Global Taxation Moves Closer

March 13, 2002

By Henry Lamb

“It will never happen,” was the almost universal response to our first reports of global taxation nearly a decade ago. The folks at the United Nations, however, believe that it will happen – and soon. In fact, another World Conference is being planned for March 18-22, 2002, in Monterrey, Mexico, to consider the recommendations of a special High Level Panel on Financing for Development, that has been working since the Millennium Summit last year.

The preliminary draft report of the panel is now public, and – surprise, surprise – global taxation is among the recommendations. But their report is much more comprehensive than just global taxation – it proposes U.N. control over all economic activity.

The report is 72-pages long. The Executive Summary is enough to get the flavor of what the United Nations wants, and intends to get – one way or another.

As an introduction, the report uses a quote from the Millennium Declaration:

“We will … make every effort to ensure the success of the High-level International and Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development …”

At the time, many people dismissed this Declaration as just more hot-air expelled by ego-bloated bureaucrats. In reality, since it was approved by the heads of state from more than 150 nations, it is a blank check for the United Nations to do whatever it takes to achieve global governance.

The report contains 12 major recommendations, ranging from poor countries getting their economic house in order, to a global taxing organization. We will examine only four of these recommendations:

  1. Assure that developed countries contribute 0.7 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to development aid for developing countries, into a “common pool” for distribution by the United Nations;
  2. Create a Global Economic Security Council as proposed by the Commission on Global Governance;
  3. Create an International Tax Organization;
  4. Establish an “adequate international tax source,” namely, the Tobin Tax on currency exchange, and a global tax on carbon (the use of fossil fuels).

These four recommendations are only the skeleton of global economic control. Other recommendations also call for “closer coordination” of such institutions as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organizations, the United Nations Development Program, and “Partners” from business, civil society, and other intergovernmental organizations.

Aid to Developing Countries

The first recommendation of concern has to do with the “common pool” for the contributions made by the United States and other developed countries. The U.S., depending on who’s doing the accounting, is quite likely to exceed the .7 percent of GDP requested by the United Nations. U.S. money now goes into so many U.N. pots that it is very difficult to learn just how much money is going to U.N. agencies.

The amount is troublesome enough, but the idea of putting that money into a “common” U.N. pool, for distribution by the United Nations, allows the U.N. to attach its strings, rather than the U.S. It almost assures that U.S. dollars would flow to countries that the U.S. would not choose to support. Cuba, for example, and the Sudan, and other favorites of the U.N., are not countries that most Americans would want their tax dollars to support.

Moreover, if the money is coming from the U.N., the U.N. can be assured that the recipient country could be counted on for its vote in favor of whatever policy the U.N. wanted to advance.

The United States should provide aid to developing countries according to its own agenda and budget, and not let the U.N. “coordinate” the redistribution of our wealth.

Economic Security Council

To be fair, the High Level Panel on Financing for Development is rather vague about exactly how, what it refers to as a “Global Council,” would function. It does, however, endorse the recommendation of the Commission on Global Governance (CGG) on this point. Combined with the other recommendations of the High Level Panel, it appears that despite its ambiguity, it is the Panel’s intent to create a Council very much like the one suggested by the CGG.

The CGG report, Our Global Neighborhood, devotes more than 40 of its 410 pages (pp 157 – 196f), to a detailed discussion of the new Economic Security Council (ESC). It recommends 23 members, selected on a rotating basis, none with veto power, and no permanent members, and prescribes the “consensus” process for decisions, rather than voting.

Under the auspices of this new U.N. creation, would be incorporated all agencies and organizations that have any influence over the international economy. The CGG recommendation goes into considerable detail about incorporating enforcement with environmental treaties into the responsibilities of the new ESC and the World Trade Organization.

All the financial exchange mechanisms would fall under the authority of this new entity, a prerequisite to developing a mechanism for collecting global taxes from whatever source.

Both the High Level Panel report, and the CGG report, pay lip-service to national sovereignty, with language such as “… respect for sovereign states,” but then proceed to make policy recommendations that supersede the authority of sovereign states.

From a practical perspective, the new ESC, if created, would be little more than a rubber stamp for U.N. bureaucrats. A 23-member council, that changes every couple of years, consisting of representatives from countries to whom the U.N. is handing out money, is a prime target for manipulation. The U.N. could do whatever it wanted to do, behind the veil of ESC approval.

The United States should not support this consolidation of U.N. economic power.

