Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly always end up getting reduced to pleas for financial support. It's like an annual telethon without the phone number on the bottom of the screen. No number is required, since you'll be donating anyway through your government.
What's most troubling about the current set of pitches is that economics are taking a back seat to politics. For example, U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders have committed to the U.N.'s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to "end poverty in all its forms everywhere," with poverty measured as living on less than $1.25 a day.
So how will we achieve this proposed utopia in which no one in the world is poor? This is where you, the taxpayer, come in. You'll be expected to throw more money into the collection plate, since the agenda calls on the world's better-off nations to "address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress." Forget about your own debt distress.
And then there's the fact that the agenda is being administered by the United Nations. One of the gems in the Hillary Clinton email dump by the State Department was a note from daughter Chelsea during her 2010 visit to Haiti to observe the U.N. in action.
"To say I was profoundly disturbed by what I saw -- and didn't see -- would be an understatement," Chelsea wrote to her parents. "The incompetence is mind numbing. The UN people I encountered were frequently out of touch ... anachronistic in their thinking at best and arrogant and incompetent at worst."
Oh, but it's the thought that counts, right? Wrong. This isn't an ugly sweater given to you by a fashion-challenged relative. The world is facing dire economic challenges that deserve serious attention, and we won't solve anything by passing the buck (literally and figuratively) to an international agency whose "success" to date in addressing problems can only be measured in terms of its perpetual failure.
Economics are at the root of all the current problems in the world, including Middle Eastern terrorism and the Islamic State. The Islamic State problem was seeded years ago, with the funding and training of Syrian mercenaries to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in an effort by the West and by oil-revenue competitors Qatar and Saudi Arabia to upend the economic alliance of Syria, Russia and Iran. If economics hadn't been a consideration, the Islamic State probably wouldn't exist.
Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the head of U.S. Central Command, recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that a $500 million program approved by Congress to train Syrian rebels has no more than five active fighters remaining. Central Command admitted last week that some of the weapons provided to Syrian rebels wound up in the hands of an al-Qaida affiliate. Your tax dollars down the drain, America.
The contagion of economic disaster is now spreading through Europe via a flood of migrants. The European Union already has enough problems, with failing states such as Greece that can't even pay the interest on their debt without perpetually borrowing from other European nations, which have their own cash- and job-strapped citizens to worry about.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve have announced that more than 2,200 refugees have been housed in Paris alone, with the French government earmarking 279 million euros to fund migrant services through the end of 2016. Now we're talking about my tax dollars. Looks like we're all in this hole together. Kumbaya.
Not all migrants are fleeing conflict. Many see the gates to Europe being flung open under the pretext of humanitarianism and are heading to Club Europa for jobs that don't actually exist.
So while we're bleeding development aid into the countries the migrants are fleeing, we're failing to translate our involvement into any viable economic return. We're also doing little to improve our own domestic job markets. All this at a time when the commodities industries and oil-and-gas industries -- the go-to sectors for revenue growth -- are in a slump.
None of the speakers at the General Assembly are addressing the elephant in the room: People all over the world need jobs and stability right now. No one is laying out a viable roadmap to a solution.
One by one, these leaders stand at the podium vying for our hearts and minds. Our wallets should have a real problem with that.