Taxpayers Scorecard
A Periodic Bulletin from Howard Phillips, Chairman of The Conservative Caucus
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"The 105th Congress has blundered badly in failing to summarily reject the financial claims of the United Nations, and stand firm on its own Constitutional authority to tax and spend," said Howard Phillips, Chairman of The Conservative Caucus (TCC). Phillips was referring to the 242-165 September 26 vote in the House of Representatives and an earlier 90-5 vote in the U.S. Senate by which Congress has agreed to pay $817 million more to the United Nations.

Phillips pointed out that Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution says that "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress", not in the General Assembly of the United Nations. The United Nations has no authority to make a binding financial claim on the United States, regardless of whether it is called an assessment, dues, replenishment, or any other name.

Dr. James Lucier, a member of TCC's Board of Directors, has pointed out in The U.N.'s World Class Tax System that "The official U.N. Factbook states, ‘the decisions of the [General] Assembly have no legally binding force for governments.’" While thus recognizing that it cannot overturn the plain language of the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. nevertheless continues to pretend that the United States owes more than $1 billion simply because the UN. decided to bill the U.S. for as much as 31% of its expenses.

There is no U.S. debt to the U.N. It is unconstitutional to acknowledge taxing authority by the U.N. General Assembly.

The dues the United States is called upon to pay are double those of any other member: Japan pays 12.45 percent of the general budget, for example, and the United Kingdom pays 8.93 percent. And United States assessments for peacekeeping are even less reasonable: we were asked to pay 31.7 percent, compared with 8.5 percent for Russia, 6.3 percent for the United Kingdom, and 7.6 percent for France.

The United States has donated logistical support, weapons, NATO flights, intelligence, ships and manpower to United Nations peace operations - goods and services for which virtually all other countries, including European participants in NATO, are reimbursed. But the United States has improperly declined reimbursement.

America is also the largest donor to most of the U.N.'s independent agencies, such as Unicef and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

The payments which the United States makes to the U.N. are of three types: so-called assessed contributions, voluntary contributions, and replenishments.

What we think of as dues are called assessed contributions, even though "contribution", in ordinary discourse suggests a voluntary action. The implication is that the assessments constitute an obligation to pay.

The assessments cover the operations of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretariat, and peacekeeping missions. The assessments for peacekeeping have grown so rapidly in the past several years that they now amount to triple the general assessments - a level of funding that supported forces, before the deployment of 27,000 U.S. forces to Bosnia, of more than 70,000 troops in U.N. peacekeeping missions.

The voluntary contributions pay the expenses of the specialized agencies, some development programs, population control, and other eleemosynary schemes. Replenishments are periodic new grants of capital or guarantees for financial agencies such as the World Bank.

The supposed contractual basis for whatever obligation the United States has, to make payments to the U.N., is contained in a single line of the Charter: The expenses of the Organization shall be borne by the Members as apportioned by the General Assembly.

The budget is drafted every two years by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Matters, the so-called Fifth Committee, and then reported to the General Assembly, which votes upon it by simple majority. There is, of course, no American veto in the General Assembly, and the Security Council does not consider budgetary matters.

The Fifth Committee also does the apportioning, that is to say, setting the percentage which the United States is asked to pay.

The U.N. has treated America's past contributions as an entitlement. The United States was supposedly committed to pay one-third of x, whatever x happened to be. Only a free-spending tout in a barroom would agree to pay for whatever anyone ordered, including what the boys in the back room would have.

If the U.N. Charter is interpreted to mean that Congress is not free to appropriate or withhold funds according to the will of the American people, then the assessed contributions already constitute an involuntary payment, in short, a tax, on the American people.

We should not be surprised at the relentless, hungry pursuit of power by centralized authority, and the grasping for taxes to feed that authority. If power corrupts, then centralized power corrupts absolutely.

Those who ridicule the absurd pretensions of the United Nations should take a look at the history of the Federal power of the United States of America, and note carefully how quickly the architects of centralism won their battles against those who were too honest and too trusting to suspect that sovereign guarantees would be swept away.

Our very participation in the United Nations is a violation of the Constitutional principle that all legislative powers shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.

It was certainly never anticipated by the framers that, in decisions affecting the United States of America, we would have only one vote in the General Assembly of a 185 member body where we are required to carry between 25% and 31.7% of the financial load.

We never should have gotten in. It's long past time to get out.

The Conservative Caucus is a non-profit public policy action organization, founded in 1974, which is committed to restoring the Federal government to its Biblical premises and Constitutional boundaries.



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