Who’s buying the wine? 0

Daniel J. Mitchell writes at Townhall about American tax-payers paying the OECD to subvert America.

The $100 million that American taxpayers send to Paris every year to subsidize the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is – on a per-dollar basis – the most destructively wasteful part in the federal budget.

The video below will give you some evidence.

But the video also is a couple of years old, so it doesn’t even include some of the more recent and most outrageous examples of OECD perfidy.

The OECD has allied itself with the nutjobs from the so-called Occupy movement to push for bigger government and higher taxes.

The OECD, in an effort to promote redistributionism, has concocted absurdly misleading statistics claiming that there is more poverty in the US than in Greece, Hungary, Portugal, or Turkey.

The OECD is pushing a “Multilateral Convention” that is designed to become something akin to a World Tax Organization, with the power to persecute nations with free-market tax policy.

The OECD has endorsed Obama’s class-warfare agenda, publishing documents endorsing “higher marginal tax rates” so that the so-called rich “contribute their fair share.”

The OECD redistributes tax dollars to “corrupt and dictatorial regimes”.

Richard Rahn excoriates the statist swamp in his Washington Times column:

“The OECD was formed in 1960 to promote trade and investment among the developed countries. Over the years, it has morphed into an organization promoting higher taxes and the redistribution of income. … U.S. taxpayers are supporting high-salaried international bureaucrats who are advocating higher taxes on others, most notably U.S. taxpayers, but do not pay income taxes themselves.”

Dennis Kleinfeld wrote for IFC [International Finance Corporation] Review. He starts with a bit of history and explains how OECD bureaucrats live a good life at our expense:

“The OECD Secretary General, Deputy Secretaries, and heads of the Directorates are non-elected administrators and policy-makers, who live in Paris tax free (except for the Americans), travel first class, live first class, and whose every expense is paid for by the member states from taxes or money borrowed.

They keep a well-stocked wine-cellar at their headquarters too. Nice! But also paid for largely out of US taxes. (See the picture of it in the video.)

These are the guys who tell everyone else to pay their fair share of taxes and share in making sacrifices for the greater good of all. … I am quite convinced that the OECD functionaries have proceeded under the fixed ideological beliefs that global social happiness and economic prosperity can only be achieved when individuals subordinate their economic freedom and liberties to the interests of the collective, a utopian view of society. They are wrong. The state of the world proves otherwise.”

Removing American-financed subsidies from the OECD won’t necessarily put an end to this corrupt and statist bureaucracy. But at least American taxpayers won’t be violated to subsidize the pampered officials who drive the OECD’s biased agenda. And without America support, it is highly doubtful that the OECD would have any ability to bully nations into expanding the burden of government. That’s a win-win situation for America and the world.

Here’s his video:

Be free and prosper 4

There are a few countries that have not been plunged into recession by the almost global economic crisis. Some have prospered in the midst of it, though not because of it.

The fall in US real estate values, unemployment, and deep debt were caused by socialist policies, as Thomas Sowell explains in his new book, The Housing Boom and Bust. Find an excerpt from it here.

The countries that have prospered have done so as a result of sticking to free market policies. Here are two examples:

1.  Chile is a shining model.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Chile is expected to win entry to OECD’s club of developed countries by Dec. 15 — a great affirmation for a once-poor nation that pulled itself up by trusting markets. One thing that stands out here is free trade.

At a summit of Latin American countries last week in Portugal, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet suddenly became the center of attention — and rightly so. She announced that her country was expected to win membership in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, an exclusive club of the richest and most economically credible nations. …

For the rest of us, it’s a stunning example of how embracing free markets and free trade brings prosperity.

It’s not like Chile was born lucky. Only 30 years ago, it was an impoverished country with per capita GDP of $1,300. Its distant geography, irresponsible neighbors and tiny population were significant obstacles to investment and growth. And its economy, dominated by labor unions, wasn’t just closed, but sealed tight.

In the Cato Institute’s 1975 Economic Freedom of the World Report it ranked a wretched 71 out of 72 countries evaluated.

