National Narcissism and U.S. citizenship – Being a U.S. citizen is like having a narcissist for a parent

This is an excerpt from a long post at RenounceUScitizenship

Many “Homelanders” simply cannot:

– conceive that, U.S. citizens find  better places to live;

– conceive that the U.S. is no longer the country envisioned by the Founding Fathers;

– see that the U.S. is no longer the free country that it once was;

– believe that many Americans want to renounce, and that they are willing to pay  (in the form of Exit Taxes) to do it.

Mr. Saverin’s renunciation of U.S. citizenship has activated all the silly responses from the “Homelander Elite Core”. To wit:

– Yale law professor and respected constitutional scholar Bruce Ackerman writes that Mr. Saverin should never be allowed to return to America.

Once Americans renounce their membership in our national community, they should be allowed to return only under exceptional circumstances — in response to the call of a child in a hospital or a mother on her death bed.

He reiterated his position in a “follow up” article where he comments on some of the comments to his original article and approves of the Casey/Schumer (“envy specialist”) idiocy.

– Senators Casey and Schumer responded to Mr. Saverin’s renunciation by proposing the “Ex-Patriot Act“.  Leaving aside the idiotic specifics, the Act would legislate a presumption that one renounces U.S. citizenship for the purpose of avoiding U.S. taxes. The renunciant is then punished in a number of ways, including not being able to return to the U.S. (Frankly, I doubt that many people who renounce are interested in access to the U.S.). The Wall Street Journal made the following comment in relation to the Casey/Schumer lunacy:

Whatever Mr. Saverin’s motivation, the more important point is that it is his decision, however misguided. America was built on millions of similar individual decisions to come to our shores. It is precisely that ability to decide for oneself that has made America such a magnet for two centuries.

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.

(Thoughts on Mr. Saverin: It’s also worth noting that Mr. Saverin has bent over backward to comply with the law. He has paid all the taxes he owes. This is a state of affairs that Secretary Geithner and Chairman Rangel might aspire to. Furthermore, there are many additional reasons for Mr. Saverin to have renounced U.S. citizenship. He is a young man with a long business career ahead of him. By remaining a U.S. citizen, he would make himself ineligible to participate in non-U.S. business investments and partnerships. Remember FATCA and FBAR require reporting information on non-U.S. citizens to the IRS. For this reason, nobody would enter into a partnership with a U.S. citizen. Leaving aside the fact that FBAR and FATCA requirements impede the mobility of U. S. citizens, they also force U.S. citizens to live under a kind of supervision and probation.  This is an intolerable situation. For an ambitious young person, the renunciation of U.S. citizenship may be necessary.)

Speaking of “Soviet-style” exit taxes, the simple fact is that U.S. citizens are among the least free people anywhere. Yes (for the hecklers) that is just my opinion – but I am happy to defend it based on facts and logic.

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36 thoughts on “National Narcissism and U.S. citizenship – Being a U.S. citizen is like having a narcissist for a parent

  1. The US is a dying empire. It’s becoming more and more communistic. So sad to see. Freedom means freedom to come and freedom to go. Why should he be “punished”? Without his risk taking investment, Facebook might not have had the finance to start. Then there would have been no billions. So in my mind he has paid way more than his fair share.. Americans should read brave new world. That’s the state they’re in

  2. People have been saying ever for a loooong time that the US is NOT good for entrepreneurs. All this did was confirm everything that everyone was saying.

    Dying empire? I wish it were that clear cut. The US does anything to protect their commericial interests. If anyone threatens that in any way, or even starts to gain “too much” influence, they send in the bombers. That’s no conspriacy theory because it’s so repititive that it’s almost like the sun going up and down.

    It’s a continual cycle. One enemy is eliminated, and a new enemy is created. I prefer living in a country that has no enemies.

  3. The US is starting to feel like the days when someone crossed the border from West to East Germany in the 80s. Entering a country that has a different ideology than the one I just left. One where there’s some apprehension when crossing the border.

    Arizona, Alabama, and Georiga now asking to see “your papers” if you’re a suspected illegal alien. Homeland Security has the right to arrest people 100 miles into the US. You’re in trouble if you have more than $10,000 in any currency. Drug dogs sniffing your bags at every airport. Unfriendly Homeland Security officer after the famous “yellow line” at the airport.

