Obama brings Romney’s offshore accounts into the campaign

On  December 6, 2011, Barack Obama began his campaign for re-election with a speech in Kansas. That speech made it clear that this campaign will be about “class warfare”. Obama refined this theme in January 2012 State of The Union Address. Obama’s strategy is simple and clear. It’s to tell the people of America that they can use the democratic process to elect Obama, who will in turn transfer wealth to them.

Clinton was famous for saying:

“It’s the economy stupid”

Obama agrees that it’s about the economy. But different people think about the economy they think about it in different ways. Obama is basing his campaign on “income redistribution”.  In the world view of Obama:

We need the Warren Buffet rule.

There are certain people who don’t pay enough taxes.

There are two reasons they don’t pay enough taxes:

1. Tax rates are too law (We will make the rich pay more!); and

2. Certain people evade taxes. One of the ways that they evade taxes is by using “offshore accounts” (only criminals have offshore accounts).

Now, in what is a truly pathetic manner, Obama has made Mitt Romney’s offshore accounts an  election issue. He has actually gone so far as to ask  whether Romney is using those offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. This, coming from the man who appointed “First Tax Cheat”, Tim Geithner to his post as Treasury Secretary.

This is a new low in American politics – even for Barack Obama.

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18 thoughts on “Obama brings Romney’s offshore accounts into the campaign

  1. Obama’s spokesman, Ben LaBolt, left out the third category of people, ex-pats that reside abroad and need financial services to live in the modern world. (not have to resort to stuffing the mattress)

  2. @Everyone

    This is getting awfully interesting awfully fast.

    My Boston friend had two conservations last with Obama supporters last night. As recounted to me.

    Obama Supporter #1:

    Knew about FATCA and though it was a good idea. Very sympathetic to people effected in Canada. Also though people who were US citizens should have known they had to file. Didn’t think though the US should be going after people who thought they lost the US citizenship many years ago. Concerened about tension with Canada. Didn’t think it was in anyones interest to have a big fight over FATCA

    Obama Supporter #2

    Knew about FATCA and thought it was a good idea. Had no idea if effected Canada thought it was to crack down on Swiss Banks. Didn’t want to involve Canada at all in the whole offshore crackdown thing. Thought the Canadian Access to Basic Banking Services law that conflicts with FATCA was a very good idea.

  3. Read elsewhere that Romney has accounts in a few countries. Has he submitted all of his FBARs??

  4. In 2008, it was hope and promise and there was so much outreach and good will toward Americans Abroad. But it turned so quickly. I told Maya that I felt used.

    Our issues were not only not being heard, the Dems abroad actively wanted us to “move on to other topics than taxation”. Maya did not think that FATCA was a serious issue that would concern Americans Abroad and when I pointed out all of the issues it raises on top of the already serious issues posed by putting people under two tax systems (like US capital gains taxes that exceed 200% before the foreign tax is applied and the fact that if you die, your foreign spouse will owe US inheritance tax on anything above 60,000 USD and that FATCA will make these crazy laws enforceable), she ended the conversation with “I am not a tax expert”. OK… but this is a political party, not a social club and the issues are very serious. We don’t need drinking parties and mixers, we need help.

    Now, the Democratic party platform is no longer playing to us it is aggressive toward us. We are villains by circumstances. Their “go after tax evasion” does not have a payback unless they put us into the grinder too. Meanwhile, “fairness” overlooks the fact that I cannot apply for an SBA loan, but I am expected to pay taxes to support the SBA and I am now effectively prohibited from being self-employed.

    I always scoffed at my libertarian friends when they said that “greed is a two way street”. The government is greedy, not the wealthy. OK – this has brought me to the realization that when I was a Democrat, I was actually NOT the open minded person in the conversation.

  5. I do wonder to what extent are these policies being made at a level higher than that of the IRS Commissioner. My other observation is Obama by going so hard on the “offshore” issue is playing with fire to some degree given all that is happening.

  6. I have sent some of this information to a wealthy friend who has been very active in the Dem party for a long time, and very involved in Obama’s election campaign. My message was simple. Obama is losing the Expat vote by these actions. In a close election, it matters. You are blind if you ignore it.

  7. zuludogm,

    Don’t know where you’ve been getting your tax advice but you need to do some more research.

    A US citizen can die in 2012 and leave his spouse (or anyone else) $5,000,000 free of Federal estate taxes.

