WTO Rules On Public Subsidies For Corporations

http://www.electricscotland.com/thomson/images/24.6%20wto.jpgThe World Trade Organization has been such a bugaboo for progressives that it might be surprising to learn that they could rule in a way that helps break the regular rhythm of state and municipal giveaways to large corporations — tax breaks which smaller businesses don’t tend to get, and effectively force everybody else to pay higher rates.

I have a new post on the WTO dynamic up at the HuffPo:

A recent decision by the World Trade Organization, and an upcoming one, could have major implications for the budgets and economies of our 50 states — effects which should be welcomed by progressives who are typically critical of that secretive regulatory body.

United States trade officials and politicians are praising last week’s ruling that certain European subsidies to Airbus violate international trade law. It is seen as a boon to US-based Boeing, but the celebration may be premature — a forthcoming decision will determine whether billions of dollars in government aid to Boeing is also illegal. We should hope the WTO sides with Airbus and the E.U. this time: These grants and tax breaks are busting state budgets, at a time when every last penny is precious. There’s a war among the states to lure in businesses; our federal government should mediate it, but it could be the WTO that forces a cease-fire.

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