Perhaps there is an occasional exception, but when someone in a public policy debate mentions a “race to the bottom,” they always seem to favor bigger government and punitive taxation.
Here are a few examples:
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a bureaucracy based in Paris, wants to rewrite international tax norms for business income because “failure to collaborate … could be damaging in terms of … a race to the bottom with respect to corporate income taxes.”
The International Monetary Fund also prefers cartels over competition. As the UK-based Guardian reported, “Instead of a race to the bottom where countries compete with each other to offer the lowest rate of corporate tax, it urges co-operation.”
Whether the issue is welfare reform of Medicaid block grants, opponents of federalism complain about decentralization “creating a ‘race to the bottom’ as states slashed funding on services for the poor.”
One of the cranks from the Occupy movement was given a platform by the OECD to complain that, “Tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions bring governments into a harmful race to the bottom.”
And Jeffrey Sachs, writing for the Financial Times, hyperventilated about “a runaway social crisis in many high-income countries. …governments are now in a race to the bottom with regard to corporate taxation”
As you can see, “race to the bottom” is a term that statists use when advocating policies to increase the size, scope, and power of government.