Magazine article Insight on the News

OECD Assaults Individual Privacy in the Name of World Government

Magazine article Insight on the News

OECD Assaults Individual Privacy in the Name of World Government

Article excerpt

The year 1984 passed 17 years ago, but the horror forecast in George Orwell's famous book is still creeping up on us. Big Brother now exists in several manifestations. One of them is the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), a collection of world government bureaucrats.

The OECD's tentacles are not limited, like Big Brother's, to Oceania alone, but reach throughout the world. Only the United States stands between the OECD and an international high-tax cartel that spells the end of everyone's financial privacy. The OECD wants to "harmonize" taxes so that residents of high-tax European welfare states will have nowhere to go with their life's savings.

Employing doublethink, the OECD says its aim is only to stop tax cheats and money laundering. In truth -- if the word still can be used -- the OECD's proposal is designed to make it possible for governments to collect taxes and confiscate wealth on a worldwide basis. A Frenchman, for example, who parks some money in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands with retirement in mind will find his bank there required to report his holdings to the French government.

If Switzerland, the Cayman Islands or any of the 41 countries branded "tax havens" by the OECD don't want to go along, the OECD intends to punish the countries by isolating their banking systems from world commerce. The success of the scheme depends on the United States joining, as there is no prospect of Big Brother, at this stage of his development, isolating the U.S. banking system.

The United States is wavering. Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Weinberger sees "many worthy elements" to the OECD's plan. We only want to make sure, he says, that the plan does not have the unintended consequence of making the OECD an extraterritorial tax authority that imposes tax laws and tax rates on independent countries.

Weinberger already is talking in newspeak. The plan most definitely imposes tax rates, because "tax havens" -- that is, all countries with lower tax rates than European welfare states -- would have to withhold taxes on deposits from abroad at the rates in effect in the depositors' home countries.

There was a time when privacy was respected. …

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