A Special Tax Competition Conference
Sponsored by the Cato Institute

Cosponsored by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Hayek Institut, and
the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation.

The Case for Tax Competition, Fiscal
Sovereignty, and Financial Privacy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C.

This conference is free of charge.

Bringing together experts from around the world, Cato's tax competition conference will address a wide range of current and newly arising issues, including

  • How tax competition encourages better policy.
  • The risks of letting international bureaucracies dictate global tax rules.
  • The economic and moral case for financial privacy.
  • The danger to America if fiscal sovereignty is curtailed.
  • The OECD, the European Commission, and fiscal protectionism.
  • The Obama administration's proposals for tax hikes on U.S. multinational corporations and legislation to penalize foreign-based reinsurance firms.


In recent decades, rising globalization has forced governments to restrain their fiscal appetites. After the Reagan and Thatcher tax rate cuts of the 1980s, other countries were forced to respond with their own tax reforms. The growth of low-tax jurisdictions, or tax havens, has put further beneficial competitive pressure on governments with excessive tax rates. The result is that tax rates on income and capital have fallen significantly, to the great benefit of global investment and growth.

These pro-growth reforms did not come about because governments suddenly realized that low tax rates are better for growth. Instead, politicians cut tax rates to prevent the geese that lay the golden eggs of prosperity from flying across the border.

Alas, there is now a rising big-government backlash against tax competition. Politicians have made unwise promises for ever-growing levels of redistribution, and this is creating pressure for higher tax rates. But higher tax rates are particularly misguided when labor and capital can move to jurisdictions with better policies. This is why high-tax nations are seeking to curtail tax competition and are working through international bureaucracies such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to create an “OPEC for politicians.”


Welcoming Remarks    1:00 – 1:15p.m.

Panel 1    1:15 – 2:15p.m.

The Economic Case for Tax Competition, Daniel Mitchell, Senior Fellow, The Cato Institute

Tax Harmonization: Higher Taxes and Less Growth, Professor Richard Teather, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom

Can Tax Competition Save Governments from Fiscal Suicide? Veronique de Rugy, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center

The European Commission: Centralization, Bureaucratization, and Harmonization, Eline Van Den Broek, President, European Independent Institute

The Case Against the OECD Anti-Tax Competition Scheme, Robert Bauman, Legal Counsel, Sovereign Society, former Congressman

Download Podcast of Welcoming Remarks and Panel 1

Panel 2    2:15 – 3:15p.m.

The Case for Financial Privacy, Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

Fiscal Sovereignty vs. International Bureaucracies, Carlos Ernesto Gonzalez, Vice President, Fundacion Libertad, Panama

The Economic Benefits of International Financial Centers, Anthony Travers, Chairman, Cayman Islands Financial Services Association

It's Not Just About Tax: Preserving Regulatory Competition, Andrew Morriss, Professor of Law and Business, University of Illinois

The Campaign to Preserve Tax Competition, Richard Rahn, Senior Fellow, The Cato Institute, former member of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority

Download Podcast of Panel 2

Break       3:15 – 3:30p.m.

Panel 3    3:30 – 4:30p.m.

Open Shipping Registries and World Trade, Scott Bergeron, COO, Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry

Deferral and American Competitiveness, Alex Brill, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

How American Consumers and Companies Benefit from 'Offshore' Reinsurance, Eli Lehrer, Senior Fellow, CEI

Negative Consequences of Blacklisting, Bruce Zagaris, Partner, Berliner, Corcoran, and Rowe

Corporate Tax: America's Achilles' Heel, Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies, The Cato Institute

Business Mobility and Fiscal Competition, Barbara Kolm, Secretary General, Hayek Institut, Austria

Download Podcast of Panel 3

Keynote Speech    4:30 – 5:15p.m.

Introduction - Andrew Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Tax Competition Should Be Celebrated, not Persecuted, Dick Armey, Chairman, FreedomWorks; former Majority leader, U.S. House of Representatives

Download Podcast of Keynote Speech

Reception    5:15 – 6:00p.m.

Registration is closed for this event.
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