Welcome to the IGO Watch Monthly Newsletter for October
Halloween is upon us, and there is no better way to scare someone other than with crazy, scary stories about IGO’s that try to take more money from taxpayers by levying new global taxes, censor free speech, and give murderers and abusers the means to decide human rights issues.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) unveiled a new proposal which would give individual countries the power to enforce taxes on digital companies based on their sales, rather than their physical presence. Under this proposal, part of a company’s tax would be divided among countries, with the goal of giving more tax revenue to the countries where a company’s users or consumers are located. Expert analysis of the proposed measures found that the proposed reforms of international tax rules by the OECD will only claw back 5 percent of profits, and could end up worsening global inequality, with about 80 percent of the taxes clawed back likely to be redistributed in high-income countries. This puts the credibility of OECD as the appropriate body to continue to lead this work in question.
Seeking to address the tax challenges of digitalization, the OECD blatantly disregarded the negative impact of the imposition of a global onerous tax regime. Targeting users’ favorite online services would have stifled innovation and took money out of the pockets of those trying to access the world wide web. As IGO Watch has argued in the previous months, social media services by large international companies allow billions of people across the globe to communicate instantaneously and helps businesses reach out to consumers, ending the days where only large businesses could afford advertising and outreach. Taxing these platforms would lead to price hikes for countless citizens, companies and entrepreneurs across the world, and make the internet a far more limited, expensive experience for ordinary citizens reaching out to friends and family.
I Need A Dollar
A necessary reality check has hit the United Nations (UN) hard this October as the organization is experiencing its worst cash crisis in nearly a decade. This crisis which will hopefully make them evaluate all the money-wasting practices and bureaucratic redundancies within the organization. The shortage of money has forced UN employees to cancel meetings, limit travel, reduce heating, and even close down the fountain in front of the UN headquarters. Unfortunately, instead of identifying and dealing with the reasons they are perceived as an expensive, ineffective, and overly bureaucratic system, the UN chief put the ultimate responsibility for the organizations’ lousy finances on the Member States.
One of the most important questions from last month is whether taxpayers should finance an organization that elects countries with long-standing traditions of egregious human rights abuse into its Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Just some of the newest elected members of the UNHRC include Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, and Venezuela – states with records of systemic human rights abuse. What is most absurd, is that Venezuela was elected to the UNHRC just a month after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed ongoing cases of torture, sexual abuse, and extrajudicial killing under the Maduro regime. The sad reality of Venezuela being elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council is that their delegation will fit right in, considering that the majority of other member countries have long-standing histories of human rights abuse, and include the likes of Somalia, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Cuba, and Qatar.
Inappropriate Online Behavior
Imagine writing a comment on Facebook in which you express your opinion regarding a certain politician, only to have it removed by Facebook because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed. What is considered free speech in the U.S. and protected by the 1st Amendment, could now become prohibited if found defamatory by a court in one of the member states of the European Union (EU). In an absurd ruling that can severely impact our ability to express our opinions about politicians online, the European Court of Justice decided that Facebook can be forced to take our comments down, regardless of where we are in the world. This ruling, which exemplifies the EU’s attempts to police the internet, can have serious implications for the freedom of speech and expression globally, by giving politicians and governments the means to enable global censorship. Read more about this issue in our latest piece on IGO Watch website.
When they are not policing free speech, high ranking EU officials seem to be preoccupied with wasting absurd amounts of taxpayer money. The European Court of Auditors established that more than 4 billion euros of EU funds were misspent last year, which highlighted poor checks in receiving states on how the bloc’s funds are invested. The EU also seems hell-bent to spend a quarter of the Union’s total expenditure on “climate objectives” in the next financial period, with some members actually describing the amount as insufficient, despite the fact that the EU is responsible for only 9 percent of global emissions. A total lack of responsibility towards taxpayers should not be surprising if we look at the fact that a third of the EU new leadership team candidates have been accused of misusing public funds while in office, and are still being investigated.
Every month we like to put a spotlight on one of our partner organizations and the great work they do! This month we would like to highlight the work of the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) in the United Kingdom!
Founded in 2004 to speak for ordinary taxpayers fed up with government waste, increasing taxation, and a lack of transparency in all levels of government, the TPA rapidly grew to become one of the most influential organizations in the country. As the United Kingdom is in the process right now of trying to escape the clutches of one of the world’s most controlling IGOs, the European Union, we wish the TPA and all freedom fighters there the very best of luck in ensuring the UK embarks on a journey to a free and prosperous future!
See Something? Say Something!
We’re always looking for regional coordinators from countries around the world to help us distribute information on social media, write blog posts and op-eds, and provide us with on-the-ground information from their region.
If you have any tips about stories, or would like to become a regional coordinator, please send us an email at this address!
Until next month,
IGO Watch Team