Obama bill: $845 billion
more for global poverty
Democrat sponsors act OK’d by Senate panel
that would cost 0.7% of gross national product
Posted: February 14, 2008
3:53 pm Eastern © 2008
Sen. Barack Obama , perhaps giving America a preview of priorities he would pursue if elected president, is rejoicing over the Senate committee passage of a plan that could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars in an attempt to reduce poverty in other nations.
The bill, called the Global Poverty Act, is the type of legislation, “We can – and must – make … a priority,” said Obama, a co-sponsor.
It would demand that the president develop “and implement” a policy to “cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015 through aid, trade, debt relief” and other programs.
When word about what appears to be a massive new spending program started getting out, the reaction was immediate.
“It’s not our job to cut global poverty,” said one commenter on a Yahoo news forum. “These people need to learn how to fish themselves. If we keep throwing them fish, the fish will rot.”
Many Americans were alerted to the legislation by a report from Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy in Media. He published a critique asserting that while the Global Poverty Act sounds nice, the adoption could “result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States” and would make levels “of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.”
He said the legislation, if approved, dedicates 0.7 percent of the U.S. gross national product to foreign aid, which over 13 years he said would amount to $845 billion “over and above what the U.S. already spends.”
The plan passed the House in 2007 “because most members didn’t realize what was in it,” Kincaid reported. “Congressional sponsors have been careful not to calculate the amount of foreign aid spending that it would require.”
A statement from Obama’s office this week noted the support offered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“With billions of people living on just dollars a day around the world, global poverty remains one of the greatest challenges and tragedies the international community faces,” Obama said. “It must be a priority of American foreign policy to commit to eliminating extreme poverty and ensuring every child has food, shelter, and clean drinking water. As we strive to rebuild America’s standing in the world, this important bill will demonstrate our promise and commitment to those in the developing world.
“Our commitment to the global economy must extend beyond trade agreements that are more about increasing profits than about helping workers and small farmers everywhere,” he continued.
The bill institutes the United Nations Millennium Summit goals as the benchmarks for U.S. spending.
“It is time the United States makes it a priority of our foreign policy to meet this goal and help those who are struggling day to day,” a statement issued by supporters, including Obama, said.
Specifically, it would “declare” that the official U.S. policy is to eliminate global poverty, that the president is “required” to “develop and implement” a strategy to reach that goal and requires that the U.S. efforts be “specific and measurable.”
Kincaid said that after cutting through all of the honorable-sounding goals in the plan, the bottom line is that the legislation would mandate the 0.7 percent of the U.S. GNP as “official development assistance.”
“In addition to seeking to eradicate poverty, that (U.N.) declaration commits nations to banning ‘small arms and light weapons’ and ratifying a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), the Convention of Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention of the Rights of the Child,” he said.
Those U.N. protocols would make U.S. law on issues ranging from the 2nd Amendment to energy usage and parental rights all subservient to United Nations whims.
Kincaid also reported Jeffrey Sachs, who runs the “Millennium Project,” confirms a U.N. plan to force the U.S. to pay 0.7 percent of GNP would add about $65 billion a year to what the U.S. already donates overseas.
And the only way to raise that funding, Sachs confirms, “is through a global tax, preferably on carbon-emitting fossil fuels,” Kincaid writes.
On the forum run by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, one writer reported estimates of taxes from 35 cents to $1 dollar a gallon on gasoline would be needed.
“This is disgusting, sickening and angers me to the depths of my soul,” the forum author wrote. “Obama wants us to support the world. I wonder how they intend to eliminate poverty. Most of the money always winds up in some dictator hands and in the U.N. coffers.”
WND calls to Obama’s office, as well as the offices of others who supported the plan, were not successful in obtaining a comment.
Another forum participant said, “Yes, and we should also eliminate sickness of any kind and get rid of poverty as well. Then, too, we should make certain that everyone in the world has equal assets, equal money, a college education, etc… After that, or maybe while we are solving all of the world’s little problems, we can take care of the polar bears, eliminate the internal combustion engine, and, and, and… Oh dear, if only we would just go ahead and do all the things the dreamers want us to do. Let’s stop using oil and burning coal while we’re at it. Then we can make it illegal to be overweight and then we can. …”
One forum contributor said since the legislation doesn’t specifically demand “taxes,” but instead leaves the mandatory “implementation” up to the president, “maybe the tooth fairy will leave [this new money] under the president’s pillow.”
Kincaid reported several more budget-minded senators have put a hold on the legislation “in order to prevent it from being rushed to the floor for a full Senate vote.”
The legislation requires the president to do whatever is required to fulfill a strategy that would result in “the elimination of extreme global poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide … who live on less than $1 per day.”
It further requires the president not only to accomplish that goal but, “not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this act,” to submit a report on “the contributions provided by the United States” toward poverty reduction.