IMF to US Leadership: Get a Heart (Just Kidding)

Today a friend sent me the the short BBC article entitled “IMF Warns US Over High Poverty.” I have been a financial advisor for more than 25 years. I meet with my clients at least once a year and they always want to know my thoughts on the economy. I tell them I must take off my financial advisor hat and put on my caring citizen hat to say, “If you are fortunate enough to have a portfolio, life is good. If you don’t, chances are highly likely that life is really, really hard. We need a caring economy and we don’t have one.”

What is the IMF? It’s acronym stands for the International Monetary Fund. As a Rotarian and Caring Citizen Delegate of the Empathy Surplus Project, I pay attention to what the IMF says, because it is part of the Brenton Woods Institutions. In 1944–1945, 50 Rotarians helped create these institutions when they helped charter of the United Nations. US Rotarians do a lot for their communities because of this legacy of humanitarian work. “Service Above Self” is our motto. It’s not enough. It’s time for Rotarians to FULLY embrace our political legacy, which is not a partisan legacy, but a human rights and peacemaking legacy. Here is the Rotary International short Policy on Politics:

“RI and its member clubs refrain from issuing partisan political statements. Rotarians are prohibited from adopting statements with a view to exerting any pressure on governments or political authorities. However, it is the duty of Rotarians
“In their clubs, to keep under review political developments in their own communities and throughout the world insofar as they affect service to their vocations and communities as well as the pursuit of the Rotary objective of world understanding and peace. They are expected to seek reliable information through balanced programs and discussions so that members can reach their own conclusions after a fair, collective examination of the issues.
“Outside their clubs, to be active as individuals in as many legally constituted groups and organizations as possible to promote, not only in words but through exemplary dedication, awareness of the dignity of all people and the respect of the consequent human rights of the individual. (89–134, RCP 2.100.)” — from Manual of Procedure, page 7

There are plenty of ways for Rotarians to participate in effective government in their communities when they leave their clubs. Twenty percent of my small club in Wilmington, Ohio, work for the city. Many of us, “as individual,” are committed to promoting human rights.

But too many of us are not committed because we do not know about our legacy of promoting effective government focused on human rights. We are very much aware that government alone cannot do everything need to create a caring economy. Now is the time for Rotarians and all caring citizens to embrace the UN Global Compact at the local level to help all non-businesses and businesses to embrace Ten Principles of

Human Rights
Labor
Environment
Anti-Corruption

Let’s Stop Creating Poverty

The IMF is calling on the USA to stop creating poverty in their Article IV Consultation with the United States of America: Concluding Statement of the IMF Mission, issued June 22, 2016.

The IMF’s staff recommends the following policy actions to alleviate these long-running supply side issues:

• Increase state and federal infrastructure investment.

• Adopt comprehensive skills-based immigration reform.

• Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit combined with an increase in the federal minimum wage.

• Upgrade social programs for the nonworking poor.

• Deepen and improve family-friendly benefits including paid family leave and childcare assistance.

• Increase funding for training programs, vocational partnerships, and early childhood education. Raise the effectiveness of spending on science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.

• Comprehensively reform the corporate income tax.

Is the IMF Kidding?

All of this sounds great until you get to the last bullet point of the IMF, which is CONTRADICTORY TO HUMAN RIGHTS. It’s unbelievable. Here is that awful last recommendation:

• Ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership, conclude a trade and investment treaty with Europe, and resist all forms of protectionism.

But in February of this year the top UN human rights experts condemned the TPP and called ALL 12 nations to reject TPP.

This February article repeated the concerns that UN officials had in Geneva in 2015.

This year the UN was joined by Human Rights Watch in condemning the TPP.

If you want to get better at applying the latest insights of the brain to understand how to build an empathy surplus in public government in YOUR sphere of influence, I hope you’ll consider being my guest at my local community of practice, the First Caring Citizens’ Congress of Wilmington, OH.