DoMexicans leaving the US washingtonpost.com/local/for-firs… know something the Indians and Asians coming to the US don’t? theglobeandmail.com/video/video-ne… #FATCA
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) June 20, 2012
“The freedom and democracy in this country are top of the world, no question about it.” – An Asian immigrant featured in this video
I am interested in your thoughts on this video. At a minimum, this video does not represent the sentiments of a large number of immigrants. I wonder how many immigrants know about FBAR? I wonder how many of them know that will be permanent “tax slaves” and permanent “form slaves”. (The truth is that the form requirements in “Form Nation” make it very time consuming to be a U.S. person.) Freedom and democracy in the U.S.? I wonder …
The Flow Of Immigration
Immigration is a hot topic the world over. Fareed Zakaria recently produced an excellent show about what the U.S. can learn about immigration from other countries. It is clear that many immigrants to the U.S. are unhappy. There are as many reasons as there are people. But, it is very clear that the IRS treatment of immigrants in the recent FBAR Fundraiser has begun the depreciation of U.S. goodwill the world over. “Depreciation of U.S. goodwill” is a politically correct way to say: generates more anti-Americanism – in it’s various forms.
Of course, there are many people who are leaving just because they can get a better life else where. Check this out:
We are originally from India and we settled in USA for 20 years. As first we were so happy to be there but we saw the decline first-hand year after year. For three years we tried to go back to India but we could not. My husband is an IT pro and despite going on several interviews in India could not land a job. The reason is the massive competition from other NRIs (non resident Indians) from USA trying to do the same thing that we wanted to do. So his American graduate education and experience was not that helpful.
To all the Americanos that think that all Indians are happy in USA, I say KAPPAL, TOBAA, DHURR NE MATEE! (loosely translated it means MY FOOT!) Many NRIs in USA know that the country is headed downward (the smart ones, anyway) but due to various reasons cannot leave.
Anyway, after years of trying we were finally offered a position in Singapore and we took it and moved last year after selling our house in New Jersey.
As you said we are not the only ones. We know of Chinese, Koreans, and others that have gone back, and some to third countries like Canada and Australia. Life in many other countries is now much better than USA. This is a fact. As word gets out more and more will think differently. And, as things continue to get worse in USA and USA government makes it harder to stay American, more will simply give up USA citizenship.
My question is, what is happening to USA? It was the cleanest, richest, freest place. Now it is little more than a third world country in disguise, the disguise being the massive assistance the government gives to the people at large.
I remember going from New York to Hong Kong once many years ago, and then to Singapore and Mumbai. When we first arrived at Hong Kong airport and got out we thought how fortunate we were to live in USA! Hong Kong seemed dirty and old and USA was great. Same thing all over Asia. Then our last trip from USA to Asia before leaving USA for good was in 2005. It was exactly the opposite feeling. The main Asian cities are gleaming and the infrastructure is so good. Coming back to Newark via Los Angeles we felt we were coming back to an underdeveloped country. So many streets are dirty, so many corners are wassey (smelly).
Yes. You are right. USA is on the way down and we are thankful to be out of there for good. And you are also right in that many, many more people than what is reported are leaving for good. Here in Singapore I met another Indian couple that used to live in USA and also gave up their green cards. This is the long term trend.
The U.S. AKA “Form Nation” has turned it’s people into “Form Slaves”. Because there is always another form one does not know of, one is perpetually guilty of “Form Crime”.
Renounce U.S. citizenship and live free
The US is more democratic than the majority of countries that immigrants to the US are leaving (as in Latin America, China, etc), but it is most certainly NOT the most democratic as those in the video above believe. Consider the following:
Truth be told, immigrants could do much worse than pick the US if they intend to stay for their whole lives, but I don’t see any inhabitants of any other country routinely claim that they are the most democratic or “free”, do you?
The only ones that don’t feel this way are the Americans living abroad like us. I suspect that as time goes on many of these immigrants will began to see the falsehood of their beliefs.
But to put it in perspective, when you compare USA to China, Latin America and the many socialist and dictatorship countries, then saying America is the freest ain’t saying much.
The WSJ has a helpful chart (link): the reason the number of Asian migrants “surpassed” the number of Hispanic migrants is because Hispanic migration fell to about 1/3 of its 2000 level (about 1.2 million to 400,000), while Asian migration just barely recovered to its 2000 level. Over the same period, Singapore (whose population is about 1.5% that of the US) took in an average of nearly 100,000 immigrants per year.
Most people couldn’t really tell you what is freer or more democratic about the US compared to another country. They just say it since it’s a socially-acceptable post hoc justification for more mundane migration reasons like a higher salary, a different style of education for one’s children, or a chance to get out from under the shadow of a more successful relative. Leaving home in pursuit of these little pieces of happiness is perfectly honourable, but Homelanders rarely want to hear about those things from immigrants since it doesn’t flatter their conception of the US as the #1 country for everyone and everything.
Form nation and overregulation makes it impossible for a US citizen to live a quiet existence when you realize that the mere act of going about your life probably puts you in violation of some obscure US law. Tax evasion is not a minor violation of law, has serious consequences, yet to many, citizenship based taxation is an obscure US law. The US has done little to inform its citizens and green card holders of its existence, let alone FBAR filings. A country should enforce its laws, but when that country itself has been negligent in any way, some responsibility should be taken and leniency given for that. Many an immigrant to the US would surely view the US’s unique policy of taxing its citizens worldwide as a defect of US citizenship if they knew about it. I am an English speaking person living in a country right next to the US, have crossed its border a countless number of times yet remained completely unaware of my obligation to pay US taxes. Still, the US considers me a tax evader and must penalize me accordingly. Like FATCA, citizenship based taxation sets the US apart in a negative way and gives it a competitive disadvantage when an individual is considering what country they would like to emigrate to.
