Senators to Unveil the ‘Ex-Patriot Act’ to Respond to Facebook’s Saverin’s Tax ‘Scheme’ – ABC News

Senators to Unveil the ‘Ex-Patriot Act’ to Respond to Facebook’s Saverin’s Tax ‘Scheme’

The Saverin fall-out, as expected, has begun:

Key quote:

The senators will call Saverin’s move an “outrage” and will outline their plan to re-impose taxes on expatriates like Saverin even after they flee the United States and take up residence in a foreign country. Their proposal would also impose a mandatory 30 percent tax on the capital gains of anybody who renounces their U.S. citizenship.

The plan would bar individuals like Saverin from ever reentering the United States again.

What does this mean? Can we never be free from these people? Is this implying that if you renounce citizenship now even with under the 2 million in assets that you will end up paying capital gains taxes anyway? And what is this about “re-imposing taxes on expatriates”? Does that mean that renouncing citizenship doesn’t do anything and that there would be no way to get out of the US net?  Personally I couldn’t care less if they ban me from travelling there, but this has me very alarmed at what is going on.  I just want to get rid of this unwanted, accidental citizenship and get about living my life in my own country!

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168 thoughts on “Senators to Unveil the ‘Ex-Patriot Act’ to Respond to Facebook’s Saverin’s Tax ‘Scheme’ – ABC News

  1. It would seem that the only way to be not be a covered expat would be to have only the necessities of life at the time when you expatriate. But then if they can reassimilate you into their “Borg” like collective at a later date it would seem like renunciation/relinquishment would not ever be truly possible.
    Of course this would seem to make us all nothing more than slaves but the IRS won’t allow that argument as a defense to tax liability.
    It is nothing more than the Soviet Union/Communist China all over again.

  2. Well, obvious solution I guess….
    Ensure you hold no assets in the US in your name at the time of renouncing. And if you ever want to in the future, just change your name and apply for that ITIN with the new name, use a fake ID, whatever. Once you are out of the web they can’t do much anymore.

  3. @recalcitrantexpat
    I live in China, I’ve lived in China for a long long time. Even China wasn’t ever this draconian, nor is it now.

  4. Clearly this law would provide a huge incentive for wealthy foreigners in the U.S. not to naturalise. How would Schumer benefit from this? Does he have an opponent who is heavily funded by donations from rich immigrants or something?

  5. I’ve never broken a law in my life (as far as I am aware), but I would literally be ready to bribe whatever government official necessary to remove the US birthplace in my passport and put in anything else if I thought that I could get away with it. I don’t even care where – Put in any country other than the US – It could be Mozambique or Papua New Guinea for all I care, but that US birthplace is starting to drive me insane!

  6. @Don Pomodoro – I hear you! I’ve thought to myself that there could become a brisk underground (and illegal) market specifically to change passport place of birth. As far as I am aware, trade in illegal documents used to be for criminals (or perhaps for desperate refugees?), but in the future it may become a thriving underground market for average citizens.

  7. On the plus side, the more batshit the US gets, the easier it will be to claim refugee status in countries that are still sane.

  8. I can’t recall whether the Constitution allows for renunciation. If it does. then some fatcat will likely bring it into the court system. I REFUSE to get worried about this.

  9. After I read the news about Eduardo Saverin’s renunciation, I was afraid that this would happen.

    Nazi Germany and some Arab countries confiscated the assets of Jews who tried to leave. Eduardo Saverin is Jewish. Carl Levin and Chuck Schumer are also Jewish. Isn’t this ironic? Can’t these senators see that what they are doing is so similar to what other countries did to torment their own people in the past? Don’t they know that about 100,000 American Jews live in Israel and are subject to these draconian laws? As an American Jew myself, I’m outraged.

    I read the mostly negative comments on Eduardo Saverin’s renunciation, some of them proposing such a law. I now see that almost all comments on the ABC article recognize this bill as tyranny and are against it. I still have hope.

  10. I am desperately trying to figure out what exactly are the provisions of the law but I can’t seem to find the text yet.

  11. @Tim he wants to create a media circus first, so he’s “introducing” the bill to the public via a press conference before formally introducing it on the floor of the Senate (from where it’ll get assigned a bill number, go to the GPO and you can get it from Thomas, OpenCongress, GovTrack, or wherever).

    There’s a bit more details in Schumer’s press release which just got posted to his website. Basically, if you’re a covered expatriate, they want to tax you at 30% for life on everything you earn, and if you fail to pay the tax then you’ll be denied a visa.

    Under the proposal, any expatriate with either a net worth of $2 million or an average income tax liability of at least $148,000 over the last five years will be presumed to have renounced their citizenship for tax avoidance purposes. The individual will then have an opportunity to demonstrate otherwise to the IRS by meeting specific IRS requirements. If the individual has a legitimate reason for renouncing his or her citizenship, no penalties will apply. But if the IRS finds that an individual gave up their passport for substantial tax purposes, then it will prospectively impose a tax on the individual’s future investment gains, no matter where he or she resides. This would eliminate any tax benefit and financial incentive from renouncing one’s citizenship. The rate of this capital gains tax will be 30 percent, in keeping with the rate that is already applied on non-resident aliens for dividends and interest earnings.

    So long as the individual avoids these taxes, they would be inadmissible to the United States forever. The Ex-PATRIOT Act would improve current law to ensure such an individual cannot reenter the United States after renouncing his or her citizenship. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 was intended to bar any such individual from reentering the U.S. However, this statute was written in a manner that inhibits its enforcement.

    In 2011, a record number of 1,780 people gave up their US passports—a dramatic rise from the 235 persons who did so in 2008. Yet no individual has ever been barred from returning to the United States based upon a finding of renunciation of citizenship for tax purposes. Without an immigration bar of re-entry, those thousands of individuals who renounce their US citizenship can simply return to the United States for 60 days per year, without any tax responsibility. The Ex-PATRIOT Act would end this loophole, and close the doors of the U.S. forever to individuals like Mr. Saverin if they continue to avoid paying their taxes.

    The fun part is where they try to justify the 30% rate by reference to the non-resident alien FDAP rate (which doesn’t even apply to capital gains).

  12. There are very few consequences in terms of actual tax law changes other than to try to impose a 30% Capital Gains witholding on sales of US securitites on renounced citizens(Not sure how this will be implemented. As part of FATCA???). This provision will apply to anyone who renounced in the past ten years.

    The big thing though is increased enforcement of the Reed Amendment. Again not sure what the effect of this will be.

  13. @Eric

    So the real stick is the Reed Amendment. They don’t actually appear to be trying to impose a witholding or using FATCA to somehow enforce this.

  14. I am old enough to remember when the US condemned exit taxes and restrictions imposed by the Soviet Union and communist block countries.
    Next thing is to impose exit and transit visa like Saudi Arabia.

  15. ”Ex-PATRIOT Act’ would tax Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin’
    By TONY ROMM
    This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 8:26 a.m. on May 17, 2012. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76440.html#ixzz1v9Fiy83c

    “But the senator (Schumer) rejected the idea the legislation aims only to target one individual who is now in the news as Facebook stands to reap the multibillion dollar benefits of an IPO on Friday.”