Today it’s a different country altogether. Embracing markets has made it one of the most open economies in the world, ranking third on Cato’s index, just behind Hong Kong and Singapore. Per capita GDP has soared to $15,000.

Besides its embrace of free trade, other reforms — including pension privatization, tax cuts, respect for property rights and cutting of red tape helped the country grow not only richer but more democratic, says Cato Institute trade expert Daniel Griswold.

But the main thing, Griswold says, is that the country didn’t shift course. “Chile’s economy is set apart from its neighbors, because they have pursued market policies consistently over a long period,” he said. “Free trade has been a central part of Chile’s success.”

Chile has signed no fewer than 20 trade pacts with 56 countries, giving its 19 million citizens access to more than 3 billion customers worldwide. When no pact was in force, Griswold notes, Chile unilaterally dropped tariffs. This paid off handsomely. …

The success belies claims, made mostly by protectionist unions, that free trade is a job killer and source of misery.

It’s also a reminder of how the U.S. has lagged on trade agreements, signing just 11 with 17 countries since 1993 — one reason why its ranks just 17th on Cato’s 2009 Index of Economic Freedom.

Despite the recession, American trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and Korea are languishing into a fourth year, and treaties were nowhere to be found on the agenda at last week’s big White House jobs summit.

By contrast, Chile got to where it is by embracing trade. Its example is a shining lesson of how prosperity can be achieved no matter what the challenges — a lesson the U.S. would do well to relearn as our recovery tries to get traction.

2. Israel is thriving economically, and as a result so is the West Bank.

Here’s an extract from a Wall Street Journal article by Tom Gross, who visited the West Bank recently:

The shops and restaurants were  full when I visited Hebron recently, and I was surprised to see villas comparable in size to those on the Cote d’Azur or Bel Air had sprung up on the hills around the city. Life is even better in Ramallah, where it is difficult to get a table in a good restaurant. New apartment buildings, banks, brokerage firms, luxury car dealerships and health clubs are to be seen. In Qalqilya, another West Bank city that was previously a hotbed of terrorists and bomb-makers, the first ever strawberry crop is being harvested in time to cash in on the lucrative Christmas markets in Europe. Local Palestinian farmers have been trained by Israeli agriculture experts and Israel supplied them with irrigation equipment and pesticides.

A new Palestinian city, Ruwabi, is to be built soon north of Ramallah. Last month, the Jewish National Fund, an Israeli charity, helped plant 3,000 tree seedlings for a forested area the Palestinian planners say they would like to develop on the edge of the new city. Israeli experts are also helping the Palestinians plan public parks and other civic amenities.

Outsiders are beginning to take note of the turnaround too. The official PLO Wafa news agency reported last week that the 3rd quarter of 2009 witnessed near-record tourism in the Palestinian Authority, with 135,939 overnight hotel stays in 89 hotels that are now open. Almost half the guests come from the U.S or Europe.

Palestinian economic growth so far this year—in a year dominated by economic crisis elsewhere—has been an impressive 7% according to the IMF, though Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad, himself a former World Bank and IMF employee, says it is in fact 11%, partly helped along by strong economic performances in neighboring Israel. …

In June, the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl related how Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had told him why he had turned down Ehud Olmert’s offer last year to create a Palestinian state on 97% of the West Bank (with 3% of pre-1967 Israeli land being added to make up the shortfall). “In the West Bank we have a good reality,” Abbas told Diehl. “The people are living a normal life,” he added in a rare moment of candor to a Western journalist. [Well, this may be partly why, but the main reason is that acceptance of a Palestinian state would entail acceptance of the Jewish state, a reversal of Arab policy which no Palestinian leader would dare attempt – JB]

Nablus stock exchange head Ahmad Aweidah went further in explaining to me why there is no rush to declare statehood, saying ordinary Palestinians need the IDF to help protect them from Hamas, as their own security forces aren’t ready to do so by themselves yet.

The truth is that an independent Palestine is now quietly being built, with Israeli assistance. …

Read it all here.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, Israel, Latin America, middle east, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 5, 2009

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