On this last Sunday of January 2012, here at Isaac Brock Society, multiple threads seem to have converged on at least faint hopes that the US behemoth might turn to the sanity of residence-based taxation. Or not.
Some appear to hope that such a sea change might still solve problems they currently founder in, while others look toward (or have already realized) the certain freedom of consigning US citizenship to jettison. What is realistic?
Two academic articles offer a long view of where the United States has come from.
To a legal history lying behind and surrounding relinquishing citizenship for taxation purposes after the 2008 Heart Act, described in a January 25 posting, now add an even broader historical sweep of the American transformations of the concept of expatriation.
Both of these lengthy and heavily documented articles lend support to the direct experience reported by Roger Conklin.
Ideology trumps economic reason. The write-off of a few million — who cares about anything specific on the numbers? — “bad” Americans who have already left the United States amounts to nothing. If a bureaucrat can make himself look good by harvesting a few free offshore billions, why would any politician get in the way of that?
After all, the current master narrative, the governing story today, was written by real fat cats who flew the coop decades ago. Those lost fortunes will not be forgotten.
For more than a decade Congress has obsessed over the fact that a handful of rich folks, including fund operator John Templeton, Kenneth Dart of Dart Container and Campbell soup heir John Dorrance III were able to escape U.S. income and estate taxes by renouncing their citizenship.
Given this terrain, what is it reasonable to expect to achieve? Whether as individuals. Whether as a group whose existence by circumstance must remain mostly virtual. Where and how can we exercise the Realpolitik of this situation?