The United Nations on Thursday urged countries to impose international taxes to raise more than $400 billion a year, such as a carbon tax, a currency transaction tax and a billionaire’s tax, to offset cutbacks in aid by many countries amid global economic turmoil.
The report states that flows would need to more than double in order to meet the long-standing United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of donor-country gross national income. Remember the Global Poverty Act, supported by then congressman Obama, was aiming for this target in 2008 when it died in congress.
In a clear attempt to pluck at the heartstrings of humanity, the U.N. World Economic and Social Survey said the needs of developing countries were not being met, more money was needed to fight challenges like so-called climate change and new taxes would help "donor countries overcome their record of broken promises."
The United Nations has no authority or mechanisms to enforce an international tax and can only urge its 193 members to do so. The world body plays a marginal role in economic issues, which is the realm of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
"Donor countries have fallen well short of their aid commitments and development assistance declined last year because of budget cuts, increasing the shortfall to $167 billion," the survey's author, Rob Vos, said in a statement.
"We are suggesting various ways to tap resources through international mechanisms, such as coordinated taxes on carbon emissions, air traffic, and financial and currency transactions," he said.
The survey asserts that such a tax could raise $50 billion a year. The report notes that there are more than 1,200 billionaires across the world — 425 in the United States, 315 in Asia, and 310 in Europe — whose net worth is $4.6 trillion.
“The ’average’ billionaire would own $3.7 billion after paying the tax,” according to the report. “If that billionaire spent $1,000 per day, it would take him or her over 10,000 years to spend all his or her wealth.” The report actually asks- “ Would this hurt them?”
Some United Nations officials have made various global economic proposals such as replacing the U.S. dollar as the world's currency with IMF Special Drawing Rights, an idea that a number of countries have been pushing.
One suggestion made in The World Economic and Social Survey was that regular allocations of IMF Special Drawing Rights and use of idle Special Drawing Rights could produce about $100 billion annually to buy long-term assets that would then be used as development finance.
The survey also said a $25 per ton tax on carbon emissions in developed countries - collected by national authorities but allocated for international causes - could raise an estimated $250 billion a year.
The Guardian reported that the United States has an annual per person 20 metric tons of carbon emissions per year. Based on these figures, the tax would cost each of us $500.00 per year. A family of four could expect to pay $2,000 per year.
Another $40 billion a year could come from a 0.005 percent transaction tax on the four main currencies, the U.S. dollar, euro, yen and the British pound. A tax of 1 percent on billionaires could also be explored, the survey said.
"Realizing the potential of these mechanisms will require international agreement and corresponding political will, both to tap sources as well as to ensure allocation of revenues for development," Vos said.
The radical recommendations have drawn heavy criticism from groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which warns that compliance with the UN’s directives would mean yet a further loss of national sovereignty. Myron Ebell, CEI's director of energy and global warming policy, declared, "The chief ambition of the United Nations for many years has been to increase funding for their vast bureaucracy by creating some sort of new global tax that flows automatically without any control by the U.N.’s member governments.
"Such a taxing authority would thus be totally unaccountable to elected officials in the U. S. (or to officials in any other country for that matter). Money is power: hundreds of billions of dollars in additional annual revenue would allow the U.N. to create the institutions of global governance that are contained in several U.N. environmental treaties but that have never been realized due to lack of funding."
According to the UN Statistical Annex to SG report on funding, the United States donated $4.29 billion of our tax dollars to the United Nations in 2010.