Democracy? Don’t we know that Joe Kennedy bought the election for John. F and later many of Teddy’s?
The truth is that these immigrants know nothing about American “democracy” or “freedom”. They are looking for prosperity and opportunity and they likely could care less if the system is as corrupt as their old one was. In many countries most people are afraid to even discuss the government, so these immigrants are as easily mislead.
Craig Ferguson, a recent immigrant, starts every show with “Its a great day for America”. This is a symptom of the “American Exceptionalism” that runs rampant across the nation and one reason that so many Americans are oblivious to the true state of things.
It’s not just the declining economy and onerous tax filing requirements that is driving immigrants back to Mexico and Central America. It’s also the increasingly xenophobic laws that are being passed in states like Arizona and Georgia, informally called the “show me your papers” laws. Who wants to be constantly in fear that if you look a bit brown you might be stopped by police on the street at any moment? Couple that with the increasing raids that ICE makes on different places of business to make mass deportations. The xenophobia won’t stop even if no more immigrants cross the southern border. It will only be shifted to these newer East and South Asian immigrants. History shows that time and time again whenever a nation is undergoing economic decline, the easiest scapegoats are the “foreigners” who are “taking all the jobs” and “leeching off of the public teat of society.” It’s an easy distraction that the government promotes because it takes the heat off of its own failed economic and civil policies.
I can only talk about my own experiences. Because of citizenship based taxation, I felt forced to leave my overseas home and return to the US from 2007-2009. After having left in 1993, I felt I had returned to a changed country. I was shocked at the rotting infrastructure and the service industry drones who couldn’t think outside of their little cubbyholes. In restaurants, it seemed I was receiving massive quantities of food that must have been cooked in oodles of fat and grease. My European habituated stomach couldn’t take it. In contrast to 1993, everyone seemed to be driving imported cars, even expensive German ones (all my neighbors had Audis and BMWs), which spoke volumes about everyone’s addiction to credit. People didn’t seem particularly concerned about doing a good job, only getting ahead so they could borrow more. I began to realize the negative influence the Fed and government has on the morals of American society, encouraging people to live beyond their means. It truly sickened me to see these changes, and made it easy for me to head back to my old life in Europe, despite the costs that had made me leave in the first place. During this experience I felt I had the eyes of an immigrant, and came to the conclusion that America is no place for wealthy, well-educated foreigners. It is a place for the world’s poor who suffer under the boot of a dictator and have nothing to lose by moving to a more egalitarian society. Sure, people in the US love to work but their priorities are wrong. They spend their evenings and weekends chained to their desks, getting gradually more unhealthy and neglecting their family life. But it seems they don’t know any better, because few of them ever seemed to have traveled to see what life is like in other countries. Many of the immigrants I met, hispanics and asians, seemed gung ho about living in the States, while acknowledging the racism and strange ways of the Americans. My guess is that the hispanics see very well the declining living standards in the US and are making their decisions accordingly. But asians I meet abroad are uniformly positive about America and some don’t even understand why I don’t want to live there.
Have to concur. Every time I go back to the US to see the family I notice a little more deterioration in the infrastructure and the standard of living. I’ve been though airports on business trips that were godawful (a few are still nice like Sea-Tac and Charlotte). During our visit last year my daughter checked out the IB (international bac) program at a local Seattle high school. She couldn’t believe her eyes – it was not anywhere near as clean or well-maintained as her public high school here in France. I was also shocked shocked shocked to walk by a public library and see a sign that said that they were having to close for a few days in the summer because of budget cuts. Seattle, a city that has (had?) one of the finest public library systems around no longer has enough money to keep them open during summer break? Unbelievable.
@Wellington and Victoria, the only negative part I haven’t experienced here is what you’re describing about the airports. Compared to the Paris airports, I find the airports in the US very clean – maybe because they want to give a good image to tourists :-). But I totally agree about with the infrastructure in general. As I mentioned in a message before, the quality of the roads are really not good, compared to France. It is incredible to see the number of blown tires when you drive on the highway. I don’t know if you can attribute that to the quality of the roads or to the people who don’t take care of their cars.
And I hope we’ll never get a bad tropical storm too close, because I am not sure the house would withstand the winds 🙂 I was shocked to see that the frame of the houses here is wood, that they just cover up with bricks… Even in areas that are close to the gulf coast, that have increased chances of sustaining high winds. Same comment for the shingles on the roof. I was totally shocked that they put thin composition shingles that requires the roof to be redone every 15 years or so…. and paid by the insurance. What a waste of money. Most roofs are destroyed by hail storm. Big business for roofers. You wonder why they don’t put hard shingles like we see in other countries – maybe because it would hurt the roofer’s business. Jyst like why Phil Hodgen mentioned congress or the IRS wouldn’t change their policies regarding taxes: it would hurt lawyers! And the attic would definitely not be up to code in France: you should see all the electrical wiring just hanging there!
I don’t go to restaurants for the reasons you mention.
Regarding working, you are right too, but I think France goes overboard in the other direction. I disagree with the 35h/week work schedule, and all the RTT hours and such. My sister works for the governement. It’s incredible all the time off she has. On the other hand, I appreciate the fact that in the US, you find most stores open longer hours that in France. It’s convenient, and why not if the people are willing to work. Now 24h for my food store is ridiculous. Like everything, the solution is a something more balanced. I don’t see a lot of balance here – a lot of extremes instead.