Debt Ceiling Solutions: Defunding the UN and WHO
While thousands of irrelevant politicians, industrialists and hangers-on met in Davos, Switzerland striving for a modicum of positive reinforcement that their annual soiree actually stood for some awe inspiring principle, the US House of Representatives is exhibiting the early glimmers of cognizance as the stage is set for a dynamic, if cantankerous debate on exorbitant spending habits that has driven the country into a fiscal ditch.
Rather than allow that cheerless band of presumptuous elites who demand absolute power, offering nothing worthwhile to share with humanity, the US House may demonstrate how a long dormant public institution awakens to reassert its power and significance in an illustration of how a Constitutional Republic should function.
After decades of billion dollar expenditures on multiple needless wars, public surveillance tools and inconsequential budgetary irrelevancies that have drained precious resources from improving the daily lives of Americans, the US elected class reached the striking realization that a statutory debt of $33 Trillion (annual 5% interest due) is unsustainable. Despite Democratic hair-on-fire accusations, that trillion dollar figure does not include entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare which would add another $30 Trillion to the Federal debt. Both are ‘off the table’ as they should be as potential sources of revenue as both provide necessary support for millions of Americans.
As any addictive shopper can relate, the Federal Government’s administrative state and its acquiescent Congress have rarely exercised necessary discretion to not spend on a ‘trial’ program, to forego in the name of austerity such ludicrous line items like the thousands of ear marks and ‘woke’ trinkets hidden within the recent $1.8 Trillion Omnibus bill.
Like any first time credit card recipient who loses track of financial sanity, they go nuts until that credit limit is reached and all spending screeches to a halt; that is Elementary Shopaholic Lesson 101. Like any drug habit, a spending obsession demands an immediate ‘fix’ which can only be satisfied by exceeding the credit limit– except when the offending drugster is the Federal Government which has never, ever had to confront its compulsive need to spend other people’s money since invention of the Federal Income Tax (Sixteenth Amendment) and the Fed Bank, both in 1913.
On January 19, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen formally informed Speaker McCarthy on the status of ‘extraordinary measures” taken as a result of the US reaching its statutory debt limit. Those measures included establishing a “debt issuance suspension period” while suspending investments and “redemption of certain existing investments” related to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. Additional suspension of daily reinvestments of Treasury securities held by the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund) representing every Federal employee are included – all of which millions of retired and/or disabled American beneficiaries depend on.
To better understand the concept of redemption of certain investments (see 1.a. and b.) which raises the question of whether the Federal government is stretched so thin that the use of public employee pensions remain the best source of revenue to eke out the necessary ‘headroom’ to pay Treasury’s existing obligations between now and early June?
Specifically, use of the PSRHBF may be especially egregious since the Fund has been in a fiscal struggle since 2007 when the USPS lost over $69 billion due to the creation of digital email. As a result, the USPS has not contributed to its health fund since 2012, according to its latest financial statement.
When the House gets down to seeking budgetary relief, there needs to be recognition that the US will not continue to fund every international organization, taking advantage of US largesse as Sugar Daddy of the World with unlimited financial resources. Since the late 1940’s when the United Nations and the World Health Organization were created, both have grown into bloated bureaucracy that have deviated from their original humanitarian goals. Neither has proven to be open to oversight, accountable or fiscally responsible depending on a guarantee from the US of unwavering financial support. Most importantly, each has adopted new contrarian roles which threaten US sovereignty and no longer reflect US beliefs or deserve US dollars.
Democrats need to resign themselves to the fact that their tantrums and snit fits on the House floor will not assuage the problem that they themselves have been instrumental in creating.
- Defunding the United Nations:
As the UN’s largest donor, the US provides $11 B annually which is one-fifth the UN’s annual budget. The US is also responsible for funding many UN agencies such $884 million to UNICEF as its largest public donor in 2021.
Founded in 1945 immediately after WW II on the principle of maintaining global peace and security, the UN has broadened its focus to assume a one world mission as the UN and the World Economic Forum signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2019. That Agreement was never approved by the General Assembly and provides an unprecedented and dangerous move towards a privatized and undemocratic global governance.
In addition, UN representatives have been identified in the Darian Gap along the US -Mexico border working with the cartels to facilitate passage of illegal migrants into the United States providing them with food, birth control/condoms and other survival resources – none of which is compatible with American values and no way to repay a country with a history as its largest and most consistent contributor.
- Immediate withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO)
would remove the US from participation in the requirement to accept the WHO’s International Health Regulations Review Committee (IHRRC) draft amendments, if adopted, would be legally binding under international law.
The amendments would restructure WHO from an advisory organization that makes recommendations into an authoritarian governing body whose proclamations would be legally-binding; mandating global health certificates, with a capacity to identify and censor ‘misinformation’ and not allow US Senate approval with a two-thirds vote as if it were an international treaty.
The USA has been the WHO’s most reliable and largest donor over the years, donating $700 Million in 20-21, on top of its annual $450 million membership dues (China pays $40 million). In addition, Biden repaid $200 million ‘owed’ to WHO after Trump’s withdrawal as the USA contributed another $280 million to the Covid 19 pandemic as well as additional funding for expertise assistance from multiple Federal departments.
Needless to say, the days when the US open door policy of haphazard fiscal commitments to every institution that comes knocking on the door – to the detriment of its own citizens, has forced introduction of a new habit previously a foreign concept: setting priorities. While defunding UN and/or WHO may be a drop in the debt bucket, the very act of considering a debate on what were once considered untouchable allies would establish a new reality that the US checkbook is no longer available. It will be up to the House and its Speaker to be the bearers of Good News to the American public that the Federal government’s door is closed.
Renee Parsons served on the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, staff in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC.