From a recent post on Duncan’s website. Transcript and commentary after the jump.
0:00/Duncan: Hello. I’m coming to you from my office in the Rayburn House Office Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol, and I wanted to mention a couple of things to all the people who view my website from time to time. Last night, on the ABC National News, I saw the report that 1,760 Americans had given up their U.S. citizenship in the past year, primarily to avoid taxes. But the person who was featured was a woman named Denise Rich. Several years ago, I criticised President Clinton for granting a pardon to Mrs. Rich’s ex-husband Marc Rich, who had fled the country to evade $40 million in income taxes.
I would have hoped that a Congresscritter would have access to a better source of information than sensationalistic television news, but I guess he doesn’t care about the finer points of this issue; he just wanted the chance to spout some bombast in front of a camera like Chuck Schumer, whose language he echoes. Duncan is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, which claims to comprise libertarian-minded members, and holds weekly lunches hosted by Ron Paul. But apparently, Ron Paul’s understanding of liberty hasn’t rubbed off on Duncan, for whom “liberty” clearly doesn’t include the right to emigrate as guaranteed by the Expatriation Act of 1868, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
0:53/Duncan: President Clinton granted this pardon after Mrs. Rich donated — I believe it was — $400,000 to the Clinton Library. This is a scandal of major proportions, really, and I was disappointed and surprised that the national media did not make more out of this at the time. But Mrs. Rich is from a family — I think the report said her grandfather came here to this country to avoid or escape the Holocaust. This country gave the Rich family, or Mrs. Rich’s family, a great life, and freedoms, and enabled them to become fabulously wealthy.
One amusing fact that none of the Denise Rich coverage can be bothered to mention: Marc Rich also believed he had given up U.S. citizenship. Unfortunately for him, he was mysteriously determined by a court to have retained it, despite a relinquishing act — acquisition of Spanish citizenship — which occurred at a time when the State Department still discouraged dual citizenship and could unilaterally begin the process to make a “Determination of Loss of Nationality” for anyone of whom the “preponderance of evidence” suggested that they intended to lose U.S. citizenship. Indeed, this is precisely what they did to Israeli politician Meir Kahane in 1985 (even though two other Americans who served in the Knesset before him were found not to have given up their U.S. citizenship).
The usual tiresome disclaimer must be repeated here, for people who misinterpret support for a person’s renunciation as support for the person as a whole: I don’t agree with the political views of Kahane, or of either Rich, or for that matter of Bobby Fischer way over on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Kahane. What I do support is the same thing that Voltaire supports: their right to say what they want and to continue exercising their fundamental human rights after they’ve said it — including the right of emigration and the right to retain or renounce their citizenship as they see fit, without being subject to populist calls for their property to be confiscated and for them to be exiled and banned from returning as visitors.
1:41/Duncan: And now this is a terrible way for her to show her appreciation — or her lack thereof — to this country for all that it has done for her and her family. And I thought it was terrible for President Clinton to have given a pardon to her ex-husband Marc Rich for evading $40 million in federal income taxes and fleeing the country, all in return, really, for several hundreds of thousands of dollars of contributions to President Clinton’s library, and I think maybe possibly contributions to his campaign before that.
2:23/Duncan: Senator Schumer from New York was on this newscast, saying that he described this as “despicable” — the citizens giving up their citizenship to evade taxes. And I very seldom agree with Senator Schumer, but I certainly agreed with him on that.
Note carefully his words. Duncan is not simply accusing renunciants and would-be renunciants of avoiding taxes (observing the letter of the tax laws while breaking their spirit); he accuses us of evasion, which is a crime. The only question is whether Duncan knows the difference.
2:43/Duncan: The second thing I wanted to mention was is that I have now become the lead Republican sponsor of legislation by Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey for a bill that has been referred to or labelled as the Bring Jobs Home Bill. This is something I’ve talked about for several years, and it is designed to give a tax break or tax deduction to companies that bring jobs back from other countries to the US. And it also would deny a tax break, or tax deductions, for expenses incurred by companies that move jobs to other countries.
The bill to which Duncan refers, H.R. 5542, can be viewed in its entirety over on GovTrack. The “Increased Domestic Employment Requirement” in Section 45S(c) is particularly amusing:
No credit shall be allowed under this section unless the number of full-time equivalent employees of the taxpayer for the taxable year for which the credit is claimed exceeds the number of full-time equivalent employees of the taxpayer for the last taxable year … determined by only taking into account wages … paid with respect to services performed within the United States.
