Progressives Back Obama Push for Global Tax
by CLIFF KINCAID
October 7, 2009
While policymakers debate a few million dollars for ACORN and a few hundred billion dollars more for health care reform, those committed to one-world government are moving ahead with plans for a global tax that could extract trillions of dollars out of Americans’ already depleted IRAs and stock holdings.
One can’t exclude the possibility of such a tax being slipped into a health care or cap-and-trade bill that the Congress or the public could not have time to read before passage.
Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal deserves a journalism prize for taking the time to read the recent communiqué issued by the G-20 countries meeting in Pittsburgh. He found they had assigned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the job of studying how to implement a global tax on America and the rest of the world.
“The IMF assignment from the G-20 has been widely overlooked,” Davis noted. His article ran under the headline, “IMF Mulls Global Bank Tax.”
The “Leader’s Statement” endorsed by President Obama and released at the event declares on page 10 that “We task the IMF to prepare a report for our next meeting with regard to the range of options countries have adopted or are considering as to how the financial sector could make a fair and substantial contribution toward paying for any burdens associated with government interventions to repair the banking system.”
The term “fair and substantial contribution” is code for a global tax. Other misleading terms for global taxes include “innovative sources of finance” and “Solidarity Levies.”
While the global tax would affect the savings of ordinary Americans and be passed on to consumers, it is being packaged by the international left and its progressive allies in the U.S. as an assault on Wall Street and the big banks.
One proposal, popular at the United Nations for decades and long-advocated by Fidel Castro, is the Tobin Tax, named after Yale University economist James Tobin. Such a tax, which could affect stocks, mutual funds, and pensions, could generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Indeed, Steven Solomon, a former staff reporter at Forbes, says in his book, The Confidence Game, that such a proposal “might net some $13 trillion a year…” because it is based on taking a percentage of money from the trillions of dollars exchanged daily in global financial markets.
Such transactions are commonplace on behalf of Americans who have stock in mutual funds or companies that invest or operate overseas.
Meanwhile, President Obama used his recent speech to the United Nations to declare, “We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals.” He left unsaid what this means. It has been calculated that this will cost the U.S. $845 billion to meet UN demands for a certain percentage of Gross National Product to go for official foreign aid to the rest of the world. Compliance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was incorporated into the Global Poverty Act that Obama had introduced as a U.S. senator but which never passed.
A global tax of the kind envisioned in the G-20 document could help provide the revenue to fulfill Obama’s promise to comply with the MDGs.
One of the leading cheerleaders for the global tax is economist Joseph Stiglitz, an Obama supporter and former Clinton official who has been working with the Socialist International Commission on Global Financial Issues. We analyzed his key behind-the-scenes role in the June United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis. He was selected as a UN adviser by the then-president of the UN General Assembly, Communist Catholic Priest Miguel D’Escoto.
Over at the Huffington Post, a voice of the Obama-supporting left, Kyle G. Brown advises that such a tax is doable and that “a modest fee on every stock, every bond – in short, every financial transaction” could generate $100 billion a year at a rate of just 0.5 percent. He explains, “That would defray health care costs, and help struggling states restore social services that have been axed over the past two years.”
Brown is not a policy maker but rather a self-described writer and broadcast journalist at the BBC and CBC.
The progressives know that such a rate could be ratcheted up quickly, bringing in hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars.
The AFL-CIO, the giant labor federation backing Obama, has already endorsed the Tobin Tax, as has Robert Kuttner, a leading liberal thinker who serves as co-editor of The American Prospect and a senior fellow at Demos. This is a pro-Democratic Party think tank that still includes ousted Obama green jobs czar Van Jones on its board.
As reported by The Hill newspaper, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the Highways and Transit Transportation Subcommittee, has “seized on the idea as a way to help pay for a new massive surface transportation reauthorization bill, estimated to cost $450 billion over six years,” but wants to tax oil-based derivatives rather than stock transactions. DeFazio had previously introduced a House resolution to pass a Tobin Tax.
What is driving the global taxation agenda is a Marxist view that the U.S. is exploiting the people and natural resources of the world. According to this perspective, international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and even the UN must be restructured and provided with new financial resources to supervise and manage the redistribution of the world’s wealth. The United States, being the leading capitalist state, has to pay the largest price.
Their attitude was expressed at a non-governmental organization forum in Monterrey, Mexico, associated with the UN’s International Conference on Financing for Development, that Christopher Columbus “invaded, destroyed and pillaged” the hemisphere and that a global tax was necessary to pay for the damage.
In his 2001 speech to the UN World Conference on Racism, Castro advocated the Tobin Tax specifically in order to generate U.S. financial reparations to the rest of the world. declared, “May the tax suggested by Nobel Prize Laureate James Tobin be imposed in a reasonable and effective way on the current speculative operations accounting for trillions of U.S. dollars every 24 hours, then the United Nations, which cannot go on depending on meager, inadequate, and belated donations and charities, will have one trillion U.S. dollars annually to save and develop the world.”
The only thing that has changed is that the U.S. now has a president who agrees with Castro, and he and his progressive backers believe that they can obtain a slice of the revenue for their socialist projects here as well.