    This is the mental picture “foreigners” are building up of the US.

    In someways when I leave the US and fly back to Europe it’s has a feeling of going back to the “free world” leaving the US with its forms, rules, fines, plea bargaining, and Homeland Security keeping a vigil watch for terrorists behind.

  4. When I was a kid growing up they used to sing a song “The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.” That certainly is the case of the United States today.

    Just think about it. Suppose a US company is recruiting students graduating from a US college for an overseas assignment and it has two highly-qualfied and very capabale candidates: one is a US citizen and the other a foreign citizen who has come to the US for his college education. Which one will get the job?

    The foreign student will for sure. Because if the company hires the US citizen graduate then they will have to provide him with some sort of extra reimbursement for the additional taxes he is required to pay to the IRS, plus all of the very costly professional tax assitance he will require in order to insure that he establishes and maintains the additional records that only the US citizen living and working abroad must maintain in order to submit error-free tax returns and FBAR reports to the IRS, and FBAR reports to the US Treasury.

    And if the candidates have children for which the employer is willing to pay for tuition so they can receive a good education in English that will qualify them to enter a US college or University when they finish high school, then the will also have to pick up the US tax on that tuition, and the tax on the reimbursement for the tax, if the American is hired. But not of the non-US citizen is hired. All of these additional tax costs add up in a hurry. That’s why the US citizen deployed abroad ends up, depending on the country, by having to be compensated from 3 to 5 times more than the non US citizen for that exact same position, just to end up with the same after-taxs income.

    While it is admirable that US colleges and Universities are reaching out to recruit qualified students from abroad, when these students graduate they have a very significant cost advantage over US citizens for these kinds of positions.

    So indirectly citizenship based taxation, rather than equipping them it clearlhy destroys job opportunities for US citizens graduating from college.

  5. @Roger: excellent point that we don’t mention enough. We usually speak about the chances of people already in the employment market getting posted abroad. But someone just out of school, or someone looking for an internship abroad in the summer may be faced with the same taxation-based-discrimination. Somebody with a student visa to the US and no green card would be able to take the assignment unfettered. A USC or Green Card holder might think twice, or the employer might think twice.

    Shouldn’t there be an equal, or at least merit-based oppourtunity for such postings? If the US policies make the US person (including green card) unattractive, doesn’t this mean that the US is not investing properly in its future intellectual capital (international work experience of its graduates?)

  6. The US has to reconsider the Citizenship-based taxation. The US no longer has a pool of people to work abroad who understand the US from childhood and have ended up effectively outsourcing this function to “foreigners.”

    There’s no loyalty, there’s nobody to sway business in the direction of US companies. Sometimes all it takes is a presence.

    I’ve worked for Japanese and Korean companies in Europe and the set up is you have a Korean heading each department with locals managing day-to-day affairs. It works. Korea is booming. Take American companies, they hire locals with varying degrees of English running a business on behalf of Americans. There’s always something lost in the translation, the fine points, nuances, I don’t mean textbook English.

    In Europe 2012 the only Americans you find working abroad are perhpas the CEO, CFO, IT contractors working for themselves, English teachers who can get a work permit, US staff to train those US tax free foreigners, or the US Military employing people still fighting George Bush’s wars. That’s it.

    In the 1890s to 1900s in the US East Coast there were signs with “INNA” in shop windows (Irish Need Not Apply). American companies needed overseas staff might as well hang in New York “ANNA” Americans Need Not Apply because of this US taxation system.

    All the middle management has disappeared to locals because of US taxation. Homelanders really have a struggle if they want to live abroad today.

    You look at America’s competitors, especally the Chinese, they are setting up businesses across the world without any interference from the Politburo. Congress should take a note from the Politburo and allow people to pursue their dreams abroad without the IRS. The few pennies of tax the IRS collects is costing America a fortune in lost opportunites and influence. It’s reaching the point where foreigners are edgy about American investment because of taxes and a plea bargain based justice system.

