The simple fact of the matter is that the current U.S. government will “pay any price, bear any burden and create any foe (including 6 million U.S. citizens residing outside the U.S.)” in order to catch U.S. residents who use offshore accounts to evade taxes. The U.S. government is a government of great principle. It’s just that it uses the wrong principle.
On September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked. In a misguided attempt to protect Americans and to punish the guilty, the government passed laws which undermined the very freedoms that America was built on.
John Adams, one of the founders of the U.S. constitution noted that:
“.. it’s of more importance to community, that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt should be punished.”
Since September 11, 2001 the freedoms of U.S. citizens have and continue to be eroded.
It has become more important that the guilty be punished than the innocent be protected.
Mr. FBAR is the modern day equivalent of King George’s “writs of assistance” that inspired John Adams.
The United States government has had exactly the wrong response to 911. Here is a suggestion form a “foreign academic” (wonder what Carl Levin would think about the fact that he was “foreign”).
Former Harvard Professor and Former Leader of the Canadian Liberal Party Michael Ignatieff made the point that:
“If terror challenges democracy, the answer is more democracy, not less; more accountability and openness, not less. The question is whether the secret power we have allowed to spring up in our name is under any kind of democratic control. Do our elected representatives keep our secret agencies under sufficient scrutiny? Does the press know what is being done in our name?”
Michael Ignatieff – Learning The Wrong Lessons From 911
(Michael Ignatieff is a former Harvard Professor who lives in Toronto – wonder if he has filed his FBARs.)
U.S. citizens living outside the United States are paying a huge, huge price for this insanity. All of this could be solved by:
1. Abolishing citizenship-based taxation;and
2. Just dealing with the fact that there will always be some tax evaders.
The United States of American has come full circle. It was founded on the principle that is it more important that the innocent be protected (that would be us) than that the guilty be punished (whoever these people are, I don’t personally know any).
It’s no wonder that renunciations of U.S citizenship are soaring. Get out while you can!
How can these people in the United States be so incredibly stupid? I am baffled. Your thoughts on this question?
I think John Adams would say what he said in 1778 as a delegate to the Continental Congress: “The Unanimous Voice of the Continent is ‘Canada must be ours; Quebec must be taken.’
John Adams would likely add these words for 2012 “The Unanimous Voice of Congress is ‘Their money must be ours. The world must be taken.'”
But what did John Adams have to say about breaking away from the British Empire?
Watch the video clip and you will see:
The problem now is that the abused have clearly become the abusers.
During the American Revolution, of the estimated three million British expats (colonists) living in America, approximately 1/3 remained loyal to Great Britain, 1/3 were indifferent, and 1/3 wanted independence.
The question now is what will the estimated six million American expats do? How many will remain loyal to the US, how many will bury their heads in the sand or go underground, and how many will declare independence from the empire?
My guess is that if history provides an indication into future trends, about two million Americans will renounce their US citizenships over the next few years.
Unless of course, the US government wakes up and smells the coffee in time. My guess, unfortunately, is that they won’t.
@Hancock: “To The Revolution!” (Our Revolution!)
Hear, hear! Renounce tyranny now!
@ Renounce: “How can these people in the United States be so incredibly stupid?”
The US always seemed to be a rather insular country, with people not very interested in other countries’ newspapers, magazines, culture, etc (a trait which I tended to consider as sort of a national quirk as opposed to a national character flaw). But in the past 10 years, this former quirk has taken on serious overtones with this American Exceptionalism.
The US media has traditionally given little coverage to other countries, and certainly its corner stores didn’t, and don’t, sell magazines from other countries. But it’s ironic that now that we are the age of the internet and an individual can access media from anywhere in the world, too many US people don’t seem to be doing that; they seem to be looking only inward. Is it simply disinterest; or in today’s era of American exceptionalism, is it defensiveness, distrust and/or dismissiveness/arrogance?
Receiving information from a variety of sources, a person can mull it over and pick and choose ideas, adopt some, reject some, modify some, use critical thinking, and improve both their life and their country’s future.
Receiving the same message over and over, a person stays stupid … and gullible.
Ok, I will probably be attacked for saying this, but I think that we would all be much better off if the US had never broken away from the UK.
The US would likely have never developed its sense of exceptionalism that exists currently and which I believe is the primary reason behind US citizenship-based taxation. Its not because they want money: Its because if you have a US passport you had better be thanking your lucky stars to be a citizen of the best country in the world. Go to Renunciation Guide: All of the US politician quotes dating back almost 150 years all point to this theme of “elusive benefits” and the “privilege of holding a US passport” and thus the “need to pay for that privilege”, even though there are little to no associated benefits with it whilst overseas.
If it had stayed in the Empire it would have likely developed a more consensual attitude based on working with international partners like that Australia, Canada, New Zealand and others have developed. As part of the British Commonwealth it would have a shared, but unique identity and not think of itself as utterly unique and exceptional. Maybe it might even have a parliamentary system of government and a national healthcare system 🙂 I imagine that the current borders might be a bit different as well and maybe the country wouldn’t be the massive monster that it is currently, but rather several smaller regional groupings.
