Though it gets strong competition from the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development wins the prize for being the worst international bureaucracy.
The Paris-based organization is infamous for pushing a statist agenda on a wide range of issues, including class-warfare taxation, energy taxation, business taxation, value-added taxes, Keynesian spending, green energy, and government-run healthcare.
And it relies on dodgy, dishonest, and misleading data when pushing big-government policies regarding poverty, pay equity, inequality, and comparative economics.
But what gets me most agitated is the OECD’s attempt, beginning in the late 1990s, to prop up decrepit welfare states by undermining tax competition.
I elaborated on my concerns in this interview last June.
To make matters worse, American taxpayers finance the lion’s share of the OECD’s statist agenda. Eliminating subsidies for the OECD arguably would be the budget cut with the greatest value per dollar saved.
Which is the point of some new research from the Heritage Foundation. James Roberts and Adam Michel make a strong case that the OECD is using handouts from American taxpayers to push policy that are contrary to U.S. interests.
I normally would exclaim “amen” at this point, except the folks at Heritage are being far too nice, writing that the White House “should consider” whether to subsidize the OECD and noting that the U.S. “could” withdraw from the Paris-based bureaucracy.
I’m in no mood for diplomatic niceties when dealing with an organization that is pervasively hostile to economic liberty. The OECD is beyond salvage. If Republicans had any brains (yes, I realize that the GOP is known as “the stupid party” for good reason), handouts would have ended last decade.
I’ll close with an example of the OECD’s perfidy.
From the moment the bureaucracy’s anti-tax competition project began about 20 years ago, I explained that the OECD was seeking to destroy financial privacy so that uncompetitive governments could track capital and impose high tax rates on income that is saved and invested. In effect, the battle over “tax havens” and “tax competition” were a proxy for whether there should be more double taxation and more extra-territorial taxation.
OECD bureaucrats and others scoffed at such assertions and said the project was simply about closing off options for tax evasion so that nations could afford to lower tax rates.
I viewed that explanation as laughably dishonest. After all, did oil-producing nations create OPEC so they could reduce petroleum prices?
Were my suspicions warranted? Well, see what the bureaucrats just wrote.
…opportunities may exist…to increase progressivity in the…taxation of capital income as a result of major changes to the international tax environment. …the recent move towards the automatic exchange of financial account information between tax administrations is likely to make it harder…for taxpayers to evade tax by hiding income and wealth offshore… This may present a particular opportunity for countries that previously moved away from progressive taxation of capital income (due to concerns regarding such tax evasion) to reintroduce a degree of progressivity.In other words, now that the OECD has succeeded in greatly weakening financial privacy, the bureaucrats openly admit that the real goal was to make it possible for uncompetitive welfare states to impose higher tax burdens on saving and investment. I’m shocked, shocked.
Here’s my video on the OECD. It was released in 2010, but nothing has changed other than there’s even more evidence against the parasitical bureaucracy.
P.S. To add more insult to all the injury, the tax-loving bureaucrats at the OECD get tax-free salaries. Must be nice to be exempt from the bad policies they support.