The Land of the Fee and Home of the Slave

In the days leading up to the IPO (Initial Public Offering) of Facebook stock as it became a publicly traded company, much of the news surrounding the company was made not by founder Mark Zuckerberg, but by Eduardo Saverin, a young man who became very rich after he invested his life savings in that unknown company running out of a Harvard dorm room. Saverin had announced that he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship, preferring to make his ties with Singapore instead.

In the aftermath of his announcement, it was claimed that he was doing so in order to avoid the heavy tax burden placed on his wealth by the United States. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a man of whom former Senator Bob Dole once said that “the most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a television camera,” wasted no time in turning this into face time with the press to score political points, joining with fellow Democrat, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in announcing their intention to submit the “Ex-PATRIOT” Act.

According to Schumer, this law would “re-impose taxes on expatriates like Saverin even after they flee the United States and take up residence in a foreign country.” Like a modern-day Rasputin, this would enact into law the assumption that politicians have supernatural powers of mind-reading, and would presume any person who renounced U.S. citizenship, while having a net worth greater than $2 million, or an average five-year income tax liability of at least $148,000, had done so for the purpose of tax avoidance. The law, eviscerating the Constitution’s presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” principle, would require the individual to prove to the IRS that they’d not done so for tax avoidance purposes, or risk additional capital gains taxes on any future investment gains.

Saverin fought back in the press, rejecting the tax avoidance claims, and stating that his “decision to expatriate was based solely on my interest in working and living in Singapore, where I have been since 2009…I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government. I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen.”

Regardless of whether his decision was for tax avoidance or simply because he favors Singapore, the decision reveals an underlying rot that is weakening the U.S. economy. America started as a small collection of colonies, then states, which lived in the shadow of the great world powers of the day. However, during the late 1800’s and through most of the 1900’s, America would become the dominant world power due to a combination of a vibrant free-market economy, combined with unique protections and equality for individuals under the law. America would reach a point where it produced more than a quarter of all the goods and services in the world, even though it had less than 5% of the population and land mass. A free people, encouraged by the prospect of great success, became great entrepreneurs, making themselves wealthy by making life better for their fellow citizens.

Oh my, how things have changed. America, once the world’s biggest creditor, is now the world’s biggest debtor nation, with an even greater debt ratio than Greece, a nation which is rioting in opposition to budget cuts requiring them to sacrifice to become solvent. America also has the world’s highest corporate income tax now, after Japan reduced theirs earlier this year. Every year our politicians pass more and more business and tax regulations, which cost businesses hundreds of billions in compliance. Our politicians also double-tax American multi-national corporations (taxing both domestic and foreign profits, making them less competitive globally). These same politicians, after having taken nearly half the earnings of these businesses, then shout accusations of “greed” and “corruption” when those businesses object to having even more of their wealth confiscated. On top of that, we have a president and Democrat Party who have claimed that businesses are “the enemy” (in his book “Dreams From My Father,” Obama wrote of his time working for a company that did consulting for multinationals as being “a spy behind enemy lines”). Is it any wonder that businesses would think twice about investing in America with these anti-business cretins holding the reins of power? When businesses flee America, they do so less for greed than just for mere survival. When government has made it so expense to run a business that you can’t make a profit or compete, your choice is to adapt or die.

The Schumer “Ex-Patriot Act” bill is the economic equivalent of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was not built to keep people out, but to keep the poor East German people trapped inside. With armed guards patrolling the walls, those attempting to escape were shot dead in their tracks. Schumer is trying to accomplish the same thing with this bill. He is attempting to threaten, coerce and punish those that would take their wealth out of America, forcing them to stay here against their will.

So why, you may ask, did Saverin decide to go to Singapore, of all places? The answer might be found in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. Each year, the Heritage Foundation ranks each country on ten factors that contribute to economic freedom (i.e., ease of starting and operating a business, free trade policies, stability of national currency, tax burden, property rights, etc.), and then categorizes them by rank under the heading of Free, Mostly Free, Moderately Free, Mostly Unfree, or Repressed. Singapore ranked second most free of all nations in 2012, while the U.S. was ranked #10, falling behind Hong Kong (owned by Communist China!), Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius and Ireland. Even worse, America’s #10 ranking in 2012 represents a slide backwards from #5 in 2008 (although I am sure it is just a coincidence that the slide came after Democrats regained control of the White House and Congress).

Instead of putting barriers in place to keep people in the United States against their will, would it not be better to enact policies that once again encourage the world’s best and brightest to flock here for a chance at the American dream? Would it not be better to once again praise those Americans who obtain great wealth by providing goods and services that their fellow man needs and desires (as opposed to so many today who gain great wealth by climbing in bed with politicians who protect them from competition and funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to them…Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Solyndra, Goldman Sachs, Beacon Power…any of those ring a bell?). How have we reached a point in our history when a major political party praises and encourages the filthy parasites of the likes of Occupy Wall Street, while spewing hatred of, and punishing, the very businesses that have given Americans a standard of living unimaginable even thirty years ago?

If we continue down this path of demonizing the producers, coddling and bribing the parasites, enacting policies that punish wealth production, subsidizing sloth and instilling a sense of entitlement in our youth, America will simply not survive. Instead, Obama and his socialist sycophants in the Democrat Party will have successfully achieved their dream of “fundamentally transforming” what was once the greatest nation in the world.

If we allow that to occur on our watch, we will lose the very freedoms that made us great, and we will be no more exceptional than any other country. Our lot in life will have become much poorer, and we will deserve it, having only ourselves to blame.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.