  7. @jefferson, the example I used came from testimony presented to the HW&M committee back in 1978 on this tax issue. It involved a job opening with a US Banana company in Honduras for an College agriculture major. The American was turned down in favor of his non-American classmate who got it because of the tremendous additional compensation the American would need to survive in Honduras as a resut of US tax laws. These tax laws make Ameriicans non-competitive for deployment abroad.

  8. @Roger – your example is in 1978, we’ve now gone a generation without Americans being placed on overseas assignments as the normal course of events within companies. The people pool is getting very dry.

  9. I came t believe that I am a almost unique situation of a self employed person who worked thirty years in the USA and then returned to his country of origin also as a self employed person. Perhaps I am wrong but I don’t see much of us around. I am also concluding that nobody is going to listen to me and my concerns. Or worry about my particular case, So I am kind of giving up trying to be heard. Like I said in the little article I wrote, I am falling through the cracks as a dual citizen. I tried to talk with a representative from Maryland… I am not sure he understood. I tried to talk with the Senator from Maryland: no response. I guess I am be seen as an isolated case… that has no great importance in the scheme of things. But I know I will have to make a decision sooner or later that will be the best one under my circumstances. And I remain scared of what may be coming my way.

  10. @markpinetree – If possible do what I have done, fully divested out of the US. There’s just a lousy couple of hundred buck SS pension to collect years from now. I’m in the UK and I will stand up for my rights as an EU citizen. How can the government treat me differently from another EU citizen when I entered this country on an EU passport, used it always for all governmental dealings like obtaining a National Insurance number, applying for the odd government benefit over the years. It’s discrimination pure and simple and needs sorting out.

    For EU countries I believe the only way out for them is to imposed resident-based data on the US Government. If you’re an EU citizen, residing in the EU, my financial data is exempt from FATCA reporting. As for the IRS I really don’t give a monkey whether they’re waiting for my 1040 or not. Citizenship-based taxation is a waste of time for everyone concerned.

  11. @John, you are absolutely correct. Today even few of the oveseas subsidiaries of US companies are Americans. And several of the American Chambers of Commerce overseas are now headed by locals or 3rd country nationals,rather than Americans as a direct result of our tax laws.
    And it used to be that no American could ever aspire to become a CEO of a large American corporation with overseas subsidiaries if he had never had a tour of duty abroad. But that day has long passed and US corporations have largely lost vision of the protential growth opportunities abroad as a direct result of this.

    @markpinetree, you are indeed almost one of a kind as a self-employed US citizen in Belo Horizonte or anywhere else in Brazil or in any other country. But here in Miami there are dozens, if not hundreds, of small businesses owned and operated by Brazilians. The include churrascaria restaurants, grocery stores with Brazilian made canned gooods, Guarana, Brahama Beer, Kibon sorvete (ice cream), Brazilian coffee, etc., distributors of Brazilan food and furniture, and even Odebrecht, one of Brazil’s largest contractors which has important contracts with Miami-Dade County and the Miami Internatonal Airport. The are all here and competing successfully by being taxed only once by the US, but never double taxed by Brazil.

    But it is a one-way-street, since Amercans can’t generally survive as entrepreneurs in Brazil becuase, among other things, of the requirement to establish and maintain two additional accounting systems with Real values converted to US Dollars in accordance with very compplex IRS rules, as well as having to pay social security taxes and income taxes to two countries on the same income. You know about that.and what that does to your ability to not only operate profitably, but even to just survive.

    There used to be several businesses owned by Americans in Brazil, like Bob’s, the hamburger restaurant chain, and Lojas Americanas. Although the businesses are still there, they are no longer owned by Americans.

  12. @markpinetree, nobody in the US to “listen to your concerns?” But that is not quite true. You have a letter in your hand signed by a high official of the US Treasuary Department to has listend and offered the following advice, and I quote , referring to your doubl;e taxation dilemma “he can consider relinquishing his US citizenship.”

    That is undoubtedely the same dilemma Severin faced when he moved to Singapore, but instead of suggesting that he follow this same advice the Treasury Department has given to you, Congress is all up and arms and Senator Schumer has introduced legislation to severly punish him and to ban him from ever setting foot on US soil again as long as he lives, for following the advice which is being dispensed by the the Treasury Department to you. And the US press is prety much blindly following along like sheep following a shepherd this with the same spirit of Sen. Schumer which regards renunciation as treason, punishab by banning sujch a person from ever entering the US.

