Unbelievable as it may be, Congress is about to pass a bill that tries to keep Americans with money from exercising their right to free travel.
The reason they give is that alleged tax delinquents may try and expatriate.
Under the Orwellian name of the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act," Congress is ready to seize the passports of Americans who the IRS accuses of owing more than $50,000 in taxes.
Of course, money and pork barrel political spending is the real reason for this latest violation of individual liberty.
Congress estimates that they will get $750 million over 10 years which helps justify the newest vast amount of spending in the "Moving Ahead For Progress" bill.
There is no requirement that anyone actually owe tax. Or even be charged with tax evasion, fraud or any criminal offense. Just that the IRS, on orders from Congress and without a judicial determination, says you owe tax.
Americans have a natural aversion to leaving their country. But some have already found it desirable to move someplace else. Or get themselves prepared to go if they need to sometime in the future.
Expatriation has been gaining ground as a planning alternative as economic and social conditions in the United States keep deteriorating.
For many reasons, more Americans last year voted with their feet and expatriated from the United States than in any previous year.
The layer upon layer of tax is thought to be the primary reason that is forcing loyal Americans to look someplace else for safety and security.
It's not just tax that is driving loyal citizens out of the country. Although, nearly everyone who actually pays tax is tired of being plucked like a goose.
The economic turmoil created by Congress and promoted by various presidents since at least 1913 is about to drive the U.S. economy over the edge into the economic abyss in 2012.
The operations of the government is being viewed by a large part of the U.S. population like a huge Ponzi scheme.
It is commonly believed that as the government's ability to finance the vast and growing welfare state the consequences will be social unrest and civil discord.
The legal system which is supposed to enable society to maintain stability has every investor, businessperson, or professional living in fear instead.
Governmental regulatory agencies seem completely out of control.
I think it is also fair to comment that many believe that the current administration, supported by its believers in Congress, has stated goals which are destructive of a free-market system based on individual liberties.
Congress had already enacted an exit tax in 2008 to keep U.S. citizens and long-term residents from leaving the United States.
Any number of articles and reports referred to this tax law as the American equivalent of the building a "Berlin Wall."
These reasons and more make for a complex amalgam of reason as to why Americans find it comforting to have another passport in their back pocket in addition to being a U.S. citizen or resident.
Rather than leave entirely, some are obtaining a second citizenship and passport in another country as a backup plan or alternative. They don't expect to expatriate right now. Maybe never.
But if leaving the United States ever becomes necessary for whatever are their own reasons, they will already have someplace where they have a legal right to be and live.
It isn't an unusual idea. Many people obtain the citizenship of their parents or grandparents. Ireland, Germany, France, Sweden, Finland, Israel and Denmark are some of the more favorite countries.
Russians, Chinese, Christians in Muslim countries, and South Africans are among many people around the world who find comfort in obtaining a second passport.
It is an uncertain world where people are desperate for certainty.
Advising people on where to go or how to obtain a second citizenship is not something for the average lawyer. Additionally, the tax rules are complex and professional assistance is required to plan even a potential move to a new state.
What is certain is that given the current financial and social turmoil that seems to grow every day, obtaining a second passport is being considered by investors and others as something they ought to be doing while they still can.
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