    “We’re not targeting one person, we’re targeting all people who have done this over the past 10 years,” Schumer said, rejecting the notion that the bill could be unconstitutional.”….

  16. Extract with more of the details from the Washington Post. It sounds like “expatriot” lines up with the three net worth tests instituted in 2008. So not a lot new?

    * * * * * * * * *

    Under the proposal, “any expatriate with either a net worth of $2 million or an average income tax liability of at least $148,000 over the last five years will be presumed to have renounced their citizenship for tax avoidance purposes,” according to a release from Schumer’s office, and they would pay 30 percent capital gains tax — the same rate as people pay in the U.S.

    If an expatriate can prove he or she has a legitimate reason for renouncing U.S. citizenship, no penalties will apply.

    The bill would tax any prospective gains an expatriate who has renounced his or her citizenship in the past ten years who did so for purposes of tax avoidance.

    * * * * * * * * *

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/facebook-co-founder-saverin-under-fire-for-renouncing-us-citizenship/2012/05/17/gIQAPFCyVU_story.html

  17. @Tim you really think it’ll only to U.S. capital gains? From Schumer’s language (and his generally imperialist attitude) it looks like he wants to apply it to gains in the entire world. Cleverly enough, imposing high taxes on covered expatriates’ capital gains (at least U.S.-source gains) doesn’t seem to violate any of the U.S.’ existing tax treaties (unlike imposing taxes on dividends or interest). The U.S. Model Treaty includes the clause “Gains derived by a resident of a Contracting State that are attributable to the alienation of real property situated in the other Contracting State may be taxed in that other State” full-stop, and doesn’t impose any ceiling. I don’t know of any U.S. treaty partner which did not accede to this treatment, but if there is one you can bet Saverin will be moving there in about ten years’ time 🙂

  18. The part about taxing capital gains of US assets from former US citizens doesn’t really bother me, and I don’t think it would prevent people from renouncing. The enforcement of the Reed amendment is the scary part. I also have doubts about how this law would be enforced, are banks supposed to ask people if they are former US citizens?

  19. The upside of this could be that it would prevent the Reed Amendment from being applied at the whim of a bureaucrat. The proposed law would only be applied to covered expatriates, and only if they don’t have “legitimate reasons” for renouncing. I would think that a legitimate reason could be that they have moved to a country that does not allow dual citizenship, or that they want to run for office, work for a foreign government, etc.

    It’s still punative and unfair for covered expatriates who live abroad and want to get on with their lives. But still, I might prefer this new law to the random uncertanties of Reed Amendment enforcement.

  20. Clearly the U.S. will lose when “U.S born persons” decide to never again vacation or visit friends and relatives in the United States. We’ll be spending our money elsewhere.

  21. The only way for the tax to apply to worldwide capital gains is to force the former US citizen to file a US income tax return and report the capital gains. I don’t think that this is the intent of the bill.

  22. @all- this is just another example of why U.S. tax law is so riddled with holes. So much of the tax code has been written in response to knee jerk reactions by politicians to either the input of lobbyist or to the news of the moment. There is no overall guiding principle that guides U.S. tax law. Rather it is just the photo op that a law can gain you which generates the 72,0000 pg. mess.
    Certainly the product that Saverin left behind is going to generate way more in economic output in the States and around the world, than any of his taxes would have amounted to even if paid over his lifetime.
    It certainly is most unfair to make such a law retroactive to people who have settled their account with the IRS. This penchant that the U.S. Congress has shown for reaching back in time just because they believe the U.S. got a raw deal is not behaviour which shows respect for the “rule of law” and the sanctity of contracts.

  23. Another good reason that if you have any assets at all, do not get a US greencard or US citizenship. I wonder if Murdoch is regretting his decision!

  24. Just wait Roedgroed, when Denmark legalizes dual nationality, you will be deemed to have your US nationality back and they will try to get you under the Alternative Minimum Tax despite your FEIE and FTC for high danish tax. (I’m playing devil’s advocate).

  25. I’ve received an advance copy of Al Lewis’ new article for Dow Jones. I think you folks will be encouraged because it will tell our side of the story. So as soon as anyone sees it, let us know. He’s now in the Isaac Brock Hall of Fame.

  26. @shadowraider- well if that isn’t the intent then it needs to be stated. I believe that we all know just how much value can be assigned to the notion of “intent” when it comes down to the law being enforced.
    I will worry until such time as the rules are clearly stated. Until such time as that happens I believe that any law will be seen to be punitive in its intent and wil be enforced that way.

  27. @rødgrød, This bill is starting not to look so bad. From what I understood, the former US citizen would only be barred from entering the US if refusing to pay the capital gains tax. If the tax would really be only on US capital gains, and if this bill replaces the Reed amendment, I think it may be better than what’s currently in the law.

  28. @Jefferson, nope,I have a signed and sealed CLN and if I wanted US nationality again I’d have to go through the same process as any other Danish citizen. Imagine the uproar from the homelanders if “treacherous” renunciants were allowed to easily become US citizens again.

    Besides, as a teacher I make under 70k USD a year. The AMT has always been the least of my worries.

    I bet I could make a lot of money doing taxes for US expats over here, though. Like others here I now know more about the US tax code than any sane person would ever wish. So does my viking husband after helping me with the agonizing process of back-filing. I wonder if a foreign citizen can become an enrolled agent? 😉

  29. @Jefferson D. Tomas, The exit tax applies the capital gains tax (currently 15%) to worldwide assets held at the last day the person is a US citizen, but this bill applies a 30% tax to capital gains after the person renounces. I think that it would be a withholding tax on US capital gains only. But if I’m wrong, then yes, this bill is a monster.

  30. @rødgrød, I believe that those who are personally involved in a complex subject often know more about it than supposed experts. You probably know more about US taxation than most US accountants.

  31. @shadow but I think that if the worldwide assets are less than 2 million then there is no 15% exit tax.

    According to the article Roedgroed has linked above, it looks like they Charles Schumer and Bob Casey are using the same threshold in their bill 2 million or 148k in annual tax liability.

    What I don’t understand is what will happen with the 15% tax on deemed sale combined with the 30% on capital gains. This means 45% for assets in the US?

  32. @jeffersond.tomas- this is a law that was developed in anger at one person. It is interesting to read that Mr. Shumer denies this though. Which is kind of like the situation where a renunciate denies having done so for tax purposes. How do your prove that the denial isn’t true?
    I guess that the only way to question both acts would be to see how close they are connected in time with the avoidance or enactment of an undesired consequence.
    This law will probably get worse once it is in its final form. I also see no reason why the capital gains penalty would not encompass world wide assets and not just U.S. based ones. If this were true than it would be a serious departure from the world wide base on which the pre-renouciation assets were taxed.
    I really don’t believe that there is any intent to cut renunciats any slack.

  33. @Jefferson, You’re right, the 15% tax only applies if the person has more than $2 million in worldwide assets. Besides, there is a credit of about $630,000 to the exit tax, so with the curent 15% rate, a person only pays exit tax if having unrealized capital gains of at least $4.2 million. This implies assets worth much more than $2 million.