    What he cannot do is claim the unlimited spousal deduction that would allow him to leave her more than that.

    But, if he really needs to worry about an estate in excess of $5m to his foreign spouse he can establish a Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT) to take advantage of the unlimited marital exclusion and thereby defer US estate taxes until spouse goes to her Reward.

    There’s plenty of real problems for US citizens abroad without having to invent new ones.

  8. @Todundsteur

    Could you please explain this in step by step detail – just want to be clear on your point.

    Are you saying that if a U.S. citizen living abroad dies and is married to a non-U.S. citizen spouse, that he cannot take advantage of an “unlimited spousal deduction” that would be available if he had a U.S. citizen spouse. In other words, the issue is the fact of having an “alien spouse”.

    U.S. citizen married to U.S. spouse can transfer the complete estate?

    U.S. citizen married to an alien cannot transfer the whole estate?

    If so, that strikes me as yet another reason to renounce.

  9. If a US citizen’s spouse is not a US citizen then, regardless whether he dies in Peoria or Bumphuque, Egypt his estate may not claim the marital deduction for the value of assets transmitted to the spouse.

    This is true even if they live in the USA and the surviving spouse is a green card holder.

    Under present law this is a matter of concern only to US citizens the value of whose worldwide taxable estates exceeds the $5,000,000 exemption amount.

    You can give the first $5mm US estate tax-free to your wife, your mistress or Vladimir Putin.

    While some might see this as an additional reason to renounce, please bear in mind that after death, you are unlikely to give a rat’s hairy hindquarters about any of this.

    Your non-US citizen widow-to-be, however, might see this as an incentive to get her sweet foreign butt down to the local federal building and start her naturalization ball rollin’.

  10. A bilateral tax treaty may override some of these provisions. For example, the French negotiated a treaty with the USA in order to protect French citizens.
    See http://www.ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article725

    “La loi TAMRA (“Technical And Miscellaneous Revenue Act” de 1988) a privé les personnes qui ne sont pas des citoyens américains d’un certain nombre d’avantages prévus par la convention du 24 novembre 1978, en ce qui concerne l’imposition des successions aux Etats-Unis.

    La convention ne pouvait, en l’état, faire obstacle à cette détérioration de la situation des Français qui ne possèdent pas la nationalité américaine, puisqu’en droit américain, les dispositions d’une nouvelle loi prévalent sur celle d’un accord international qui lui est antérieur (principe du “treaty overriding”).”

    More on the link posted above.

  11. Well, this won’t help our cause at all seeing as every single article about FATCA or FBAR these days in the mainstream press seems to be entitled “Wealthy Americans dodging taxes by renouncing” or some such.

    If Romney’s foreign accounts drag onto become a big issue you can bet that Levin and friends will use the momentum to pass all of their pet peeves: the highway bill, getting rid of the FEIE. Maybe he should just go all the way and ban dual citizenship entirely.

    Anyway, Obama has definitely lost the vote of millions of US expats. I don’t like most of Romney’s positions, but I imagine that he can’t be worse than Obama currently is with regards to those living overseas…(one hopes!)

  12. Obama’s Press Secretary, “Obama for America” has been tweeting this….

    and I have been having fun sending a few replies this morning like this…

    @BenLaBolt Absolute nonsense. There are 6 million reasons to have an offshore account.They are called #Americansabroad and they vote #FATCA

    @BenLaBolt Stop the demagoging on offshore accts. Millions of#Amerciansabroad have them for normal living expenses. Nothing unusual. #FATCA

    @BenLaBolt You certainly know how to piss off ordinary#Americansabroad that live and work in Switzerland who need normal banking services.

    @BenLaBolt Get a clue Mate. Have you ever lived outside the Homeland?#Americansabroad live in Switzerland and are not evading taxes #FATCA

    and in response to someone else who thought the tweet was misleading…

    @RealtorJimLee @BenLaBolt More than misleading it is totally disingenuous and shows real ignorance of #Americansabroad #FATCA

    So some of you others that tweet might hit him with some feedback too. I will probably do more during the day. Encourage you to use hash tags #FATCA and #Americansabroad

  13. Pingback: Sooner or later, if you have money, you must pay the U.S. – You can pay the Exit Tax now or the Estate Tax later « Renounce U.S. Citizenship – Be Free

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