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Your UN: Tax Proliferators for the Planet

American taxpayers shell out billions to the United Nations system every year. So what does that money help pay for?

Well, one thing that U.S. taxes help fund is the UN's quest for new ways to impose yet more taxes, which the UN would like to see collected and spent not by national authorities, but by some global authority, such as, well, the UN itself. These taxes would in turn help finance UN planning of the global economy -- a process which, to judge by the record, would then generate yet more UN proposals for yet more taxes. As an exercise in proliferation, it's almost elegant.

On this theme, Agence France-Presse produced a fascinating dispatch recently, summarizing one of the UN's latest endeavors: "UN calls for 'billionaires tax' to help the world's poor." The article cites a new UN report, which lists a whole array of potential taxes that the UN considers worth exploring, and which it is considering as avenues to raise some $400 billion per year for "poor countries."

The list was so extensive, so arrogant, so utterly over-reaching -- it sounded like a spoof.

No such luck. I went looking for the original UN report, and here it is, from the UN Secretariat's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Economic and Social Survey 2012, titled "In Search of New Development Finance."  Just scroll down to Section 1, pages 4-5 for the handy chart, listing proposals for everything from a global tax on billionaires (which the UN estimates might generate $40-$50 billion), to taxes on carbon, financial transactions, currency exchange, etc.

The potential mechanics alone raise all sorts of horrifying questions. How, exactly, would the UN determine who is a billionaire? Would we all be required to file tax returns with the UN? Would the U.S. federal government be expected to turn over individual tax returns to the UN? Would the UN -- which has yet to master the art of auditing itself -- set to work auditing the rest of us? We are now heading into the realms of science fiction, and not sci-fi of the warm and cuddly variety.