Monday, May 29, 2006

The United Nations Tax Department

This is being done quietly. Starting next month The United Nations is collecting consumption taxes directly because some European governments think it should and have given it the go ahead. From a Town Hall article.
One of the U.N.’s more fruitful attempts at global taxation is the formal plan to levy a tax on airline tickets. In November 2005, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, and Spain issued a joint statement calling for a ‘nationally applied, internationally coordinated’ tax to be levied on air transport travels. The French government has been the first one to bite the bullet, and from July onward, passengers will pay between one and 40 euros on all flights taking off in France……Chile has undertaken plans to do the same, with Belgium and Germany currently hovering in the wings to do so. Luckily, both Great Britain and the U.S. have resisted Mr. Annan’s calls for others to follow suit.
This tax on transnational commerce has a curiously American connection; Dr. Jeffery Sachs.

Dr Sachs has just authored the book, “The End of Poverty”, which has a forward by Bono, if that means anything to anyone. He’s apparently also a MTV personality and has hung out with Anjelina Jolie, whoever that is.

He’s been written about in, and for, the New York Times who call him a shock tharapist. Froma back-slapping 1993 piece ...
“IT IS ALMOST TIME for Sachs to board a Swissair jet for Zurich (business class). There he will connect for the 6,000-mile flight for Sao Paulo, where he has been invited to spend a few days proselytizing shock therapy. Then it's on to Tokyo. Sachs, who seems to spend a quarter of his life on airplanes, usually orders the vegetarian plate.

But before leaving, he squeezes in an hour for cruising the Arbat, a once-quaint shopping street that has become a flea market. Tourists can buy everything here, from trash art to Red Army colonels' caps to a pensioner's family jewels. And the raw bargaining brings a rare glimpse of the material side to Sachs. "My wife hates it when I shop for bargains," he confides -- his gain, she reasons, must come at the expense of sellers who live on far less.
Unless the sellers see her coming of course; then they’ll live on far more. As P.T. Barnum noted; "there’s a sucker born every minute". This is liberal guilt: the idea that success for one means failure for another. It's a disease found in Western Civilization, the tendency to feel bad about doing well.

A bargain is a subjective appraisal, only you decide if you got a bargain. It’s even possible to think you got one even if the seller takes you to the cleaners. To Sach’s wife if you get a bargain, someone else must be getting an unbargain.

A bargain makes you feel good, however to the liberal mind this pleasure is a signal to feel sad for the rest. Philosophically it’s the Ionian concept of opposites, ‘reasoned’ by those with a guilt complex. In practice it’s the American Dream turned on it’s head; The pursuit of unhappiness.

Sachs has been called one of the worlds’s “Top One Hundred ‘public’ intellectuals”. (public means socialist).

Some who think little of Sach’s and find his math and track record underwhelming.
“There is much that is unattractive about the book, besides its ideological purpose. The End of Poverty is one part self-congratulatory memoir of Sachs’ roles as advisor to the governments of Bolivia, Russia, Poland, India, China and part world-historical tract justifying the ultimate rationality of neoliberal capitalism (if it is properly applied to “sick” countries by “clinical economists” like himself).

Yes, the ending of “extreme poverty” (after creating so much of it), in twenty years would be a triumph of neoliberal capitalism.

It is notoriously “difficult” for economists to determine the value of unwaged reproductive “services” even in a fully monetarized society, it certainly is even more so in a form of life where the unwaged portion overwhelms the waged. Consequently, the surveys that are used to determine the monetary value of “goods and services” the poor consume are so unreliable they can add or subtract hundreds of millions from the category of extreme poverty on the basis of an arbitrary accounting change…
So back to the United Nations angle…

Of course, France’s projected annual revenue of $248 million (from airline travel) is not nearly enough for the U.N.’s aspirations and the finger-pointing – largely toward to U.S. – is really gathering steam now. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to Secretary General Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, has gone as far as to say that the U.S. is coming up short in its global aid commitments to the tune of $65 billion a year. Of course, Dr. Sachs is a vocal proponent of globo-taxation to make up the difference. At the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development, Dr. Sachs helpfully points out that: “A global tax on carbon-emitting fossil fuels might be the way to begin”.

Kyoto was his idea and he acknowleges it's nothing but a wealth transferring scheme, not a save-the-planet scheme.

Is this is the way of the new world order? Countries awarding the United Nations (one dictator, one vote) the authority to levy taxes on transnational activities originationg with-in their borders. The mythological Boston tea-party is associated with the phrase, "no taxation without representation".

It may be time to start planning the next party.


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