Great video – should be become required viewing for the Levins of the world!
A U.S. citizen trying to live outside the U.S. tries to reason with a “Homelander” (who sleeps outside the U.S. but lives in the U.S.)
It is not a good time to be a U.S. citizen. The fact of U.S. citizenship imposes a disability on a person that disadvantages him in the game of life.
U.S. citizens living abroad are, as a defensive measure, being forced to renounce U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. are subjected to the agony of U.S. citizenship on a daily basis. The cost of U.S. tax compliance has meant that (with the exception of the wealthy) U.S. citizenship has been priced out of the market. Furthermore, U.S. citizens living abroad must choose between having a life and having U.S. citizenship. In the words of one commentator:
These days, Americans cannot live decently overseas without renouncing. And that’s not just the high-rollers who are doing it to save taxes. Indeed, as a low-roller, I will pay more in taxes in the UK than I ever would in the US. However, with the onerous reporting the US demands of foreign banks regarding US depositors, it is getting impossible to do such simple things as open a savings account if one is an expat. Loans, credit cards? Forget it. When we needed a mortgage a year and a half ago, the only way we got it was to leave me out of it BECAUSE my being a Yank would have made the bank jump through expensive IRS hoops it didn’t care to encounter. And it’s getting worse. But that’s another story.
This one is about my renunciation of my US citizenship, something no other citizen of any other nation except Eritrea has to do to live and work peaceably in any other country that will have them.
U.S. citizenship is second class citizenship for U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. It is “second class citizenship” in the U.S. Furthermore, U.S. government reporting requirements ensure that U.S. citizens are “second class” in any country outside the U.S. To put it another way: the fact of U.S. citizenship imposes a disability on U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. This disability is a barrier to success and self determination.
Homelanders (those living in the U.S.) have the disabilities associated with living in the U.S. These include (for a start): poverty, no national health care, bad public schools, etc. I could go on. But, the biggest disability is that “Homelanders” believe that the U.S. is superior to all other countries. (Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of The American Mind” comes to my mind as I write this.) This belief in the superiority of the U.S. is:
- not based on experience
- not based on logic
- not based on facts
It is based on, having from a young age, been brainwashed. To understand the U.S., one needs to go to China. To be specific, one must visit the “War Museum” in Beijeng. There you will experience exactly the same kind of blind patriotism that you will also find in the U.S public school system.
We are great! We are superior! We are exceptional! The rest of the world wants to be just like us!
I suspect this is why many “Homelanders” cannot understand why people renounce U.S. citizenship. Their attitude is:
There must be something wrong with you. You are a traitor. We are the greatest nation on earth!
Even though we can no longer consistently win the world basketball championship – we still play the best basketball in the world!
Many “Homelanders” simply cannot:
- conceive that, U.S. citizens find better places to live – that the best place for Americans is inside the United States;
- conceive that the U.S. is no longer the country envisioned by the Founding Fathers;
Mr. Saverin’s renunciation of U.S. citizenship has activated all the silly responses from the “Homelander Elite Core”. To wit:
- Yale law professor and respected constitutional scholar Bruce Ackerman writes that Mr. Saverin should never be allowed to return to America.
Once Americans renounce their membership in our national community, they should be allowed to return only under exceptional circumstances — in response to the call of a child in a hospital or a mother on her death bed.
He reiterated his position in a “follow up” article where he comments on some of the comments to his original article and approves of the Casey/Schumer (“envy specialist”) idiocy.
- Senators Casey and Schumer responded to Mr. Saverin’s renunciation by proposing the “Ex-Patriot Act“. Leaving aside the idiotic specifics, the Act would legislate a presumption that one renounces U.S. citizenship for the purpose of avoiding U.S. taxes. The renunciant is then punished in a number of ways, including not being able to return to the U.S. (Frankly, I doubt that many people who renounce are interested in access to the U.S.). The Wall Street Journal made the following comment in relation to the Casey/Schumer lunacy:
Whatever Mr. Saverin’s motivation, the more important point is that it is his decision, however misguided. America was built on millions of similar individual decisions to come to our shores. It is precisely that ability to decide for oneself that has made America such a magnet for two centuries.
The way to continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest is not to impose Soviet-style exit taxes to punish people who want to leave the country. That is what oppressive and demagogic regimes do, and it’s humiliating to see U.S. Senators posture in such fashion. The way to punish Mr. Saverin is to make the U.S. so appealing and dynamic again that he’ll be sorry he ever left.
(Thoughts on Mr. Saverin: It’s also worth noting that Mr. Saverin has bent over backward to comply with the law. He has paid all the taxes he owes. This is a state of affairs that Secretary Geithner and Chairman Rangel might aspire to. Furthermore, there are many additional reasons for Mr. Saverin to have renounced U.S. citizenship. He is a young man with a long business career ahead of him. By remaining a U.S. citizen, he would make himself ineligible to participate in non-U.S. business investments and partnerships. Remember FATCA and FBAR require reporting information on non-U.S. citizens to the IRS. For this reason, nobody would enter into a partnership with a U.S. citizen. Leaving aside the fact that FBAR and FATCA requirements impede the mobility of U. S. citizens, they also force U.S. citizens to live under a kind of supervision and probation. This is an intolerable situation. For an ambitious young person, the renunciation of U.S. citizenship may be necessary.)
Speaking of “Soviet-style” exit taxes, the simple fact is that U.S. citizens are among the least free people anywhere. Yes (for the hecklers) that is just my opinion – but I am happy to defend it based on facts and logic.
