Exit Strategy

Can you put a price on American citizenship? Apparently, it is less than $67 million.

As you surely know, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, naturalized U.S. citizen, born in Brazil, has renounced his citizenship in an apparent move to escape the oppressive taxation with which our Dear Rulers have blessed us.

The Honorable Senators Schumer(D-NY) and Casey(D-PA) have introduced legislation which effectively decrees: if you care to emigrate from the U.S.A., only 70% of you can go. More specifically, there is a 30% tax to leave this country. (Lest you shuffle off this mortal coil, then the tax jumps to 35%. It’s cheaper to flee the U.S. than to die here.)

“Saverin has turned his back from the country that welcomed him, kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire,” Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said at a press conference with Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

Taking Sen. Schumer’s comments by the numbers. We did not welcome Mr. Saverin out of the kindness of our hearts. We welcomed Mr. Saverin’s family because this country quickly sees the advantage of people who immigrate to the United States. Before the government decided to take care of us cradle to grave, immigrants worked hard providing needed services at reasonable costs while broadening the tax base. Their desire to enter the middle class and make a better life for their families drove their ambition to succeed and create opportunities. It was only in the 1960′s when unions decided to influence government that protectionist legislation drove immigrant labor into illegal black markets.

We kept him safe. Well, if by safe you mean that we use our military to manipulate world politics by installing and then removing despotic dictators who receive our money and weapons as long as they’re sympathetic to our resource needs. Or maybe you mean that we kept all of those Americans safe when Pearl Harbor or the World Trade Center was attacked, even though we knew of those plots in advance. Or maybe we keep our soldiers in Iraq safe when we let them scrounge scrap metal to reinforce their Humvees from IED attacks because we would not provide proper equipment. Or maybe by safe, you mean living in a police state with tenuous Fourth Amendment rights where you can be thrown in jail for recording a law enforcement officer in the discharge of his public duties. Or maybe it means living in a country where an unelected bureaucrat can put you on a list because of a charity to which you donated or a rally you attended and can then direct the military to kidnap you in your sleep and hold you until you die with no need to officially charge you or allow access to our judicial system. Or maybe you’re safe when the DEA can “forget” about you for five days in a holding cell with no access to food, water or sanitation—even though you’re innocent. Thanks Mr. Federal Government for keeping me so safe. How about “No thanks,” I’ll take my own chances.

We educated him. I think he paid market price for his Harvard education. His family immigrated in 1996, so he really did not have the advantage of our federal indoctrination centers (read: schools.) And yet, still successful. (Or should I say because of?)

We helped him become a billionaire. What?!? He became a billionaire because he was co-founder of a company that took risk combining effort and materials in a way where the value of the result was a lot more than the value of the component parts. He helped give us Facebook. We OWE HIM the billions of dollars at which his equity stake is valued. We should be THANKING HIM for being a part of a company that HELPED BRING DEMOCRACY TO THE MIDDLE EAST, never mind reminding me of birthdays I would otherwise miss.

And by the way, he is a self-made billionaire. So if you’re crying about the fact that you are a failure because your parents were a truck driver and a real estate agent instead of an oil tycoon who ground up the poor to fuel their empire, just shut up. This man is EXACTLY why we say America is great. Where anyone can start out with nothing and become everything. However, once you achieve everything, we are going to tax the living daylights out of you.

This Schumer guy is a class-A schmuck. What he really means is that unless I can make people think they owe the government for the fruits of their own labors, I may well have to address my own delusions of grandeur in a job mostly populated by half-wit lawyers and over-opinionated blowhards. What he really means is that unless I can imprison people, conscripting them to labor, in order to “pay back” the bounty of gifts which I and my cronies have been so benevolent to give—if people can actually leave this country just like they leave California for low-tax Texas or Maryland for low-tax Virginia—then my whole argument for government-funded-everything-because-it-makes-society-better falls apart. What he really means is that we are all just little tax-paying machines whose only purpose is to fund the comforts of beltway-insiders with the sweat of our brows and the blood of our toil.

Let’s turn this around. Say that I own a store that sells guitars. Some young lad named Jimi comes in to my shop and buys a guitar. Jimi, through his own passion, talent and hard work becomes an amazing and wealthy guitar player. Am I owed a percentage of Jimi’s earnings just because I “gave him the opportunity” to work hard and earn a living?

Does it follow that because the government “gives us safety*” some of us** are obligated to forfeit whatever portion of our personal livelihood that some politician decides she wants? When we all know that the whole point of government is to fulfill the financial and influence cravings of a few people, who would otherwise almost certainly be failures in real life, by controlling the theft of productivity from people who could actually benefit society, redistributing it to those who, let’s be honest here, sell their votes in exchange for a political system which has failed every time it has been tried.

Never mind that Saverin didn’t actually “make” this money. He is simply converting one form of asset (equity in a business) into another form of asset (currency.) He will be no more or less wealthy the minute after he makes this exchange than the minute before. Yet, our rulers in Washington, eager to extort whatever they can from whomever they can, have decided that this type of portfolio rebalancing, similar to what every financial analyst says is prudent, incurs a currently 15%, soon-to-be 25% penalty.

So what is happening, simply because our gluttonous U.S. Government wants its taste? At a 15% tax on capital gains, Saverin takes all of his wealth and leaves the country. At a zero percent capital gains rate, Saverin stays in the country and buys a lot of stuff that some American has a job selling, transporting and in many cases manufacturing. He meets people and hears new ideas and invests in new companies that employ more Americans and creates more wealth for our country. Pretty obvious that if you want Saverin to “pay back America,” the best thing to do is to let him pay back the American people by supporting their jobs, not by supporting their bloated, overreaching disgrace of a federal government.

And if you think that we need more laws because laws create rules that the very, very wealthy cannot circumvent, then stop reading now and hand over your right to have an opinion.

Endnotes:
* the government routinely violated our rights and freedoms, that is its definition of safety.
** only 47% of wage-earners pay ANY income tax. Most Americans receive more subsidy from government than they pay in. Almost every American receives some sort of government assistance. That leaves very few people to pay for the country we all enjoy. (I wish there was a name for these folks. I know… the 1%)


“And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third, and so on ’til the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automations of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.”-that’s what Thomas Jefferson would do.

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