Special Report

Global Warming, Global Taxes

So now the UN Secretary-General wants to add to the U.S. taxpayer's burden.

By 11.12.10

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WASHINGTON -- Within 72 hours of the Tea Party's "shellacking" of Obama and Pelosi, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, called for global taxation of the American public -- an idea endorsed by a high-level official of the Obama administration. Ban must not have been watching television on Election Night, because he missed the voters' rejection of big government, higher taxes, and out of control spending. Or perhaps he did see the results and thought it best to get his $100 billion of "climate financing" fees on the agenda of the lame duck Congress.

The demand comes from the Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, which was organized following last year's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Among the panelists recommending global taxes are George Soros, the financier of socialist change, and Larry Summers, President Obama's economic advisor.

The group's report begins with the claim that "Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time." Not true. There is doubt among scientists as to whether or not the earth's temperature is warming. There is even more skepticism attached to the theory that human activity could cause such a phenomenon. It matters not. The UN deems it an emergency to raise $100 billion by 2020 -- and annually thereafter -- for a problem that may not exist.

And where to get the wampum to fix the weather? Taxes. Global taxes. UN-imposed levies on the eroding wealth of American citizens.

The Advisory Group's report is filled with options for governments to get the required $100 billion. "Governments may prefer to increase budget contributions," its authors helpfully suggest, until such time as new domestic or international taxes can be imposed and collected. It goes on to recommend a "carbon export optimization tax," and levies on international aviation and shipping including taxes on jet fuel and passenger tickets for international flights.

Other possibilities include royalties from fossil fuel extraction, and taxes on the use of electricity. Finally, there is the need, according to the UN, for a "global financial transaction tax," that would require "international coordination" and "international implementation." This is UN-speak for a global tax collecting agency.

A denunciation of international taxes on American citizens has yet to appear on the President's teleprompter, but it needs to. A congressional condemnation is warranted as well. The fact that Summers, a presidential advisor and former Treasury Secretary, has signed off on the idea that the United Nations is entitled to seize, rather than request, American wealth is monumental.

Giving the United Nations the power to tax would indicate a wholesale change in our relationship with the UN. It would also require that the Constitution be moved from the safety and security of the National Archives to the nearest trash dump.    

Though it's denied it, the United Nations has long wanted to impose taxes on citizens world-wide. In recent decades, it has used euphemisms like "alternative sources of financing" as code for advocacy of UN-imposed taxes. More recently, however, it has shed all pretense and is aggressively promoting the idea that the United Nations has the right to impose taxes on people, businesses, industries and politically incorrect behaviors.

While other Obama officials have not explicitly embraced global taxation as Summers has, close attention will need to be paid to the White House after his departure. Both Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Paul Volcker, the chairman of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, have sympathies for international regulation of banks and the economy. Even Obama, while he was in the Senate, introduced the Global Poverty Act which would allow the United Nations to lay claim to a fixed percentage of America's gross domestic product each year.   

A few months back, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a call to action on global taxes. The WHO demanded a tax on consumer products -- alcohol, tobacco and firearms -- to name a few. Their reason: to raise revenue for health related research and "discourage consumption." The proper way to view such revenue enhancements, the WHO report stated, is to look at them as "humanitarian contributions" for an "altruistic purpose."

In recent months, French, German and British leaders have each endorsed one or more ideas for international taxation, including a global financial transaction tax or "Tobin Tax" as it is more commonly known. The G-8 and the International Monetary Fund, not wanting to be left out of the global tax game, are writing proposals of their own. With Summers, we can now add to that list a high ranking Obama administration official.

International taxation is "no longer merely an option," says French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. He argues it's only a matter of time before the UN implements a tax system. 

Given our inability to say "no" to the United Nations, Kouchner may be right. Time will tell.

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