After a time, it became difficult for anyone to leave the Soviet Union or its captive slave states: You could be shot.
Initially, though, Comrade Lenin’s Bolsheviks were somewhat more sweet-tempered: For a few years after 1917, greedy capitalists who owned things were free to depart — just as long as they left all their stuff behind.
Because all property belongs to the Great Collective. Right?
Back in the 1950s, “progressives” used to make fun of American conservatives who worried such doctrines might eventually be imported to these shores.
Tell that to Eduardo Saverin.
“Facebook’s much-vaunted initial public offering … promises to shower a few lucky individuals with millions if not billions of dollars,” notes Mike Brownfield of the Heritage Foundation.
One of those is billionaire co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who renounced his U.S. citizenship ahead of the IPO, in hopes of reducing his tax burden.
Saverin, who was born in Brazil and is a resident of Singapore, holds a 4 percent stake in the company, which could be worth about $3.84 billion. Bloomberg reports that though Saverin won’t escape all U.S. taxes — he will still owe what is effectively an exit tax on the capital gains from Facebook’s stock holdings, even if it doesn’t sell the shares — he will otherwise enjoy the benefits of the tax code of Singapore, a rock in the ocean that became fabulously wealthy in part because it has no capital gains tax.
Saverin’s move “highlights a very real problem for the United States,” Mr. Brownfield writes. Bloomberg reports that a record 1,780 individuals gave up their U.S. passports last year, compared with 235 in 2008.
Why? The Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic Freedom shows that America’s excessive tax burden now makes it less economically free than other countries, putting it at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to hanging on to wealthy entrepreneurs, who can live pretty much wherever they want.
And America’s tax burden is set to get even worse beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, when “Taxmageddon” — the largest tax hike in history — is scheduled to deliver our fledgling economic recovery into the nearest dumpster. “Combine that with America’s growing debt and regulation, and you have a country where economic freedom is dwindling, especially when compared to countries like Singapore and Hong Kong,” Mr. Brownfield writes. “A billionaire like Saverin can afford to flee for greener pastures, but the rest of America isn’t so lucky.”
Needless to say, Mr. Saverin’s exercise of his God-given freedom of movement did not sit well with the resident kleptocrats of Washington City. Senators Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., have proposed a bill that would bar such expatriots from ever returning to the U.S. again — while taxing them even more.
ABC News reports: “The senators 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.”
Given that the Communists couldn’t keep people from fleeing even with minefields and machine guns, what good do the senators believe such petulant whining and foot-stomping will do?
“At the U.S. Embassy in London, there is a waiting list that none of the officials like to discuss,” reported the Financial Times in August, 2010. “On the list are Americans hoping to give up their citizenship, as they seek shelter from the Internal Revenue Service.”
Writing in Business Insider, Simon Black describes how America is becoming a Soviet-style prison society:
“The U.S. Passport Act of 1926 is an obscure piece of legislation that was enacted decades ago when the idea of passports started catching fire around the world,” Mr. Black reports. But “Several years ago, the law was modified to provide the Secretary of State with the authority to revoke or deny a passport to any U.S. citizen convicted of engaging in immoral acts with minors overseas.
“Until now, this has been the only instance of excluding a U.S. citizen from travel abroad. But if Senator Barbara Boxer gets her way, there’s going to be one more.
“As part of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), Congress has inserted language that would oblige the Secretary of State to revoke or deny a passport to any U.S. citizen who the IRS Commissioner deems as having ‘seriously delinquent tax debt’ . . . defined as an amount in excess of $50,000,” Mr. Black reports.
Not allowing people to flee with their lives unless they leave behind all their stuff?
Give it time, Comrades Lenin and Trotsky used to insists: eventually their ideas about who REALLY owns all property would catch on … even here in once-free America.