Response to Matias Ramos: The One Percent Deports Itself

Here is the link to Matias Ramos blog post at the Institute for Policy Studies, The One Percent Deports Itself. He did not respond to my earlier comment, so I’ve written an e-mail in hopes to get some kind of concession.

Dear Mr. Ramos:

I commented at your blog. I took exception to your portrayal of those who relinquish their citizenship as the 1% deporting themselves. This is incorrect and a clear mischaracterization of the facts. I know many people who have renounced in the last couple of years. These are not wealthy people–indeed, some of them are even what you would call lower middle class.

I suppose that IPS is a think tank or prides itself in the research that it does. Perhaps you could get some statistics from the IRS as to how many of the renunciants actually are even wealthy enough to be considered “covered” expatriates–i.e., assets exceeding 2 million or tax liabilities exceeding around 150K over the last five years. I certainly am far from being one of them.

As it is, you have committed libel against those whom the IRS has forced to disconnect themselves from the US–we want to live in peace with only one government harassing us for taxes. We pay more taxes here in Canada than you folks in the United States. But perhaps you didn’t know that we are expected to obey the rules in the United States too, and for every tax break we get in Canada, we often have to fork over money to the United States. You say we are global elites. That is not true. We are victims. And you are part of the reason why we are victims now, because you have repeated the tiresome cliché that it is the rich who are deporting themselves. You even used the popular 1% terminology, the 1% who are, thanks to Occupy Wall Street, the most hated class of rich people of all. You should visit our website, the Isaac Brock Society. We are not the 1%. We are the 99%.

We pay our fair share of taxes. We do it in our countries of residence. We are now attached here to our countries and we don’t need the IRS breathing down our necks looking for money. It is a criminal activity, a practice of thugs, and we are sick of it, and so we expatriate ourselves in order to be free of it.

Peter W. Dunn
Isaac Brock Society

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22 thoughts on “Response to Matias Ramos: The One Percent Deports Itself

  1. Which planet did this guy come from? Here’s a quote from his Linkedin page –

    “I am an undocumented immigrant student working with people across the country to build a national movement for the DREAM Act and immigration reform. I attended UCLA on a scholarship, and moved to Washington, DC in 2009. ”

    Linkedin page – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/matias-ramos/6/183/738

    So let me get this right? I’ve got an undocumented 26 year old probably from California working his $26,000 fellowship (complete with a small office and health insurance) specialising in Immigration Law lecturing people about this citizenship decisions. Pppleeaase…..

    Let’s clear up one myth front and centre, 99% of people on this blog are not rich (worth more than $2M), don’t renounce to avoid US taxes and aren’t traitors. They renounce because they detest citizenship-based taxation, the assoicated hassle, and the US is out of step with over 200 other countries of the world. Get your facts straight.

    As for the Facebook kid who renounced, I say fair play to him. The US has shot itself in the foot in his case. Other countries don’t moan if a billionaire leaves. If you don’t like his decision, delete your Facebook page in protest.

    Pal ex-pats are way ahead of the curve than you. I have two passports and eligible for one other, and was eligible for a forth until they changed the law. Many IBS bloggers believe in a globalised world it’s better to have more than one passport for major trading countries. It’s not nomadic. It’s just makes common sense in the year 2012. Why tie yourself down solely to the US system? The US is only 19% of the world economy, you’re cutting yourself off from the other 81%.

    Look at your situation, you want a US passport presumingly because it’s better than the one you already have (unless your stateless of course). Without sounding rude, but you better fit the profile of the “new” typical American coming from poorer countries to the south. In short you are an economic refugee looking for better days ahead. That’s fine but don’t hand out advice to people who legally live in their new countries and want to say “adios” to the US.

    Look at what you’re doing. You’re more than likely that you’re working for IPS as an “independent consultant” because in that way IPS isn’t guilty of hiring an undocumented worker. However it’s OK for them to pay you as a consultant, and not have to worry about your immigration status. IPS just files a 1099 to the IRS annually job done. It’s a bit hypocritical for you to denounce the billionaires renouncing US citizenship when you live in the shadows because you are what the US calls an “illegal alien.”

    Look you’re only 26. Someday you may find it to your advantage to take on an additional citizenship or indeed renounce you US citizenship you now want so bad today. Be flexible it’s the best strategy. The US government is not a fatherly figure who will look out for your best interests – that’s your job.

    The US has a lot of problems from a broken legal system poisoned by plea bargaining to allowing lobbyists to buy off Congress thereby drowning out people’s voices. I just hope after all the time and money you’ve spent just to become a US citizen it was worth the wait!

  2. @ Petros

    Brilliant as always!

    From a public relations perspective, I think the main problem for ex-pats is being lumped in with the 1% who bolted for their own reasons.

    You wrote:

    “You say we are global elites. That is not true. We are victims.”

    The list of ex-US citizens published in the Federal Register was allegedly meant to “Name and Shame” US citizens who made their fortunes in America and then buggered off with their money (Ken Dart et al).

    In reality, 99% of the list consists of ex-pats who left America years ago (many without a pot to piss in) and have now concluded it is impossible to remain a US citizen under “Eritrean-like” US tax laws and policies — which are now being enforced in a jihad-like manner.

    We are the 99%. Stupid!

  3. His name can be Brazilian or from a Spanish-speaking country. He’s young. He probably believes everything he reads in the media. When he gets older, he will discover that he has been told many lies.

    If he *IS* Brazilian then it will crack me up even more. I know people here that have more money than all of the Americans I know, combined. If he left chasing the American Dream, maybe he’ll find it in an ICE Detention Center since he’s undocumented 🙂

  4. @Petros: As usual, excellent reply.

    Here is what I just posted on the other website:

    Talking in percentages, you are 100% wrong.

    I was born in US over sixty years ago. I have lived my entire adult life in Canada, where I have studied, worked, earned a living, owned a home, been active in my community, saved, invested, voted, volunteered, contributed–and paid high taxes. I have been a Canadian citizen for 40 years.

    There is absolutely nothing nomadic about my life! I have worked for the same public service employer for 36 years, been a customer of the same bank for 32 years and lived in the same home for 24 years.

    My Canadian immigration records show that when I came to Canada as a young woman, I had the grand total of $200. The IRS and Department of State didn’t care about me then–I didn’t have any money.

    In fact, US Consulate told me clearly, firmly and directly in 1973 I was “permanently and irrevocably” relinquishing my US citizenship by becoming a Canadian citizen.

    Four decades later, as I am nearing retirement, the US and IRS want to reclaim me and a significant portion of my Canadian life savings. They are also demanding my Canadian bank report to IRS on all of my Canadian assets simply because I had the misfortune to be born in U.S. If I do not give consent for my bank to do that, a foreign government (US) is demanding my Canadian bank close my accounts. All of this is in contravention of Canada’s Bank Act, Human Rights Code and Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canada’s Constitution). US and IRS simply don’t care about rights and laws of other countries.

    If necessary, I will again formally relinquish my US citizenship. Yet, there is an easier solution–never again visit the US (which I usually do two or three times per year) and spend money there. On my most recent trip, family and friends were appalled when I told them about IRS bullying tactics. Many said “Why do we wonder why people hate the United States so much?” Most said they will visit me in Canada instead. I and Canada will welcome them and their money. I am also happy to take vacations and spend money in other countries which are far more interesting and welcoming.

    With millions around the world feeling this way, I fail to see how this will help the US economy, but that’s not our problem.

    I hope you will accept Peter Dunn’s invitation to learn more about average people living average lives outside the US, being terrorized by IRS at http://isaacbrocksociety.com/

  5. I posted the following (under the name “Allium_Sativum): I live in a European country with one of the highest tax rates in the world. I’ve lived here for 16 years. I decided to renounce my US citizenship because of the stress of filing my US taxes every year ON TOP OF the 41% I pay in taxes to my country of residence. I never owed the US any taxes because I get credits for the taxes I pay here, but the hassle and potential of fines for mistakes from the IRS was too much. I am not part of “the 1%”. I work as a lowly middle school teacher. The US is the only country in the world besides Eritrea that practices citizenship-based taxation instead of residence-based taxation. THAT is why so many feel forced to renounce. We are NOT dodging taxes; we are dodging insane paperwork and fines that are aimed at the wealthy but instead punish middle-class expatriates. We are dodging fear and sleepless nights. Get your facts straight next time, Matias Ramos.

