The American people may be losing their jobs and savings, but on Friday night, on the eve of the international financial summit, they provided President Bush and other G20 leaders a lavish banquet that included $300-a-bottle wine, Vermont Brie, eggplant fondue, and rack of lamb. Details of the "culinary delights" and "sumptuous feast" provided to the politicians who departed their black limousines were included in wire service stories. They were toasting the demise of America as a global economic and military superpower and planning to loot another trillion dollars from U.S. taxpayers.
Stories about the feast can only cause rising anger in the United States. A C-SPAN moderator on Sunday morning, hosting a discussion of the growing financial crisis and taking calls, himself commented that there was a lot of anger out there. One caller mentioned taking up arms against the government over the looting of the taxpayers.
We have seen the people react this way in the past to proposals for Congressional pay raises and illegal alien amnesty. But the growing anger over the endless series of taxpayer bailouts is getting louder and louder. In response to the stories about the lavish G20 banquet and my own columns on the growing financial crisis, I received this email:
"I just finished reading the menu that I and the US Taxpayers just bought these idiots and thieves. $300 bottles of wine? Racks of lamb? (Does the image of Nero fiddling while Rome burns come to mind?) What if Bush had announced that the menu was going to reflect the seriousness of the situation? Maybe a great minestrone soup and some good Carlo Rossi red? Show the world that he (Bush) was serious about caring for our money. I realize it doesn't make a bean's worth of difference in the whole budget but when do we, as taxpayers, get any respect? Personally I resent more and more everyone associated with my government. And especially the country club Republicans that Bush (I was fooled) and [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson represent. I may have to lay off two good guys this coming week. I'm sure they will understand that the President had to keep up the image to all these 'important' people and that the King of Saudi Arabia and the Premier of China and assorted other international flotsam enjoyed their largesse."
By the way, Carlo Rossi red is a California wine that goes for about $6.99 a bottle. It apparently wasn't good enough for the global elite.
In a development that attracted the attention of some media, the U.S. agreed at the conference to the establishment of "supervisory colleges" by March 31, 2009, to monitor "all major cross-border financial institutions." It is the beginning of a new global regulatory body that could eventually impose and collect a currency transactions tax known as the Tobin Tax, named after the late Yale University economist, James Tobin. Such a tax, which could affect stocks, mutual funds, and pensions, could generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
But ignored by most of the media was the fact that buried in the "declaration" endorsed by Bush and other leaders meeting on Saturday was (Point number 14) support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, "the development assistance commitments we have made," and a reaffirmation of "the development principles agreed at the 2002 United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico, which emphasized country ownership and mobilizing all sources of financing for development."
This language may sound vague or confusing. But to those familiar with the U.N. and its conferences and the Millennium Development Goals, it all makes perfect sense. This is a commitment to devote 0.7 percent of the Gross National Product to official foreign aid, a plan envisaged in President-elect Barack Obama's Global Poverty Act. It will cost $845 billion, to be recovered in whole or part through a global tax. The phrase "all sources of financing for development" is U.N.-speak for global taxes.
In addition to his Global Poverty Act, which could pass Congress in a lame duck session or after President Obama takes office, the Jubilee Act is also being pushed for the benefit of other nations of the world. It would cancel as much as $75 billion in debt owed by foreign countries. The total of the two measures is $920 billion.
To demonstrate how the media view all of this, Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby on Thursday devoted a column headlined "Supersize the IMF" to the idea that the global financial institution known as the International Monetary Fund should get a massive infusion of American taxpayer dollars as well. He argued that the U.S. and other governments should triple their financial commitments to the IMF.
Mallaby, who doubles as director of the Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, didn't put a price tag on this. But it was clear that he believes the more money the better. "A bigger IMF should be on its [the Obama Administration's] agenda, he said.
Meanwhile, now that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has admitted that his $700-billion plan didn't work out as planned, some in the media are acknowledging that they helped stampede the Congress into passing it.
On his CNN Reliable Sources show, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post asked his colleague Steven Pearlstein, "Wasn't there a prevailing drumbeat that this package had to pass?" The reply: "I was, I guess, part of that drumbeat. It did have to pass." Pearlstein added, "You know, the Congress and the government had to do something to get liquidity moving in the financial system. There's no playbook for how to do this in a situation like this. People are making it up as they go along. And so we really shouldn't be surprised that they tried something, it doesn't work. They try something else, maybe it works. They're throwing a lot of darts at the wall."
But since it didn't work and Paulson changed the plan, Kurtz asked, "Where is the journalistic outrage here?" It's a good question. The only outrage I can find is coming from the taxpayers.
For his part, Pearlstein's new column, "Toward a New International Capitalism," includes no apologies over his central role in what has happened. Instead, he hails the arrival of a new era in which America "can no longer expect to dominate the institutions of international finance and will have to share power and influence with rapidly developing countries..."
In other words, America has been cut down to size and the beneficiaries are those who were always jealous of her wealth and power. The result will not only be less U.S economic power but the diminution of American military power. One will inevitably follow the other, especially if more U.S. manufacturing industries go bankrupt.
This isn't "international capitalism." It's the victory of global socialism. The stage is perfectly set for the U.S. presidency to be occupied by a revolutionary Marxist.
"We are the world" is coming true.