    I also have the same doubt regarding what would happen with the 15% tax already paid. Since the exit tax can be indefinitely deferred until the gains are actually realized, perhaps at that time they would be replaced with the 30% tax, I don’t know. Or maybe the gains already reported in the exit tax would be exempt from the 30% tax. It sounds really complicated, like the rest of US tax laws.

  34. Un-be-freaking-lievable. This is practically self-parody. One particular gem from the press release:

    “”We simply cannot allow the ultra-wealthy to write their own rules,” said Senator Casey.

    Well, Senator Casey, you moron, Saverin did not write his own rules. He followed the rules as written by congress. To the letter.

    There must be a term for this type of collective insanity.

  35. @recalcitrantexpat, Maybe it’s my wishful thinking that the senators are trying to make US taxation more logical. I’ll wait and see the actual text of the bill.

  36. This is going to p-o a lot of millionaires, the ones who can afford to fight it. Imagine having to cough up more after thinking you’re free and clear? Like finding out you’re still a US citizen after all.

  37. @watcher- I don’t know what the term is but I can definitely say that they are abusing their office. Punitive laws that are made on at the whimsy of the poltical leaders are always based upon a denial of Consitutional Rights.
    Certainly the deliberat miscasting of Mr. Saverin as “making his own laws” is calculated to play to the U.S. citizens who see the rich as not contributing their fair share. Of course no one can define what comprises a “fair share” of a person’s tax contributions to a nations budgtary procees.

  38. @Blaze…After reading the quotes from Schumer, I finally come into full appreciation of Johnson’s quote: “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.”

    These laws are perfect bi-partisan red meat: Right-wingers hate us because we are turning our back on America. Left-wingers hate us because we aren’t paying our fair share.

    As far as I am concerned they can all ___ off.

    Reading about this dreck has truly added to the despair about renouncing. ___ing ____heads. They can all kiss my ___.

    Pardon my Anglo-Saxon.

  39. @rodgod: Monalisa pondered setting up a US tax business for ex-pats on another thread a while ago. Maybe there is an international business in the making here. Oh wait, IRS would find a way to seize tha

    @Watcher: There are terms for “this kind of collective insanity:” USA (United Self-Serving A–es and IRS (International Robbery Society),

  40. If you meet certain certain thresholds it is assumed that you have renounced to avoid paying taxes. Discrimination based on income, just as FATCA and the current exit tax are. Guilty unless you can prove otherwise. Congress really knows how bad things are, and as other Brocker mentioned, they are firing in all directions. Ready, shoot, aim!

  41. You guys are right, and I changed my mind. This bill is a monster, just like the exit tax, FATCA, FBAR and citizenship-based taxation. The insanity has to stop.

  42. I’m glad this is happening because the publicity will put rich foreigners on alert not to immigrate to the US.

    Senator Chuck Schumer had the brilliant idea to relax their immigration laws so rich foreigners would buy up real estate in the US to stop the prices from dropping. When Americans heard about it they were pissed that foreigners were going to be living in the houses they lost. I don’t think he does a whole lot of thinking when he comes up with his proposals.

  43. It was Chuck Schumer who proposed that? He does think about his proposals, just not with the best intentions. At the time, I realized that the proposed new visa for those who buy US real estate was a trap, because one of the requirements for the visa was that the person would have to physically be in the US for at least half of the year, therefore becoming a resident for tax purposes and paying tax to the US on worldwide income.

  44. Both the Republicans and Democrats don’t want to admit it’s going to take big tax rises to fix things cutting won’t be enough. They want to con Americans that taxing Saverin is a way out of their problems. Ironically his tax bill would’ve been about $600M not far short of projected FATCA revenue of $800M. Congress will wait for a bond or dollar crisis before taking real steps forward. Each and everyone of them are wankers for not telling America the truth.

  45. Hoping this does not distract from criticism of FATCA in the media ; there is little enough coverage out there as it is. Anyone with access to a database like Lexis-Nexis (usually a corporate, legal or academic library) can do a newspaper/media search and see how many results they get for FATCA in the news (will be US media, but maybe some global as well). Just from doing this informally online for the big papers in Canada hasn’t yielded as much as you would think given the implications – and yet it will have such far-reaching effects.

  46. The US is like an ex-top model who’s past her prime, who knows nothing but to react with rage and revulsion when jilted by her young lovers. In fact she’s powerless but doesn’t want to acknowledge it, so she plots her revenge. This seems to only be obvious to observant outsiders.

    There will be very little opposition to any new and outrageous laws that Congress will enact. There will come a day when it will become impossible (or nearly impossible) to expatriate.

  47. Let’s see if we can name all the places in the world that are hard to escape from:

    – North Korea
    – China
    – Cuba
    – USA

    Wow they’re in good company.

  48. @rødgrød

    “…..I wonder if a foreign citizen can become an enrolled agent?”

    A Foreign citizen maybe.
    A U.S. “EX-PATRIOT” definately NOT 🙂

  49. John said: “They want to con Americans that taxing Saverin is a way out of their problems.”

    Saverin is a distraction from the real story which is hello average Joe American your taxes are about to go through the roof. Lost your house and your job doesn’t pay well? That’s too bad the government needs more of your money because while you’ve been frugal due to necessity they’ve been spending like maniacs.

  50. @omg, and they may end up paying more taxes than those of us in countries who have better social programs, education and health care. Truly sad. But the are free!

  51. Speaking of social programs. I’m sooo glad I live in Canada. Since age 40 I’ve been getting yearly checkups and my doctor sends me to get mammograms every two years. I think it’s a bit over the top since my family has zero history of breast cancer but it’s nice that she cares so much.

    This year after I went to get the mammogram, the diagnostic centre called me back and said they saw something and wanted me back in to make sure there isn’t something there. Good news I went for the second mammogram today and they gave me the all clear. I’m celebrating with Strawberry Shortcake.

  52. @OMG: Congrats. It’s a bit early for strawberry season in Ontario, so I hope the strawberries aren’t from the US. In any case, Enjoy!

  53. Thanks bubblebustin and saddened123. I was pretty anxious this morning, but am now relieved.

    I’m surprised at how good the healthcare system has been for the last few years which is the first time I’ve ever really needed it.

    A few years ago, I started having serious problems with my lady parts. My doctor sent me in for tests and then quickly to a specialist. He booked me for a hysterectomy within a month of my first visit to him. That was awesome. Best of all cost was 0.

    And now with all this anxiety caused by the Great Recession and all around American madness, I’m lucky to be in the care of an amazing psychiatrist. Again cost is 0. I was really on the ledge by the time I decided to seek help.

  54. @Blaze, the strawberries look really fresh so they’re probably imported from somewhere. I got the cake from Longos, their cakes are so good.

  55. America will definitely not shift to a residence-based taxation anytime in the near future…but I’d imagine they’ll shift their focus to wealthier expats for audits and OVD programmes. So though it’s getting crazy out there, I feel more optimistic that my QD last year will go smoothly.

  56. Has this article from New York Times been posted already? I’m losing track.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/technology/a-facebook-cofounder-reflects-on-the-path-forward.html?_r=2&ref=business

    This gives a bit more info from Saverin’s own perspective, but I think an interview with him directly would be very interesting. I wonder if Barbara Walters would consider him as one of the Most Fascinating People of 2012. He has certainly attracted attention.

