Sunday, November 2, 2008

So you want to renounce your citizenship

You've got a lot of planning to do before Tuesday:

  • Where you will stash the kids for the 2-hr wait in line
  • How much to pack in emergency snack provisions
  • How big a coffee to carry if there is no bathroom
  • What excuse you will give the boss when you are late ("I was voting" may not be a legally protected excuse in your fascist state)
  • Your escape route if your candidate does not win

It is harder to surrender your passport than you think it is, and was just recently made more difficult while we were all stealing each other's yard signs.

This summer the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act (HEART. aaawwww...) was passed in order to provide some tax relief for active duty servicemen and women. What ungrateful bastard would be against that, right? Only the millionaire expats who had hoped to escape the American tax system by renouncing their citizenship. The HEART act includes legislation that requires those expats to pay a capital gains tax on their worldwide assets as if they had sold them all off in order to leave the United States. Our Congress estimated this would yield about $300M to make up for the relief on the fellas in khaki.

One upside to the expat is that this gives them a walk-away from the US, where before they had to keep paying income tax to the denounced Homeland for 10 years -- a kind of citizen alimony that was probably just a way to stick it to 'em.

The good news is, you are not a millionaire. So this law won't apply to you, and this is the best time to go. Make sure you are adopted by a place with less complicated healthcare and tax structures than our own. That isn't very hard.

Harper's has already researched this for us -- 4 years ago. If you didn't seize your opportunity then, here is a recap.

First, let's review our terms, because you don't want to get this wrong at a cocktail party, particularly in front of some Republican who will want to know why you hate America.

DEnounce means to "speak out" (dénuntiāre) and can mean simply to make a public statement or to give formal notice of termination. I denounce you, I denounce you, I denounce you.

REnounce means "disclaim" (renūntiāre) and also means to put aside voluntarily or to give up by formal declaration.

Flammable/inflammable. But never IRregardless.

Repudiate is that favorite of Faulker's, meaning to disown or disregard the authority of, but has the root PUD, which actually means shame. We'll have the feminist argument about the name of our anatomy some other time. If you are making this step with your country, don't feel shame about it. Better own it.

Where the heck was I? An entire hour has gone by. These things are rarely written in one sitting.

How to join the renunciate - summarized from Harper's (the smart one, not the bazaar one)

Fewer Americans storm off in a huff than talk about it -- because it isn't very easy. According to Harper's, most of the departed are simply resident aliens going home, perhaps because the horrible persecution they were escaping is finally lifted and they think they may have left the oven on.

Before the US will let you leave, you have to prove someone else is taking you in. On whose couch are you crashing? In the best catch-22, you have to LEAVE in order to renounce, and some countries won't take you until you have renounced. You and I sitting in our living rooms making empty threats does not count. It's just one of those freedoms we hear so much about.

Ok, so, you have left the US and you have found one of a handful of countries that looks down on us enough to take one of us in, has the resources to feed our fat faces, and still offers a quality of life we might be interested in. Scandinavia, basically -- where they will give us a year at home with our children as long as we promise not to spank them. good luck with that.

Now you go to your consulate and renounce. This is like going to your in-laws and asking them to pay for the divorce attorney to screw your spouse. You can imagine the level of cooperation you are going to get. Avoid the dramatic passport burning gesture; it is illegal.

Canada is so Nixon-era. The Canadians are done with us. It can take you 5 years, which is at least enough time to learn French, then perhaps France will accept you. Ooops, you learned the wrong French. This is like a board game. Lose a turn.

Mexico has the nice climate and those unregulated pharmaceuticals, but you won't be allowed to work. If you have enough money to live on, you'll be giving the capital gains back to Uncle Sam. You used to be able to buy your way into several Caribbean nations, but even in 2004 Harper's warned that these opportunities were dwindling. Check before you board.

Here is an option that might work for you. It is not clear whether moving in with a neighbor from another nation constitutes sanctuary. Units start at 300 sq feet on deck 6 (facing forward). Prices were not available at press time.


You might get involved in local/state legislation and politics where the real decisions are made (like whether or not you have a right to time off to vote) and continue denouncing the White House, just as you do today.

1 comment:

  1. I can't tell you how many elections in the past that I have heard "If ---- wins, I'm moving out of the country!!" It happens all the time. And as we all know the electoral college votes mean a helluva lot more than the 'popular' vote. In my opinion, we should do away with one or the other!! I plan to be at the polls when they open and stay as long as I have to to excercise a right that was denied me in 1960 because I lived on a military base (they called it a 'reservation' of all things!) and thus could not vote in the election although I had registered to do so in plenty of time. It is a privilege and a responsibility which I do not take lightly regardless of wait time. I will not, however, stay up half the night for the results -- they will be on the news when I wake up in the morning!! M.


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