To put it more simply for those of you who are still working through your remedial course in the Orcish language: an American employer who creates jobs for U.S. Persons abroad (and thus prevents us from coming home, joining the ranks of the American unemployed, and putting more stress on the U.S. welfare budget) gets no tax break from this bill. It’s another example of the same old phenomenon we see all the time in the Homeland: U.S. Persons abroad are never intended as beneficiaries of U.S. legislation, and are read out of the definition of “Americans” — until it comes time to pay for all these subsidies for which Congressional porkers have voted, at which point Homelanders like Hale Sheppard opine that we’re only being asked to pay “our fair share” for “the significant benefits” of U.S. Personhood, and that those who do not are “free riders”.
3:27/Duncan: I think that we should have done this a long time ago. We should be trying to put our own country first, and our own workers first, and that’s what I’ve tried to do. All the polls at this time show that jobs and job creation is one of the concerns — probably the main concern — of most people. I’ve said many times that while our unemployment rate is far too high, many people feel our underemployment rate is even higher. There are many of college graduates and very intelligent non-graduates who are having to work at very low-paying jobs or jobs certainly far below what their education and skills and talents and abilities would justify.
I was one of those underemployed workers too more than a decade ago: a computer science major who graduated into the aftermath of the dot-com crash and ended up taking odd jobs to pay the rent and the student loans. I typeset physics books. I sold furniture (I was really bad at it). I went to night school to try to upgrade my skills. And my big break came along: a stable job in a growing company. The only catch was that it was in Hong Kong, which had recently been handed back to China and was the object of all sorts of American and British coverage proclaiming its death under communism.
But I took a risk and I went. I referred one of my formerly unemployed friends into my job as a sofa salesman; he was much better at it than me, quickly earned promotion, and moved on to bigger things a year later — his resume nicely rounded out with his couch store job illustrating his management experience. And with my departure from the U.S., everyone was better off — except, of course, congresscritters who think they own my brain and its output and have the right to tax it for the rest of my life.
4:23/Duncan: And so I hope that while it’s probably too late in this Congress to do anything, that we will at least start the effort toward passing a bill similar to H.R. 5542 which is a bill to bring jobs back to this country.
Well, I don’t know about jobs, but the continued harassment of U.S. Persons abroad might well result in unemployed workers coming back to your country, Mr. Duncan. Especially if they’re so intimidated and bamboozled by you and your fellow demagogues’ rhetoric — that renouncing citizenship is a “despicable act” undertaken only by “tax evaders” — that they do not consider availing themselves of a commonsense action undertaken by millions of emigrants from all countries over the world: cutting off their political ties to their passport country in which they no longer live, and becoming citizens of the places where they live.
The level of Duncan’s hypocrisy is best illustrated by this failed law he cosponsored in 2005, the “Enforcement First Immigration Reform Act” (H.R. 3938), which among other things directed that:
Sec. 703. Policy of Discouragement of Dual/Multiple Citizenship.
The Secretary of State shall revise the 1990 memoranda and directives on dual citizenship and dual nationality and return to the traditional policy of the Department of State of viewing dual/multiple citizenship as problematic and as something to be discouraged not encouraged.
Sec. 704. Informing Birth Nations of Their Previous Citizens’ New Status As American Citizens.
- In General- In the case of an individual who formerly a native of a foreign state and who is naturalized as a citizen of the United States, the Secretary of State shall provide for notice to consular officials of such foreign state
- of the fact of such naturalization and that such individual is no longer subject to that states’s jurisdiction; and
- that the United State rejects the doctrine `perpetual allegiance’.
- Effective Date- Subsection (a) applies to individuals naturalized on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
In otherwords, Duncan believes that immigrants to the U.S. should be forced to give up their original citizenships to gain American citizenship. But emigrants from the U.S. who give up their U.S. citizenship — either in order to gain another citizenship, or simply to avoid interference with their democratically-enacted right to hold a retirement account where they live — are despicable tax evaders who must be stopped. “Perpetual allegiance” for the U.S., but not for other countries. American exceptionalism, indeed.
After having seen Obama’s utter disregard for the promises to Americans abroad he made during his campaign, many Isaac Brock readers are inclined to vote for the Republicans. (I for one hope to have no right to cast a U.S. ballot at all by November). I certainly encourage voters to cast a ballot against incumbent Democrats who have supported FATCA, the “Budget For All” which would repeal the FEIE, the passport confiscation provisions of the “Highway Bill”, and all the other anti-expat garbage coming out of Washington DC. Just remember that a significant number of Republicans, like Duncan, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), have no respect for your right of emigration either and view you as traitors to the Homeland.