American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States is different from other countries in that it has a specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. In this view, America’s exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming “the first new nation,” and developing a uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism and populism. This observation can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as “exceptional” in 1831 and 1840. Historian Gordon Wood has argued, “Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era. So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy.”
The specific term “American exceptionalism” was first used in Russian 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin chastising members of the Lovestone-led faction of the American Communist Party for their heretical belief that America was independent of the Marxist laws of history “thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions.” American Communists then started using the English translation in factional fights.
Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many neoconservative and American conservative writers have promoted its use in that sense. To them, the United States is like the biblical “shining city on a hill,” and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.
Note the focus on spreading liberty and democracy. If democracy implies a duty on the part of politicians to listen to voters, then it is clear that the “spreading liberty and democracy” does NOT include spreading it to U.S. citizens abroad. On the issue of “liberty”, U.S. citizens abroad are “Form Slaves” who live in constant fear of committing “Form Crime“. On the issue of democracy well:
1. President Obama has made a clear, deliberate and purposeful decision to cut off dialogue with U.S. citizens abroad (except with wealthy donors that his administration has characterized as “tax cheats”); and
2. Candidate Romney, at least so far does not seem overly interested in U.S. citizens abroad – those people with the greatest potential to market U.S. products abroad and create U.S. businesses abroad.
We know that nobody cares about U.S. citizens abroad. But, we can’t blame them for this. The Homelanders themselves and the two main political parties, don’t know that there is a world outside the United States – a world that is rapidly eclipsing the United States – resulting in what A. Huffington calls a “Third World America“. That said, we know we all know about “American Exceptionalism“. Hence we are heading for “Third World American Exceptionalism”. It’s coming. While the U.S. (AKA “Form Nation“) is busy leading the world in forms and bureaucracy, the rest of the world is actually producing products (which are bought by Americans). And we wonder why there is a trade deficit. A contributing factor for the trade deficit is that where the U.S. leads the world (forms, bureaucracy and the highest corporate taxes in the world), there are no buyers. Hell, there are no buyers for this even in the United States! (Citizenship-based taxation is a major factor in the U.S. trade deficit.)
Tax reform in the context of American Exceptionalism
Leaving aside the fact that the U.S. tax code and regulations total approximately 17,000 pages (ten times the size of Canada’s), the real problem is that the tax code cannot be understood by anybody (even the lawyers disagree). It is clearly a drag on productivity. When people’s primary focus is on taxes and NOT on productivity and innovation, a country has a problem. But, as Fareed Zakaria points out the tax code is used to reward friends of Congress and punish foes of Congress. Mr. Zakaria notes:
In other countries this sort of bribery takes place underneath bridges and with cash in brown envelopes. In America it is institutionalized and legal but it is the same thing: Cash to politicians in return for favorable treatment from the government.
The U.S. tax system is not simply corrupt, it is corrupt in a deceptive manner that has degraded the entire system of American government. Congress is able to funnel vast sums of money in perpetuity to its favored funders through the tax code without anyone realizing it.
U.S. citizens abroad have become prime victims of this system. Imagine punishing U.S. citizens abroad who buy mutual funds in their country of residence. Oh but wait, they aren’t really mutual funds. They aren’t honest attempts at retirement planning. They are PFICs and PFICs are (from the perspective of the U.S. government), a clear, deliberate and intentional attempt to cheat the Homeland of money that justly belongs to them!. Anybody who wants to understand how this form of thievery and corruption works read (I guarantee you won’t believe what you are reading):
By the way, this is also a way to steal from U.S. citizens abroad.
The U.S. is in dire need of tax reform!
Why is the addition of Ryan to the Republican ticket good for U.S. citizens abroad?
It’s simple. With Congressman Ryan on the ticket, tax reform will move to “front and center” of the 2012 Presidential campaign. Congressman Ryan supports territorial taxation. Congress just passed HR 6169 a bill called “Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012“.
On August 8, 2012 “Just Me” posted the following at the Isaac Brock Society:
One of the last acts of the House before they went on summer recess was to pass HR 6169. It has a snowball’s chance in Hell of passing the Senate as currently configured. It was seen as a partisan political document to campaign on, rather than a realistic attempt at tax reform. That is how the game is viewed in DC by the political wonks, and in fact it is how it plays out in reality. However, since it is “game on” time, I like that this gauntlet was thrown down. The title appeals.
It was called “Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012″
Here is the text version. It got NO votes from the Dems in the House. So why do I bring it up?
Take a look at Section 2, (B) (5) (F) of the legislative language, and you will see the following language that should be of interest to all here:
(5) makes American workers and businesses more competitive by–
(F) transitioning to a globally competitive territorial tax system;
Here is how the non partisan global publication, Tax News reported it, if you wish to read further. You can Google search for many partisan opinions if you are interested.
Congressman Ryan discusses HR 6169 here:
This is worth listening to. Mr. Ryan talks about the U.S. in the global economy and the role that taxes play. He actually compares the rate of business tax in the U.S. to the rate in Canada. I do agree that all the discussion of “territorial taxation” is in the context of corporations. But, once the principle is recognized in relation to corporations, it is a smaller step to argue that it should be extended to people, as this comment thread starting here recognizes. In other words, the 2012 election may be a very good opportunity to draw attention to the unfairness of citizenship-based taxation.
A message to Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan:
Bottom Line: With Congressman Ryan on the Republican ticket, tax reform will become a very public and prominent campaign issue. This is very good news for U.S. citizens abroad. Speaking of tax reform, see what Dan Mitchell has to say and note that he endorses territorial taxation.