February 10, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile
631 people renounced their US citizenship in the 4th quarter of 2013.
This is an entire order of magnitude higher than the 45 people who renounced in 4Q/2012. And in total, 3,000 Americans renounced their citizenship in 2013– another record high.
The previous record (1,777) was set in 2011, which shattered the previous record before that (1,534) which was set in 2010, which was more than twice the number (742) that renounced in 2009.
You can see the trend here. And it’s not hard to figure out why it’s happening.
As the United States Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen recently told Congress in her scathing report about US tax policy:
“[T]ax requirements have become so confusing and the compliance burden so great that taxpayers are giving up their U.S. citizenship in record numbers.”
In her report, Ms. Olsen specifically points to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed by Congress four years ago. She states that FATCA “has the potential to be burdensome, overly broad, and detrimental to taxpayer rights.”
That’s putting it politely.
I have written several times before that FATCA is one of the most destructive, insidious pieces of legislation ever passed. And the worst effects are only now -starting- to be felt.
Among other things, the law requires new disclosures for US citizens with foreign accounts. And just to make sure it’s absolutely clear how the US government views its tax serfs, they put this little ditty in the instructions:
“The fact that a foreign jurisdiction would impose a civil or criminal penalty on you if you disclose the required information is not reasonable cause [to NOT file this form].”
Basically they’re saying, ‘Even if disclosing this information would cause you to go to jail in a foreign country due to their confidentiality laws, we don’t give a damn. We still expect you to file this form. Otherwise we will throw you in jail in the US.’
(yes, there are potential criminal penalties for not filing this form…)
This isn’t exactly how a free society treats its citizens. It’s a constant threat of force with these people. Even the most mundane, bureaucratic tasks are cause for intimidation.
As I have pointed out so many times before, you can’t even apply for a passport (i.e. permission to leave the country) in the Land of the Free without being threatened with fines and imprisonment.
All of this has come at tremendous cost. Aside from permanent damaging the US government’s reputation and its role in the global banking system, the human cost is nearly incalculable.
Think about it– it’s not the Obamaphone recipients who are renouncing their citizenship and leaving the country. These are smart, talented, energetic people who could have actually contributed something.
And as this productive class gets out of dodge, they leave behind more people who want something for nothing… and fewer people to pay the bill.
It’s the same situation the Romans were in back in the 5th century.
Undoubtedly there are folks out there who would call the thousands of people who have renounced ‘cowards’ and ‘traitors’ (though they are in respected company given that the British considered George Washington a traitor).
But lest we judge ‘renunciants’ poorly, we should first ask– is it more honorable to lay down and let yourself be plundered by a bunch of blundering, bungling, deceitful politicians…?
Doubtful. Besides, divorcing yourself from your bankrupt, insolvent government is not the same as divorcing yourself from your culture or values.
You are who you are no matter what color your passport is.