Cook v. Tait 18: #Americansabroad by their very nature benefit the US government wherever they may be found

The above tweet references a fascinating discussion about the best Thomas Jefferson quotes. Homelander lawyers often justify U.S. citizenship-based taxation by citing the 1924 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Cook v. Tait. The world in 1924 is very different from the world today. What is meant by “taxation” in 1924 is very different from what “taxation is today”. Neither the factual context nor the reasoning in Cook v. Tait bears any relation to the world today. The quote referenced in the above tweet is:

“Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment… laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind… as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, institutions must advance also, to keep pace with the times…. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain forever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

President John F. Kennedy commenting on the wisdom ofThomas Jefferson noted that:

When JFK hosted a dinner with 49 nobel prize winners present he remarked “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

What follows is an excerpt from a comment by “TaxationWithoutRepresentation” at the Op-ed written by Expat Financial Planner Jonathan Lachowitz which appeared at the Wall Street Journal.

I’m a defender of America in a world of hostility to the U.S.’s perceived hegemony, yet what I get in return is the presumption of guilt in some kind of tax avoidance scheme simply for the crime of living abroad. It’s gotten so bad I’ve started looking into surrendering my U.S. passport and renouncing my U.S. citizenship, though even that is made difficult by an onerous “exit tax” meant to punish me for my lack of patriotism?

DeVere can add another one to the list. They didn’t call me, but I’m in the midst of preparing my renunciation, and in a few years when they each turn 18, my now minor children will be renouncing as well. There is no benefit whatsoever, to me or to my family (including my non-US husband), of retaining US citizenship, only a tremendous number of disadvantages — from the real and financial, to the mental wear and tear. The true disadvantages, though, are to the US and those will not be felt or understood for generations. There’s an ever-rising tide of resentment and hostility among expats (and their families and friends, not to mention colleagues), and I suspect it’s only going to get higher. Hard to believe in the current global climate, that this is something the US government does not want to nip in the bud. Incredibly short-sighted policy, penny wise and pound foolish.

There are many outdated ideas, it seems. US citizenship was once considered a “golden ticket”, and the fact that I’m willing (embarrassingly eager in fact) to give mine up would profoundly pain my immigrant grandparents. In fact, I’ll be quite proud to finally be included in the Federal Register list. Far from what the US would like people to believe, it’s not a “name and shame” list, it’s a list of those who have come to their senses, refusing to be bullied by a mercenary government.

PS I hope anyone reading here about OVID etc. will go FIRST to the Isaac Brock Society blog to read up on those programs before doing or signing ANYTHING. As you write, caution is indeed in order.

I recently wrote a post discussing an article by Laura Saunders about “clarifications” to the June 2014 “Streamlined Compliance Procedures. That post ended with:

Prediction: One way or the other Americans abroad will be relinquishing U.S. citizenship. The most brave and most “moneyed” will renounce at the Consulates and get the CLN. The rest will simply simply vanish – they will opt for the “Do it yourself relinquishment”. Based on the October 2014 IRS “clarifications” to Streamlined 2, fewer and fewer Americans abroad will bother to attempt U.S tax compliance.

The Tragedy: The United States is “burning bridges” with Americans abroad. It’s clear that the Obama administration doesn’t care. What the administration doesn’t grasp is that Americans abroad have traditionally been “unofficial ambassadors” for America abroad. They have been patriotic. They have been loyal. They have been “the first line of defense in minimizing resentment of America”.  Americans abroad, because they are generally likeable, are able to make American a “likable nation”. Americans abroad have been effective in diffusing the growing hatred and resentment of America.

In Cook v. Tait, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that that taxation of Americans abroad was justified because:

“that (U.S.) government by its very nature benefits the citizen and his property wherever found”

Actually, it’s the opposite. The U.S. Government does NOT benefit its citizens abroad. In fact, renunciations of U.S. citizenship are soaring as Americans abroad take steps to defend themselves from the Obama administration.

Although the U.S. government does NOT benefit its citizens abroad, it’s certainly true that:

“U.S. citizens abroad, by their very nature, benefit the United States wherever they may be found.”

Perhaps Americans abroad should “tax the U.S. government”!

Yet, the Obama administration treats them this way. As Forrest Gump would say:

“Stupid is as Stupid Does.”

 

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