I often find myself in discussion with some Homelanders and Obama supporters about whether US citizenship-based taxation is a human rights abuse. Below is my argument, first published August 21, 2012, to say that it is unfair. Now I argue that with the implementation of FATCA, the USA has become a serial human rights abuser. Clearly, most people of reasonable conscience accept these kinds of arguments. Even yesterday, I manage to get a chuckle out of an AP reporter who was asking for my story. I mentioned my birth in Chicago, Illinois, and moving as a baby to Alaska. Off the cuff, I said, “Yet Illinois isn’t chasing me around the globe expecting me to pay state income tax.” That’s because once you leave a state, you can no longer benefit from the proceeds of taxation. It is a no brainer. Yet it is not self-evident to Congress and the IRS, which are pursuing US expats across the globe with FATCA regulations in order to make them pay taxes for the benefit of Homelanders.
Many Homelanders are a special breed of bigot who believe that you live abroad so that you can shirk your responsibility to pay for their Social Security, their Food Stamps, their welfare, and their wars across the globe. Well, I for one am sick of this unfair treatment. We pay taxes in our countries of residence, and in Canada in particular, our tax burden is already much heavier than what Homelanders pay. So it is really time to emphasize that Citizenship-Based Taxation is a violation of the fundamental principles of Western democracy, and it is a human rights abuse.
Fair tax, unfair tax: or When is it paying my fair share?
by Peter W. Dunn
In studying historical tax rebellions, I have observed that governments have frequently been ready to commit mass murder in order to maintain their tax hegemony over a people. South Korea committed mass murder against the poor tax revolters on Jeju Island, who rose up in rebellion in 1948; Californians rode out to suppress the Indian tax revolters in 1851; Britain waged war against American colonists who unilaterally declared a permanent tax holiday from King George; the Romans razed the Temple at Jerusalem and crucified the anti-tax zealots in the Jewish War of succession in AD 66-70. Even George Washington, the beloved president who cut down the cherry tree but could not lie about it, personally led the troops against the Western Pennsylvanian tax protestors in the Whiskey Rebellion. No nation which wants to be taken seriously can ever allow a tax revolt. That’s why Irwin Schiff, father of investor Peter Schiff, rots in a Federal prison.
There are lessons to be learned from these examples. The revolts in question in every case took place because the protestors felt that the taxes were unfair. If the tax really is unfair, then protestors will revolt in large numbers, forcing the taxing authority to act. So I’ve decided to point out some aspects of fair taxes which people are willing to pay, compared to unfair taxes that leads to tax revolts.
Fair taxes seem to me to have the following characteristics:
- A fair tax is not onerous and well within the ability of the citizen to pay.
- A fair tax is part of democratic process in which the citizen has a right to vote for a local person who represents the taxpayer’s area in a legislative assembly. Representation in the legislative assembly is also proportional to population.
- A fair tax is proportional, i.e., charges all citizens proportionally to their means and not disproportionally.
- The proceeds of a fair tax must benefit the community of which the taxpayer is a part.
- Penalties for failing to pay a fair tax are proportional to the crime and the damage to the government which claims a right to collect taxes.
The following are characteristics of unfair taxes which will lead to revolt:
- An unfair tax is taken without local representation in a legislative assembly that makes tax law.
- An unfair tax is disproportional and onerous.
- An unfair tax does not benefit the community of the taxpayer but rather, it benefits the needs of others.
- An unfair tax is a weapon to destroy the taxpayer’s community or to make sure that that community never rises in prominence or wealth.
- An unfair tax comes with stiff penalties for disobedience–penalties which include destitution, detention, and death.
- An unfair tax results in the alleged protector becoming the chief enemy and persecutor of the taxpayer.
As any casual observer can see, the United States taxation of its expats fits the description of unfair taxes that I here provide. (1) It is done without local representation; (2) it is disproportional and onerous, not taking into account the taxpayer’s other tax burdens–e.g., Canadians already pay about 50% of their income in Federal, Provincial and Munipal taxes–including taxes for which there is no foreign tax credit (GST/HST); (3) it is done for the benefit of Homelanders not for the communities of the expats; (4) it unfairly taxes the expat’s home countries tax bases to the weakening of those countries for the benefit of the profligacy of the United States; (5) the penalties for failure to comply with US extra-territorial taxation may result in the detention and destitution of the taxpayer–it often leads the taxpayers to renunciation of citizenship, and can even result in exile [Reed Amendment] or death, if the taxpayer commits suicide or resists arrest; (6) The United States has made itself the chief enemy and persecutor of expats.
