Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Millennium Development Goals

Do you know what this is?

I have some basic knowledge, I need to read more. But I know enough at this point to know that I do not want to transfer any more money to the UN to spend as they see fit. Americans are very charitable, but we like some accountability.

This is not a post about the point of the fighting global poverty. Of course this is an issue that should be addressed and vigorously. I am questioning the proposed method.

I see the U.N. as an essentially corrupt organization. I do not wish to hand over any more blank checks.

This is from Senator Obama's website -
Fight Global Poverty: Obama and Biden will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and they will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal. They will help the world's weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth.

This is legislation proposed by Senator Obama that thankfully was not enacted.

Global Poverty Act of 2007
S.2433 Title: A bill to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.
Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 12/7/2007) Cosponsors (30)
Related Bills: H.R.1302 Latest Major Action: 4/24/2008 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 718. Senate Reports: 110-331

There are two ways of looking at these things. I recall when this first came up for me during the Tsunami.
From the Washington Times - But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.

You see Norway gives .87% of their GDP to the Millennium Project. There is minimal giving from individuals and little logistical support. That's one way to go about assisting those less fortunate than ourselves.

This isn't generally the approach favored by Americans. We like to approach these things will a little better mix. We believe that this approach provides for more accountability. Rather than simply transfer money blindly into the coffers of an essentially corrupt organization, we want to be more hands on. We give 0.16% - 0.16% of our far more considerable GDP. Plus Americans give privately through a huge assortment of NGOs. Plus logistical support that you can't really put a price tag on.

As a matter of fact, if we were to just turn over a certain sum of money that Obama, Egeland, et al thought fair.......and then just sat back......the fight against global poverty would suffer a serious set back. Without logistical support from America, donations would sit and rot in storage facilities. Without the logistical support from America relief workers would not get to the very people they need to help. Without individual donations to NGOs there would be no accountability and fewer people would be helped.

Do you want to put Obama in a position to give the UN .7% of our GDP as opposed to the 0.16% they get now?


BillT said...

We've given trillions of dollars to the UN over the past fifty years, and the only poverty that has been reduced through its programs has been that of the diplomats' immediate families.

Name one country that's had its standard of living raised through the "efforts" of the UN. Just name one.

You can't. There aren't any.

Stella said...

Yes, I do. But there must be oversight to ensure the money gets to the people that need basic food and shelter.

Stella said...

One more comment: I agree with Bill, which is why I believe in oversight. Too bad military contractors were subject to the same scrutiny.

BillT said...

Give it to the UN and there will be no outside oversight. The UN stance is that it *needs* no oversight.

Most recent example of the UN's inability to keep its functionaries honest is that Khofi Annan & Son were the two biggest beneficiaries of the Oil for Food Program, aside from Saddam Hussein himself -- and that revelation wasn't the result of oversight, but of examination of the documents we captured when we overran Baghdad in 2003.

The UN is a morally-bankrupt organization which won't authorize its Peacekeepers to defend themselves if they're attacked, let alone defend those they're supposed to be protecting.

Stella said...

Yes, Bill, absolutely. And shame on me for not reading the post more closely. Rather than giving the money to the UN, I would put the funds under the purview of Rep. Henry Waxman as a Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee.

I wonder if anything can be done to "fix" the UN. If the organization had more integrity, there is so much that could be done for the world.

I appreciate all I learn from you and Maggie.