  13. People should exploit the biggest weakness of FATCA. Integrity of the data will be nearly impossible to guarentee.

    Markpinetree why don’t you just get a black market Brazilian passport with all the same details except for one – your place of birth is in Brazil. I assume you were born in the US???

    Once your place of birth is Brazil in the “system” the rest will just fall into place (as long as you start fresh with another bank). FATCA software won’t flag you up eliminating the chance it being pass to the IRS. How on Earth is the US Government going to stop doctored passports and national ID cards with a changed place of birth, cozy arrangements with bank managers, and other methods to conceal your true place of birth. If you’ve already got another passport this is a real possibility and an escape route from FATCA. Of course it’s a last resort as is renunciation, but it’s worth a gamble.

    Outside the US, the bank really has no incentive as long as they’ve done due diligence with a doctored passport, the local tax authority doesn’t really isn’t going to find out as long as you’ve kept them sweet, the only loser is the IRS with crap data. This would be assumed to be a little white lie to help smooth the way for you in a lot of countries. Some people might be sympathic to your circumstances.

    Banks don’t really scrutinise passports like at a border crossings. Heck I’d pay £1000 to make the US taxation problem disappear permanently in the financial system. People have to realise you can bypass FATCA and enough cash will change your place of birth if necessary.

    I think a lot of countries and banks will play lip service to FATCA and the IRS is always going to have to question whether the data is true and correct without the legal means to walk into a foreign bank and demand all of its records. I suspect even if they did they might be told to come back next month with an appointment so the management can think about it.

    Hopefully the headlines will be “US ex-pats bypass FATCA with fake passports.” It’ll be EX-PATS 1 – 0 LEVIN at half time.

  14. The IRS can chalk another small victory. With the arrest of a British lawyer at JFK allegedly helping a client conceal money abroad.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2012/05/19/british-lawyer-nabbed-at-jfk-for-helping-americans-hide-swiss-accounts/?feed=rss_home

    If the US keeps this up, it will isolate themselves from the people who matter who will bypass the US to conduct business in a more friendly environment. The argument is always the US has such deep financial markets the world can’t live without it.

    My point is if China is can build more high speed railway in 10 years than the whole of Europe did in over 30, it can build the financial markets necessary to challenge the US’s position. With the progress China has made in the past 35 years, anything is on the table today.

    China I’m sure would like the luxury of reserve currency status to print its way out of trouble if it ever needed like the US does.

  15. @ John
    I like the angle you are taking but I am thinking of it from a different interpretation of the “integrity of the data” issue. We have every right to object to a foreign (and I mean the USA) government having access to our local banking information for in so doing it decreases the security of the funds we hold there. I am certain the possibility for ID theft and bank fraud increases with every intrusion the IRS attempts to make into our banking details. After all, it matters not as far as taxes are concerned how much you have, it only matters how much what you have “earns”. A person could keep $1M (legally acquired) in a no interest account and not be liable for any tax and it should not be of any concern to the IRS or anyone else that s/he has that amount. And no, it is not indicative of any crime. I have often thought that if I ever won the lottery I would do just that — put the money (tax paid if applicable) into a no interest account and then distribute it to friends and family.

  16. @John, markpinetree has not responded yet to your proposal, but he was born in Brazil, came to the US where he became a naturalized US citizen and lived for 30 years, and then decided to return to Brazil. So his totally legitimate Brazilian passport does indeed indicate he was born in Brazil. US Visas are required of Brazilians to visit the US for any purpose. I have never had to obtain one, but I suspect that it is necessary to provide details of your residence history on your Visa application, which you probably have to confirm is “true and correct.” It would not be a good idea to include wrong information on that application.

  17. @John, Mark was born in Brazil, so his situation is the lesser of the evils. I was born in the US and live in Brazil. I’ve already checked the passport application. It asks for city and country. “Estados Unidos” is on the drop down list, unfortunately.

    Black market. It’s no so common, and I see stories all the time of people getting into trouble for using fake drivers licenses, and the like. So I wouldn’t use fake documents. I can’t see any reason why I would want to go back to the US other to see my aging grandparents, so renunciation doesn’t scare me very much. I’m all FOR having multiple citizenships, but US citizenship is “loaded” with emotional issues and too costly.

