The First World Tax

Posted: Jun 14, 2012 12:01 AM

If I remember my American history correctly, the 13 original colonies fought a war against Great Britain in part over the issue of “taxation without representation”. One might argue that the British originally had a valid reason for taxing the colonies: mainly to recoup the cost of fighting the French and Indian War.

But by the time the Stamp Act had rolled around, many in the colonies had had it about chin-high with taxes being levied by an unseen entity on the other side of the ocean. It seems as if the American people once again face that prospect. Richard Rahn of the Washington Times notes that new global taxes could be on the way. According to Rahn, the World Health Organization has just proposed a “Financial Transactions Tax and a Solidarity Tobacco Contribution” be used to pay for research for diseases affecting the Third World.  In other words, the WHO wants your money to cover its costs.

This is not the first time the international community has sought to penalize the developed world for the problems of developing nations. The notion of a global carbon tax is an example of one such effort.

At heart of it all is the sentiment that the west, namely the United States is responsible for the ills of Third World Countries. We eat too much, we use to much water, we foul the air, we hog all the money, take your pick. Whatever is wrong with the planet, somehow Western Society is the root cause.

Bear in mind: you did not elect anyone in the UN or the World Health Organization. You cannot throw them out of office, you cannot file a class-action lawsuit against them, and you cannot hold them accountable no matter how many town hall meetings you have Tea Party Protests you stage, or petitions you circulate. These groups plainly want your money, without having to answer to you or account for how it is spent. There is no assurance that the money taken from you will not be misappropriated by the governments of the countries it is to ostensibly benefit. And there is no guarantee that these funds would not be directed to bolster bureaucracy in the institutions who appoint themselves the collectors of these taxes.

A great deal of time and energy and gigabytes have been spent in the conservative media over how tax money is used and abused in this nation, which is in fact a republic and whose leaders are supposed to answer directly to the people who elected them. There would be no checks and balances on a global tax.

Naturally, given the current state of affairs, the U.S. could be counted on to play ball with these organizations and submit to whatever new taxes global entities see fit to levy. But try peddling the idea of global taxes to China, a country that couldn’t care less about human rights or the environment. When the laughter died down, you would find yourself on a one way flight out of Beijing without the complimentary peanuts.

If the international community is truly concerned about the welfare of undeveloped nations, why not allow them access to the market place? Why not encourage entrepreneurship and business development? Why not emphasize free market capitalism and allow people in these nations to grow wealth for themselves, as opposed to taking it from those who have accrued it on their own?