless and godless worldview and they see nothing wrong with using the poor to advance their socialist agenda because to them "the end always justifies the means."

The global empire they seek requires a lot of money which they thought could be acquired by tapping into the emotions of well-meaning and generous people worldwide particularly U.S. citizens under the guise of helping billions of poor people.

This international extravaganza on financing brought the UN leadership, 51 heads of state and dignitaries from 171 countries as well as several thousand other people representing non-government organizations to this popular Mexican Mecca replete with cool mountains, hot springs and ritzy hotels and restaurants to discuss two major financing initiatives: increased foreign aid contributions and a global tax on currency transactions. Global bureaucrats have bantered these issues around since the 1970s and garnered support from those who may benefit most.

Hugo Chavez Frias, Venezuelan President, speaking on behalf of the 133 "developing" countries, called on "wealthy" countries to "comply" with the foreign aid target of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Fidel Castro, Cuban President, received a "thunderous ovation" from the audience and a "warm embrace" from Kofi Annan and said global taxes in the hands of UN agencies, on currency transactions, like those suggested by the late James Tobin, would possibly generate enough funding for sustainable economic and social development.

The NGO Global Forum, representing 2,600 persons and 700 organizations from all countries and regions of the world, in a statement to the Conference Plenary, "demanded" the collection of currency taxes and immediate fulfillment of the 0.7 percent of GDP commitment from all industrialized countries.

They suggest that about $2.2 trillion (36 percent) of this total could be raised through the imposition of "binding" annual tithes from "wealthy" countries.  These annual tithes equate to 0.7 percent of each country's GDP.  With an annual GDP of $10 trillion, the United States would be the world's largest contributor,  providing about $70 billion annually in foreign aid or $910 billion by the year 2015.

They also suggest raising another $3.9 trillion (64 percent) by imposing a global tax on currency.  A March 2002 publication of the Global Policy Forum, distributed at the conference, indicated that a tax of 0.2 percent would result in revenue totaling about $300 billion or $3.9 trillion by the year 2015.

Simple arithmetic shows that the amount sought by Monterrey money grabbers far exceeds the UN's stated poverty needs. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, said the eight conference goals could be achieved by doubling the present level of official aid, an increase of $50 to $100 billion annually, or about $1.3 trillion by end of year 2015.

When it became apparent that the United States and others would not acquiesce to their exorbitant demands (the final conference report does not bind nations to provide aid or discuss global taxes) they became angry and immediately resorted to an old tactic of blaming America for "raining on their parade." True to form, Jeffrey Sachs, Harvard professor and special advisor to Kofi Annan, called the United States "the stingiest country in the world." They even brought former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to the conference, who disingenuously called U.S. aid levels "embarrassingly low."

Instead of spending vast sums of money and imposing a failed ideology on the world, President Bush stressed that "hope and opportunity" will lift the world's poorest people out of "poverty's prison" and make the world "better and safer."  He proposed, subject to congressional approval, a conditional 50 percent increase in aid to developing countries (from $10 billion to $15 billion annually, which will make the United States the world's largest contributor and enhance its longstanding position as the world's most generous country).  Recipients of this aid however, must demonstrate progress in economic freedom, political liberty, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

It was a stirring and appropriate message, only exceeded by his closing comment:

"May God bless you all."

Fred Gedrich is senior policy analyst at Freedom Alliance (www.freedomalliance.org) and represented the Concerned Women for America at the Conference.

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