International Tax Organization

This proposed new U.N. organization is quite ambitious. Presented in language that suggests there is some virtue in eliminating “tax competition,” the High Level Panel explains all the wonderful benefits such an organization could provide. It could set international taxing policy, for example, to ensure that everyone is getting taxed “fairly,” that the socialist countries, whose tax rates run to 70 and even 80 percent, are not at a competitive disadvantage with the United States where the tax rate is substantially less.

It has visions of such policies as requiring a foreign national who happens to be working in America, to pay income tax in his country of origin, on income earned in America. It also has visions of formulating a global income tax. This recommendation includes “information sharing” among nations, coordinated through the United Nations, in order to track economic activity of every person and every business.

This proposed organization is on the agenda for the March meeting, along with the other recommendations. This is real – it is not fantasy; and it is being promoted by the world’s leaders.

Global Taxation

This proposal is not new. It has been around since James Tobin proposed it in the late 1970s. It has floated around the edges of world government conversations, but did not really gain much attention until the 1994 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program, then headed by Gustave Speth, former member of Clinton’s transition team and former head of the World Resources Institute.

Speth, and his UNDP actively promoted the Tobin Tax as a way to provide the United Nations with “independent funding,” free from the constant struggle with the United States, and other countries who could withhold dues payment at will.

The Tobin Tax is a tax on the exchange of currency among nations. A tax of five basis points (.05 percent) is estimated to yield approximately $1.5 trillion dollars annually – more than 100 times the U.N.’s current budget.

This tax is being presented as a way to slow or stop speculation on exchange rates. This is a process by which the “greedy” earn profits that should, according to the proponents of global governance, go to the poverty-stricken developing countries.

Also proposed, as an alternative, or as a supplement to the Tobin Tax, is a tax on the use of fossil fuels – a carbon tax. This tax is said to be justified to force a reduction in the use of fossil fuels in order to prevent global warming. The revenue it would produce is just an extra benefit of doing the morally-correct thing … or so the propaganda goes.

While all of these recommendations have been floated by various U.N. agencies over the last decade, this is the first time they have come together in an official global conference, pursuant to the mandate of the Millennium Declaration. Not all of these recommendations will be adopted and implemented in one step. There is considerable disagreement within the various affected agencies, and among several nations. The disagreement is not about the objective, but about the methodology, and who will ultimately rule the economic roost.

There was a time when senators said publicly that any effort on the part of the U.N. to secure taxing authority would result in the immediate suspension of U.S. funds to the organization. Now, there is a Resolution pending in Congress calling for U.S. Support of the Tobin Tax (HConRes 301).

The recommendations contained in this report of the High Level Panel on Financing Development provide for the consolidation of economic power required to finance global governance. This is, perhaps, the most important unfinished step in the process. Once the United Nations has independent financing, and an adequate stream of revenue to maintain its own standing army, it will be the world government that has been the dream of globalists for the entire century.

Much of the preparatory work done by this group enjoyed the full support of the Clinton-Gore administration. In fact, Robert Rubin, Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury, represents the United States on this High Level Panel. The Bush administration has not made clear the position it will take on these developments. Signals coming from the White House thus far, are mixed. While opposing the Kyoto Protocol, President Bush embraced a treaty to give the U.N. control over 12 important industrial chemicals – including chlorine.

The jury is still out on which way the United States will go on the issue of global economic control by the U.N. Most Americans will never know the issue is on the table until after the decisions are made. The media is not likely to address the issue, nor is it likely to be a topic of congressional debate.

These events are taking place in other parts of the world, with decisions being made by officials who are not elected by anyone. No elected official in the United States has any authority to alter or veto these decisions. The world is moving swiftly toward global governance.

At this late date, perhaps the only action that could halt, or even significantly slow the process, would be a complete, immediate stoppage of all funds to the entire United Nations system. Before any funds are reinstated, there should be a complete congressional review of U.S. participation in each and every U.N. agency to determine the appropriateness of U.S. participation. Those agencies and organizations whose programs diminish national sovereignty and ignore the basic principles of freedom as set forth in the U.S. Constitution – should be made permanently off-limits for any U.S. officials.

A review of this type would leave very few international organizations eligible for U.S. participation. American citizens are entitled to this thorough review by elected representatives. For 50 years, the U.N. has been the playground of appointed bureaucrats, with the role of Congress little more than that of a rich and indulgent uncle.

If Congress does not intervene – quickly and powerfully – it will be too late. If the U.N. gets the independent financing it covets, and has designed in the report of the High Level Panel, the United States will cease to exist as a sovereign nation. It will become nothing more than just another state at the mercy of a world government.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and chairman of Sovereignty International.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.