    @Roger, compared to the US, Brazil has simplified many steps for small businesses. The most common accounting system for small businesses nowadays is SIMPLES, which is collected by the municipality. It’s still challenging to have a business anywhere in the world, but at least they are trying to make things easier.

    This SIMPLES system taxes the GROSS RECEIPTS (individually). So profit, loss, and expenses aren’t even counted. Should you want to go to a system like the US, which just taxes the bottom line, the employees’ Social Security payments jump from around 7% to 30%, to be absorbed by the employer.

    Check out all of these taxes which make up SIMPLES:

    “O Simples Federal unificava o pagamento de tributos federais: IRPJ, IPI CSLL, COFINS e PIS e também o recolhimento da parte patronal do encargo trabalhista INSS.”

    Yeah, there are a lot of taxes here, but the actual rates are from 4,5% to 17,42% on every Real that comes in.

  18. @Em – If I won the lottery over here in the UK like Euromillions for £100M, I would have my wife (non-US) claim the prize tax free or see if I could renounce before the expiry date on the prize is up. If the money went into a joint account than the issue would be tax on interest if I was still a USC. But I can tell everyone now, including Sen Chuck Schumer, the US will never ever see a penny of tax from any European Lottery prize I may ever win.

  19. @John, I don’t know the odds of winning the lottery in the UK, but here in Florida in the US the odds of being struck and killed by lightning are greater than winning the Florida lottery. As I recall on the average about 16 are killed by lightning every year but ony 12 win the lottery. The rule is stay off the beach and don’t seek shelter under a tree on the golf course to keep from getting soaked if a thunderstorm suddenly appears out of nowhere.

  20. As an expat small business owner, I consciously avoid selling, promoting and even purchasing American products.

    I do this because I cannot, with any sense of dignity, promote products from a country that treats me as its involuntary servant rather than as a citizen.

    All any expat asks for is to be left alone. Nothing more, nothing less. If the USG could only figure that out, expats would push American products to the moon.

  21. This is the comment I left at your Renounce US Citizenship site, renounce.

    Thank you, thank you!! This sums up the insanity for a lot of us.

    I especially value your definitions of “accidental” (place of birth by accident) and residence or naturalization (CHOICE). How much fairer, simpler, better for every country than what the USA imposes, along with its citizenship-based taxation and reporting.

    I continue to have such a hard time comprehending how can so many homelanders wear blinders and cannot recognize what the concept of American exceptionalism does to the country they really do cherish. It seems more sensible to search for answers; find out what is going wrong and problem solve to turn things around before it is absolutely too late. Recognize that other countries may offer good solutions.

    I’m reading a book, “The Digital Divide” which starts off with the statement “It is amazing to me how in al the hoopla and debate these days about the decline of education in the U.S., we ignore the most fundamental of its causes. Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” The first chapter goes on to discuss “Digital Natives” (those having spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video cams, cell phones and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. It then describes the rest of us as “Digital Immigrants” — to adapt to our environment, we always retain to some degree our “ACCENT”, that is our foot in the past, our way of learning compared to today’s Digital Natives.

    I have been thinking today of this as an analogy to those of us who have ventured to other countries for new experiences, new business opportunities, new ways of thinking globally and multi-culturally. Perhaps we are somewhat the “Natives” and think differently from those in the continental USA. We are further saddled with legislators who are “old farts” (not that some of us, me included, are not but at least we have kept more open minds) who cannot think outside the box, never able to realize they must change the way US laws are made to best function in the global world. The USA is not the only game in town. They are indeed stuck in the boundaries of the US in more ways than one.

    Does it not take new and innovative and sensible laws to function effectively in the real world? One of the first things easy to change which would make a huge immediate difference is citizenship-based taxation. It no longer works, if ever it did.

  22. Can you imagine if other countries retaliated for this behavior (some do with respect to the U.S. when it comes to fingerprinting and visa difficulty)?

    In other words, if European countries started to forbid former Europeans that became American from returning to Europe, etc? Preventing international businesspeople from the States from conducting business or visiting their family overseas?

