By Joseph Klein | June 12, 2006

If you are thinking of visiting France this summer, be forewarned. You will be paying more for your airline ticket, starting this July 1st, thanks to French President Jacques Chirac. With UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s strong backing, Chirac has pushed forward a new tax on international airline tickets for passage from France ranging from about $5 to $50 a ticket depending on travel distance and ticket class, which is designed to be the precursor to an array of global taxes such as taxes on international financial transactions, fuel and the Internet. Other countries such as Brazil, Chile and Norway are also getting on board with the new airline tax. Chirac and Annan justify putting their hands into our pockets as a necessary means to alleviate poverty and fight disease in the most undeveloped countries of the world, without any thought about how to guarantee that the monies raised will actually be used as intended and not end up in the Swiss bank accounts of those countries’ corrupt leaders.

Those who seek to take taxpayers’ hard earned money to finance their thinly disguised global wealth redistribution programs say that they want their “international solidarity levies” to reflect the “contributory capacity (i.e., the wealth) of each participating country” and make globalization “more equitable.”

However, in reality, it is a power game. Chirac, for his part, has always seen global governance under a strong United Nations as a counter-weight to the hegemony that he ascribes to the United States. Indeed, Chirac has called for global taxes going back to 2003, brushing aside all national sovereignty concerns. A first hand source with high-level links to the United Nations establishment, whom I quoted in Global Deception, told me that the global tax issue is very much alive and that he himself had been asked to chair a portion of a meeting last year called by Chirac to discuss a proposed tax on aviation fuel. He said that global taxes are the “only way you can raise additional resources” required to fund the UN’s myriad programs on poverty and other causes and that they are ‘fair’ because everyone’s favorite boogieman, ‘the rich’, are the only people who will have to pay them.

Global taxes are all about ensuring what Kofi Annan has called “a constant stream of money” to keep replenishing the UN’s coffers. Annan likes this idea because it reduces his dysfunctional organization’s financial dependency on the American people, whom his chief deputy, Mark Malloch Brown, arrogantly derided in a speech before an elitist progressive audience in Manhattan on June 6th for ‘Middle America’s’ supposed ignorance about the U.N. Annan thinks such financial dependence creates “a democracy deficit in the way we govern the United Nations.” Apparently, he has not taken a careful look at how many times the American position has been ignored or outright rejected in the General Assembly and how often the U.S. attempts to get meaningful decisions from the Security Council have been thwarted.

Meanwhile, the leaders of many of the developing countries, who want to run the UN as their own fiefdom while paying next to nothing for the privilege, are using their collective voting power in the General Assembly to block any budgetary controls and managerial reforms insisted upon by the two member states paying over 40% of the freight, the United States and Japan. Global taxes are a way to blunt any power of the purse that the governments of the United States, Japan or other developed countries may currently have as a means of leverage to counterbalance the irresponsible spending sprees that the General Assembly approves. This is because the UN would be deriving substantial revenue directly through global taxes imposed on individuals or companies, rather than depending on budget approvals and dues payments by the wealthier member state governments.

Malloch Brown used his broadside against the United States to question its motives in seeking genuine reform at the United Nations that even he admits is needed. He invoked, with apparent agreement, “a perception among many otherwise quite moderate countries that anything the US supports must have a secret agenda aimed at either subordinating multilateral processes to Washington’s ends or weakening the institutions…” All this carping — simply because the United States and the other major dues paying countries, which would collectively pay the vast bulk of the proposed $3.8 billion dollar regular United Nations budget for 2006-2007, do not want to write a blank check. The United States and Japan, in particular, want to continue imposing a tight leash like the six month spending limit that ends this June 30th, in order to get serious reforms enacted that the developing world has so far resisted. In an interview with the Inter Press Service in May, Malloch Brown sided with the developing countries, as represented by their 132 member coalition known as G-77, in their “numbers versus pocketbooks” conflict with the United States. “I am with the G-77 on this one. I think it is a very imprudent tactic by donor countries to threaten that crude financial power,” he intoned. In other words, under this Alice-in-Wonderland sort of logic, the largest dues paying countries should just shut up and let their money continue to be wasted.

Global taxes — what the UN bureaucrats euphemistically refer to as “innovative sources of financing” — are the preferred mechanism of the parasites to keep their UN gravy train going without any real accountability to anyone. However, these leeches conveniently forget that the United Nations is an organization of sovereign countries according to the United Nations Charter, not a sovereign entity unto itself. The UN is only accountable to its member states from which it receives its funding in the form of dues and voluntary contributions. The UN remains subject to the fiscal control of its member states — unless its Charter is amended. The UN Charter provides for no other mechanism for funding and surely not for global taxes which, in any case, would violate one of our most fundamental principles of self-government and national sovereignty under our own Constitution. Nor would it matter if the Senate were to ratify a treaty with a global tax provision, if the treaty itself violates the Constitution by giving to an unaccountable foreign institution a non-delegable power that only our elected representatives can exercise. And it is safe to say that most Americans would firmly oppose having to pay any such illegitimate levies. That is why the global tax proponents want to start with something that they hope to keep under the radar, so to speak, like the international airline tax.

So, the next time you are planning a trip abroad, just remember that if you choose France or the other countries imposing their redistributionist international airline tax, you are supporting a stalking horse for many more global taxes to come.