    Do you think he might be interested in joining Brock?

  57. @omg, Great news, enjoy your cake.
    From what I hear from my Chinese friends, it doesn’t seem hard to leave China. I guess they have so many people that they don’t mind when one leaves. And neither China, Cuba or North Korea taxes its citizens who live abroad. In fact, officially North Korea doesn’t even have taxes. I’m not defending these countries, just putting the US in perspective.

  58. @Petros

    Great job engaging with Al Lewis!

    I am looking forward to reading his latest piece.

  59. @monalisa1776, I don’t really understand why the US wants to keep citizenship-based taxation when the rest of the world doesn’t. The population of countries like Andorra and Monaco is made mostly of foreigners, wealthy Europeans that decided to move there to avoid taxes, and their original countries don’t complain about this. Why do Americans feel so offended when one leaves the US?

  60. Senators Schumer and Casey are upping the ante for long term expats who just want to get on with their lives.

    I haven’t seen the actual text of proposed bill, but according to CBS news:

    “Under their legislation, any American who renounces his or her citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxes will be punished in two ways: They will be barred from re-entering the U.S., and their future investments in the U.S. will be taxed at a 30 percent rate.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57436316-503544/dem-senators-introduce-bill-to-punish-facebook-co-founder-eduardo-saverin/

    This is not only about Severin; its also about the other 1,787 expatriations last year. Severin just happens to be the poster child.

    As my grandfather used to say, “a horse always kicks the hardest just before it dies.”

    I predict Schumer and Casey’s proposed bill will completely backfire when it comes to long term expats.

    Renunciations / relinquishments will now rapidly increase. Six million expats can’t be kept inside the “GULAG” of citizenship-based taxation forever.

    In the name of America’s founders, RENOUNCE and be FREE!

  61. Here is a recent blog post by Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall.

    Senators Announce Crackdown on Saverin

    He doesn’t have the narrative or the facts right yet, but he is writing about this, and it is a first…and it is an opportunity.

    He is smart enough that he can get beyond the left wing characterizations, if he is educated enough. Josh is one that is worth the effort at reaching out to education and try turning, like Al Lewis. He can be tweeted to @joshtpm

    Here are three I just sent, and plan more. Please join in, you twitters. 🙂 Be nice..

    @joshtpm Josh, you are a smart guy. Avoid characterizations and narratives until you really know more. @TheEconomist http://econ.st/JDY4p6

    @joshtpm Here is what U.S. Expats are saying and thinking about Shulman’s bill. http://bit.ly/L3HKLX
    and about Saverin http://bit.ly/LYkVLQ

    @joshtpm Regarding ur http://bit.ly/J9MqDO So what do you know about US Citizenship taxation issues and the #FWhat forms #FBAR #FATCA ??

  62. @Just Me, this will be interesting to see how the Reed amendment will be tested in what the US government thinks is a bona fide case. I don’t know how the US government can use the Reed against a former US citizen whose income is consistently below the threshold for owing the US taxes, unlike Mr Saverin’s.

  63. @all

    If you want to read some beautiful things read the comments at the ABC News article. The vast majority of comments take the position that Schumer (or whatever his name is) has gone out of this mind (to the extent that he ever had one). There are so many comments that I stopped reading after about 20 minutes.

    But they are well worth the read. Here are two examples:

    “These senators have concluded that when someone is prepared to renounce their citizenship because the U.S. tax system is so highly uncompetitive, the right response to penalize them. My conclusion differs. I would say that 1,700 annual renunciations points instead to an urgent need to reform our tax structure and make it globally competitive. It is quaint to cast someone who abandons his U.S. citizenship as “unpatriotic”. But the instinct to do so ignores American history. The United States was founded on a voluntary social compact to promote the pursuit of happiness. If someone born here, who never consented to that compact, discovers the government created and tolerated under that pact impairs their ability to pursue happiness, surely our enlightenment values are expansive enough to permit them to emigrate and better pursue happiness elsewhere. Weren’t impediments to emigration one of the main criticisms we used to level at authoritarian regimes such as the Soviet Union (see, for instance, the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment).”

    and

    “I love how fools like Chuck Schumer like to call themselves “progressives” … how the hell is it “progress” when you’re trying to goosestep our country backwards into tyranny? I personally dont give a rats rear end about Facebook, dont have an account and dont want one. But millions of people do like it, and to punish one of the fellows who made it possible is just plain idiotic.

    Nice try Chuckie, but your days running the Senate are numbered. All you tax fattened parasites are going down in flames this November, starting with that empty suit in the White House”

    Anyway, the word it out: Stay the F*** away from Form Nation and everything that it now stands for.

  64. @all

    In any case, this whole thing has become a big joke. It is becoming more ludicrous by the day. The effect is now going to be that fewer people will make any effort to complete with the laws of Form Nation. What’s the point? Form Nation is simply demonstrating that it will not behave in any rational, predictable or fair way. They will change the rules whenever they want.

    So, I expect that people will just start thinking:

    1. If I comply I will guarantee myself problems.

    2. If I don’t comply, I may have problems.

    The longer this goes on U.S. citizens abroad will recognize that there is good news and bad news.

    The Good News – U.S. citizens abroad no longer live in the U.S. Let’s all pass for a moment and sing “Oh Canada”. The people I feel most sorry for are the people who are trapped in Form Nation.

    The Bad News – It is becoming increasingly clear, that to ever return to the U.S. is far too risky, (and may no longer be possible).

    Of course, the longer this goes on, fewer and fewer people will care whether they can return. They will just let their passports expire and it becomes – Audios Amigos.

    The U.S. government and its people are living in some kind of reality that is different from the rest of the world. Hell, they don’t even use the metric system – probably evidence of American Exceptionalism.

  65. From Senator Casey’s website:

    Summary of the “Ex-PATRIOT” Act

    “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy” Act

    Sponsored by Senators Charles E. Schumer & Bob Casey

    I. Current law (Section 877A of the Internal Revenue Code) already provides that any individual who either has:

    (a) A net worth of $2 million or more; OR

    (b) An average income tax liability of at least $148,000 over the last five years;

    and who renounces their citizenship has to pay an exit tax based on the value all property and assets owned by that individual.

    The Ex-PATRIOT Act provides that when an individual expatriates for a substantial tax purpose—as judged by the Internal Revenue Service—that individual will be subject to a 30% capital gains tax on future investment gains. Section 871 of the Internal Revenue Code already taxes non-resident aliens for dividends, interest and other items at the 30% rate. The Ex-PATRIOT Act adds capital gains to this mix of taxable earnings. The tax will apply to anyone who gave up his citizenship in the last ten years but only taxes capital gains earned in the USA following the date of enactment.

    II. The Ex-PATRIOT Act also provides that if the IRS finds that avoidance of taxes was a substantial purpose of expatriation, the individual who renounced citizenship will be barred from any type of re-entry into the United States. This section requires the IRS commissioner to make a decision regarding tax-avoidance intent for every individual subject to Section 877A who renounces citizenship. It is retroactive and will encompass individuals who have renounced citizenship for the 10-year period prior to enactment of the statute.

    http://www.casey.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=b8e896f3-eb5d-451e-ab60-6a3cb40cc533

  66. @Joe Expat

    Three points:

    1. The Act speaks of “renouncing”. As Petros has pointed out on many occasions this is an argument for trying to “relinquish”.

    2. I don’t believe that it is constitutional to apply this to people for the last ten years. People are entitled to the benefit/burden of the governing renunciation at the time they renounced.

    3. The 30% thing clearly contemplates taxation on U.S. assets, income. This would provide one more reason to not invest in the U.S. (How about cutting off the nose to spite the face?)

  67. @Blaze…Those Guardian responses are interesting.
    Not sure I will bother adding anything to the comment stream.

    This one caught my eye, because of the reference to a need for a GATCA.

    From one dougbamford
    17 May 2012 10:51PM

    My own suggestion is that states need to make a global agreement to collect and share taxes on multi-national persons such as Saverin. So the US would get a slice because he lived there and made his money there, Brazil would get a slice as he lived there, Singapore would get a slice

  68. @Joe, Thanks for finding the text. So it seems that I was right, the tax would be only on US capital gains, and probably withholding. I don’t think this kind of tax is a good idea because it would discourage US investment by former US citizens, but overall it’s not that bad, and I think very few people would be affected. It’s very easy to avoid the 30% tax: just sell the US assets and pay 15% capital gains before renouncing. No exit tax on those assets and no future US capital gains to tax.

    Although not clear in the summary of the bill, I read in one of the media articles that the former US citizen would not be barred from entry in the US if this tax is paid. If this is confirmed, the bill doesn’t seem so bad. It could be worse.

  69. Perhaps its time to put Felix Salmon on the Wall of Shame. I personally despise Felix Salmon for other reasons unrelated to IBS so I have to say I am enjoying this moment with great pleasure. Salmon born in Britain but living in New York City represents everything that is wrong with the American media. Why do Brits view America in the way freshmen girls like senior guys. When I first saw the blog post below I thought about calling for Salmon and his Canadian boss Chrystia Freeland (once of Edmonton Alberta) to be terminated by Thomson Reuters(itself technically a Canadian company that also own the G&M) for publishing such drivel but I have mellowed as the evening has worn on. (Almost all of Thomson Reuters operations are based out of in NYC other than the CEO’s office in Toronto which I think is right across from City Hall).

    http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/

  70. The summary of the bill mentions “every individual subject to Section 877A who renounces citizenship”. If they intended to include also those who relinquish citizenship and former long-term permanent residents, they wouldn’t have added “who renounces citizenship”. But I’ll wait for the actual text of the bill to be sure.

  71. Here is our newest inductee on BNN(Canada’s version of CNBC) tonight It figures he was on with Andy Bell(someone else on my “sh**list” who is always taking the side of the EU and US over Canada). I remember Salmon and Andy Bell back during the Global Bank Tax fight between Canada and the EU and US Salmon and Andy Bell would go on and on about how Canada needed to be a “team player” and understand the anger of the bank bailouts and big bank bonuses in the US.

  72. Perhaps BNN would be a good place to have a debate between an IBS member and this Felix Salmon guy over citizenship based taxation.

  73. oK…am i missing something here. I thought that there was already an ‘exit tax’ if you decided to relinquish/renounce and your networth was in the ‘covered expat’ ballpark….less 625k.

    Having said that, would he not have to pony up some cash to remove himself from the land of the fee and the home of the brave?…regardless of any new legislation….?

    What has changed exactly?

  74. @mach73, There is already an exit tax for those who renounce or relinquish their US citizenship and for those who abandon long-term (more than 8 years) US permanent residence. The exit tax applies to unrealized capital gains of worldwide assets, at the current tax rate of 15% and a credit of about $630,000. Also, payment of the tax can be deferred until the assets are actually sold and the gains are realized. So yes, the renunciant already has to pay this exit tax under current law.

    However, capital gains of US assets held by foreigners are not currently taxed at all by the US. So, a US citizen is able to renounce US citizenship, becoming a foreigner, invest in the US and have US capital gains not taxed by the US. The proposed bill seeks to change only this detail, the capital gains of US assets held by former US citizens after they renounce, at a rate of 30%.

    By the way, I found out that Canada also has an exit tax for those who end Canadian residence (regardless of citizenship), at a current rate of 50% on capital gains. However, Canadian real estate and some other items are excluded.

    Please read Shadow’s Raider’s further comments below, May 18 @ 12.27 am and 5.04 am, in conjunction with this comment.

  75. I’m sorry, the capital gains tax rate in Canada is not 50%. 50% of the capital gains become taxable income, which is then taxed at the normal tax rates.

  76. @shadowraider- I for one am tired of taking consolation in the fact that a law “isn’t as bad as it could be”. Rewriting laws out of a personal vendetta and making them retroactive is something that is characteristic of dictatorships, fascism and totalitarian regimes.
    A true legal system cannot have knee jerk reactions as its animus. FATCA and FBAR laws are products of such arbitrary and vindictive legislative processes.
    The idea that renunciation can be a punishable act is a denial of human rights.

  77. @mach73- for one thing they are going to reopen cases going back ten years and that isn’t fair. For another the tax of 30% on U.S. based capital gains. And now they seem to be determined to find a way to make the Reed Amendment work. So far this amendment has proven unworkable and hasn’t been applied.
    And last but not least the rewriting of the law based upon a politician’s desire for revenge is not the way that any legislation should be written. If they get away with doing it now then you can bet that it will be done again one day and the resulting legislation may not be so benign.

  78. @recalcitrantexpat, I agree. I’m just trying to calm everyone down by showing that this bill is not as bad as, for example, FATCA and FBAR. But I still think that it would be better if it didn’t exist.

    Most politicians are impulsive and irresponsible, and in the end don’t care about the constitution, human rights, morality of a legal system, or any of the noble ideas that you mentioned. If the majority of voters doesn’t object, politicians do whatever they want. Even the most basic rights can be revoked at any time when all branches of government agree. I think I’ve lost faith in democracy.

    I’m still trying to convince US politicians to abolish citizenship-based taxation, but I view this task as something as hard as (perhaps harder than) trying to convince an absolute king.

  79. The Reed Amendment required a determination to be made by the attorney general. The Ex-Patriot Act assigne that responsibility to the IRS

  80. Article 1 Section 9 USCONST “….No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed…..”

    I don’t think this Ex-Patriate bill is constitutional at all. Saverin has already renounced, so they cannot increase his tax bill or bar him entry any more than under what was already part of the Reed amendment.

  81. http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/usconstitution/a/attainder.htm

    “As James Madison wrote in, Federalist Number 44, “Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community.”

    These two Senators are out of control. Their action is clearly intended as a bill of attainder against Saverin and others who have recently renounced.

  82. Reblogged this on Stop Unconstitutional Double Taxation and commented:

    I don’t think this Ex-Patriate bill is constitutional at all. Saverin has already renounced, so they cannot increase his tax bill or bar him entry any more than under what was already part of the Reed amendment.
    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/usconstitution/a/attainder.htm
    “Article 1 Section 9 USCONST “….No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed…..”
    “As James Madison wrote in, Federalist Number 44, “Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community.”
    These two Senators are out of control. Their action is clearly intended as a bill of attainder against Saverin and others who have recently renounced.

  83. @Jefferson, You’re right, this is a bill of attainder and therefore unconstitutional. The FBAR penalties are excessive and therefore also unconstitutional. FATCA violates the laws of many countries where it is to be applied. But if the majority of Congress approves these things, the president signs them, and the courts uphold them, what can we do?

    It’s incredible that the very ideals that caused the creation of the US are now being disregarded by the US government itself.

  84. I have to make a correction to what I wrote earlier. The value of about $630,000 is an exemption on the unrealized capital gains, not a credit to the exit tax. It doesn’t imply assets of at least $4.2 million as I wrote. Even if the assets are barely above the threshold of $2 million it’s possible that they include capital gains of more than $630,000. The gains above this amount are taxed, currently at 15%, when a person renounces or relinquishes US citizenship, or abandons US permanent residence of at least 8 years. (The 8 years are calendar years, so 6 full years and a small portion of the first and last year of residence already satisfy the requirement.)

  85. These two Senators should see it from a foreigner’s point of view. Would you as a foreigner take US citizenship after Chuckie’s tirade yesterday?

    These Senators talk big about solving unemployment, but it would be to the US’s benefit to quietly encourage emingration to get the unemployment rate down faster.

    The crux of the problem is the US is governed by third of fourth generation Americans that have no real connections with their ancestral homelands. Today Congress is made of people who buy into the “we’re the most powerful nation on Earth” and “they can’t do without the US” crap.

    In my opinion a good dose of emigration would benefit the US if it can grow up and change the ex-pat tax situation.

    Emigration changes a nation when suddenly loved ones are at the end of a phone thousands of miles away when their days are your nights. I’ve seen its effect first hand in Ireland during the 1980s. Ireland survives because people even today (30,000 a month) are leaving and keeping the unemployment rate otherwise lower until the economic tide turns again.

  86. @omghesstillanamerican, I’m so happy that you got the all-clear. Stressful, wasn’t it? But even if it had been otherwise it’s treatable. I speak as someone who got the opposite diagnosis. 🙂

    Which puts me in a very interesting situation because at this point I’m not sure I could go back to the US – what private insurance company in its right mind would offer me health insurance? Let’s all say, “pre-existing condition” three times really fast….

    About the proposed law. More idiocy but it just might be a bridge too far. The comments I’ve read so far seem to be very unfavorable because it is a restriction of homelanders’ freedom – the right to leave. There may not be much sympathy for us who have already exercised the option but Americans seem to be a bit testy about having their own options limited. And letting the IRS decide who is a tax evader and who is leaving for legitimate reasons? Not even the most patriotic Right-wing friends and family back in the US would trust the US gov to make that call. 🙂

  87. @Victoria – move to Massachusetts with the Health Care Reform several years ago there are no more “pre-existing” conditions and the insurance company can’t charge you more they have to accept you. If you’re on a low income the coverage starts at zero.

    https://www.mahealthconnector.org/portal/site/connector/

    Don’t pay attention to those prices if you apply for MassHealth or Commonweath Care it’s more than affordable.

  88. Again, I really just don’t see the teeth in this at all.
    Ok, so they don’t want an expat to get the foreigner benefit of tax-free capital gains. But what exactly is standing in the way of a legal name change in the new home country on the downlow, going by the old name in public, and using said new name to submit that W8-BEN? Or apply for a visa for that matter. Unless they are considering slapping microchips into all expats, I really don’t see how they can have any chance of success.

  89. @harold, If the assets are already in the US when the person renounces, as Eduardo Saverin’s Facebook shares, it would be hard to escape the taxes. I think the senators are more concerned about the assets already in the US, not so much about future investment.

    And apparently, they don’t think people can lie. I always laugh when forms ask if I’m a terrorist or if I want to overthrow the government. Would anyone answer yes, even if it were true? Recently, a US terrorist was asked how he could have recited the oath of allegiance when he naturalized, but later tried to make a terrorist attack in the US. He said that he lied. People were puzzled that someone could do that!

    The current way to enforce the Reed amendment is a question on the visa application form that asks if the person ever renounced US citizenship to avoid taxes. Again, would anyone answer yes?

  90. @John, that is really good to know. Thanks!

    @shadowrider, my understanding is that these questions are designed to nab you on extra charges if you do eventually do any of those things. They know people lie but having explicit questions means that they can catch you in your lie and bring the hammer down twice as hard.

  91. @Victoria, I see, more penalties for perjury. This is Form Nation, as renounceuscitizenship says.

  92. @shadow – why even have anything to do with that place? W-8 Ben, nada! Why would someone want out of there, and then want back in fake names, etc..? I think it’s bes to definitively cut the ball and chain and never do anything that could give them the excuse of reinstating your US citizenship.

  93. @jeffersond.tomas- Senator Charles Grassley seems to be the only one who gets it. The other two Senators who are quoted- Orrin Hatch and Schumer- are stuck in the same old song, this is the greates country on earth, so why would anyone leave?
    Putting the IRS in charge of making the determination on what was a person’s intent is a conflict of interest. How can the IRS be objective when it stands to benefit from an adverse ruling? They need to just acknowledge that “intent” can’t be addressed and leave things as they were.
    Barring that then the should take Senator’s Grassley’s position and address the tax code. Afterall something has to be up when the U.S. is the only Western country that is experiencing its citizens voluntarily giving up citizenship in the greatest country on earth.
    It is so sad that when even the one effective vote that you can make as a citizen is ignored and used against you.

  94. Grassley would “address” the tax code by eliminating the FEIE entirely. I don’t put any faith in the idea that he actually understands what the problem here is; he sees someone from the other side of the aisle offering a proposal, so his natural reaction is to insult it.

  95. @john- the problem with means testing for access to any publicly subsidized health insurance program is that it limits your choices. You can either choose to stay at or below the income level that is necessary to qualify for the public subsidy or you can improve your income but then see health care costs cancel out any income gains.
    When it comes to the affordability of health care coverage in the States your are either all out or all in. If you are in between those two extemes you suffer with both bad health and poor economics.
    National health care is one of the main reasons why Socialist countries have more class mobility than does the IRS.
    I’d hate to live in the States and be confined to living in Massachussets because of its affordable health insurance program.

  96. Here’s a thought, what if due to globalization and the actions of one cute billionaire it becomes fashionable for the ever increasing number of disillusioned to flee the US? Won’t it come as a surprise to them when they find out what we already know about living abroad? Unlike us, however, they will have the advantage of learning about their tax obligations before they leave as it’s in the media and written in mouse-print on the last page of their passport.

  97. The Wall Street Journal has a strongly worded Editorial today on the Schuman proposal..

    The Saverin Lesson

    A punitive exit tax on the Facebook expat isn’t worthy of America

    The way to continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest is not to impose Soviet-style exit taxes to punish people who want to leave the country. That is what oppressive and demagogic regimes do, and it’s humiliating to see U.S. Senators posture in such fashion. The way to punish Mr. Saverin is to make the U.S. so appealing and dynamic again that he’ll be sorry he ever left.

  98. Pingback: National Narcissism and U.S. citizenship – Being a U.S. citizen is like having a narcissist for a parent « Renounce U.S. Citizenship – Be Free

  99. FATCA is now slowly appearing in the US press and perhaps people are starting to take notice how damaging Carl Levin’s poster child will be for the US.

    Ironically no matter the outcome, whether they keep FATCA until its damage is widespread then Levin retires, or they repeal FATCA and Levin will stand up and say “I tried to stop tax evaders, blame the rest of the Congress for repealing.” Isn’t Levin just becoming a sad little out-of-touch man living in America of 1960s Mad Men. Even Don Draper would have more sense than Carl Levin.

  100. Pingback: A Response to the Eduardo Saverin Story | A Gentleman's Rapier

  101. @OMG, I know I’m late to the party, but I did want to congratulate you on your good news. With all of the stress caused by all of this crap, that new stress of waiting for another mammogram must have been just simply awful. You must feel such relief. Our health care system is not perfect, but it is there when we need it, thankfully. I’m so glad you’re healthy and we can continue to enjoy your comments.

  102. @outragedcanadian, one thing this crazy grasping for dollars by the IRS/US Administration has taught me is to be grateful that we’re Canadians. Until now I took all the good things we have in Canada for granted.

    We don’t hear of anybody having to go bankrupt because a family member became ill. We may not have the over the top patriotism of Americans but Canada is truly a real family that takes care of it’s own. We don’t just talk the talk we live it.

    Those of us who have never had to deal with a serious illness in our families are thankful and we don’t begrudge anyone who has to use the public healthcare services to their fullest extent.

    I would not trade living in Canada for anywhere else in the world. If my little Internet company ever becomes super successful you won’t find me heading to the US or anywhere else looking to pay lower taxes. I’m just too Canadian to want to live somewhere else.

  103. For your reading pleasure, thought I would post two stories from Politico. For those that don’t know, it is the go to web site for politic talk in DC. All the insiders read here.

    They had two stories today posted under the heading of 6 worst political gaffs on Facebook, subheading… The most memorable blunders on the site.

    Here is one…
    Sen. Bob Casey: Eduardo Saverin ‘should pay’ up

    and here is the second…
    Rush Limbaugh: Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin no coward

  104. I used to like Rush, years ago when I was a card-carrying young republican. Even if many of you here at IBS don’t usually like what he says, he may very well recognize our side of the story (even as non-millionaires/billionaires). Should we send him an email with our positions?

  105. @JDT Darn good idea. I’d say that we should. Be interesting to see what he said. He’s enough of a curmudgeon that he might really enjoy this site.
    🙂

  106. @ Victoria
    He’s not a curmudgeon in my book … that’s just too cutesy a term for that really annoying man. Curmudgeon is Walter Matthau in “The Odd Couple”, not he who I cannot bear to name.

  107. @Victoria…
    Well, I outgrew Rush about 30 years ago. His style and self centered “me” promotion, plus all the ads on his radio program just turn me off. However while I don’t like him personally, he can be right sometimes. So, I have to set aside the style issues and consider the merits of what he says. He is right on this one. Wonder how the “Real American” patriot ditto heads took the message on board?

  108. @Em, I see your point. Maybe Contrarian would be a better term. On the hand even that doesn’t quite fit because the man can be downright mean sometimes. On the other hand so was Mencken and he was hardly a master of modesty either, Just Me. Mencken’s essay on “Being an American” is a masterpiece:
    http://www.prismnet.com/gibbonsb/mencken/american.html
    Just love the “Eden of clowns”…..

  109. Pingback: What other commentators, editorialists, and jouranlists should we write. | The Isaac Brock Society

  110. @ Victoria
    Thanks for the Mencken essay. Sadly, we still have our clowns and they just keep getting meaner and meaner.

  111. Pingback: Fighting more ignorance on Saverin | A Gentleman's Rapier

  112. @Victoria… Thanks for the Mencken essay. It was late last night, so up early to read now.

  113. Couldn’t this Ex-PATRIOT Act backfire big time for the Democrats during the election?

    The Republicans could say the Democrats are trying to turn America into a jail for the rich because their policies are driving people with money to leave the country. When money leaves so do jobs which affects all Americans.

  114. @recalcitrantexpat, Definitely. Or as one family member said to me suspiciously one day at a reunion, “you must be one of those people who watch PBS….”

    Because I was feeling perverse and out of sorts that day I replied, “Actually I mostly read Al-Jazeera sur Seine…” (aka Le Monde)

    🙂

  115. This is really terrible. It will be even MORE terrible if it passes– for America and Americans. Somehow given all of the foot-shooting in the last few years, this sort of thing comes at little surprise.

    Thank goodness my nest egg is so small, it wouldn’t really affect me.

  116. @Just Me, Victoria, Em and Jefferson, my sister in Texas just told me that Rush covered the Saverin topic, and I am encouraged by this. Whatever you think of Rush, he has a huge audience and he is very influential. He can mobilize people. Apparently he moved to Florida from New York because of the state taxes, and since then he gets audited every year and has to show his daily calendar to prove he doesn’t spend enough time in New York to be considered a resident. Oh yeah, he gets it about abusive tax laws. I am going to send him some information about us, about how we are being affected, how the US treats expats versus other countries, and how the US economy has suffered from the tax laws on expats. Again, thank you so much, Roger Conklin, for sharing your knowledge and history about this!

  117. @ recalcitrantexpat…that was a brilliant read.

    @foxyladyhawk Yes, and Rush is condemned as wrong by Fox Panel…

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201205190004?

    I am gun-shy about Rush, as he tends to consolidate progressives against anything that he is for, even if he is right. There have been comments back and forth on this at… http://bit.ly/LoKaui

    He is a wild card, and you never know what might come out of his mouth. I bet he talks about the Fox Panel criticism of him, because his dialog is always about “him” . Just download any transcript and do a search on “me” and that should tell you something.

    Anyway, my lack of enthusiasm aside, I understand that others feel differently, but there is no controlling Rush when he gets on a subject. He is a dog with a bone when he gets gets worked up, and just doesn’t let go. He does have 10s of millions of “ditto heads” listening every week. Maybe ‘real Americans’ will get it, but somehow I doubt it, but I am open to be proved wrong.

  118. @Just Me, I do understand your reservations about Rush. He has certainly gone overboard on occasion. Yes he’s self-centered and he often goes on way too long about things. I rarely listen to him. Way too many ads, among other things.
    However, last week I was travelling in the States and I tuned in. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a show that was informative, thoughtful and actually well-moderated. He is very respectful to his callers, even when he disagrees with them, and I am not accustomed to hearing that with the “extreme” shows on the left as well as the right. When his callers disagreed with his opinion, he patiently explained why he believed as he did and was not at all insulting or even sarcastic.
    He does have influence with his listeners, and I don’t think it’s quite fair to deny them the label “real Americans” – if that is what you meant. When you get past all the bombast, he usually does have his facts correct and his opinion is not always extreme, just strongly expressed. Like other influential people, it is probably worthwhile letting him know our point of view. If I can get through all his correspondence and get his attention, I think he’d be very sympathetic to expats renouncing due to tax complexities, and I am certain he’d be interested in facts showing how the tax code has harmed the US economy all these decades.
    Anyway, here is a link to the transcript of his introduction to the Saverin piece on his show, FWIW.
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/05/18/the_eduardo_saverin_question

  119. I saw that Grover Norquist just came out and said that any Republican Senator or Congressman that votes for the Schumer Casey legislation would if they have taken a pledge to his Americans for Tax Reform organization not to raise taxes would be violating that pledge.

    Schumer I believe came out with a later statement I am trying to find again cricitzing people not just for renouncing their citizenship but also for living outside the US. Schumer seemed to indicate back in the good old days no one ever wanted to live outside the US.

    More about Grover Norquist for those who don’t know who he is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Norquist

  120. @Just Me

    This reminds a lot of the whole AIG Financial Products bonus issue back in the spring of 2009 that everyone got hot under the collar over. I do think there might be a little bit of regional divide on this issue. The media commentators all criticizing Rush come from the Northeast while Rush lives in Florida. My sense has always been that Florida’s lack of state income tax has always been disliked among the Northeastern Establishment.

  121. @tim- well I do know all about Mr. Norquist. This is the first thing that he and I agree upon. Having him come out against this piece of legislative theft will go a long ways towards its defeat. I have yet to see the Republicans vote for anything that Norquist was against. Especially when it comes to violating that pledge.

  122. @JustMe

    I have also heard I a rumor that Eugene Scalia son of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been put on retainer by the Florida Bankers Association to fight the non resident alien reporting rule(aka DATCA) in court. The particular challenge the Florida Bankers Association intends to make will not be In US Tax Court but at the US Court of Appeal for the DC Circuit which is filled to the brim with batshit crazy rightwing Reagan and Bush appointed judges. The DC Circuit is where rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork made a name for him.self

  123. @ Just Me, I’m not here to defend Rush (though I agree with Ladyhawk’s earlier comment). Have whatever opinion you want about him. If he picks up our issue, then I’ll rejoice because he will effectively mobilize an entire part of the political spectrum in favor of our side. When I originally wrote my articles for the American Thinker, I was hoping that Rush would read them on the air. That was my dream. Back in April 2011 when I wrote with Monty Pelerin, “When government turns predator”, I was alone in my fight–now I have many allies. So it didn’t turn out at all bad even though Rush never read it on the air. But that is the only effective way to reach Limbaugh, to write something powerful that he will read. I know he reads the American Thinker. And I have written for them before.

    As for the so-called progressives, they are already almost totally allied against freedom and our cause and they are the ones in favor of FATCA and cracking down on Americans abroad (consider Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey). To expect to be able court their attention and favor is tantamount to battered wife syndrome. I leave the courting of the progressives to you. If you manage to get them hear our story good. But mostly what I hear from them is, “I don’t care what those people say.” We heard it from the esteemed Prof Ackermann, and that other progressive female law professor, I forget her name. They don’t care who they make suffer as long as they get they are able to tax the rich.

    And as for Rush using I/me, I’ve seen many analyses of Obama’s speeches that show an extraordinary usage of the first person pronoun. It is not a disease exclusive to the Rush. But when the progressive media has Rush Derangement Syndrome, well Rush finds it irresistible to talk about it. I don’t personally know why Obama does it. Some think that Obama suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    If you are offended that I speak of Obama in this manner, I am just saying this: Don’t get your nose out of joint about a potential ally who could help us. Remember who has done this to us. The crackdown started with the Obama administration. It is true the Republicans are to blame too because of lamentable legislation that they were also responsible for passing. This is bi-partisan persecution. But our current persecutor occupies the White House. His initials are BHO.

    We should also consider the possibility of Mark Steyn because he is frequent substitute on Rush’s show. What about Canadian Ezra Levant? These two would probably be considerably more accessible than Limbaugh.

  124. @Petros and JustMe

    I think in terms of progressive voices to reach out to I would look to those who have in the past who voices positive feelings towards Canada. The first two in this group I can think of off the top of my head would be Bill Maher(who has Kim Campbell on as frequent guest and Michael Moore. Most other progressives I think would have a hard time finding Canada on a map. There is a bigger divide on that is American Progressives are very unhappy with status quo whereas Canadian Progressives such as say Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan are very content with the current state of affairs. In many ways Rush and Grover Norquist are more the natural allies of someone such as Dalton McGuinty than Chuck Schumer or Bob Casey would be.

  125. @foxyladyhawk
    Thanks for your feedback on Rush. I have not listened to him since last year, when on a drive across Nebraska. It seemed that his show was the only thing I could hear. What you describe, I did not hear, but pleased if you say he was more moderated. Maybe he is mellowing in age, or maybe this was after his last blow up on the air that he had to apologize for and is now trying to be more measured. I don’t know. Again, I will respect those that like him, and think he has important or valuable things to say. Like I have said elsewhere, I have friends who love him, but he is just not to my taste. It is ok if you disagree with me and appreciate what he had to say. It has been a year since I have tuned him in, so in fairness maybe I should. Maybe he is a new person now.

    @Petros… To your point about the me/I syndrome with Obama too. I agree. It bothers me too. As for my nose being out of joint, trust me, I just looked in the mirror and it is just fine. I am just expressing my personal distaste for Rush’s style and the possible consequences if he suddenly champions our cause. The only one worse is probably Michael Savage, and I wouldn’t entertain trying to reach out to him either. Again, others may, but I think I will try to get thinking progressives to turn up the heat on Obama and Treasury for their misguided policies, as I think that will be more effective than Rush attacks, but again, I maybe wrong. Probably am. If you turn out to be right, then I will be more than happy to apologize. I have been totally ineffective so far, ( James Fallows trilogy, the sole exception) so in the end, it might take a partisan attack to get their attention. I personally had hoped to avoid that, but it may be unavoidable. I appreciate your point of view.

  126. @Tim..
    That is interesting about Norquist, as that pledge or fear that a vote would be breaking the pledge sure strikes fear in the hearts of Republicans, so that should make them hold the line. Thanks for the link!
    This is significant. So wonder how Fox is going to triangulate between Rush and Norquist! This might be interesting.

  127. Norquist is very important. He will also understand the value of ex-pats for promoting US exports.

    Homelander progressives are having difficulty understanding the connection.

  128. @ Tim: you said: “US Court of Appeal for the DC Circuit which is filled to the brim with batshit crazy rightwing Reagan and Bush appointed judges”.
    FWIW, my opinion of some of the extreme lefties in the judiciary is similarly strong.
    The point about the objection to DATCA is that it affects Florida enormously because it is the home of many many immigrants, often from repressive regimes ( eg, Cuba and Venezuela ) in their homelands that would be delighted to get the names of people whose families may still be in the country of origin and who may be getting money quietly from their Florida members. Political refugees are a constituency that I think people from both sides of the spectrum wish to protect. This is why Marco Rubio is one Congresscritter who opposes DATCA and similarly intrusive IRS activities.

    Clearly some of us here see hope for support from the left, and some see hope on the right. Sometimes the two sides can and do come together on certain issues, and I would hope that abusive IRS practices, politicians who go overboard in using the tax code to punish individuals, and the harm done to the US economy by tax policies that are based in ideology instead of practicality, fairness and efficiency would be among them.

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