In the past day or so, it has been interesting to juxtapose the anxieties of first-time posters with the ongoing perceptions and ruminations and strategems of longer-term crew on the Brock.
On the one side: How can this be? I don’t want this! How can I simultaneously clear this up while not stumbling into radar that will take me out? Surely there must be some solution. Where does this circle begin? Is there any reasonable way out? This is such a mess — certainly someone will have to fix it! Maybe I can just wait for this to clear up? Or keep on hiding indefinitely?
On the other side: (1) This is election year in the United States, and maybe we can make the extraterritorial predicament an issue, and maybe Romney would be better than Obama. (2) FATCA is so overreaching and fantastic, and it just has to damage the US economy, and the rest of the world will have to realize that national sovereignty and human rights can’t take a back seat, and the incredible details mean that the project just has to fail. (3) Surely Canada will have to treat US persons just like everybody else, and it will help if we work hard to lobby this or that branch of officialdom. (4) This is a big important story suppressed by mainstream media, and sooner or later it has to break anyway, and we can advance the cause by commenting and corresponding in all possible directions.
A first reality is that Brock has become the international watering hole for extraterritorials, and that the monitoring, information exchange, updating, fellowship, etc fill a huge need that is likely to grow. A second reality is that Brock consists of very few individuals who want to publicly identify themselves at this stage, even though hundreds have participated. A third reality is the practical inability to organize much of anything beyond the increased awareness of widely scattered individuals. A fourth reality is that officialdom, whether US or Canadian or somewhere else, has and likely will have little incentive to get worked up over Brocker issues. A fifth reality is that the drudgery of resolution inevitably will fall on the solitary individual or family.
Elucidating the complexities and technicalities of the entangling mechanisms of US personhood is a first and clearly worthwhile task. Documenting the situation can save much duplication of effort. Assessment of developments and trends can help to facilitate timely actions. In hindsight, knowing what you know now, what would you have done when? Looking ahead, and extrapolating from the past, what is it reasonable to expect in the future? Phil Hodgen memorably describes the present as “semi-good.” Finally, the therapy of company in sharing misery is indisputable.
In the end, the USS United States seems to be keeling over. A maelstrom could ensue. The horizon is fraught with uncertainties, not least of which is how the rules are going to change next, and when. Just look at the dog’s breakfast of overlapping legislations and jurisdictions that has emerged over the past decade.
As a group, we are in no way special — unless perhaps as an ironic phantom of American exceptionalism.
Sauve qui peut.
*Dear Democratic Campaign strategists, campaign volunteers, and Senator Carl Lenin:
I know that you are all avid readers, and that you use these comments in your campaign strategy. I realize that you read this much more thoroughly then you have ever read any of my letters to your offices. Welcome back—top off your coffee, and enjoy the comments which will roll in below.
You should be noticing from the growth and strength of the arguments here and on the outside, that your supervisors will need to begin revising their election calculations. You had previously thought that it was good strategy to persecute the 2%’ers that live outside the US, and to tell the 98%’ers at home that it was “tax cheats” that you were penalizing. But you didn’t calculate that many of us are located in the “swing states” and that we will be voting against you strongly in each of those (my vote goes to Florida—who was that last guy that lost in Florida—was it 2000 or 2004?). Neither had you calculated the antagonism of the silent immigrants who are suffering the same fate.
Media outlets are finding out—one-by-one—of the neutron bomb of 30% withholdings that your party is dropping on your own financial system. The momentum is building, and your actions will be brought up in the coming media fallout.
Carl, you are playing to the wrong audience, don’t you realize that none of your voters reads the Congressional Record? The only guy that reads that record is Petros, and he can’t even vote anymore.
How long will you hold out with your current hush-hush strategy? Perhaps you are still believing that your opposition is split and that your victory is certainty. Keep believing if you like, and find out the result in November. Or, there is that alternative—-to lead the fight in eliminating citizenship-based tax persecution of US immigrants and emigrants.
Have a nice day.
Yep, I’m now registered in the “swing state” of Florida and I’m ready to vote for Americans abroad! I highly recommend that all Americans abroad move their base to Florida. Not only does it have some advantages for us over other States, but we would gain the political influence Washington doesn’t want us to have.
@ Mark Twain, ‘Sen. Carl Lenin.’ LOL
I have decided to not participate in this election for several reasons. First, I am very unpersuaded that either candidate will adequately represent me and my specific interests let alone care that much about currying favour with the expat community. I forget which movie the line ‘Follow the money’ comes from but that’s the key. Expas, in the big picture, cannot contribute nor match the deep pockets of the Adelsons and Koch brothers.
