Shaxson frequently writes for the Tax Justice Network (TJN), a left-wing group committed to “progressive taxation.” TJN has aligned itself with the violent Occupy movement, with a recent newsletter instructing its readers on “how to occupy.” The Tax Justice Network last year launched the FACT Coalition to push for higher taxes in the U.S., and the organization often works in concert with Democratic Senator Carl Levin in an effort to undermine tax competition and empower American tax collectors with a draconian mission of fiscal imperialism, a mandate to impose U.S. law on the rest of the world at significant cost to all parties.
Groups like TJN and politicians like Senator Levin use innocuous or misleading language to make their agendas sound reasonable. They claim to want “transparency” and “accountability,” but rather than wanting governments and those who hold power to be transparent and accountable to citizens, they want citizens to be transparent to government. In other words, they want an end to privacy.
Like tax competition, privacy rights provide a beneficial constraint on the monopoly power of government. More importantly, they protect our basic human rights from government abuses.
The tax-hikers would have us believe that anyone who desires privacy is a law-breaker intent on not paying his fair share, but more often than not it is the law-breakers from whom they are hiding. For instance, Swiss laws affirming financial privacy arose in part to help German Jews protect their assets from Nazi expropriation. Financial privacy remains a critical means of protecting human rights today, as investors and entrepreneurs living under brutal regimes like Hugo Chavez’s or in corrupt and lawless countries such as Mexico are subject to kidnapping, physical threats or worse.
Eliminating financial privacy, as these left-wing groups intend, just so that politicians can more easily and frivolously spend other people’s money, would leave millions exposed without recourse to abusive governments. Efforts to undermine tax competition will also result in higher taxes, reduced economic growth and lower prosperity for all. To avoid this fate, proponents of limited government, free markets and personal liberty must push back against the alliance of high-tax, big-government interests that dominates today’s debate.
Brian Garst is the Director of Government Affairs at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. CF&P works to promote and defend tax competition, financial privacy and fiscal sovereignty.