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This is entirely vile

Summary:
Government as mafiosi - nice business you’ve got here, be a shame if anything happened to it:Donald Trump has demanded that the US government receive a “substantial” cut of the proposed takeover deal between Microsoft and TikTok owner ByteDance. The president said that he had given Satya Nadella, Microsoft's chief executive, a blessing to buy the controversial video app from its Chinese owner during a conversation on Sunday. However, he insisted that the US Treasury would receive a payment for green-lighting the purchase."I did say that 'If you buy it…a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen", Mr Trump told reporters on Monday. "Right now they don’t have any rights

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Government as mafiosi - nice business you’ve got here, be a shame if anything happened to it:

Donald Trump has demanded that the US government receive a “substantial” cut of the proposed takeover deal between Microsoft and TikTok owner ByteDance.

The president said that he had given Satya Nadella, Microsoft's chief executive, a blessing to buy the controversial video app from its Chinese owner during a conversation on Sunday. However, he insisted that the US Treasury would receive a payment for green-lighting the purchase.

"I did say that 'If you buy it…a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen", Mr Trump told reporters on Monday. "Right now they don’t have any rights unless we give it to them."

This is not misreporting, sadly. The video clip is here.

It was Mancur Olson who told us that government was simply banditry. Better to have stationary bandits who will farm the economy rather than roving ones who will plunder it but it’s all still shades of banditry. While we all know this intellectually it’s still a shock to have it flaunted in our faces quite so obviously.

Pulling some form of comfort from this mess perhaps this will now make more obvious the benefits of investor state dispute systems, ISDS, as is encapsulated in near every trade and investment treaty:

U.S. BITs require that investors and their "covered investments" (that is, investments of a national or company of one BIT party in the territory of the other party) be treated as favorably as the host party treats its own investors and their investments or investors and investments from any third country. The BIT generally affords the better of national treatment or most-favored-nation treatment for the full life-cycle of investment -- from establishment or acquisition, through management, operation, and expansion, to disposition.

....

BITs give investors from each party the right to submit an investment dispute with the government of the other party to international arbitration. There is no requirement to use that country's domestic courts.

We can hope at least.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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