It is an amazing thing to witness the ease with which so many around the world can dream up ways to steal and spend other peoples money. One of the organizations that excels at this task is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is devoted to equalizing world resources or as they say “promote global growth and economic stability.” It is one of the many global economic organizations tasked with fighting off worldwide economic decline. Which if you look at the world right now, they are obviously doing a wonderful job…
This month the United Nations held Rio+20 a conference on “Sustainable Development” a follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held twenty years ago. Ahead of the conference Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde laid out what she saw as the objectives of the conference in terms that would warm the heart of any progressive and scare the living daylights out of anyone who loves liberty and fears the spread of global government.
She opened with, “It has been twenty years since world leaders first went to Rio to commit to the noble goal of protecting the planet for future generations.” What is involved in “protecting the planet?” She continued - “And now, twenty years on, we will be journeying back to Rio to affirm our commitment to sustainable development—the idea that we should strive for economic growth, environmental protection and social progress at the same time.” (Emphasis, theirs). No surprise, to grow the economy we have to embrace radical environmental extremism and push for social justice. In plain terms, the I.M.F. wants to take and spread money.
Of course, all three of the objectives above are not just ideas but imperatives. Lagarde added, “Today, I believe that we are facing a triple crisis—an economic crisis, an environmental crisis, and, increasing, a social crisis.” Yes my friends, the world needs saving. If only there was a plan!
Yes Lagarde has a plan and it “must start with the advanced economies, especially in Europe.” Yes Germany and the United States Lagarde is looking at you! Her plan starts with getting the “growth engine” going. How? Spread the wealth of course! We need “use of common resources to provide direct support to banks” along with new reforms. Meaning, nations like Germany need to start handing out cash to nations like Greece while governments everywhere need to regulate industry and manipulate marketplaces for the good of us all. Also, obviously, we need to stop with all of this austerity! After all “labor market reforms” are good for young people and old people and likely anyone in between – “especially so that disenfranchised groups like younger and older workers can regain their footing.”
Also let’s not forget all those developing countries! Lagarde has a plan for them too. “Most developing countries are doing relatively well right now,” BUT “if conditions in the advanced economies continue to deteriorate, these countries will face a cold chill.” That means they need lots of money to “diversify” their economies and grow their infrastructure investment. “The international community must continue to help these countries help themselves.” We cannot trust them to solve their own problems so it is time to send money!
The second part of the plan? The green economy, of course! “Climate change is clearly one of the great challenges of our time, one of the great tests of our generation. For the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, climate change is not some distant possibility. It is a present reality.” Saving the poor from climate change isn’t just a grand moral imperitive, but the responsibility of wealthy nations. Why? “Look at Africa. This is the continent that contributes least to climate change, and yet suffers most from it.” Wealthy nations caused a mess and MUST clean it up.
So how do we save Africa and the world from climate change? Simple, price fixing and economic retribution – “using fiscal policy to make sure that the harm we do is reflected in the prices we pay. I am thinking about environmental taxes or emissions trading systems under which governments issue—and preferably sell—pollution rights. It is basically a variation of the old mantra: “you break it, you buy it””. Of course, she also gets in a plug “You can read more about this in a new IMF e-book on carbon pricing, which we are launching today and which is intended as a practical guide for policymakers.
What does their plan do? “It changes relative prices and provides a powerful incentive to change. It can also galvanize clean technology development and deployment by the private sector, such as investments in energy efficiency and renewables.” Put another way, the price for carbon and other “pollutants” is set not by the market but by regulation, making it more expensive for nations like the United States to purchase what we need to sustain our economies and lowers the price for everyone else – “it changes relative prices.” The intent? To force nations like the United States to stop using “pollutants” and instead invest in alternative energy - ”provides a powerful incentive to change.” So because we won’t change, international government will force us to.
It doesn’t end with just setting the price though, oh no. While they are raising money to redistribute, why not add some taxes? “…in these difficult budgetary times, countries need revenue and these kinds of tax or tax-like instruments can deliver.” Lagarde has a wonderful example:
In the United States, for example, a carbon tax of about $25 per ton of CO2—which would add 22 cents to a gallon of gasoline—could bring in about 1 percent of GDP, or over $1 trillion over a decade. Charges on international aviation and maritime emissions would raise about a quarter of the $100 billion needed for climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries—resources that developed countries have committed to mobilize by 2020.
Taxes are not just limited to the United States or to pollutants. As Lagarde mentioned the I.M.F. wants to force social progress. You see “government spending and taxes play a vital role in reducing inequality” and so “reducing tax evasion and avoidance, making income taxes more progressive at high income levels, and protecting the kinds of social transfers that promote a more even income distribution.” This is true not only of rich fat cat countries like the United States but also- ”developing countries too need to allocate public spending on social safety nets” because ”In these countries, social safety nets might be all that stands between survival and catastrophe.” That means “mobilizing” revenue and she has a great suggestion for spreading the wealth, an increase of 2-4% of GDP spent by countries on big government programs and social welfare.
The Managing Director’s love of taxes extended to Greeks last week. She commented that she had more sympathy for poor children in Africa than working Greeks who were facing austerity measures. But of course, like any good hypocritical liberal progressive, Lagarde pays absolutely no tax on her own $467,940 a year salary. “Sauce for the goose,” as they say. We Americans can afford to pay twenty-two cents extra a gallon, but why should she have to pay taxes on her nearly half million a year salary?
Lagarde’s speech and I.M.F. plans are rooted in the worst aspects of communist and socialist philosophy. Americans should be appalled that the United States is involved with this organization and funding their efforts. Even more worried that the current administration and many in Congress hold the same radical anti-democratic global beliefs.