It's Past Time to Dump the OECD

Let taxpayers in high-tax nations subsidize the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Taxpayers are spending millions of dollars every year funding an army of bureaucrats who advocate higher taxes and bigger government around the globe.

Last year, the United States sent $77 million to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the largest single contribution and fully 21 percent of the Paris-based bureaucracy's $370 million annual budget. Add to that several million dollars in additional expenses for special projects and the U.S. mission to the OECD.

In theory, the OECD is a place "where the governments of 34 democracies with market economies work with each other, as well as with more than 70 non-member economies to promote economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development." The OECD will occasionally publish papers on its website laying out the theoretical benefits of economic growth and smaller-government policies.

In practice, despite the OECD's heavy reliance on American taxpayer funds, the organization persistently works against U.S. interests, arguing for international tax cartels, the end of privacy, redistribution schemes and other big-government fantasies.

Take its campaign for tax harmonization, begun as a way to protect high-tax nations from bleeding more capital to lower-tax jurisdictions. In the minds of OECD bureaucrats, high-tax nations are entitled to all they can extract from people and companies. Individuals aren't legally allowed to shift their economic activity to jurisdictions with better tax policies if it hinders the ability of big governments in Europe to feed their domestic fiscal beast. The OECD may recognize competition is good in the private sector, but promotes cartelization policies to protect politicians.

In 2000, the OECD singled out 41 nonmember countries and territories with lower tax rates and a healthy commitment to financial privacy as havens of supposedly unfair tax competition. OECD warned these countries to promptly discontinue their "unfair practices" or face the financial protectionism of its member countries. The goal was to pressure low-tax countries into increasing their tax rates or through automatic information-sharing schemes becoming deputy tax collectors for high-tax European nations.

The bureaucrats, abetted by the European Union and the United Nations, even started clamoring for the creation of some kind of international tax organization, for global taxation and more explicit forms of tax harmonization.

Unfortunately, after years of bullying, the statists have made tremendous progress. Targeted jurisdictions have agreed to sign tax information exchange agreements, weakening their human rights laws on financial privacy.

Although we're not directly targeted, American taxpayers should be concerned about the OECD campaign. As one of the biggest tax havens in the world, the United States faces European pressure to comply with these awful policies. Tax harmonization results in a higher-tax environment and a weaker global economy. And without the checks on political greed that competition affords, we inevitably suffer.

But that isn't all. For the sole purpose of a massive tax grab, the OECD is now targeting American corporations with excessive and expansive new reporting requirements. As David Burton of The Heritage Foundation has reported, this puts trade secrets unrelated to tax assessment in the hands of unscrupulous governments and makes proprietary data vulnerable to unauthorized access by third parties.

After years documenting their disingenuous and downright statist work, Dan Mitchell with the Cato Institute found that OECD bureaucrats have repeatedly pushed Keynesian spending binges on countries trying hard to eliminate government red ink.

At the same time they make unsubstantiated claims that "higher taxes would lead to more economic development or more public goods" and that "a nation isn't developed unless taxes consume at least 25 percent of GDP," Mitchell said. It may come as some surprise that the United States isn't developed yet!

And these OECD bureaucrats make all these claims about the need for more taxes while earning outsize tax-free salaries subsidized by the United States.

It's time for us to zero out this line in our budget. Let taxpayers in high-tax nations subsidize the OECD.


NEXT: Adam Smith Needs a Paper Clip

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  1. Thanks Veronique, I have never heard of the OECD and they absolutely should have American money cut to zero. This group sounds like it I operating against American interests.

    On the topic of budgets cuts, why are so many of you believing the media about reversals on what will be cut in the 2017 federal budget? The media has been wrong multiple times and their biased position on federal cuts is very clear. They are citing Trump and/or his administration officials on reversals like the Ex-Im bank when Trump has continued to say one thing and do another to keep the dipshit media off guard. The media is trying to control public opinion on cuts before the budget is even being discussed in detail.

    1. How can you have never heard of the OECD? They’re all over the place!

      But I agree with the sentiment.

      The U.S. gives to an organization that turns around and publishes studies that run contrary to American principles in general; be it health or economics or whatever.

      1. We’re a charitable ppl. Parasites gotta live too!

  2. Of course its time to dump it. Along with world bank, IMF, UN, NATO, Central bank cartels. what am I missing? Basically any organization that exists without elected personnel that takes vast amounts of $$ from governments and allocates it at whim to pet projects in the name of benevolence. It is rooted in and always has been a conduit for corruption without consequence.

    This is the type of globalism that the American voter was alluding to when they mistakenly voted for Trump. All of these cronyists organizations exist only for bilking tax payers for slush funds to be abused by bureaucrats and corrupt politicians.

    The moronic Marxists leftists think globalism is global free trade because they hate all for profit business.

    The real danger is the fascism(heavy government influence over private enterprise) that is represented by these massive NGOs that are simply tax payer funded junkets for scumbags.

    1. Well, I think that about sums it all up.

      1. I’ll second that.

  3. Look, it’s a basic tenet of government that the free market would work much better if there were top men managing it and steering it in the right direction. As it is, the free market tends to give the public what they want instead of what they should want and what they would want if they weren’t so goddamn stupid brainwashed and manipulated by the greedy corporations that convince them undesirable things are desirable. Why are you opposed to a better free market system, one improved by having government centrally planning what’s in everyone’s best interest even if they don’t know it?

    1. As it is, the free market tends to give the public what they want instead of what they should want

      That’s where The Nudge Unit comes in.

    2. That sarc is so well choreographed, it sounds like two neocons and three democrats got together in a circle jerk.

      I hope that was sarc.

  4. I spent 4 years working for the OECD, in the portion called the Nuclear Energy Agency, in the late 80s. It served a good function, because it allowed technical experts from the market economies to talk to one another and conduct international research efforts without having to consider the interests of the Communist bloc or the third world. If you have never been to a similar sort of meeting run by the United Nations, you have no idea how these things can get bogged down in political wrangling to the point that they accomplish very little. The UN is the greatist bureaucratic boondoggle on the planet. OECD in the 80s was much better.

    The economists at the OECD seem to have become captured by the statists, just like the “social scientists” in academia have become captured by marxists and feminists and other progressives. Some of the STEM fields in the OECD are still doing quite well, and when I was there we started to allow engineers from outside the market economies to observe and participate in some of our activities – they were ecstatic to be able to exchange ideas freely with their peers, and we probably helpd nuclear power safety in their countries. But the social “sciences” seem to have become corrupted everywhere.

    Don’t kill the entire OECD – just kill the “social science” programs, everywhere.

    1. When I first learned of the OECD I was impressed that it said “the right things” in a very seductive way . And I think a lot of its econometrics seem useful .

      But I think , as this article portrays , there is a serious question whether any organization instituted between governments can ever avoid being co-opted by the global statist will to power .

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