    America would (rightly so) throw a hissy fit, comparing these countries to the undemocratic country du jour.

  23. They already somewhat DO Eido, I’m going to give you an example, but I don’t really think this one matters because it would take countries like Japan, France, Germany – old US “allies” to start treating US Citizens badly before the US would take notice.

    http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2004-01-15-brazil-arrest_x.htm

    They fingerprinted and photographed the pilot and he showed them the finger. He got arrest and had to pay a $13,000 fine

    Everything here (in Brazil) is about reciprocity. The Spanish government made it more difficult for Brazilians to visit Spain, so the Brazilian government turned around and made special rules for Spaniards to come to Brazil. Ironically, the Spanish now are trying to encourage Brazilian tourism:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=pt&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww1.folha.uol.com.br%2Fturismo%2F1090561-espanha-promove-seus-destinos-turisticos-no-brasil.shtml&act=url

    The best part is the comments at the bottom, which are not translated. People are saying “Don’t go to Spain. It’s not worth it.” “A famous Brazilian violinist had his jaw broken by security at the airport in Madrid.” I’m found this treatment to be a little shocking.

  24. @calagary411 – I like the comparison “digital native” and “digital immigrant.” The US’s problem is the small percentage who emigrated abroad.

    We’ve been calling the ones that don’t travel as Homelanders, what do we call overselves. In German it would be Auslanders for foreigners or outlanders. That’s it I’m an outlander. Someone who is middle class and has decided to leave the US to live.

    However the difference in the US is the homlanders (including the young) are still stuck as “digital immigrants.” I look at my cousin’s kids back in the US, and my own who have grown up abroad, it’s pretty apparent who is more “street smart” about the world stage.

    It’s almost like my cousin’s kids have been “institutionalised” running with the same old US playbook, not questioning the US’s behaviour as a country. All the non-sense, the US is all powerful, they’re the world police, you know any rhetoric that the US is #1. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone when they carry on. My kids just look at me in bewilderment shaking their heads wondering thiniking what kind of country did their father grow up in.

    Homelanders are like training a baby elephant with light piece of rope around its foot and he goes through his life thinking once the rope is on I’m going no where (but of course an adult elephant has the strength to break the rope but doesn’t try).

    Homelanders are the same way. All the American rhetoric has trapped them thinking the rest of the world stinks, don’t ever leave.

    They US needs to encourage people to take assignments abroad with US companies to build up the pool of people again with overseas experience to compete against the BRICs and Europe.

  25. @geeze – I’m waiting for the US to call its bluff and start with its 30% withholding tax and see what the world thinks from that day onward.

  26. For those who adore Mitt Romney, don’t forget he is a typical homelander (even if he slept abroad a few times):

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/10/07/text-of-mitt-romneys-speech-on-foreign-policy-at-the-citadel/

    Some excerpts from his speech (they appear around the middle of it):

    “God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers. America must lead the world, or someone else will.”

    “Some may ask, “Why America? Why should America be any different than scores of other countries around the globe?”

    “I believe we are an exceptional country with a unique destiny and role in the world. Not exceptional, as the President has derisively said, in the way that the British think Great Britain is exceptional or the Greeks think Greece is exceptional. In Barack Obama’s profoundly mistaken view, there is nothing unique about the United States.”

    The he goes on to explain we’re special because of our tradition of libertarian principles (cough). So I guess that makes the US different from everyone else: we continue to parrot and believe our own myths.

  27. Wellington – oh jeez.. every time those people open their mouths, seems like only garbage comes out.

    Roger – Your exactly right on hiring non-Americans. I was talking to some friends a while back that own an “agricultural products store” – I put it in quotes because I don’t know how to say that in English. Anyway, they told me that they got a visit a while back from representatives of an American company that sells fungicide. The representatives were MEXICAN nationals. I hardly ever hear of 100% Americans coming or going to any foreign countries. I guess they are too much of a hassle, maybe because most of them are monolingual, higher pay is necessary, taxes, and reciprocity issues come to mind.

