GOP Endorses Life-Long Bread Lines

September 12, 2007

By Tom DeWeese

I’ve been waiting for the disbelief and outrage to emerge from Republicans across the nation over the Republican Party’s recent announcement. Incredibly, the RNC announced that it is endorsing the poverty eradication program of rock star Bono. There hasn’t been any outrage yet from GOP rank and file. Is there nothing left of the old GOP?

For those who missed it, in August, the Republican National Committee took steps to endorse Irish rock star Bono’s proposal to spend $30 billion in U.S. taxes to eliminate global poverty. Bono, lead singer of the rock group U2, has dogged political leaders around the world, using his rock star status to pressure them into accepting his brand of global guilt. However, the GOP’s capitulation to Bono’s charms goes much deeper than getting excited about the passions of a rock star.

This time, Bono is acting as the messenger boy for the United Nations. You see, back in 2000 every head of state in the world agreed to the UN’s Millennium Declaration which calls for the end of poverty by the year 2015. There, the world’s leaders agreed to put up the money for UN poverty programs. Now the UN is working to collect. Bono has declared himself to be the collection agent. And the Republicans jumped when he called.

How can it be that the Republican Party, which once advocated free enterprise, limited government and individual liberty, could fall for such a wealth redistribution scheme, and at the request of an avowed Marxist like Bono? The two should have nothing in common, what so ever. Or don’t they?

Eradication of poverty is certainly a noble cause. People throughout the world are suffering from hunger, poor health and filthy water. The number of poor in the world is growing higher each year. There is no doubt that something must be done.

Of course, there are thousands of efforts in the world aimed at eradicating poverty or feeding and clothing the poor. From churches to charitable organizations to local, state, federal and international government programs, billions of dollars are collected and presumably distributed to the poor.

Yet, every day we have more poor. Why? Because none of these efforts focus on the source of poverty. None of them take steps to reverse the situation and help the poor to help themselves. And neither will the GOP’s new Bono-inspired scheme. And that is what’s so astounding about the GOP’s announcement. It should know better.

Poverty, as run by the international poverty cartel headquartered in the United Nations, is big business. As in almost every case where there is unlimited cash and little accountability by mindless, faceless bureaucrats and all-powerful potentates, corruption, embezzlement, exorbitant salaries and inside procurement deals fatten the pockets of a few and leave the poor hungry and left out.

Adam Lerrick, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) told the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Security and International Trade and Finance that he estimates between $100 billion and $500 billion in World Bank funds intended for African development have been smuggled into offshore accounts.

As poverty grows ever greater, Bono establishes himself as the self-proclaimed savior of Africa. He uses his concerts to enflame young audiences to hate the rich. He postures. He snarls. He marches up and down the stage waving a red flag while the music pounds a steady, military beat. And political leaders cower as he shakes them down for the cash.

Yet, where is Bono’s indignation over the theft by the very organizations he promotes? Where are his revelations of radical environmental groups who openly advocate that African villagers must continue to live in mud huts and walk five miles for water, because that is “sustainable?” In fact, Bono, and the ilk he supports, arrogantly deny the poor the opportunity to live in the Twenty First Century because they don’t want them to have electricity, cars, better roads and modern homes. This, they say would damage the environment. And this is the policy the Republican National Committee has chosen to support?

Even as the poverty cartel demands the eradication of poverty by 2015, how do they propose to achieve that success? How are the poor supposed to climb out of poverty? They aren’t. Ending poverty would mean the end of the stolen funds and the political power that the poverty cartel has come to expect.

Instead, they have condemned the poor of the world to live in life-long bread lines, dependent on others for daily existence, no hope for a future of betterment. The poor are mere pawns in the game. And this is the policy the Republican National Committee has chosen to support?

Moreover, even without the corruption, redistribution schemes are not the answer to saving the poor. The GOP should know that taking money from hard working people and giving it to those who must instantly consume it solves nothing. It’s a momentary band-aid. Tomorrow the poor and hungry will need more. And more will be taken from the providers. Anyone who has ever studied economics 101 should know that the only possible outcome of such a scheme is to make everyone poorer. And this is the policy the Republican National Committee has chosen to support?

