The Great Hall of American Hatred, otherwise known as United Nations headquarters, is getting a face lift. It began earlier this month when UN officials gathered to break ground on what just might be the world’s most expensive fixer upper.

Shoveling more than ceremonial dirt, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the ground breaking, “today we turn the soil which the United Nations stands on to mark the rebirth, or renovation, of our Headquarters.”

UN officials may have been turning American soil in New York City, but the policies and practices of the United Nations have, for decades, turned the stomachs of the American people. The building is an East River eyesore and a monument to corruption. Awash in anti-Americanism, the organization is an insult to democratic values.

Built in 1950, the 38-story UN building mirrors the organization — it is outdated, corrupted, crumbling, wasteful, inefficient, dangerous, and no longer useful. The building, like the organization, should have been condemned, but the UN instead chose to undertake a massive and expensive renovation. The project is currently slated to take five years to complete.

A 2006 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned that costs on the UN project were “preliminary” and should be “expected to change.” They were correct. Just five years ago, the project was estimated to cost $953 million. Now, it is $1.87 billion. But even that estimate has risen in recent weeks.

Last month, the GAO reported to Congress that the project’s price tag now stands at $2.07 billion – $190 million higher than what the UN tells us. The GAO added hopefully that the project’s executive director “is optimistic about being able to get the project back on budget.” That is unlikely given the upward trajectory of the project to date and the UN’s dismal track record on financial matters.

If the UN’s expenses continue to spiral upward, so too, will the cost to the American taxpayers. The Capital Master Plan (CMP), as the UN has dubbed the project, is being financed through the same assessment formula as the UN’s annual operations. Thus, the United States will pay the largest share — 22 percent — or $455 million — based on the latest overruns.

We have reached a point where there must be limits placed on American generosity — and those limits must be applied first and foremost to the United Nations.

The U.S. budget deficit for 2008 will be north of $400 billion. That will be added to the $163 billion shortfall from last year, bringing our national debt to a staggering $9.4 trillion. The trade deficit is over $700 billion. At nearly $4 per gallon, Americans are getting gouged at the gas pump, and the President’s pleas for increased oil production are being ignored by the Saudis and other OPEC nations which routinely vote against U.S. interests in the General Assembly. The Bush administration is bailing out irresponsible investors who gambled on sub prime mortgages and is spending $168 billion in an effort to jump start the economy.

Working Americans are facing a mortgage crisis, lost home equity from plummeting real estate values, foreclosures, higher grocery bills, a sinking dollar, a depressed stock market, sky-high gas prices, increased health care costs, rising college tuitions, and jobs being shipped overseas. On top of all that, should they really be forced to underwrite the comfort of UN bureaucrats?

Giving the United Nations a $455 million makeover during difficult economic times like these certainly explains why approval ratings for the Congress and the President are in the basement.

But the economics are only a part of the problem. We are funding an organization whose goal is to undermine our country and our Constitution. At Turtle Bay right now, the United Nations is working on an Arms Trade Treaty that will prevent the manufacture and possession of  firearms. But for the efforts of John Bolton and the National Rifle Association, it might already be ratified. The UN is also organizing “Durbin II” — a follow up to the 2001 conference turned hate crime which highlighted the UN’s anti-Semitism.

The UN continues to press the United States to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty and the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court – both of which would do grave damage to our Constitution. Through treaties or conferences, the United Nations is trying to influence American policy on the sale and use of tobacco, the death penalty, traffic regulations, health issues, women’s issues, civil rights, and the list goes on.

Before agreeing to fund the UN building project, there should have been a debate in Congress about the utility of this organization. Is it useful? Does it serve American interests? Can we do without it? There was a time when Republicans in Congress would have fought an expansion of global government and a payment of hundreds of millions to an organization that hates America and has a history of waste and corruption. Now they embrace it. It’s pathetic.

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