It's not too late. About the time I return from this poor country, where per-capita income is almost the lowest in the world, diplomats from all over the planet will be descending on Manhattan for the U.N. General Assembly's annual gabfest. Count on another big push to resurrect the Millennium Development Goals -- the long-running attempt to transfer wealth from self-sufficient countries, such as the United States, to poor nations in the developing world.
In September 2000, at the Millennium Summit in New York, Kofi Annan browbeat world leaders into subscribing to what he called a "Global New Deal." Ever since, it's been on the General Assembly's agenda. This year's Millennium Development Goals discussion is the perfect forum for the globe-trotting Sen. Obama to highlight his bill. In addition to combating global poverty, the MDGs include "promoting gender equality and empowering women"; "ensuring environmental sustainability"; "achieving universal primary education"; and "combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases."
The problem for MDG advocates, such as Obama, is how to fund all this idealism. The United Nations calls for the U.S. to hand over 0.7 percent of America's gross national product on an annual basis -- approximately $80 billion each year. Though the U.N., Obama and everybody associated with the idea deny it, it is a global tax on America's national income, and it's been beating around since 1969, when Obama was a child in Indonesia.
The idea of a tax on "wealthy" countries appeared that year in the Pearson Commission's report, "Partners in Development." The following year, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2626, which stated, "Each economically advanced country will progressively increase its official development assistance to the developing countries and will exert its best efforts to reach a minimum net amount of 0.7 percent of its gross national product."
Sen. Obama's bill that he didn't mention last week would commit the U.S. to a "comprehensive strategy" with "specific and measurable goals." If it is to be funded, it means that the U.S. government will have to start collecting taxes for the United Nations.
The concept of the Internal Revenue Service collecting taxes for the U.N. might not sit well with American taxpayers when gas prices are soaring, the economy is shaky and the Office of Management and Budget is forecasting a record $482 billion budget deficit for next year. Perhaps that's why Obama didn't pitch his global poverty solution here in Afghanistan. He could have been worried that the only "change we can believe in" would be the coins in our pockets.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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