What You Need to Know about Obama’s Global Poverty Act, S. 2433

It is one of the longest wars America has fought, and it has been completely within our borders. On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared “all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States.” This “all-out war” would last through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush. We have spent billions of dollars fighting this war, and what have we achieved?

Very little. In 1964, there were 36 million Americans living in poverty, or about 19% of the population. In the forty years between 1964 and 2004:

…poverty never measured less than 11 percent of the population. In 1983, under President Reagan, poverty registered 15.2 percent; in 1993, at the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, poverty was measured at 13.7 percent of the population. In 2004, under George W. Bush, a president often accused by the political Left as not caring about the poor, the poverty rate declined to 12.7 percent. Still, some 37 million Americans remain poor.

Despite the forty year war on poverty, we have a million more considered poor today than when the war started.

According to the article referenced above, in 1959, approximately 10% of white Americans were poor. In 2004, the number was 8.6%. However, the percentage of blacks living in poverty dropped from 55% in 1959 to 25% in 2004. It would be easy to attribute that change to the government programs initiated during this time, but Thomas Sowell gives us the facts:

The economic rise of blacks began decades earlier, before any of the legislation and policies that are credited with producing that rise. The continuation of the rise of blacks out of poverty did not — repeat, did not — accelerate during the 1960s.

The poverty rate among black families fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent in 1960, during an era of virtually no major civil rights legislation or anti-poverty programs. It dropped another 17 percentage points during the decade of the 1960s and one percentage point during the 1970s, but this continuation of the previous trend was neither unprecedented nor something to be arbitrarily attributed to the programs like the War on Poverty.

In various skilled trades, the incomes of blacks relative to whites more than doubled between 1936 and 1959 — that is, before the magic 1960s decade when supposedly all progress began. The rise of blacks in professional and other high-level occupations was greater in the five years preceding the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years afterwards.

While some good things did come out of the 1960s, as out of many other decades, so did major social disasters that continue to plague us today. Many of those disasters began quite clearly during the 1960s.

Some of these social disasters include, according to Sowell:

  • “In the liberal vision, slums bred crime. But brand-new government housing projects almost immediately became new centers of crime and quickly degenerated into new slums.”
  • “Rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal disease had been going down for years before the new 1960s attitudes toward sex spread rapidly through the schools, helped by War on Poverty money. These downward trends suddenly reversed and skyrocketed.”
  • “The murder rate had also been going down, for decades, and in 1960 was just under half of what it had been in 1934. Then the new 1960s policies toward curing the “root causes” of crime and creating new “rights” for criminals began. Rates of violent crime, including murder, skyrocketed.”
  • “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”
  • “Government social programs such as the War on Poverty were considered a way to reduce urban riots. Such programs increased sharply during the 1960s. So did urban riots.”

Despite the failures of a War on Poverty in America, despite the evidence it has done more harm than good, Barack Obama is ready to take the fight global. S. 2433 is a bill sponsored by Obama, called the “Global Poverty Act of 2007.” This bill requires “the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.”

The United States currently spends $16.3 billion annually on foreign aid. This bill would commit the United States to spending 0.7% of its gross national product on foreign aid, in addition to that $16.3 billion. 0.7% comes out to $845 billion dollars over 13 years. Obama wants another $65 billion a year or, around $2000 per American citizen in new taxes a year, for fighting poverty in third world countries.

Another troubling detail in the bill is our requirement to coordinate “the goal of poverty reduction with other internationally recognized Millennium Development Goals.” The “Millennium Development Goals” are a United Nations creation, and according to Cliff Kincaid, means you could lose a lot more than two grand a year:

The bill defines the term “Millennium Development Goals” as the goals set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, General Assembly Resolution 55/2 (2000).

In addition to seeking to eradicate poverty, that declaration commits nations to banning “small arms and light weapons” and ratifying a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This bill opens up America to increased United Nations control. Hyperbole? Not at all. Take the Convention on the Rights of the Child for example. America’s laws concerning the child are at the state level, not the federal. According to Wikipedia, “The U.S. Constitution not only limits federal jurisdiction over children, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that to some significant degree, no government–federal, state, or local–may interfere with the parent-child relationship.”

Agreeing to this treaty would amount to the federal government putting the United Nations right in the middle of your family.

The Home School Legal Defense Association says the Convention of the Rights of the Child:

…would undermine families by granting to children a list of radical “rights” which would be primarily enforced against the parents. These new “fundamental” rights would include “the right to privacy,” “the right to freedom of thought and association,” and the right to “freedom of expression.” Such presumptions subvert the authority of parents to exercise important responsibilities toward their children. Under the UN Convention, parental responsibility exists only in so far as parents are willing to further the independent choices of the child.

The Global Poverty Act is much more than an increase in your taxes. It is a danger to the individual rights of Americans, from the Second Amendment, to telling your daughter when to be home at night. The bill not only takes our property for redistribution overseas, it takes our rights as Americans and turns them over to the United Nations. It is a dangerous step towards a global collective. And most Americans have never heard of it.

On February 13, the bill passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee without any public hearings. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison says it will be up for a Senate vote after the July 4 recess. Your Senators should be aware of your opinion of this bill.

This article was cross posted at All American Blogger.com, where you can find other great original articles.

Duane Lester

Duane Lester is co-founder of All American Blogger, and the primary writer. Following graduation, Duane entered the United States Navy as a journalist. He spent five years touring the world, reporting on local news and sports. Following his enlistment, Duane spent almost 10 years working with adjudicated youth in residential treatment environments. Duane discovered politics after September 11. He credits Erich "Mancow" Muller for opening his eyes to his conservative beliefs. Since then, Duane has devoured books and literature on politics, reading everything he can from Adam Smith to Larry Elder to Thomas Sowell. He refers to his style of politics as "conserva-tarian", a mixture of conservative and libertarian beliefs.

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