the ‘s’ word

Investor’s Business Daily is brave enough to go there — calling Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act suspiciously similar to a government redistribution of US taxpayer wealth.  Well, technically they use the ‘s’ word.  Socialism. That’s a heavy charge, and it’s one that needs to be backed up with specific examples.  This op-ed makes a convincing case that the Global Poverty Act could qualify as a socialist proposal.

While I know that one example of bad policy wouldn’t brand someone like Barack with the socialist label, it’s troubling that this Global Poverty Act would redistribute our wealth to those in other countries.  We wouldn’t even benefit from all this increased spending, unless international good will can be bought with this high price.  That premise is highly questionable.  If the world’s affection can be bought with enough foreign aid money, we should have the receipt for it already.

Here’s how Investor’s Business Daily first described this bill:

Obama’s costly, dangerous and altogether bad bill (S. 2433), which could come up in the Senate any day, is called the Global Poverty Act. It would commit U.S. taxpayers to spend 0.7% of our gross domestic product on foreign handouts, which is at least $30 billion over and above the exorbitant and wasted sums we already give away overseas.

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.”

To say that the United States government has far exceeded its Consititutional mandate would be understating the case.  Charity shouldn’t (and doesn’t) begin and end with the federal government.  Americans are generous people.  Through non-profit charitable organizations and our own churches, we are reaching out to people here in this country and around the world, and it’s having an impact.  This shouldn’t be a role of the federal government.  That’s the flaw in this legislation — requiring United States taxpayers to subsidize some mandate thrown down by the U.N. and the international community.  The financial obligation of the federal government should be first and foremost to the citizens of the United States — not to the world community or the U.N.

So how much would this boondoggle of a foreign kiss-up effort cost you and me?  Here’s some numbers(with bold text added for emphasis).

Jeffrey Sachs, who runs the U.N.’s “Millennium Project,” says that the U.N. plan to force the U.S. to pay 0.7 percent of GNP in increased foreign aid spending would add $65 billion a year to what the U.S. already spends. Over a 13-year period, from 2002, when the U.N.’s Financing for Development conference was held, to the target year of 2015, when the U.S. is expected to meet the “Millennium Development Goals,” this amounts to $845 billion. And the only way to raise that kind of money, Sachs has written, is through a global tax, preferably on carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

If Barack Obama wants to religiously follow the U.N. Millenium Development Goals,  and could get something even half this bad passed through a Democratic Congress, it will destroy our economy.   If we are struggling with high energy costs and high gas prices now,  imagine how hard it will be to afford energy when we have to pay additional taxes to fill up our cars and heat our homes.  Forget for a second that something like this would allow the U.N. to control a part of US tax policy, which is completely unacceptable.  It is also politically tone-deaf in this country, when we want solutions that increase supply and reduce costs for energy.

All we hear these days from the Democrats is how much the average American is struggling and how bad the economy is.  But not to worry, fellow citizens.  They haven’t forgotten about us.  Senator Obama has new spending programs to cover the needs of each and every American, all paid for by your friendly neighborhood federal government.   When will we learn that there is no such thing as a free lunch, especially on the federal tab?  And now we will be required to help finance the U.N.’s new war on poverty?  Count me out.  If that makes me an ugly American, I am proud to be one.

4 thoughts on “the ‘s’ word

  1. I think you knew you were going to get my attention on this one 😉

    There’s a couple different things going on here. One is the redistribution of wealth claim and the other is the confusing allegation that Obama’s bill would raise taxes.

    Let me get this straight just sose I understand. Obama wants to spend 0.7% of our GNP on combating global poverty and that’s redistribution of wealth? What IBD and the GOP are doing is construing socialism to fit their narrative while ignoring their own blatant reliance on socialist programs. In Marxism the redistribution of wealth is not 0.7% it’s 100%. That 100% also includes ownership such as in no more private ownership. So 100% of all capital, land and labor is redistributed throughout to where there are no more owners, workers, unemployed, etc,. Where in Obama’s Global Poverty Act does it call for private enterprise to be redistributed to public ownership? Where in it is the demand that 100% of the means of production (land, labor and capital) be redistributed to cure all social ills? The answer is plain as day, the Act doesn’t call for any such thing. Insinuating it does is dishonest and the current mode of operation for Republicans.

    I seriously doubt that spending 0.7% of our GNP on the world community is enough to suggest that our financial obligation isn’t first to our own citizens. Especially considering that we are already spending that much and more on foreign aid programs.

    Interesting to note, especially if 0.7% equals socialism, is that the largest socialist undertaking in the world currently is Bush’s war in Iraq. According to IBD’s numbers Obama wants to spend $390 billion on his initiative. That’s not even a third of what the war in Iraq has already cost. I’ve yet to hear Republicans argue that the nearly one trillion spent in Iraq is destroying our economy. Nor I’ve heard any Republicans call it a socialist undertaking. But I’m sure if Obama proposed that we invade a country, forgive its debt, build it new schools, hospitals, roads and bridges, pay its military and its unemployed, they would be calling it a war so worthy that it’s the calling of our generation like they are for Bush. Instead Obama is proposing that we up our spending on foreign aid to 0.7% of our GNP and Republicans are saying he wants to redistribute wealth, calling him a socialist and that his plan would destroy our economy.

