In 1960, eighteen European countries, plus the US and Canada, signed on to become charter members of the new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Since that time, another twenty countries have signed on.
The Organisation was an expansion of an existing French organisation, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), begun in France in 1948.
Not surprisingly, the OECD became an extension of the OEEC and was led by France. As such, the tone of the OECD reflected French Governmental thinking on economics. As the organisation expanded its power, its direction became more focused on two of the French Government’s economic bugbears – worldwide collection of tax and worldwide equalisation of tax.
Of course, France is known for its often crippling levels of taxation and, in 2013, over 8000 French people saw their tax bills top 100% of their earnings. This extraordinary tax level was, not surprisingly, introduced by socialist President Francois Hollande.
Monsieur Hollande may be have been extreme in his tax, but, by French standards, not dramatically so. France has long been a bastion for the socialistic belief that the “Greedy Rich” must be forced to pay their “fair share.”
So, who exactly are the Greedy Rich? At what level of income does one become a member of this group? Well, like most things socialist, “rich” is a sliding scale. The man who came up with a new design for widgets, borrowed money and built a factory, employing others to make the widgets, is likely to find himself categorised as rich. Has he has a bad year and has actually made less money that his lowest-paid employee for that year? No matter, he is still “rich.” (The adjective “greedy” is optional, to be used whenever criticising those being described as rich.)
In considering the above, if we harbour resentment for such an individual, we might define Greedy Rich as “Someone who appears to have more money than I do.”
Of course, as stated above, this definition requires a sliding scale, as we cannot place a dollar figure on “rich”. A rich person is simply someone who appears to have more money than we do, whatever that amount might be. Similarly, “fair share” might be defined as “more than they are presently paying.”
So, here’s our widget manufacturer, who, in a good year, might earn well into six figures, but, as he is solely responsible for the gamble he has taken in creating a business, he may make little or nothing in some years and, in fact, may need to plough back his previous earnings to shore up the business in bad years.
How about a football player who is paid upwards of seven figures annually for possessing the skill to kick around a ball well? Is he one of the greedy rich? No. In fact, he is to be idolised. He may even flaunt his wealth with mansions, expensive cars, bling and a trophy wife, yet he is not one of the greedy rich.
And of course, there are movie stars and rock stars who fall into the same category. They may be conspicuously wealthy – even conspicuously wasteful, and be admired for it. They are “good people”. Yes, they may display a penchant for behaving like spoiled royalty, even to the point of abusing their spouses, but they receive a firm warning and forgiveness, then return to their place on the pedestal.
And so, we might alter our definition to state that the Greedy Rich are deemed guilty because they employ others, making money from the sweat of their employees’ brows. But, if we look deeper, we realise that the football player, the actor and the rock star, employ limo drivers, gardeners, pool boys, agents, etc. They employ others, yet we don’t criticise their extravagant lifestyles over that of their employees.
To these groups of “non-greedy” rich, we may add the politicians, who also tend to live extravagant lives and generally benefit greatly financially from politics. But, in order for politicians to live in this manner, they must receive tax dollars – the more the better – and this, of course, causes the universal hatred amongst politicians for Tax Havens.
The term, “Tax Haven” was once regarded as describing a jurisdiction where the people enjoyed freedom from taxation. Today, of course, most tax havens play down the freedom angle. The OECD has successfully changed the term to suggest lawlessness, greed, money laundering, etc. Today, the OECD makes no secret of its goal to eliminate tax havens altogether and put the world on a “fair” system of uniform taxation.
What they mean by “fair,” however, is that all the smaller nations that have chosen to have minimal governmental systems, supported by minimal taxation, are an embarrassment and a threat to them. This is unfair. Smaller nations must be forced to impose oppressive taxation on their citizens.
The OECD therefore campaigns continuously to force “equal” taxation on Tax Havens. And so, they regularly threaten economic warfare on the Isle of Man, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, etc. to create direct taxation that is “fair” and “acceptable” to the OECD member-nations.
The fly in this particular ointment is that the OECD member-nations do not in any way agree amongst themselves on what level of tax is “fair.” The US is increasing its already burdensome taxation. The UK is doing the same, even though tax in Britain is already higher than in the US and, of course, France’s taxation level is higher than both, yet recommendations are regularly made by France’s government to increase it.
The objective of the OECD is to:
1 Vilify those who have made money through productivity, to justify increased taxation
2 Expand the image that the use of a Tax Haven is a criminal endeavour
3 Force uniform (preferably high) taxation on smaller countries to limit the exit of funds
from OECD member-countries to Tax Havens.
4 Ignore the inconsistent taxation levels in OECD member-countries
5 Continue to allow OECD member-countries themselves to act as Tax Havens.
The OECD was created, ostensibly, for a variety of purposes, but what has been revealed as its primary purpose is to eliminate economic freedom in the world to the degree that the citizen is an economic prisoner of his government. This, in turn, assures that the citizen’s wealth is readily available to be taxed, or otherwise confiscated to the degree that the individual OECD member-nation’s government sees fit.
The OECD nations have no intention of enforcing uniformity or “fairness” upon each other; this restriction is to be reserved for the smaller countries that presently allow greater economic freedom.
The OECD has made great strides in recent decades – first, in convincing the public that the “Greedy Rich” are an evil class of people that seek to oppress the common man and, second, in making inroads into restrictions on Tax Havens.
(Soon to come: Tax uniformity amongst smaller nations.)
But the OECD has a ways to go and it may be decades before they succeed in their effort. Additionally, the world is looking at large-scale, international economic collapse in the relatively near future. What part will this play in the OECD’s efforts? Will they, like many organisations, go by the boards, as they may simply become impossible to fund? Or, will we see an economic reset - a New World Order of sorts, in which the IMF becomes the world’s tax arbiter? Time will tell.