September 1, 2009 3:10PM

Who Will Bail Me Out of a Mexican Jail?

Greetings from the OECD Global Tax Forum in Mexico City.

Our erstwhile friends at the OECD are not very tolerant of dissent, and this trip is a good example. First, they bullied the hotel in Cabo into canceling my reservation. Apparently, my mere presence would create a disturbance to their plans for one‐​size‐​fits‐​all taxation. But then the conference got moved to Mexico City because of the hurricane and the bureaucrats did not have the ability — at least on short notice — into coercing the new hotel into denying me the ability to get a room (not that it would have been a big deal to register someplace else, but it is somewhat galling that petty bureaucrats seem so intent of throwing roadblocks in the way of the folks who pay their bloated — and tax free — salaries).

Today, however, the OECD upped the ante. I have been hanging out in the public lobby outside of the OECD’s conference room. This location makes it easy to communicate with the delegates from low‐​tax nations. This apparently irritates the bureaucrats, so they sent one of their security officials to ask me to leave. I asked what right he had to make such a request, especially since I was in a public area. He claimed that the lobby — which also serves as the entrance to a restaurant and the business center — was reserved for the conference. I said that was absurd and would like to see the hotel management. Perhaps more important, I turned to the reporter next to me and started explaining that this was a typical example of the OECD’s reprehensible strong‐​arm tactics. This flustered the security guy and he backed down.

But I suspect that this is not the end of the story. And since I’m not overly confident that the Mexican government respects the rule of law, I do have visions of getting carted off to an unpleasant jail. If you don’t see anything in this space tomorrow morning, that won’t be a good sign.

For those interested in more background on the issue, read this memo and/​or watch my videos on tax competition and tax havens.