Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stingy Americans vs Thieving Europeans

"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really," the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. "Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."

"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."

Three Observations:

1. He said Christmastime. Get out the soap; I, for one, am offended.

Wow. This feels great. I mean, being offended and all. It’s so empowering; being offended just gives me this warm fuzzy righteousness and the will to fight the power. The power fought being Christmas. Maybe we should try offending minorities more often, so as to impart some of this drive into them, to help them get a leg up in gaining employment and such.

2. He called America stingy! Okay, this is not exactly an original observation. Conservative pundits are all atwitter at the temerity of this upstart UN bureaucrat talking smack on the US.

Well duh. That’s what the UN does. I’m pretty sure it’s in the charter somewhere, just after "tacitly aid genocide" but before "blame the Jews." This closely parallels the AID’s issue. The US is the largest ATM for AID's related causes worldwide, but, of course, is also the target of any protestor capable of wielding a crudely drawn sign and walking back and forth. The amazing thing is that the US hasn’t yet been blamed for actually causing the quakes that led to the tsunami. But we might be safe here, because, you know, Jews.

I just can’t summon up much outrage for this. In a certain way, this UN hack has a point. Judging by the proportion of the amount given in relation to GDP, the US’s initial donation of 15 million was pretty pathetic when the much smaller Australia has pledged 10 million. The US has since pledged more, with Colin Powell saying the final amount will reach the billions, but still, if you’re a socialist Eurocrat and view all the world’s problem’s as solvable through the magical powers of taxation and powerful government, then, yes, the US does look stingy. Which brings me to the part of the above statement that does irk me.

3. This UN bureaucrat says that the taxpayers “want to give more.” This, in the paternalistic mindset of a client society bureaucrat means that the state should step in and take the money. But if people want to give more, why bother with state-sponsored theft, i.e. taxation? If people want to give more, and there are means by which they can give more, then taxation is a superfluous violation of human rights.

Plus, high levels of taxation tend to absolve any feelings of guilt over not donating, and so lead to lower levels of private donations. Couple this with the natural inefficiency of government as a top-down mechanism, and taxation should be the route of last resort when sorting out the aftermath of a tragedy, not the knee jerk reaction.

When all is said and done, and the contributions of each nation are measured, I bet you the private donations of Americans will blow away the private donations of any other country. Amazon is collecting donations for the Red Cross, and has already raised $820,000 in a couple of days (and it is quickly rising—it went up $6000 in the past couple of minutes).

This amount was raised through the goodwill and, more importantly, freewill of Americans. When an American wants to give, we don't need a UN hack telling us that the state should come in and take this money away from people. The UN has been trying to gain some powers of taxation over sovereign countries, a debate which this tsunami is likely to bring up again, so let this be a warning: UN officials acknowledge that even when people would freely give money away, it is best to have the state come in and forcibly extract it from the population.

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