    Secondly, the Act itself does not raise taxes. The Act mandates an increase in spending to combat global poverty. The person who says taxes should be raised is Jeffery Sachs quoted in the IBD article above. IBD does not quote language in the Act that would raise taxes so it instead searches for someone who says a new tax should be placed on certain items but no where does the Act say that. The Act could easily be paid for in total for the amount we’ve spent on Iraq the last 6 months alone. But I guess rebuilding a foreign country’s entire social apparatus isn’t socialism but signing on to a global initiative designed to combat poverty and increase our foreign to 0.7% of GNP, and one that costs less than one-third of what we’ve already spent in Iraq, is socialism and the death of our economy.

    So, I guess I’ll again ask how does a proposal to spend 0.7% of our GNP equal redistributing our wealth to the world community when we already are doing triple that in one country alone?

  2. Yeah…sometimes I end up being sorry that you’re paying attention to my posts. I hope that someday you might even share your thoughts on the Obama World Hope and Change tour, because that might be harder to defend than this misguided attempt to address world poverty on the backs of the struggling American taxpayer. 😉

    Criticizing Republicans for real and perceived hypocrisy is your primary domain, not mine, and I will leave that up to you to explain all Republican failures and the miserable legacy of your favorite President. 🙂

    The percentage of our GNP that would be spent on combating global poverty doesn’t sound like very much until you start attaching actual numbers to it like Sachs does. $65 billion dollars a year (or even the lower figure IBD suggests, over $30 billion) in additional foreign aid is too much to spend addressing a problem that isn’t ours to solve. In addition to that, much of the foreign aid money we are spending now is wasted. I’m not redefining anything here. The Global Poverty Act, as IBD describes it, requires the President to develop a strategy on global poverty that would line up with the U.N’s Millenium Goals.

    What are some of those goals?

    The U.N. says that “The commitment to provide 0.7% of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance was first made 35 years ago in a General Assembly resolution, but it has been reaffirmed repeatedly over the years, including at the 2002 global Financing for Development conference in Monterrey, Mexico. However, in 2004, total aid from the industrialized countries totaled just $78.6 billion-or about 0.25% of their collective GNP.”

    In addition to seeking to eradicate poverty, that declaration commits nations to banning “small arms and light weapons” and ratifying a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    The Millennium Declaration also affirms the U.N. as “the indispensable common house of the entire human family, through which we will seek to realize our universal aspirations for peace, cooperation and development.”

    If redistribution of wealth can only mean 100% control of private enterprise and/or the means of production, then this proposal doesn’t fit your definition. I’ll grant you that it might not be the most accurate way to describe the Global Poverty Act. Regardless of the numbers, if Obama actually followed through with this proposal — and I put the ‘if’ in there on purpose because we don’t really know — this would mean that there would have to be additional taxation to cover the costs. At the very least, this could reasonably be considered some kind of global tax. In a worst-case scenario, this could be considered a step closer to subjecting US sovereignty to the fickle dictates of the UN. Of course this isn’t spelled out in the bill. It’s a rather vague bill to begin with, but it does require implementation of any strategy that the President has to address global poverty. My primary objection to this piece of legislation is that it is none of the UN’s concern what we do with US taxpayer money. Even allowing the United Nations a say on how much we spend on foreign aid is a step too far in my book.

    There are no guarantees that Barack Obama will stick to his 16 month Iraq timetable, so unless he does that, the costs of the war in Iraq will still be on the books for a few more years. As a result, that money won’t be available for all of his proposed domestic spending, or for any additional foreign aid. Has he proposed any other spending cuts that can offset his increased domestic programs and additional foreign aid costs? If he can’t end Iraq right away, surely he must have a plan B to cover those bills.

    (And no, eliminating Bush’s tax cuts isn’t the right answer to this question.)

    Barack Obama will end up raising our taxes. He will have to do that unless he makes some serious reductions in his ambitious policy agenda. If he’s going to commit $30-$65 billion additional dollars a year to something — and we are convinced that throwing additional money at problems will solve them — shouldn’t we take care of domestic needs first? This would help with the perception that he is a world citizen before an American citizen. Just my opinion.

