The prospect of instituting a global tax in some form or another is constantly rearing its ugly head. Bill Gates can often be heard advocating for global taxes on financial transactions, aviation, and energy. There are even serious talks of a U.N takeover of the Internet.

The latest foray into global taxation is calls by international organizations and the WHO to institute a global tax on tobacco products through the Solidarity Tobacco Contribution to fund international projects aimed at alleviating global poverty. The level of taxation would depend on the wealth of the country, meaning the U.S. would be hit at the highest rate. As we have seen numerous times in the U.S., tobacco is a fairly easy target, (see here, here, and here for the many reasons taxing tobacco is a bad idea) but the bigger question is should unelected bureaucrats be able to dictate the domestic policy of a country with very little oversight or transparency. This idea should make anyone uneasy, no matter the funding source, and the answer should be a resounding no.

As Dan Mitchell rightly points out,

“A supra-national taxing authority inevitably would mean bigger government and more statism. As such, it doesn’t matter whether the new global tax is imposed on financial transactions, carbon emissions, tobacco, the Internet, munitions, foreign exchange, pollution permits, energy, or airline tickets….

“Once the precedent of global taxation has been established, then it’s a relatively simple matter for politicians to augment the first levy with additional taxes.”

The WHO proposal is moving at a relatively rapid pace and with little or no regard for the economic impacts of such a proposal. Talks began in 2011 and the goal is to implement the first wave of taxes by the end of this year. There is nothing “innovative” about these taxing schemes. We have been fighting them for years at the domestic level and have seen the economic harm done once they are implemented. Allowing nameless, faceless bureaucrats the same power as elected officials is not only bad policy; it could severely harm future economic growth and investment.