In its first term, the Obama administration enacted two pieces of legislation, each designed to protect an increasingly vulnerable income tax base, and each of which had the potential to set a new and unprecedented course for no less than the regulation of the global economy by the nation-state. The first, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), sought to end global tax evasion through tax havens. The second, a little-noticed two-page addendum to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), sought to end the contribution of American multinationals to corruption in governance by codifying the transparency principles of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Both of these reforms reasserted a role for the nation state in regulating people and resources. But neither has yet to fulfil its potential. First, each has raised difficult questions about what the state can and cannot do to enforce disclosure and compliance on a global basis; failing to answer these questions is impeding implementation and aggravating an already-flagging taxpayer morale. Second, neither is broad enough: FATCA should be truly reciprocal and EITI should expand beyond the extractive industries. By acknowledging and responding in a principled way to the obstacles that limit their effectiveness, a second Obama administration could take significant steps to bring each piece of legislation to its potential, while ensuring that its scope focuses on its intended target in each case. This article outlines how these proposals could be accomplished and makes the case that they should be attempted.I would be happy to have comments. And in case it is of interest, here is a link to my powerpoint from the presentation as well (I don't know how to embed that here); you can actually watch the entire conference video here (my presentation was second to last).
Monday, January 21, 2013
Paper: Putting the Reign Back in Sovereign
I've just posted a draft of my paper, "Putting the Reign Back in Sovereign: Advice for the Second Obama Administration," which I presented at Pepperdine last week. Abstract: