For centuries, millions of Europeans came to the United States to escape the oppression of tyrannical regimes. Others came for expanded economic opportunities. With the rise of Nazism in Germany, many Jews saw the handwriting on the wall and got out with their possessions before it became illegal to do so. Most didn’t. Gary North’s comments put a fine edge on the point:
The hypothetical Jewish family in question should have done a lot more than sew gold coins into their clothes in 1939. The head of the household should have sold his house and his business. He should have transferred all of the family’s assets to Switzerland, England, or the United States. Then he should have directed the family to pack their bags and follow their money. After August 31, 1939, this became illegal. World War II broke out.
Sen. Chuck Schumer and some of his fellow Democrats want a new law placed on the books. It’s called “Ex-PATRIOT”: “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy.” The proposed law is in reaction to Eduardo Saverin’s decision to renounce his American citizenship which Democrats like Schumer believe is a “scheme” to “help him duck up to $67 million in taxes.”
Saverin is one of the founders of Facebook. He is originally from Brazil. Fearing that their son might be a kidnap victim, the Saverin family moved to Miami in the early 1990s to find a safe place to live. Saverin’s father was a wealthy industrialist.
Eduardo Saverin has lived in Singapore since 2009 and renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2011.
Saverin has not done one illegal thing. He’s taking advantage of the tax laws as they are written. He should be applauded for his foresight.
What should be condemned is the idea that any one person should have to pay $67 million in taxes. Here is Saverin’s response to Schumer’s new wealth confiscation bill:
“My 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. It is unfortunate that my personal choice has led to a public debate, based not on the facts, but entirely on speculation and misinformation.”
It’s obvious that Saverin did not become an ex-patriot because of taxes. He did it for sound business reasons.
But can you blame anyone from legally trying to avoid paying taxes to a government that throws our confiscated tax dollars away to companies like Solyndra? At least Saverin is investing his own money in his new business ventures. The more money he has to invest, the more jobs he will create. He takes the risks — he should reap the benefits.
Finally, the problem is our tax code that makes it expensive to do business in the United States. A change in our tax code might have kept Saverin and his billions in the United States.