Therefore, in the case of “Homelanders”, U.S. citizens live in a very narrowly defined world. They are disabled from even imagining that a different world may exist. Their imagination ends at the U.S. border. The world view of the “Homelander” is the world view of CNN. A particularly interesting example of “Homelander Tunnel Vision” is evidenced in the a dialogue between Wayne State Law Professor Linda Beale and a U.S. citizen living in Canada. Ms. Beale’s attitude: of course those living outside the U.S. should be fling FBARs. If they don’t they are criminals. Why are the criminals? Because they are in violation of law imposed by the U.S. on U.S. citizens outside the U.S. Talk about “Nationalistic Narcissism” …
(Now, I do want to give credit where credit is due. There are “Homelanders” who are “open minded” and are therefore “open to learning and change”. My congratulations to Al Lewis who has acknowledged how difficult it is to be a U.S. citizen abroad. By reversing his original position, Mr. Lewis has moved from the hall of shame to the hall of fame at the Isaac Brock Society. In April of 2012 the Isaac Brock Society engaged in a lengthy discussion with “Homelander” Whoaitssteve where Steve slowly agreed that citizenship taxation was wrong. This fascinating online class begins here.)
Whether a U.S. citizen lives outside the U.S. or inside the U.S., the fact of U.S. citizenship (and I am not saying this cannot be true in other countries too) is a disability. There are some who believe that young Americans would be best served by shedding their U.S. citizenship at the earliest possible moment. Mr. Saverin is an example of a young person who did just that. In other words, it is the opposite of what the typical “Homelander” has accepted as truth. How can this be?
For a long time, when I have thought of the U.S. I have thought of the words “nationalistic narcissism”. Today I decided to do a search on those words. What came up was, what appears to to be a very interesting book called: American Narcissism: The Myth of National Superiority by Wilber Caldwell. The book appears to consider the question: “how did the U.S. become this way?”, (which is what all of us wonder). Here is some descriptive material:
About the Book
Nationalism is not unique to America: it was invented with the birth of modern nations. But nationalism is unique in America. Americans conceive themselves and their nation to be incontrovertibly superior to the other peoples and nations of the earth. When does national pride cross the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism and malignant nationalism?
Historically, American notions of superiority spring from myths of the unique regenerative power of the new land; from visions of chosen-ness, mission and high destiny; from the indelible legends of frontier self-sufficiency; from the confidence and self-reliance needed to succeed as immigrants; from a powerful sense of AmericaÂ’s isolation and uniqueness; from the realization of abundance; and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology.
This predisposes us to a distinctively virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in almost any other modern nation. As the unipolar moment fades into memory, this sense of unquestionable superiority Â— expressed through politics and foreign policy Â— does not play well before the global audience. In fact, it never did.
Drawing on sources from within the academic disciplines of history, sociology, political science and foreign affairs, the book seeks to decode scholarly jargon and lay bare this corner of the American mind for the benefit of a wider readership.
The discussion is organized in four parts:
The Evolution of the American Superiority Myth
The Presumption of National Superiority
Tolerance And Plurality
In America today, notions of national superiority are far more deeply ingrained and far more potentially ruinous than most of us imagine. This is a journey that slides from reason to emotion, from individual liberty to mass tyranny, and from humanity to inhumanity.
This book will interest readers of US history, current events, and social commentary; and all who wonder, Â“Why do they hate us?Â”
Note the question asked: “When does national pride cross the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism and malignant nationalism?”
We know that the U.S. has crossed the line. As the author points out that the U.S. is predisposed: “to a distinctively virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in almost any other modern nation.” Any U.S. citizen living abroad can see that.
Nationalistic Narcissism and U.S. citizenship-based taxation
”Citizenship-based” taxation is a by-product the Nationalistic Narcissism. How else can it be explained?
In the words of former IRS lawyer Steven Mopsick:
The law which requires U.S. Persons to submit worldwide income to US taxation must be changed. It is unfair, it makes no sense, and it has a chilling effect on commerce, jobs creation, and free trade. Perhaps more importantly, our world image has suffered enough over the last few decades. People from all over the world who have been on the fence about whether America has lost its mind, can only be convinced that we have with this new compliance initiative.
Note that these are the words of a former IRS attorney!
Once a citizen, Is the citizen the property of government or a voluntary member of a political entity?
The U.S. clearly views its citizens as government property. “The US Government considers its citizens as their property. Their tax slaves. And the assets of their citizens are also deemed to be theirs…”. They are there to be taxed and they are to be used as instruments of foreign policy. As the existing Exit Tax, and the response of Senators Schumer and Casey to the Saverin renunciation indicates, the U.S. clearly does NOT view citizenship as a voluntary membership in a political entity.
The acquisition of citizenship – what makes sense in the modern world?
I once listened to a guest lecture given at a Canadian University. The lecturer was introduced as a “U.S. citizen by birth”, but a “Canadian citizen by choice”. This statement reveals at least two ways that the status of citizenship can be obtained.
1. Citizenship acquired by birth – accidental
2. Citizenship acquired by residence or naturalization – choice
People do NOT choose where they are born. People are free to choose where they live. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
- (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
- (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Article 15 clearly supports the doctrine of “citizenship by choice”. It is time to rethink how citizenship is acquired and how it is lost. Here is a fascinating and lucid article on this very topic. The author suggests:
Instead of using birth for assigning citizenship, why not keep the boundaries of current countries, open the borders, and use residence to define citizenship, as the 50 states do? Free movement of people in the United States does not diminish the authority of states in our federal system, or the right to participate politically as a citizen of one state and not another. Nor did it lead to the citizens of Georgia moving en masse to Massachusetts.
The question …
Can there be any moral justification in defining people as citizens of a country based on the accident of birth, when they have indicated a choice to NOT be citizens of that country? Is U.S. citizenship-based taxation a violation of international law? In any case, citizenship based taxation is bad economic policy. It creates lots of problems for the U.S., it’s citizens and the world. Citizenship-based taxation hurts the U.S. economy.