Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is calling for the United States to end funding for the anti-poverty U.N. Development Program, which he described as nothing more than a "wealth transfer operation" used to prop up governments.
"At a time when our budget is constrained, it seems this is the time to say, 'Maybe we've got other uses for the money,'" Bolton said Tuesday night on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
Bolton's comments followed the release of a preliminary report from the development program itself acknowledging that after spending more than $8.5 billion between 2004 and 2011, it has no evidence that its anti-poverty activities have accomplished anything.
Bolton said the admission should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with most U.N operations.
"This is the United Nations at work," he said. "Part of the problem with a lot of U.N. programs is you can measure the input, billions spent. You can't measure the output. I think this report, this is just the executive summary we have. When the whole thing comes out it will be interesting to read because it's an admission that they don't really know what effect their activities have."
Bolton added, "My recommendation . . . would be that Congress zero out the U.S. contribution."
The U.S. contribution to the program, which is voluntary, amounts to "a couple hundred million dollars a year," according to Bolton. But he noted that the U.S. funds an estimated one-fourth of the U.N.'s $8 billion budget.
He said the U.S. would "get a bigger bang for the buck" by providing poor developing countries with direct economic assistance rather than funding them through the U.N.
Bolton, however, applauded the efforts of two other U.N. programs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Program, which he said do "good work" around the world.
"It's one thing . . . if you know [funding] is effective and helping people," he said. "It's another thing to know that it sort of gets lost in the shuffle and no idea where it went."
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