Second, I left the States in 2007. Since then, especially in the past year, I have become less and less interested in the internal workings of US politics except as they affect me as a Canadian and as they affect my country.
Finally and most importantly, I became a Canadian citizen late last year. This is my home. I live here full time, earn my living here full time, am much more interested in Canadian issues and interests, and prefer to devote my energy to letting the Finance Minister, the PM, and my MP know about my concerns.
*Now I think it would be prudent to get my adult daugher with the disability registered to vote in this upcoming election, seeing that the U.S. won’t let me renounce on her behalf!
*Dear Republican strategists and staffers:
No doubt you landed on this site with its strong emotions against the other party due to its one sided votes on HIRE ACT (funded by FATCA) and S183 (funded by passport confiscations). You have been wondering (but not acting) as to how such energy could be put to use.
Well, you see, the members of this forum are quite anti to the other side, however, for various reasons, they are not strongly pulled to your candidate. As it stands, the votes from expatriates and immigrants are spread over a spectrum, and not concentrated on your side.
You have an opportunity to gain 7 million votes, for usage in the swing states, from the expatriate community alone. There are double or triple that amount of immigrants waiting to vote for a candidate. They could all come over to your side, by simply stating that your candidate will stand against the citizen-based-taxations and the horrendous penalties of FATCA.
Low Hanging Fruit.
Enjoy your Saturday
*Wish I could lay low also, but I made the mistake of investing in loser IRA retirement funds, which I cannot expatriate along with me. The government here cannot help me with 8 back years of FBARs and 1040X’s, nor the accounting costs, nor the penalties, nor the passport confiscations. I want to visit mum&dad in Florida as often as I can. I can easily see $10,000 of accounting costs and 160 hrs of my own preparation just to make a quiet disclosure.
@mark twain. If you make less than $50,000 the IRS has a program that will assist a taxpayer in preparing an income tax return. I was going to walk into one their “12,000 free tax preparation sites” next time I’m in Washington state and see what they can do for me. I’m sure they’ll look at me like I just walked off a space ship and tell me that I don’t qualify for their services, but at least I can document the experience and attempt to get it in writing why. My efforts to reach anyone by phone led nowhere.
My husband went to an IRS office in the USA recently hoping to get some questions answered but he would have had to sit down at a teletubby screen which would obviously have been recording his every nuanced expression (something I can only describe as probably “hold one’s nose”) so he just quietly picked up what forms he could find (no FBARs or 8938s available there) and exited the well guarded building as unobtrusively as possible. If you try this be sure to be in a major or capital city in Washington state. And oh yes, the telephone thing … been there or NOT as it turned out because even though they could have those 800 numbers accessible from Canada they choose to block us.
Mark Twain –
On the premise that it is better to do something than to do nothing – possible exception of course being to willfully expose yourself to the depredations of the failing state located between Mexico and Canada – I applaud your passion for voting. Note that the direct object in that last sentence is “passion.”
When you brandish those 7 million guesstimate votes, it might be more realistic to parade instead the 262,612 Total Ballots Counted in the 2008 US election as reported by Claire Smith for Overseas Vote Foundation?
Swing that election, baby, and find true salvation through Mitrak Obomney.
usxcanada, demorepublicans could possibly get more than 262,612 votes overseas if they learned to think beyond US borders. Yet, even if demorepublicans could properly acknowledge that not all Americans live in America, it is still questionable if more Americans overseas would also vote for the lesser of two evils like their comrades back home. Given that we are not represented abroad, it is foolish to think that we could be better represented in a two-party system. It is simply impossible for the vast variety of voter interests to be properly represented with one of two parties. Nevertheless, I’ll vote for residency-based representation.
*USxCanada, yeah, truth does hurt. But 262,612 is to a swing state victory more-so than 6 million is to 300 million.
Those US persons who have found out they are personally affected will become voters.
I am the father of children who I naively but proudly swore into bondage to the US Federal Government by acquiring them SS numbers 2 decades ago. On this Fathersday I am reflecting on the legacy of my stupidity then. Last week my wife and I prepared the last 2 years of tax returns for our
2 children, one of whom was born in the CH and at 20 yrs of age has never lived in the US and just finished her
Swiss apprenticeship. We calculate that if we get the kids to make an appointment in Bern now, that in 2 years they will have their CLN appointment (that’s how long it takes). With these quiet disclosures and a little luck in 2 years they will be non-covered expats and will be able slip out unmolested over the 21st century’s equivalent to the Rio-Grand river.
Welcome and thanks for commenting here. I trust you have been reading and following the many comments on the following thread:
Relinquishment and Renunciation of US citizenship
There may be information of value for you.
Happy Father’s day