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Those U.N. dues: No more sugar daddy

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If the Obama administration is at all serious about reforming the United Nations, it can begin by pressing to change the formulation of U.N. dues, which are up for revision.

This is an opportunity -- it only comes every three years -- for the U.S. to gain a meaningful say in efficiency, transparency and accountability at Turtle Bay. Without change to a system that's grossly tilted against the U.S., America will remain but one ineffectual voice while other nations that pay a pittance drive the U.N.'s agenda.

Never mind that the U.S. pays an outlandish share: 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget and almost 26 percent of its peacekeeping fund. The fact that more than 80 percent of both budgets is paid by only the top 15 U.N. contributors is outrageous.

So while the U.S. is expected to pay $598 million for the U.N.'s 2010 regular budget, 54 countries assessed at a far lower rate (0.001 percent of the U.N. budget) would each pony up just over $25,000, notes Brett D. Schaefer of The Heritage Foundation.

The U.S. can press for a voting system that's weighed by nations' contributions, Mr. Schaefer says. Or the financial burden can be spread more evenly. Unfortunately the many members who enjoy this sweetheart deal have no incentive to change it.

That is, unless the U.S stops playing sugar daddy for the U.N. and withholds all funding until fairness prevails.

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