$1.2 billion. That’s how much you and I kick in to the United Nations every year. Thanks to America’s status as the financial heavyweight champions of the world, each year Joe and Joan Taxpayer contribute enough of their paychecks to the Mos Eisley of geopolitics to fund the approximate annual cost of:
- 600 million school lunches.
- 110,000 students
- 22,000 school teachers.
- Social Security benefits for 850,000 senior citizens
- 5 million Medicare Part B deductibles.
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, AKA foodstamps) for 4.7 million people.
- Provide Americans 600,000,000,000 (that’s billion) gallons of clean water.
And that’s before we start diverting U.N. dues to the really good swag. For the cost of America’s annual tithe to that “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” we could:
- Pay 12,000,000 cable/internet bills.
- Cover the rent/mortgage payments of 809,000 families.
- Send 19,000 kids to Harvard.
- Send 184,000 kids to community college.
$1.2 billion may not seem like a lot, especially when weighed against a Federal budget that landed on the north side of $4 trillion. But to the potential alternative recipients, it’s a hell of a lot of scratch. Which begs the question: On whom should we be spending the dough we hand over to the East River Social Club?
The news out of the United Nations suggests that they’re not quite as gracious about our largesse as you might be if Uncle Sam picked up the tab so Junior could get that “gender studies” degree. After all, Junior may come home from his first semester inside the ivory tower as full of anti-American bilge as the vocally critical Ambassador from Yemen, but at least Junior can mow the lawn. No matter how irritating Junior might be, what with their denunciation of Christmas as an irreligious money grab by toy companies, Grandma will be a lot happier to see Junior at dinner than she would be to see the Ambassador from Yemen.
Moreover, we’re not paying Junior to pretend they can dictate where we put our embassies. But the aforementioned Yemeni diplomat got a piece of our U.N. money, not to mention the over half a billion in aid we sent to the Yemeni home office. And he’s not alone. All the countries that send politicians to New York, where they ruin everything from worthwhile discourse to Midtown Manhattan parking, get to party at least partly on our dime. The $1.2 billion we pay in membership dues accounts for 22 percent of the club’s operating budget. And it doesn’t include greens fees or the bar tab. Factor in our share of the costs for peacekeeping and food/health care, and we’re actually forking over about $3.5 billion. That’s a hefty price tag to stand around in blue helmets, doing nothing, while third world kleptocracies kill each other over desolate land inhabited by desolated people. It’s an enormous price tag to do all that and then endure a tongue-lashing from the People’s Bankrupt Republic of Venezuela, or the Bagman for Islamofascist Terrorism, Iran.
I’m not suggesting we abandon the United Nations. Membership gives us the chance to keep an eye on the kids, especially the little hooligans from a couple neighborhoods over. And our presence on the Security Council keeps the little hooligans from using U.N. force to beat the crap out of the kids next door because they don’t go to the same mosque. At the very least, we should consider uprooting them from their East River digs. That’s some prime real estate, right there. In city in which people will drop four figures a month on a parking space, the U.N.’s slice of Manhattan represents enough in potential property taxes to fund a boatload of entitlements for an even bigger boatload of people who will never be able to afford a 25th floor condo in the new East River View Towers. Let the guys who think so little of us relocate to their backup house in Geneva — on their nickel.
— Ben Crystal