Historians seldom look back favorably upon regimes that institute unfair taxation. History is now in the making. Will the United States continue down this path of demagoguery and despotism? Will it commit total annihilation of its own expat community through a form of Expat Cleansing which forces all Americans abroad either to renounce their citizenship or return to the homeland? I think so. I see no real signs that this situation will change but only that it will get worse. I hope that I am wrong. Historians will remember this generation of leaders in the United States under a very dim light, and the Isaac Brock Society will be a primary source for their understanding of this period.
My quote of “I was a big US apologist” meant that I used to favour the United States – it doesn’t mean that I was pro-Obama – in fact, in 2008, I did not have a good feeling about him, he was too protectionist in policy and I stated to friends that if he gets in power that things will go from bad to worse in the United States – that other countries would suffer under his administration.
I have been conservative in my leanings and still am in most aspects – personal accountability, working for myself rather than expecting society to take care of me – the social safety net should only be for people who honestly need it – not for those who don’t wish to work. The simple fact is that Harper is a Neo-Con who doesn’t have the guts to stand up to the United States and he sold out Canada and that is something that I, as a political conservative, cannot stomach. Our national sovereignty should be of paramount importance and one does not achieve that by selling out our citizens.
This graphic pretty much sums up the rage that we all are feeling at being sold out. I’d like to think that we were like the rattlesnake. We are docile until trampled on. We’d prefer to be left alone to live our lives but Uncle Sam with his big boots on decided to come stomping in our neck of the woods. Perhaps this graphic should give him pause.
When is the news going to get out- that having anything to do with America taxwise is sucide? I would think that the more people know ( especially the wealthy ones) the more they avoid the USA and anything american will be the result.Nobody in his right mind can want anything to do with a US passport/GC anymore. IS everybody still haning on to the past and what America used to be? The golden land of opportunity?
I just dont see how the congress and senate cannot realize this? That America is going to be harmed vastly by CBT? That should be incentive enough to change the law.
Unfair taxation pits those unfairly taxed against those who tax them unfairly. Reason supports the first group, power the second.
Monteverdi imagines a conversation between the Roman emperor Nero and the philosopher Seneca about reason and power. Nero wants to get rid of his wife and marry another. Seneca says “not a good idea.”
S: The passions are mischievous consellors, for they hate law, and reason they despise.
N: Reason imposes a harsh discipline upon those who take orders, but not on those who give them.
S: Irrational commands destroy obedience.
N: Stop lecturing me. I shall do as I like.
S: Don’t aggravate the populace and Senate.
N: I care nought for the populace and Senate.
S: Care at least for yourself and your good name.
N: My wife’s now frigid and barren.
S: He who has no reason must find excuses.
N: He who has the means can assume the reasons.
S: But not the safe outcome of an unjust act.
N: Right will always side with might.
S: But an incompetent ruler is always weak.
N: In peace men are compelled by law, and by the sword in war, and reason is superfluous.
S: Compulsion arouses hatred, and causes unrest. Reason governs men and Gods.
N: You make me lose my patience.
S: The poorer argument is bound to win when power contends with reason.
In the end Nero order Seneca to kill himself.
@Tomon, and apparently Nero committed suicide because he lost all support because he started a tax revolt. Great example, thanks.
By being a ‘US apologist’ meaning that you used to favour them, then yes, I also used to do that, a long time ago. Speaking for myself though, I stopped being an ‘apologist’ once the Iraq War started. I never imagined a president worse than Dubya, until Obama came around.
“…A SELECTIVE CONCERN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
United States foreign policy has tended to promote and protect civil and political human rights and the right to property.
The human rights perspective of the foreign policy of the United States thus combines capitalism and human rights, resulting in a selective approach that favours civil and political human rights and the market
From Jackson-Vanik to Magnitsky 7 HR&ILD 2 (2013)
This selectivity has sometimes been described as a preference for market-friendly human rights………”
from Page 253-254 of ‘From Jackson-Vanik to Magnitsky: Continuing a Tradition of Ineffective Human Rights Bolt-ons to Trade Bills’, 7(2) Human Rights & International Legal Discourse 237-261 (2013)
by Kim Van der Borght
‘From Jackson-Vanik to Magnitsky: Continuing a Tradition of Ineffective Human Rights Bolt-ons to Trade Bills’, 7(2) Human Rights & International Legal Discourse 237-261 (2013)
by Kim Van der Borght
I think part of the reason that CBT is condoned isn’t just the power of America, but because people think its alright to take from the rich. Expats are considered well-off enough to survive in enough comfort for it not to constitute a human rights violation. People worry more about the starving peoples in Africa than an expat who gets fleeced.
FATCA is terrible for Africa too. How many African countries have signed up for IGAs? They lack the infrastructure and resources to implement FATCA. Soon the US will start confiscating 30% of their export revenues. This aspect of FATCA has been underreported.