  28. @Wellington, I think you will find the Mitt Romney slept more than a few nights abroad. He was 19 years old when he went to France as a Moromon missionary and lived and worked there for 30 months, mostly dealing directly with the French-speaking public. My guess is that being only 19 years of age he learned French very rapidly and is most likely quite fluent in that language. At that age with total immersion a foreign language comes much easier than if you are older. I don’t know, but he may have also studied French in high school or the university.

    In my years of living abroad and traveling the world for some 40+ years in my job of selling telephone equipment to foreign telephone companies in some 98 countries I have come in contact with several American citizen Mormon executives who live and work abroad Some I met on planes and others abroad. . One charasteric which makes Mormons attractive for the few overseas positions that US companies still fill with US citizens is the fact that they have lived abroad, are culturally prepared for this and are fluent in the languagage of the country for which they are recruited to live.

    So I would not underestimate Romney’s understanding of at least some of the aspects of what it is to be a US citizen living abroad. He probably did not face any of the tax problems that US citizens living abroad face today given the fact that missionaries, So he likely has very little awareness of this specific issue. Mormon or otherwise, do not generally go aboad as missionaries for high monetary compensation reasons. Having been always very active in my own (Baptist) church abroad, I had lots of contact with missionaries.
    If they have administrative functions abroad they may well have to submit FATCA reports because of having signature authority over misson accounts which likely exceed $10,000 in value at some point during the calendar year. That law existed when I was living abroad, but I had never heard of it so I never knew I was supposed to submit a FATCA report. But Americans abroad are much more aware of that requiement today.

    Personally I do believe that it is an important positive qualification for a US president to have fluency in more than English and to have lived and worked outside of the United States.

  29. @Roger
    Thanks for your comment. I indeed underestimated the time he has spent abroad. Furthermore I don’t doubt that he is well travelled – especially as an ultra-wealthy person. He certainly has some qualifications in knowledge of foreign cultures such as France, no doubt about it.

    I originally posted the comment above because it exemplifies the title of this post, “National narcissm and US citizenship.” Coming from a candidate for US president, his statements are especially relevant. I don’t pretend to know how he will actually act or be, if he wins, but his statements don’t give me confidence that US policy towards expats will be any different under his leadership. Because one reason the people in government make us suffer is that they cherish the notion of US exceptionalism, a notion that Romney has down pat.

  30. @Wellington, Indeed Romney has made no pronouncements on the treatment of US citizens abroad so we don’t know what his attitude would be. But we do know that Obama made a series of commitments to “level the playing field” for us prior to the past election. His commitments unquestionably garnered massive support from expats, but he has kept none of them. With the FBAR crackdown and the enactment of FATCA he has in fact done just the opposite of what he committed he would do. What he has done is a better gauge of his policy than his pre-election promises. The result is that Pressident Obama has left little alternative for Americans abroad but to renounce their American citizenship. Some of my Democrats Abroad leadership friends have made serious attempts to follow up Obama up on this commitent he made to overseas Americans, but their letters have been totally ignored. It was pure “campaign retoric. It was an outright lie.

    This is very clear in the wording of the Treasury Department official who responded to the Congressman through which our contributor Markpinetree, who lives in Brazil, was attempting to obtain guidance with the satatement, and I quote “…he can consider relinquishing his US citizenship.”

    Ironic that in light of this recommendation two Senators of President Obama’s party have introduced a bill to more severely punish citizen like Sevarin who have folowed this recommendation and renounced by making sure they continue to be subject to US capital gains taxes at twice the tax rate of persons residing in the US. This is in addition to the massive Soviet-style exit tax have already paid when they renounced their citizenship.

    Actions speak much louder than words.

  31. @Roger
    Again, thanks for your comment. I have learned a lot from the information in your comments (this and others) and it has been worth my while to visit these boards and try to participate.

    I also appreciate what you are doing and the level of awareness you are trying to raise with the homelanders. I hope that your labors will bear fruit and reverse this long, dangerous slide into tyranny against expats.

    I have a certain gut feeling about what is going on and fear that the social mood is unfortunately not helpful to the cause. But I think it is also important to keep the spirit of Isaac Brock, that is, to fight back.

    About Romney, I hope he will be able or willing to roll back the tide against expats, if he wins.

  32. Pingback: Did Obama “keep his word” to U.S. citizens living abroad? | The Isaac Brock Society

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