by Edward Cline
I rarely write commentary from anger, preferring a properly objective, psuedo-dispassionate approach to a subject deserving my attention. But news of the details, nature and scope of pending legislation in the U.S. Senate has caused me to make an exception to that rule.
As though Americans were not already burdened with:
• Extortionate and confiscatory taxes wherever they turn on virtually everything they earn, purchase, or do, from the local level on up to the federal level;
• Myriad regulations, controls and arbitrary rules that hamper or obstruct their productivity and their lives;
• Footing the endless bills of earmarked pork barrel projects at home in the amount of billions;
• Footing the bill in the amount of the billions for bottomless altruist and "humanitarian" pork barrel projects abroad;
• Footing the bill for an ever-expanding and ever more costly welfare state to subsidize the ill, the retired, the aged, the young, etc.
• Being held hostage by, say, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other hostile "oil-producing" countries, because our government has decided that snail darters, sea cows, and caribou have a greater right to live than have human beings;
• Paying more for food because mandated ethanol, which reports prove costs more in oil to produce than it "saves," in the gas they buy is taking more crop acreage out of production;
Congress is proposing, in Barack Obama's Global Poverty Act (S.2433, based on H.R. 1302, passed by the House September 25, 2007), that Americans be delivered into a state of indentured servitude as laborers for the United Nations. Perhaps "indentured servitude" is too kind a term, for as horrendous a condition as it is, there is usually a time limit to such servitude. Slavery would be the more accurate term in this instance, for what Congress is considering is servitude by Americans in perpetuity, in exchange for nothing but the privilege of laboring to "save" the world without thanks or reward, of filling the alleged needs of others, of performing unlimited "community service" for the offense of merely existing.
The not-so-peculiar and odd thing about H.R. 1302 was that it passed the House by voice vote. This is a stratagem adopted by legislators who fear that a bill is so outrageous that it is better that no record be kept of those who endorsed it. S.2433 was passed from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the same manner - by voice vote, without public hearings, to protect the identities of the guilty. It will probably be introduced to the Senate for a similar, anonymous voice vote -- by Harry Reid.
There is a double irony in this behavior. First, S.2433 is a bipartisan-sponsored bill. This underscores the fact that there is no fundamental difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties. Second, it is a piece of legislation which, given the altruist, collectivist premises behind it, one would have thought its creators should have trumpeted boastfully. But it is being handled by corrupt, guilty, fearful sneaks who haven't the courage of their own malice.
It reminds one of the scene in Atlas Shrugged, when James Taggart pulls down a window blind to obliterate the sight of the Washington Monument, just as he and government officials decide to decree a moratorium on brains. The proper American response to this evil and to its sponsors and supporters, in Congress and in the U.N., should be Dagny Taggart's when she learns of it: "I won't work as a slave or as a slave-driver." The bill's co-sponsor is Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. Its other co-sponsors are Senators Joseph Biden, Maria Cantwell, Chris Dodd, Dick Durbin, Russ Feingold, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Hagel, and Robert Mendez, all Democrats.
The bill was the subject of a strong editorial in Investor's Business Daily of February 28, 2008, "Obama's 0.7% Solution For Poverty Gets Pass from Senate Republicans." According to IBD, the bipartisan bill would require the president "to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day."
The "Millennium Development Goal" refers to a United Nations declaration adopted by the U.N. Millennium Assembly and Summit in 2000 that calls for "the eradication of poverty" by "redistribution (of) wealth and land," cancellation of "the debts of developing countries" and "a fair distribution of the earth's resources." The IBD reports that "The Millennium project is monitored by Jeffrey D. Sachs, a Columbia University economist. In 2005 he presented then-U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan with a 3,000-page report based on the research of 265 so-called poverty specialists. "Sachs' document criticized the U.S. for giving only $16.5 billion a year in global anti-poverty aid. He argued that we should spend an additional $30 billion a year in order to reach the 0.7% target that the U.N. set for the U.S. in 2000....Sachs said that the only way to force the U.S. to commit that much
money is by a global tax, such as a tax on fossil fuels [oil, coal, natural gas]." The tax would be imposed not only on their production, but on their use, as well. Among other consequences, Americans would be impoverished for the purpose of reducing poverty abroad by 0.7 percent of the U.S.'s gross domestic product.
The Millennium declaration, reports IBD, also calls for a "currency transfer tax," a "tax on the rental value of land and natural resources," a "royalty on worldwide fossil energy production - oil, natural gas, coal," "fees for the commercial use of the oceans, fees for airplane use of the skies, fees for use of the electromagnetic spectrum, fees on foreign exchange transactions, and a tax on the carbon content of fuels."
The U.N. has assumed that it governs the earth, and wishes to penalize the most productive country on it for, well, being the most productive. If you never quite understood the nature and purpose of the "unification" and "global amity" plans described by Rand in Atlas Shrugged, this plan is its real world counterpart. In practical terms, the Millennium declaration is a prescription for not only perpetuating the "global poverty" it purports to eradicate, but also for impoverishing everyone, and for perpetuating that condition, as well.
But the Obama bill does more than allow the U.N. to tax American citizens. It is more than a matter of legality or illegality. For all practical purposes, it surrenders U.S. political sovereignty and independence to the U.N., an organization most of whose members are actively hostile to the U.S. Has the U.S. ever approved a tax on its citizens imposed by the U.N.? If it has, by what authority? Note that the wording of the Obama bill would require "the president to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy" -- which assumes that the office of president is just another mode of tyranny or arbitrary power, no different from the "presidency" of any random tin pot dictatorship or regime.
There is some logic to their premise. After all, the U.S. has withheld moral judgment of every one of those countries. Long, long ago, the U.S. should have won World War II, but not participated in the formation of an organization that admitted dictatorships and other tyrannical regimes for the purpose of "peace." Long ago, the U.S. should have withdrawn from that organization, and evicted its headquarters from this country's soil.
But it maintains its sanction of that organization, and has paid the price for it every since. Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution states: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."
It would be interesting to see if this definition could be applied to the actions of Senators Obama, Lugar, Reid and the rest of the supporters of S. 2433 (and also the sponsors and supporters of H.R. 1302). Given that the U.N. has never disguised its hostility for the U.S., and that the enemies of the U.S. are legion in the U.N.'s membership, would passage of this bill by Congress constitute giving "aid and comfort" to our enemies, and "adhering" to their purposes and ends? For that is what the bill amounts to: giving our enemies the right to conquer, loot, and subjugate this country and its citizens.
Are we not already burdened by our own lords and masters of "social policy" and "redistribution" in Washington and in every state capital, without inviting the depredations of a clique of international thugs and looters? I urge those reading this to call or email his senator and urge that Barack Obama's S. 2433 be roundly defeated by a recorded roll call. If possible, communicate your outrage with the same moral indignation as Dagny Taggart's.
Edward Cline is a novelist who has written on the revolutionary war period. He is author of the Sparrowhawk series of novels set in England and Virginia in the Revolutionary period, the detective novel First Prize, the suspense novel Whisper the Guns, and of numerous published articles, book reviews and essays.