  3. I always try to pay attention to your posts. It’s one of my favorite blogs. I don’t always agree with everything on it, and I almost always take exception to Democrats being called socialists, as I’m sure you know by now. 🙂

    I’m almost positive that I don’t mention a single Republican failure in my last comment. I do mention hypocrisy which is extremely relevant for political discussion. I know Republicans want the conversation limited to only things about Obama but that’s just insane. I refuse to abide by such Republican illogic. Just imagine if I said discussions about the 2008 election are limited to items concerning John McCain and nothing else. No mention of Obama or of any past Democratic hypocrisy and no mention of any past Democratic failure. If the item of discussion isn’t squarely on John McCain then it’s not relevant to this election. If I or any Democrat said such it would be entirely crazy. Though if I was a Republican I would hope to limit the conversation to never mentioning the last 12 years of republican rule either. And certainly I wouldn’t want George Bush used as the standard of measurement of what a GOP presidency looks like. I don’t blame y’all for trying but in reality politics is open to history and it’s applied universally or not at all.

    Saying 0.7% equals redistribution of wealth is absolutely redefining the definition of socialism. I agree spending additional money on foreign aid at this point in our deficit economy is not the smartest thing to do. However, like I said in my first comment, saying foreign aid is socialism is completely different from disagreeing with Obama’s plan merely on a cost ratio. I can oppose his plan because it’s not sound currently but that doesn’t mean I think it’s socialism. It’s not socialism. But to Republicans it is, or at least they want to make people think it is, because in reality Republicans are not against socialism as demonstrated by Bush’s expansion of government and his grand socialist adventure into Iraq. Constantly the GOP is trying to hammer the theme that Obama is a socialist hoping to scare people away from him. In doing so, Republicans are ignoring very blatant socialist programs that they themselves have initiated; none bigger or costlier than Iraq.

    Why would there have to be additional taxation to cover the costs? If we didn’t raise taxes to pay for Iraq why would we have to raise taxes to pay for something that costs less than a third of that? Again this is just a way of saying Obama will raise taxes. Nothing to back it up with and an accusation that totally ignores McCain’s latest flip flop on raising taxes. Even if Obama doesn’t get out in 16 months, he’ll still get out sooner than McCain would and the sooner we quit socializing Iraq the better.

    What other increases in spending has Obama proposed? Healthcare is his main one and that one will cost one-tenth of what 6 years in Iraq has already cost. I’m all for taking care of domestic needs first, which is what we should be doing currently instead of spending tax payer money on schools, roads, hospitals and unemployed people in Iraq. What Obama’s proposals will do is keep more tax payer money at home than any Republican policy we are currently knee deep in or any policy copied by McSame. And that is the absolute point I’m trying to make. Republicans want to spend tax payer money on socialist programs for other countries but get away with not calling them social programs and yet label anyone who wants to spend money at home as a socialist.

    What Republicans have been successful at doing is labeling their socialist programs as military ones. Department of Homeland Security, the largest federal bureaucracy in the world, we need to fight terrorists and keep us safe. Building roads, schools, hospitals and handing out money to unemployed people in Iraq we need to fight terrorists and to keep us safe. Mix socialism with military goals and Republicans are all for it. Dare say that you want to help poor people in your own country pay for medical expenses and you’re a socialist wanting to redistribute wealth. Or dare say you want to spend 0.7% of our total GNP on a global initiative to combat world poverty and you are a socialist bent on destroying our economy. Yet a glorious military occupation where we build entire infrastructures and all kinds of welfare socialist programs for other “citizens of the world” is totally patriotic and worth every penny and needs no tax increase to pay for it.

    Oppose the Act because it’s not sound fiscally. Calling it a socialist endeavor to redistribute wealth that will turn over our sovereignty to the UN is ridiculous. But Republicans admitting something isn’t sound fiscally really has no merit to voters anymore because the GOP has given us the largest tax and spend government in American history. So the routine labeling that’s been around since the 1920s of the opposition party as communists and America-hating liberals is the norm. But it too is losing its stickiness.

    Let me see if I can explain Obama’s World Hope and Change Tour:

    Flanked by fellow Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, McCain noted they’d undertaken their week long fact-finding tour of Iraq, Jordan, Israel, England and France as members of Congress’s Armed Services committee — not as some sort of campaign foreign road show. Perhaps, but discussing international affairs with foreign leaders and enhancing McCain’s presidential hopes aren’t mutually exclusive. Still, McCain acted the apt pupil. “I wish every senator, every senator would make this same trip,” McCain said, noting several of the first-hand educational experiences he’d gotten. “They’d be better informed.

    Looks like McCain was all for senators going on world tours in March. When Obama does exactly what McCain says and draws crowds of hundreds of thousands of people Republicans suddenly turn against such trips and try to label him as a star hungry diva.

  4. Obama is all about social welfare and the redistribution of wealth. (Oh, and he also favors racial preferences and is really, really soft on crime.)

    Socialism, in other words.

    The Weekly Standard has a great expose on his Illinois senate record. Anyone supporting this guy for President doesn’t have a brain. (Except for you, of course, Chris. We all know you’re the smartest guy in the room.)

    This election is about whether America will become a powerless welfare state like France, or not. I say no.

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