So why are some nations so poor, and others are so rich? What is the real answer to eradicating poverty? The “2007 Index of Economic Freedom,” published jointly by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal may hold the answer. It examines 10 economic characteristics of 157 countries. Those include, property rights, monetary stability, freedom from government, trade restrictions, business regulations and government corruption.

The report includes a color-coded map showing the nations that are free, mostly free, moderately free, mostly unfree, and repressed. Does it surprise anyone to discover that the most repressed nations also contain the poorest people in the world? People who lack freedom have no ability to produce wealth.

As Economist Walter Williams points out, “Extensive government control, weak property rights and government corruption almost guarantee poverty.” Those three factors are almost universal in United Nations’ anti-poverty programs and the very reasons why none of it programs will ever achieve the goal of eradicating poverty.

If the GOP was actually interested in helping the poor and making itself a hero to the masses it should abandon any connections with Bono and the UN. It should renounce any such wealth redistribution schemes. It should advocate the policies that made the United States the wealthiest nation on earth – the policies of private property ownership, limited government and free enterprise.

The United States isn’t wealthy because of an abundance of natural resources or good Karma. The United States is rich because it’s free. And every nation on earth could be as wealthy if they too allowed their people to live their own lives without interference from busybodies who want to dictate how others should live – or seek to confiscate the fruits of someone’s labor. Every nation could have it, no matter the education level of the country or the population.

If the GOP needs a hero to follow why not choose a real one – with real solutions – those which actually reflect the freedom the GOP insists it promotes? Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto is such a man.

De Soto wrote a book, “The Mystery of Capital, Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else.” That book has become an international phenomenon with those who truly want to do something about eradicating poverty. De Soto has been sought out by at least 50 heads of state, each asking him to come to their country to help establish programs and guidelines for eradiating poverty, helping the poor build their own wealth.

So why hasn’t the GOP endorsed de Soto’s brand of freedom instead of Bono’s tired old socialism? The answer may surprise most GOP supporters, for it is no accident or miscalculation.

Few Republicans are aware of an organization called the International Democrat Union (IDU). But they should know it because the GOP is a major player in it. It’s no accident that every four years, at the same time and in the same city as the GOP National Convention, the IDU holds its own meeting.

Formed in 1983, the IDU says it’s a “working association of over 80 Conservative, Christian Democrat and like minded political parties of centre and centre right.” Some of the political party members of the IDU include the German Christian Social Union; British Conservative Party; Norway Conservative Party – and the U.S. Republican Party.

Now one would expect that an organization which is made of “centre and centre right” organizations which advocate “free enterprise, free trade and private property,” as the IDU claims – an organization with the Republican Party as a major active member, would also advocate the greatest collection of ideas for freedom ever written – the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. What an opportunity for the GOP to advance American ideals for eradicating poverty throughout the world.

But such is not the case with the IDU. A careful look at the group’s founding Declaration of Principles reveals a very different message. The second paragraph of the IDU Declaration states: “Being committed to advancing the social and political values on which democratic societies are founded, including the basic personal freedoms and human rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…” That, of course, is the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights that the IDU is promoting.

There are two conflicting philosophies of governing in the world. One, the American view, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, states that all people have rights they are born with and that government’s main job is to protect those rights at all costs. America’s founding document says that these rights are forever and unquestioned. It is the foundation of human freedom.

The other view says that government decides the rights we should have, professing that all such rights give way to an unidentified common good whenever the situation is warranted. That means that all so-called rights are subject to the whim of whatever gang is currently in power. This is the position promoted in the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, Article 29, section (3) of the document says, “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

To understand why the Republican Party has embraced the socialism of Bono instead of the freedom of de Soto, one only has to connect the dots. As an organization advocating human freedom, the Republican Party is a fraud.

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.