Monthly Archives: November 2011

The problem of habitual and selective focus

The problem of selective focus. It it is common to not be consciously aware of what is going on around you. Half of the people missed the gorilla.

“People can be blind to the obvious and blind to the fact that they are blind to the obvious.”

I recently heard an interesting discussion that focused on what happens if people are blind to the obvious. The discussion identified the following four categories of risk. Interesting there is evidence of all four in the United States today:

1. Financial repression – FATCA, FBAR, unearned income taxes

2. Police state tactics – The rise of the military police state. The police have attacked the Occupy protestors. They have become a “paramilitary group”.

3. Societal risk – dangerous neighborhoods, crime (look at the protestors in Greece), the Occupy Movement

4. Systems disruptions – Our systems fail because they are not designed to withstand the shocks.

How much of this do you in the United States? Are any of these things a reason to be concerned? Maybe yes and maybe no. But, can you afford to ignore these “early warning” signs?

For interesting commentary check:


Ron Paul – Liberty and the Patriot Act

As Benjamin Franklin said:

“Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither.”

Ron Paul is clearly on the right side of the issue.

After watching Ron Paul in the debate on November 22, 2011 I had the following two thoughts:

1. He is the best president the United States will never have;

2. His commitment to liberty and democracy makes it clear how  not a single one of the other candidates (with the possible exception of Jon Huntsman) even believes that “liberty” is a value worth preserving.

Washington could learn a lot from a drug addict

Well, if they were capable of learning anything …

In the Republican debate held on November 22, 2011 Michele Bachman made the point that the U.S. is “in hock” to China and that the interest payments made to China were/could be used by the Chinese military. Sound good? Continue reading

Yet another reason to renounce U.S. citizenship: Medicare tax on unearned income

Obama's 3.8% tax on unearned income - it's true!

The situation is indeed dismal. I don’t understand everything in the following article,  but I can see that this is going to:

1. Add more bureaucracy and cost to filing your U.S. tax return – it is not clear how this is intended to impact expats (if they are considered at all);

2. Clearly interfere with your ability to invest and plan for retirement. The U.S. has become a nation of forms and bureaucracy.

The U.S. government is aliready taxing unearned and undistributed gains when it comes to PFICs (and perhaps more). Stop for a moment and think what this means. The idea behind income taxation is that a certain percentage of what you receive as INCOME is to go to the government as your contribution toward running the government. In its most simple terms, this means that (imagine a tax rate of 20%) that if you receive $100 then $20 goes to the government. The taxpayer does not receive all of that he was paid. When it comes to taxing “unearned income”, one needs to ask the following question: Continue reading

Buy U.S. Real Estate – Get A Resident VISA – Become A Friend of The IRS For Life!

U.S. Expats after paying FBAR Fines and OVDI Refugees

A few weeks ago I read Steinbeck’s novel  “The Grapes of Wrath”. It  takes place during the “great depression” of  the 1930s. During this depression there were many bank foreclosures  and real estate values fell.  Although our current hardships are not as bad as the depression of the 30s, it is interesting that in some states, real estate values have fallen more than they did during the 30s. Some properties are simply being abandoned. Abandoned properties bring down the value  of other properties in the neighborhood. The downward cycle continues and continues. Interestingly, the City of Cleveland, has started to simply demolish properties – the idea is that if the properties no longer exist, their existence will  not  bring down  the values of  surrounding properties.  Real  estate  is a huge  contributor  to the overall  economy. Continue reading

What’s U.S. expat to do? Time for the IRS to generate trust!

Can the IRS be trusted?

“When I read all of this I was concerned. So last week I called the Commissioner of the United States Internal Revenue Service to see what we could do. I explained the problem to him.

The result is that both he and I are sympathetic to the concerns. We are going to work together to see if we can’t find a way to accommodate grandma — and others — here in Canada. But we have to figure out a way to do it without letting the person who is trying to evade taxes in the Cayman Islands off the hook.

My message on this one is to sit tight. We are not unreasonable. We are not unsympathetic. We are not irresponsible.”


David Jacobson – U.S. Ambassador t0 Canada – October 18, 2011

Archived at:

Recent events have caused expats to live in a state of confusion, panic and fear. It is impossible to get consistent and credible advice from accountants and lawyers. Ambassador Jacobson has told expats to “sit tight” – that some solution will be offered – Canada is not a tax haven like the Cayman Islands. Well, so far, no solution, no answers on what to do. A large number of U.S. citizens are planning to renounce U.S. citizenship – not because of an unwillingness to pay taxes (no person who objects to paying taxes lives in Canada) – but because of a fear of FBAR penalties and the ramifications of FATCA. Continue reading

FATCA Report – What’s New?

What’s new with FATCA? Robert Wood updates us:

“If you’re a fan of FATCA—the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that adds even more foreign account disclosure rules—you and the IRS may be alone.  Most hate it, including banks and other institutions.  See Oh Canada!  Hating FBARs And FATCA.  But if it isn’t repealed—and repeal seems unlikely—you’ll need to start slogging through compliance.”

You can read the complete article at: