Commentary

Using Your Tax Dollars to Push for Class Warfare

In his class-warfare campaign for higher tax rates and more redistribution, President Obama has picked up support from the usual suspects, including union bosses, left-wingers in Congress and the establishment media. But he’s also getting help from the bureaucrats at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — which gets $100 million a year from US taxpayers.

Most Americans have never heard of the OECD; Paris-based, it for decades has concentrated on such innocuous tasks as gathering statistics. But in recent years, it’s morphed into an advocate for the European economic model of big government and interventionism.

As documented by a study from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, the OECD’s bureaucrats endorsed ObamaCare, supported the failed stimulus and are big promoters of a value-added tax for America. The OECD even has an anti-tax competition project to persecute low-tax jurisdictions.

For lawmakers looking for ways to save tax dollars, eliminating the OECD’s subsidy would be a good place to start.”

Now it has launched a big project on “inequality,” complete with books, conferences and other forms of propaganda to promote higher tax rates. Wednesday, for instance, the OECD teamed up with the AFL-CIO for a presentation at the union’s headquarters entitled “Divided We Stand — Tackling Growing Inequality Now.”

In its press release on income difference, the OECD “underlines the need for governments to review their tax systems to ensure that wealthier individuals contribute their fair share of the tax burden.” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria recently came out for punitive and destructive taxes on wealth, praising governments that are looking at “not only the possibility of raising marginal tax rates on the rich but also… reassessing the role of taxes on all forms of property and wealth.”

The OECD even used American tax dollars for a fancy three-day conference in India on the topic of “Tax and Inequality.” At no point, of course, does the organization explain how you help poor people by penalizing entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners, and other “rich” people.

Support by Europeans for Obama’s efforts to Europeanize America is no surprise. But the OECD shouldn’t be using American tax dollars to promote Obama’s class-warfare agenda — especially since OECD bureaucrats get tax-free salaries.

Actually, the real issue is whether it makes sense for American taxpayers to subsidize the OECD. OK, $100 million may not sound like much money when the federal budget imposes a $4 trillion-a-year burden on the economy. But when you look at how the OECD spends money, it quickly becomes apparent that sending US tax dollars to this Paris-based bureaucracy may be the most destructive on a per-dollar basis.

For lawmakers looking for ways to save tax dollars, eliminating the OECD’s subsidy would be a good place to start.

Daniel Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.