I think the fact that it became an independent state in the 18th century as opposed to the 19th was also responsible for what I would call the significant delay in political progress in the US. Its political system would be built upon more modern principles and it would have even abolished the slave trade 30 years earlier and never had had a civil war had it remained a crown territory. This also comes down to smaller advances.
For example, I always found it weird the way that people in the US eat at the dinner table in that they cut something with the knife in their right hand, put it down and then grab a fork. Where I grew up you always have a knife in your right hand and a fork in your left. I heard something once that the fork was introduced in Europe around the time of the US revolution but was introduced later in the Americas as a result, but I don’t know how this affected the way that people use the utensils. How do Canadians eat? Sorry for diverging from my point a bit, but if anyone knows the answer would love to hear it since this has always fascinated me 😛
I’m not your typical Canadian since I didn’t learn to use cutlery until the age of 16 … long story … my husband used to refer to me as Jane of the jungle … he actually taught me how to use cutlery. I eat with the fork in the left hand and knife in the right. If I’m doing it wrong, well that’s just too bad…
@ Renounce: “How can these people in the United States be so incredibly stupid?”
Exactly. But I learned a long time ago to never argue with an idiot because you will always lose in some way. The best thing that an American can do — that plans to live permanently overseas — is to renounce/relinquish US citizenship. US Citizenship is too much a headache. I talked to a Russian that left the Soviet Union in the 1980s. He said he left there to escape the same sort of things that are going on in the US today. Then the USSR collapsed. He fears he will see two “empires” collapse during his lifetime.
@Don – who knows. I don’t know if it was ONLY the break off from the UK. I think more a series of events since the Revolution. They’ve won just about every engagement (except Vietnam) that they’ve had. Communism failed. Americans think they can do anything. Good for them. But they CLEARLY cannot understand living conditions and taxation for people abroad. If they charged the same taxes in the USA that they charged here, *we would actually see change in America* because people would riot in the street.
I frankly don’t care about those people anymore. They can waddle in their ignorance as much as they want to. Meanwhile, I will live my happy life overseas and far away from them. I can care less about an American passport. The only problem is that it is costing me around $1,000 to get rid of it if you include fees and transportation costs. It should be free-free-free.
I have a different opinion on “American exceptionalism.” America was once an exceptional country, the beacon of liberty shining from a hill for the rest of the world to see and emulate.
However, over the years America lost its exceptionalism.
It has since become just another repressive empire; an empire in denial of both; being an empire and losing its exceptionalism.
@Don: Well, now you’ve done it! Surely, your words are an Act of Treason! That must be a cause for expatriating/renouncing. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your comments would be Just Cause for Revocation of your US Citizenship?!?
In terms of cutlery, most Canadians use the British/European style. Knife in right, fork in left. Lefties may do it the reverse–I’m not sure. My American family finds this weird and may even think it is poor manners, although they’ve never actually said that. Perhaps the reason US eats the way they do is because they can shovel more food in. Maybe it contributes to their level of obesity. And they dare to call us Fat Cats!
@OMG: You have the most fascinating stories. I would love to hear about Jungle Jane sometime.
“If this be treason, then let’s make the most of it.”
– Patrick Henry
@Blaze & OMG
Very interesting to hear that Canadians eat like Europeans! I wonder why this ended up being different in the US. Also, I find the comment about people in the US finding it rude to eat this way to be hilarious – My family always thought it was rude when their guests ate with the fork in the right hand, because that normally meant that their guests’ left hand was somewhere under the table. Where I come from your hands remain on the table at all times 🙂
By the way OMG, I think I would have starved if I had been you as a teenager! How could I have eaten spaghetti without a fork? 😛
I think that the current US tax rates are unsustainable. In Belgium we have extremely high tax rates even for those making as little as 12,000 Euros (rising to almost 56% of your income if you are making over 30,000 Euros!). We get really good services for this though. The US cannot continue to spend like a drunken sailor and borrow from his well-to-do brother everytime that he gets broke to fund his drinking spree!
When do you think that this decline started to take place? Post-Kennedy Era?
I think the trajectory of the decline of American exceptionalism in terms of “liberty” correlates with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the growth of the war-based economy, which accelerated considerably over the last ten years.
I’m afraid it’s probably true that renouncing or relinquishing is the most realistic way to simplify our lives as expats; however, what I wish is that more would be willing to at least try to get things changed so we didn’t have to do something so drastic.
Agree with you. They allow corporations to keep money earned out of the US tax free as long as they don’t bring it back into the US. Why not allow expats to live overseas and not pay anything until they decide to move back as well? Not the most ideal solution, but it would be perfect for many of us who do not intend to move back there!
The military-industrial complex is really becoming scary, isn’t it? I bet that within a year there will be another conflict in Iran and then who knows where afterwards? Eisenhower would be horrified that his warning has been so blatently ignored I think.