Laura Harrison McBride has an interesting article over at The Smirking Chimp blog (tagline: “News and commentary from the vast left-wing conspiracy”) entitled “Me and Eduardo Saverin; The major difference is money”, in which she discusses her own relinquishment of U.S. citizenship in February 2012 and eloquently contests the tiresome mainstream narrative (spread by bloggers like Matias Ramos and the Tax Justice Network) that people giving up U.S. citizenship are all rich traitors “fleeing” the United States with ill-gotten gains in their pockets.
Ms. McBride begins:
On Mother’s Day, Huffington Post ran a story–or at least, promoted a link to one–about why Eduardo Saverin’s renunciation of his US citizenship made him a bad, bad man. Really? Is it now, in America–home of the brave, land of the free, and incubator of financial criminals of every possible stripe–a certain ticket to inclusion in a subclass of humanity to take your marbles and leave? What happened to freedom of choice? Isn’t that what America’s about?
Well, no, actually. It is about subservience to everything from your boss to the IRS to the worn-out meme, “America is the greatest…and if you fail to mindlessly spout that drivel, you’re a creep, an ingrate and a Bad, Bad Person.” It was after reading that ludicrous article that I decided, having written it several days ago, to finally post my own column about renunciation.
She goes on to state: “Not taxes that pushed my buttons, but the tax collector”. Which is what we’ve been saying here all along. Several people here have said: we wouldn’t mind paying a few hundred or even a few thousand per year to the U.S. government to retain U.S. citizenship. But they refuse to make the transaction this straightforward; instead they throw us into an insane maze of paperwork from which the only exit is either to give up U.S. citizenship or to pay thousands of dollars to an accountant to file “information returns” which have nothing to do with collection of tax.
And she concludes:
It was the ethical situation that drove me, finally, to get dual citizenship and, ultimately, to discard the citizenship of a nation so mired in ethical failure I doubt it will resurrect itself in my lifetime. Now, when people I encounter in stores and such ask me if I’m American or Canadian (bless those who mistake my fairly neutral Yank speech for Canadian!), I say, “Neither. I was a Yank, but decided to renounce and adopt a royalist, quasi-socialist nation that at least tries to care for all of its citizens–not just the white, educated one percent and the greedy politicians.”
The U.S.’ unfair treatment of overseas citizens and green-card holders is a bipartisan issue, something we should all remember in the coming weeks when Congressional debates and the American public will try to paint us all as uncaring Randian fat-cats decamping to tax havens. Even here at the Isaac Brock Society we’re a broad coalition with a variety of views on U.S. politics and on the level of taxation that should be faced by corporations and rich people who actually live and do business in the United States. Some of us voted against Obama; others of us registered to vote in the U.S. in 2008 for the first time in decades specifically in order to support him (and in the process destroyed earlier claims to having relinquished U.S. citizenship, leading to Kafkaesque tax consequences).
Ms. McBride blogs at Cafe de Flore if you’d like to express your thanks to her for speaking out.