By now it’s
trend, but this
McClatchy article about middle-class Americans turning in their
passports to avoid intrusive IRS probes into their bank accounts is
a usefully detailed example of how cheap legislative populism
against the 1% ends up screwing everyone else:
Born in Oklahoma, [Ruth Anne] Freeborn has lived in Kingston,
Ontario, for more than 30 years as an American expatriate, with a
Canadian husband and 22-year-old son.
But a U.S. law passed in 2010 that will require international
financial institutions to provide the Internal Revenue Service with
information on their U.S. account holders forced her to weigh her
citizenship. Her husband, a $51,000-a-year electronics technician
and the family’s sole income earner, strenuously objected to having
his financial data shared with a foreign nation.
“My decision was either to protect my Canadian spouse and child
from this overreach or I could relinquish my U.S. citizenship,” she
said. “It was with great sorrow I felt I had to relinquish, but
there was no other choice for me and many like me.” […]
“My husband cannot understand why Americans are so offended by
having their personal emails and phone calls monitored by the NSA
yet are very comfortable requiring a Canadian to hand over their
bank account data, which is far more sensitive,” Freeborn said.
The number of citizenship renunciations has surged from 742 in
2009 to more than 1,854 so far this year, according to the State
“The rich can afford expensive tax attorneys,” Freeborn said.
“The poor and the middle class cannot. My bank down the street is
not an offshore account and I’m not hiding money.”
But don’t worry, the Treasury Department knows that the
Freeborns of the world are just freeloaders:
“Individuals that have used offshore accounts to evade tax
obligations may rightly fear that FATCA will identify their illicit
activities,” says a Treasury web posting. “Yet a decision to
renounce U.S. citizenship would not relieve these individuals of
prior U.S. tax obligations, and might well create additional U.S.
tax obligations for certain citizens and long-term residents who
give up citizenship or residency.”
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/27/american-who-renounced-citizenship-my-ba