Conference Will Defend Tax Competition, Fiscal Sovereignty, and Financial Privacy

Published October 7, 2009

On Tuesday, October 20, the Cato Institute and co-sponsors will host a conference on tax competition and financial privacy aimed at educating the public policy community on issues such as tax competition, financial privacy, fiscal sovereignty, and corporate taxation.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Prince Michael of Liechtenstein, and Anthony Travers of Cayman Islands Financial Services Association will join speakers from Austria, The Netherlands, Panama, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

What: The Case for Tax Competition, Fiscal Sovereignty, and Financial Privacy

Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Where: Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC

The conference, co-sponsored by the Center for Freedom & Prosperity Foundation, Hayek Institut, and the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, will address a wide range of issues, including:

  • How tax competition encourages better policy.
  • The risks of letting international bureaucracies dictate global tax rules.
  • The economic and moral case for financial privacy.
  • The danger to America.
  • The OECD, the European Commission, and fiscal protectionism.
  • The Obama administration’s proposals for tax hikes on U.S. multinational corporations and legislation to penalize foreign-based reinsurance firms.


Dick Armey, chairman, FreedomWorks; former Majority leader, U.S. House of Representatives
Prince Michael of Liechtenstein
Anthony Travers, chairman, Cayman Islands Financial Services Association
Professor Richard Teather, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
Alex Brill, research fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Barbara Kolm, secretary general, Hayek Institut, Austria
Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow, Mercatus Center
Robert Bauman, legal counsel, Sovereign Society, former Congressman
Andrew Morriss, professor of law and business, University of Illinois
Carlos Ernesto Gonzalez, vice president, Fundacion Libertad, Panama
Eline Van Den Broek, president, European Independent Institute, The Netherlands
Andrew Quinlan, president, Center for Freedom & Prosperity Foundation
Scott Bergeron, COO, Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry
Bruce Zagaris, partner, Berliner, Corcoran, and Rowe
Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies, Cato Institute
Richard Rahn, senior fellow, Cato Institute, former member of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority
Daniel Mitchell, senior fellow, Cato Institute


In recent decades, rising globalization has forced governments to restrain their fiscal appetites. After the Reagan and Thatcher tax rate cuts of the 1980s, other countries were forced to respond with their own tax reforms. The growth of low-tax jurisdictions, or tax havens, has put further beneficial competitive pressure on governments with excessive tax rates. The result is that tax rates on income and capital have fallen significantly to the great benefit of global investment and growth.

These pro-growth reforms did not come about because governments suddenly realized that low tax rates are better for growth. Instead, politicians cut tax rates to prevent the geese that lay the golden eggs of prosperity from flying across the border.

Alas, there is now a rising big-government backlash against tax competition. Politicians have made unwise promises for ever-growing levels of redistribution and this is creating pressure for higher tax rates. But higher tax rates are particularly misguided when labor and capital can move to jurisdictions with better policy. This is why high-tax nations are seeking to curtail tax competition and are working through international bureaucracies such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to create an “OPEC for politicians.”

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