This session of Congress, I introduced a bill, along with 30 other Senators, to prevent the imposition of global taxes on the United States. The bill would withhold 20% of our contributions to the UN’s budget should the organization continue its advance towards global taxes.
The current efforts of the United Nations and other international organizations to develop, advocate, endorse, promote, and publicize proposals to raise revenue by instituting international taxes are unacceptable.
Last year, UN Ambassador John Bolton summarized the US’s position, saying that although the US fully supports increased development assistance, “The U.S. does not accept global aid targets or global taxes.”
My bill is only the latest development in a decade-long struggle against the UN’s desire to implement a global tax regime.
First to articulate openly the UN’s movement towards global taxes was Boutros-Boutros Ghali at a 1996 Oxford University speech in which he openly embraced the concept of global taxes and authoritarian world government. The then-Secretary General expressed the UN’s desire not to “be under the daily financial will of the member states.”
This statement warranted and resulted in Congressional action, and I cosponsored Senator Dole’s bill to prevent UN global taxes, which passed both Houses of Congresses and became public law.
Our efforts were met with continued resistance and arrogance on the part of the UN, and that same year the concept of global taxes was fully debated at the UN.
A little later, a UN Development Programme research project resulted in a push for the “Tobin Tax,” which is a tax on international monetary transactions. This tax would net trillions of dollars annually.
The 2001 Zedillo report concluded: “there is a genuine need to establish, by international consensus, stable and contractual new sources of multilateral finance''—world taxes.
Over the next few years, the UN pushed for a tax on international arms sales and military expenditures, taxes on international airline tickets, taxes on international trade through an ocean freight tax, a global environmental levy.
The list goes on and on, but here are just the most recent examples of this movement:
-A 2004 United Nations University study on global taxation
-UN’s 2005 book New Sources of Development Finance edited by A.B. Atkinson
-September 2005 UN “Millenium Development Goals” meeting addresses international airline ticket tax
-Peter Wahl of the German organization (WEED) says international currency transactions taxes are “ready”
-International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (AFL-CIO is an affiliate) supports international taxes
-The Clinton, Ford, and Gates Foundations participated in UN conferences pushing global taxes
-George Soros’s Open Society Institute & Oxfam America met at the “New Rules for Global Finance Coalition.”
The UN is fascinated with these global tax schemes. It would be an unprecedented accumulation of power for the UN. We cannot concede any ground on this issue. Conceding on even one of these initiatives will only embolden the UN to go for more.
The same rules that apply to bureaucracies here in the US—gradual accumulation of more and more power, resources and coercive ability—apply to the UN in an even more dramatic manner. The IRS is a model competence, moderation and responsibility when compared to the UN.
Unfortunately, the UN enjoys support from another international bureaucracy, which has endorsed global tax efforts—the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In addition to its support of UN global tax schemes, the OECD, which receives 25% of its budget from the US, has used US taxpayer money in turn to encourage and support higher taxes on the US Taxpayer.
For these reasons, Senator Brownback and I had the following language included in the foreign ops approps bill: “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to fund activities or projects undertaken by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that are designed to hinder the flow of capital and jobs from high-tax jurisdictions to low-tax jurisdictions or to infringe on the sovereign right of jurisdictions to determine their own domestic policies.” Senator Brownback and I are currently working with Senators Bunning and Vitter to ensure this language’s retention.
It’s very simple and straightforward: if you want to advocate for higher taxes and global taxes on US taxpayers, US taxpayers will not be forced to foot the bill.
Let’s quickly look at some of reasons for this language and the case against the OECD:
The OECD has endorsed and encouraged higher taxes, new taxes, and global taxes no fewer than 24 times in reports with titles such as “Towards Global Tax Cooperation,” in which the OECD identifies 35 nations guilty of “harmful tax competition.”
They have advocated that the US adopt a costly and bureaucratic Value Added Tax, a 40-cent increase in the gas tax, a carbon tax, a fertilizer tax, ending the deductibility of state and local taxes from federal taxes, new taxes at the state level, and a host of other new and innovative taxes on US citizens.
It’s not only the recommending of higher taxes which concerns us; the ultimate concern is the movement towards undermining US sovereignty. Eco-groups such as the Friends of the Earth want the OECD to declare that dam-building for flood control and electronic power is unacceptable as “sustainable energy.” In May, 2005 the OECD ministers endorsed a proposal at the UN to create a system of global taxes.
The OECD has stated explicitly that low-tax policies “unfairly erode the tax bases of other countries and distort the location of capital and services.”
What we have here are Paris-based bureaucrats seeking to protect high-tax welfare states from the free market.
That’s why the OECD goes on to say that free-market tax competition “may hamper the application of progressive tax rates and the achievement of redistributive goals.” Clearly, free market tax competition makes it harder to implement socialistic welfare states. The free market evidently hasn’t been fair to socialistic welfare states. Well, it’s a good thing that they have the OECD and nearly $100 million in US taxpayer money to protect them.
Noted economist Walter Williams clearly sees the direction in which this is headed when he says that “the bottom line agenda for the OECD is to establish a tax cartel where nations get together and collude on taxes.”
Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill seconded that when he said that he was “troubled by the underlying premise that low tax rates are somehow suspect and by the notion that any country…should interfere in any other country’s” tax policy.
And John Bolton argues that the OECD “represents a kind of worldwide centralization of governments and interest groups.” Who do you think bears the costs for all this? Mr. Bolton answers and you probably guessed it—the United States.
America’s proud history of independence was driven in no small part by the desire for sovereignty over taxation powers. In this context, it makes no sense to relegate our sovereignty over tax policy, in any way, to international bureaucrats.
It’s very simple. U.S. taxpayers are being forced to fund a bunch of international bureaucrats who write, speak, organize, and advocate in support of higher taxes, global taxes, and the gradual erosion of American sovereignty over its domestic fiscal policies.
If individual Americans want to give their money to an organization which is dedicated to raising taxes and weakening America, they can. It’s called the Democratic Party. But most Americans would be outraged to learn that they are forced to subsidize these types of activities with their tax dollars.