What's the worst policy idea that would cause the most damage to society?
I'm tempted to say the value-added tax
since our hopes of restraining the federal government will be greatly undermined if we give the buffoons in Washington a new source of revenue. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why Mitt Romney may be an ever greater long-term threat
to American exceptionalism than Barack Obama.
But even though the VAT is fiscal poison, it's not the most dangerous policy proposal.
At the top of my list is global taxation.
I wrote in 2010 about some of the awful global tax schemes being pushed by the United Nations
. And I also noted that unrepentant statists such as George Soros are pimping for global taxation
I even wrote a paper back in 2001
to explain why global taxes are such a bad idea.
The details of the tax don't matter. It's the principle.
A supra-national taxing authority inevitably would mean bigger government and more statism. As such, it doesn't matter whether the new global tax is imposed on financial transactions, carbon emissions, tobacco, the Internet, munitions, foreign exchange, pollution permits, energy, or airline tickets.
And the statists are not giving up. Here are passages from a news report
on their latest scheme.
...civil society leaders demanded a basic level of social security as they promoted a "social protection floor" at a preparatory forum for the Commission on Social Development, which began Feb. 1. The focus of the forum was "universal access to basic social protection and social services." "No one should live below a certain income level," stated Milos Koterec, President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. "Everyone should be able to access at least basic health services, primary education, housing, water, sanitation and other essential services." These services were presented at the forum as basic human rights equal to the rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The money to fund these services may come from a new world tax. "We will need a modest but long-term way to finance this transformation," stated Jens Wandel, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Program. "One idea which we could consider is a minimal financial transaction tax (of .005 percent). This will create $40 billion in revenue." "It is absolutely essential to establish controls on capital movements and financial speculation," said Ambassador Jorge Valero, the current Chairman of the Commission on Social Development. He called for "progressive policies of taxation" that would require "those who earn more to pay more taxes." Valero's speech to the forum focused on capitalism as the source of the world financial problems.
This is unfettered statism, class warfare, and redistributionism, which is what you might expect from proponents of global taxation. But the part that really stands out is the assertion that government should guarantee a "certain income level" with freebies for things such as healthcare and housing.
If this sounds familiar, you probably saw the post about Franklin Roosevelt's authoritarian proposal
for a "Second Bill of Rights" that would guarantee “rights” to jobs, recreation, housing, good health, and security.
Remember, though, that whenever a leftist asserts the right to be given something, that person simultaneously and necessarily is demanding a right to take from someone else. This is why I deliberately chose to call the proposal authoritarian.
But I'm digressing. Let's get back to the issue of global taxation.
The most important thing to understand is that leftists want global taxation. To get the ball rolling, they'll take any tax for any purpose. They simply want to get the camel's nose under the tent.
Once the precedent of global taxation has been established, then it's a relatively simple matter for politicians to augment the first levy with additional taxes. Perhaps the camel analogy would be more accurate if we referred to some other part of the animal and warned that taxpayers won't be happy when they learn where it's going to be inserted.
The bad news is that some American politicians already have endorsed this scheme, most notably Nancy Pelosi
, the former Speaker of the House.
But the good news is that global taxation is a toxic issue, which means politicians who have to get votes from non-crazy people are very reluctant to support taxing powers for the United Nations or any other entity. President Obama, for instance, already has rejected some global tax proposals
and his Administration has been resisting other European proposals for global taxation
But don't be deluded into thinking the White House actually is good on these issues. This is the Administration, after all, that avidly supports a scheme from an American-funded Paris-based bureaucracy
that would result in something akin to an international tax organization
. Same bad concept, but different approach.