Monday, January 18, 2010

The UN’s dangerous plan for global taxation

Nile Gardiner
London Telegraph -

George Russell of Fox News has a very important report on a United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) plan “to ask governments to impose a global consumer tax on such things as Internet activity or everyday financial transactions like paying bills online.” As Russell writes:

Such a scheme could raise “tens of billions of dollars” on behalf of the United Nations’ public health arm from a broad base of consumers, which would then be used to transfer drug-making research, development and manufacturing capabilities, among other things, to the developing world.

The multibillion-dollar “indirect consumer tax” is only one of a “suite of proposals” for financing the rapid transformation of the global medical industry that will go before WHO’s 34-member supervisory Executive Board at its biannual meeting in Geneva.

The leaked December 23, 2009 Executive Board report of The WHO’s Expert Working Group on Research and Development Financing cites a number of ideas for global taxes that could be imposed on UN member states that “could potentially raise very significant amounts of revenue”:
• A 10% tax on the arms trade, which might net about US$5 billion per annum
• A digital tax or “bit” tax: internet traffic is huge and likely to increase rapidly; this tax could yield tens of billions of US dollars from a broad base of users
• Brazil’s financial transaction tax: a tax on bank account transactions, set at 0.38% levied on paying bills online and major withdrawals, it was raising an estimated US $20 billion per year and funding some 87% of the Government’s key social protection programme, Bolsa Familia, before it was voted down.

The UN proposal is disturbing for a number of reasons. It represents yet another attempt by the world organization to usurp the power of nation states, and is a major threat to the principle of national sovereignty. It would place extraordinary power and wealth in the hands of faceless bureaucrats, representing a supranational institution with a staggering track record of corruption, inefficiency, unaccountability and mismanagement. The last time the United Nations attempted to manage an international fund on this scale was the Oil-for-Food Programme, which was an unmitigated disaster.

The idea of a global tax, for whatever purpose, is an extremely foolish one. Taxation should always be the preserve of the nation state, and decided by elected officials accountable to the people who have placed them in a position of power. The UN WHO proposal should be strongly rejected by the U.S. and British governments, and all who care about the preservation of freedom and sovereignty. It is a monumentally bad idea that should be fiercely opposed by policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic.