Friday, May 11, 2012

Like Changing Your Shirt

By: Annoyed With Things

I don’t know if I am madder at Eduardo Saverin, billionaire co-founder of Facebook, for renouncing his U.S. citizenship; or all of the politicians who just can’t get their act together enough to reform our overly complex and capital stifling tax code.  We all know Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship for more than one reason, just like we all do things.  But let’s face it, the tax implications certainly didn’t complicate his decision making.  My understanding is that he will pay the equivalent tax as if he sold the stock, but at what value, the IPO price or the market price when it tops out? Aside from just making a lot of money, for which I don’t fault him at all, there is a larger issue here.  The issue and my primary annoyance is the ease with which it seems anyone can renounce their U.S. citizenship.  
The Oath of Allegiance he took to obtain his U.S. citizenship, you know, when he was enjoying the all the freedoms and guarantees provided for under our Constitution and making billions of dollars (sorry , it's hard to not be just a little bitter), is a rather sobering thing not entered into lightly.  The actual oath is as follows:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

What infuriates me is how seemingly difficult it is to obtain U.S. citizenship legally that someone would just decide they have moved on and give it away, like deciding to change their shirt.  Now don’t get me wrong, Saverin has a compelling story for becoming a citizen (see his Wikipedia page) and came here with his family seeking a safer life – the classic immigrant story.  The only reason I would ever conceivably renounce my citizenship would be to save my family as well.   But to give it up just to live elsewhere after you swore to support and defend the Constitution, after America provided a safe refuge for your family, I just don’t understand.  There are plenty of expatriate communities of all types around the world and I think this guy knows how to use the internet to live “globally”, so now tell me it wasn’t the taxes.

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