  6. Isn’t it an irony? Native US born citizens who are born in the US and for a certain period paid US taxes and then moved to another country as expat now are villified by an undocumented (probably illegal) alien educated by the very tax dollar paid by these citizens.

  7. I simply could not resist commenting on this one, so I posted the below comment. It burned my butt to have this kid passing on judgement on something he obviously knows nothing about!

    “While I have empathy for the plight of US immigrants, you’ve done a major disservice to them and yourself by posting such nonsense. The IPS website maintains that, “IPS strengthens social movements with independent research, visionary thinking and links to the grassroots, scholars, and elected officials.”
    Matias Romas – where was your research? Where was your visionary thinking? You have simply bought into IRS and US govt rhetoric. With a little research you would have discovered that many, or most, of the renunciants are NOT millionaires in any way. Most of the persons renouncing are doing so to be able to fully participate in the countries they live in and to remove the unbelievable complexity of remaining a US person living outside the US. Believe it or not, Mr. Ramos, the US is not the only country in the world which provides opportunity for immigrants.
    I urge you to revisit this topic, and do your research. I will be checking back here in the hopes that I will see a new post that reflects you’ve done more than just read inflammatory, sensationalist article headlines. You can use this as a learning and growth experience. Please do visit the Isaac Brock Society to get a picture of what is really happening outside the US borders. http://www.isaacbrocksociety.com

  8. @Petros

    Bravo Peter. Very nice response. You might also want to mention the thousands of dollars we ‘99%’ have to payout every year to prove to the IRS we owe no tax and are not enjoying tax free cash from hidden bank accounts.

    Case in point my IRS refund check from my past 6 years of filing which finally arrived 6 months late

    This refund check was returned to the IRS at least 3 times because someone had entered my address incorrectly on the IRS computer system.

    Lest we forget that this should have raised some flags and they could have verified my address a number of different ways…email, telephone etc.

    Nonetheless, as i explained to my bank teller,”This 154 dollars has cost me thousands of dollars to get, not to mention the salarys south of the border to tabulate my returns that showed no tax owing!”

  9. @ Mach7 And what a waste of time and money if you just have to renounce your citizenship to end the nightmare. I mean, since we are already living overseas, they should just leave us alone, but they treat us all as if we are Eduardo Saverins trying to leave with our billions. What idiots! Wasting our money and taxpayers money and nothing to show for it in the end. They are stuck on stupid. I’d laugh if I weren’t crying.

  10. @mach: Why don’t you post on Ramos’ blog. The more responses he gets, the more he may listen.

  11. @Petros…

    I will add my appreciation for you comment. Staying measured in response back to rants or extreme hyperbole is one my self improvement challenges I am working on. It does feel good to rant at times, but I think over the long term you are really more effective with measured commentary in public forums, and you are getting good at it. Keep it up. If I get time today, I will try to add a comment there too, but I think I may have used up my comment allotment for today on the Washington Post article post previous to this one. Have to run…

  12. I believe our main job now is to separate ourselves from Americans who hide investments in foreign banks. Why we have been placed in the same boat I never understood.

  13. Left a comment too.

    Another thing: I keep reading a lot of commentaries from immigrants for whom it seems to be an article of unquestionable faith that no one possibly could have any legitimate reason to leave the U.S. I guess It’s a combination of a lot of things. Some of them only have two points of comparison, their home country and the U.S., so they can’t imagine there’s anywhere better on earth. Some of them have developed this highly defensive form of American patriotism to protect themselves against native xenophobes. Some they have to believe that the U.S. is better than home because the alternative would be to question their own life choices and admit they jumped the wrong way. And for some I have no idea what it is besides Stockholm Syndrome.

  14. In my experience as an immigrant to America I noticed that my fellows immigrants that had no way back to their countries loved to bad mouth them and justify their remaining in America. And the ones who were here temporarily and could not stay in America, would bad mouth America and idealize their countries of origin. Human nature.

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