Living high at the UN

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While reading Joshua Muravchik's brief but illuminating book, The Future of the United Nations, I came across this interesting factoid.The level of salaries for "professional" staff is determined on the basis of the "Noblemaire Principle," according to which, the international civil service should be able to recruit from its member states, including the highest paid.

Therefore, the salaries of the UN's professional staff are set by reference to the highest—paying national service. The result: vastly increased salaries, paid for by you and me (almost 25% of UN revenue comes from America). Undersecretaries general (USGs) are currently paid $250,000 per year (ignoring all the travel and other benefits), 40% more than members of the US cabinet. And they pay no income tax! Thus, there are many Third World bureacrats who "work" at the UN and would undoubtedly find much lower salaries as enough inducement to work in NYC or other glamour cities where the UN has offices, yet are paid by Western—European inflated standards.
 
The punch line? There are so many of these types running around that the undersecretary general for management recently noted, "It is not possible for all the USGs to report to the Secretary General." Add this abuse to the oil—for food scandal, sex scandals, vastly inflated prices for a Taj Mahal like expansion of the UN building in NYC, and the myriad of other examples of UN corruption.

These salaries are enhanced by generous "perks" including housing allowances, private school tuition for their children, hospitality funds, and all of it free from taxes in the country where they reside.

A former Secretary General remarked in a rare moment of candor,

"the third world is for proliferation [of UN offices], all because of the possibilities of jobs or for prestige.Poor countries want five offices, not one, because all the nieces and daughters of the President work as secretaries."

Ed Lasky  1 10 06

While reading Joshua Muravchik's brief but illuminating book, The Future of the United Nations, I came across this interesting factoid.The level of salaries for "professional" staff is determined on the basis of the "Noblemaire Principle," according to which, the international civil service should be able to recruit from its member states, including the highest paid.

Therefore, the salaries of the UN's professional staff are set by reference to the highest—paying national service. The result: vastly increased salaries, paid for by you and me (almost 25% of UN revenue comes from America). Undersecretaries general (USGs) are currently paid $250,000 per year (ignoring all the travel and other benefits), 40% more than members of the US cabinet. And they pay no income tax! Thus, there are many Third World bureacrats who "work" at the UN and would undoubtedly find much lower salaries as enough inducement to work in NYC or other glamour cities where the UN has offices, yet are paid by Western—European inflated standards.
 
The punch line? There are so many of these types running around that the undersecretary general for management recently noted, "It is not possible for all the USGs to report to the Secretary General." Add this abuse to the oil—for food scandal, sex scandals, vastly inflated prices for a Taj Mahal like expansion of the UN building in NYC, and the myriad of other examples of UN corruption.

These salaries are enhanced by generous "perks" including housing allowances, private school tuition for their children, hospitality funds, and all of it free from taxes in the country where they reside.

A former Secretary General remarked in a rare moment of candor,

"the third world is for proliferation [of UN offices], all because of the possibilities of jobs or for prestige.Poor countries want five offices, not one, because all the nieces and daughters of the President work as secretaries."

Ed Lasky  1 10 06