An article on OpinionJournal today appropriately titled "Turtle Bay Tea Party: Kofi Annan wants to "reform" the U.N. again. Watch out for your wallet" is just down-right scary. Here is some of it, but I'd suggest reading the whole thing.
But if there is one item in all Mr. Annan's talk of reform that should provoke distinct horror, cold sweats, and mighty fears over the trajectory of the U.N., it is a small cipher embedded in Mr. Annan's tastefully printed and expensively bound proposal for U.N. reform, "In Larger Freedom," Annex item No. 5(d). That would be the proposal that developed countries contribute 0.7% of their gross domestic income to the cause of "official development assistance."
For the U.S. alone, where gross national income now totals about $11 trillion, that would add up to more than $82 billion per year--by itself more than 10 times what the U.N. has already failed miserably to manage well. And though Mr. Annan does not spell out exactly how such official aid would "officially" reach its intended beneficiaries, the clear implication is that it would go through the "official" U.N.--generating a great gush of cash, with no more need for the U.N. to worry about reform, or Mr. Annan and his successors even to strain themselves sending staffers to lobby Washington, or signing self-laudatory Op-eds.
Sound familiar? It should. It is unnervingly similar to the U.N. arrangement via Oil for Food in which Saddam paid 2.2% of his oil revenues to the U.N. to supervise the program. As long at the deal continued, the flow of funds to the U.N. was automatic. And because the money belonged by rights to the people of Iraq, but Mr. Annan did his U.N. deals not with them, but with Baghdad's tyrant, the effect was taxation without representation. The predictable result was a carnival of graft in which both Saddam and his biggest business partner, the U.N., hoodwinked the general world public and short-changed most of the 26 million Iraqis who were neither family members of U.N. top officials, nor cronies of Saddam.
Investigators are still trying to follow the money from that last U.N. grand scam. To think seriously for even a second about Mr. Annan's plan to levy a percentage tax, of any size whatsoever, on the GDP of the developed world, is a route not to help for the hungry, but to Orwell's "Animal Farm." The European Union seems so far to find this acceptable--perhaps because the continental elite know that once again, America would pay the lion's share of the biggest bonanza that global bureaucracy has ever seen. But the idea ought to inspire Americans, at least, to take those costly copies of Mr. Annan's reform report (round III) and, in the spirit of Boston, 1773, throw a Turtle Bay Tea Party.