UN pushes billionaires tax
Over the last year or so, President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress have made a push for a new tax, dubbed the “Buffett Rule,” on the rich. The tax, which would ensure than anyone making over $1 million pays at least a 30% tax rate, wouldn’t raise a significant amount of money, but its supporters say that it’s needed as a matter of “fairness.”
While the Buffett Rule won’t pass Congress anytime soon, it looks like the United Nations has a plan of its own to tax the wealthy for programs to help the poor around the world:
The United Nations on Thursday called for a tax on billionaires to help raise more than $400 billion a year for poor countries.
An annual lump sum payment by the super-rich is one of a host of measures including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, currency exchanges or financial transactions proposed in a UN report that accuses wealthy nations of breaking promises to step up aid for the less fortunate.
The annual World Economic and Social Survey says it is critical to find new ways to help the world’s poor as pledged cash fails to flow.
The report estimates that the number of people around the globe worth at least $1 billion rose to 1,226 in 2012.
There are an estimated 425 billionaires in the United States, 315 in the Asia-Pacific region, 310 in Europe, 90 in other North and South American countries and 86 in Africa and the Middle East.
Together they own an estimated $4.6 trillion so a one percent tax on their wealth would raise more than $46 billion, according to the report.
The report unsurprisingly uses similar rhetoric used by President Obama to push higher taxes in the United States. But there are a few points that need to be made in regards to more spending on poverty programs. First, the United States already sends billions in taxpayer dollars overseas to aid governments; and President Obama wants to spend even more. Secondly, programs designed to help the poor haven’t done a great deal to reduce the poverty in the United States, even in these tough economic times; despite spending more than half a trillion dollars since Obama took office.
And finally, we’re talking about the United Nations here. This is the same body that led the “oil-for-food” scandal, a program designed to provide food and other necessities to starving Iraqis in exchange for allowing them to sell oil on the world market. Yeah, nothing could go wrong if we give the United Nations more money.
But Dan Mitchell does note some wishful thinking:
Proposals for global taxation from the United Nations are so radical and so far from the mainstream that even the Obama Administration generally is opposed to these crack-pot ideas.
Though that may simply be because Obama wants to seize the money for his own class-warfare purposes and doesn’t want to compete with other taxing authorities. Sort of the way hyenas and vultures sometime fight over a carcass. Or how inner-city gangs sometimes fight over turf.
Unfortunately, Gene Sperling, the Director of the White House Economic Council, endorsed the idea of some sort of “global minimum tax” earlier this year to “have the assurance that nobody is escaping doing their fair share as part of a race to the bottom or having our tax code actually subsidized and facilitate people moving their funds to tax havens.”
That’s bad news, folks.