As NewsMax.com reported earlier this week, the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is seeking the economic clout to
U.S. taxpayers who fork over up to 40 percent of their money in taxes every year may be surprised to learn this, but by OECD standards, we are a low-tax nation. It's the high-tax welfare states in Europe that are out to stop low taxes as "unfair." Why? Because the low-taxing countries have had the audacity to drain investment and jobs from the high-tax welfare states. The high priests of high taxation regard this as an outrage and an affront to their sacred socialist welfare state ideology.
The Clinton administration had pledged cooperation with OECD. At the Treasury Department, the battle is on to persuade the Bush administration to follow suit. The tension is between the entrenched career bureaucrats who helped formulate the Clinton policy and the political Bush appointees who, according to sources, may be wavering.
Mark Weinberger, who only last month was confirmed as assistant Treasury secretary for Tax Policy and thus is just barely getting his feet wet in that job, is one of the Bush people coming under intense pressure from the holdovers, who are giving him the old line of "Come on! We can’t let our allies down. This is a done deal. They're counting on us."
In a letter quoted the other day by columnist Robert Novak, Weinberger gave a noncommittal bureaucratic answer when asked for his views by Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla.
All is not necessarily lost, however. The free-market community is urging the administration to reject cooperating with this high-tax cartel. Some free-market think tanks with strong friends in the administration have received calls from the administration urging them to "send us your talking points." That is hopeful, but not necessarily an indication of which way the winds are blowing.
In mid-May, there will be a ministerial meeting in Paris involving the U.S. Treasury Department and its overseas counterparts throughout Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim. The OECD is likely to be one of the issues on the front burner. That adds to the urgency of free-market forces. They want the Bush White House to become actively involved.
The question is who is running the administration? The Bush people, whose leader was duly elected to office, or the faceless bureaucrats elected by nobody?
The larger question, as seen by those close to the activity on this tug-of-war, is what the White House will do when it comes to a "fork in the road," with one path representing French tax collectors, the other representing American taxpayers.
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