The pain of renouncing US citizenship: It’s not about the loss of citizenship

The above tweet references an article at swissinfo.ch written by Christina Warren. She describes her feelings about renouncing her U.S. citizenship. It is an interesting article which describes the pain and turmoil associated with renouncing her citizenship. Rather than attempt to comment at the site, I decided to write a comment as a post. Please read her article

Christina:

Thanks for writing this article. It’s clear how painful your “decision” to renounce your U.S. citizenship was. You “never had a say” when it comes to U.S. policies including citizenship-based taxation and FATCA.

As a result, you “never had a say” in whether you could retain your U.S. citizenship. For the most part, tax complaint U.S. citizens living abroad, can no longer survive if they continue to be U.S. citizens. Your renunciation was reasonable, necessary and inevitable.

I understand the tremendous pain your loss of U.S. citizenship has caused you. But, I would like to suggest that the “pain” may not be the loss of U.S. citizenship. I suggest that the “pain” is for at least two other reasons.

Reason 1: The realization that American NEVER stood for and embraced the values that you thought it stood for. It’s the feeling of having been “duped”, perhaps “lied to”.

Reason 2: The realization that you never did and never will matter to the United States. You thought that you could get the U.S. government to listen. To understand. To do the right thing. To treat its citizens with “concern and respect” or (considering Americans abroad) with “equal concern and respect”. The United States doesn’t care about its citizens (no matter where they live). This is evident from the response from Elizabeth Warren. The response from Ms. Warren is NOT about FATCA. The response from Elizabeth Warren is a clear statement that what matters to the United States of American is NOT “citizens” but “revenue”.

“Citizenship-based taxation” is bad enough. But, “taxation-based citizenship” is much worse. My point is that the ONLY thing that “U.S. citizenship” is about is taxation.

Here is the excerpt from Elizabeth Warren that you quote:

“…I recognize that FATCA implementation has not been perfect, and it troubles me that financial institutions overseas would deny services to Americans out of concern over FATCA compliance. However, according to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the U.S. Treasury may be losing more than $100 billion in tax revenues every year as a result of offshore tax havens. I believe measures like FATCA clamp down on overseas tax evasion and help make sure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. …”

You should be happy that you are no longer a citizen of a country that doesn’t care about its citizens. Believe me the U.S. Government understands what it is doing to it’s citizens abroad. It doesn’t care.

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