Ever been stung by a bee?
It hurts, right? And if you get stung more than once in the same area, you might think it best to move to a different location, right? A sensible person would get up and leave.
Well, if the United States of America’s Internal Revenue Service can be trusted, then according to its documents, 508 people were stung enough that they gave up—renounced—their American citizenship during April, May and June of 2016. That’s right: they became unwilling to get stung anymore and got up and left.
Understand that this does not mean that people simply moved away from the States, no. This means that 508 people just could not tolerate the self-titled “Land of the Free” one more day, so they cut all ties and left—never to again return as a citizen.
Prior to this past quarter, 16,851 had already ended their relationship with America since Barack Obama took office. Add to that the thousands upon thousands upon thousands—244 million in total!—who simply chose for various reasons to live overseas—while retaining citizenship—and the number becomes almost obscene.
Let’s do some math. Math is fun.
Over seventeen thousand American citizens quit—simply gave up—on their country.
How many Filipinos did the same? How many Filipinos quit on the Philippines during the same 7+ years? The number is so low it barely registers as a statistic. The contrast between satisfaction with living in the Philippines vs. satisfaction with living in America—and most of Western society—is staggering.
Yes, I and everyone else in the world is aware that the Philippines has its issues—every country does, no nation is perfect—but 17,359 is not an insignificant number and this mass exodus is not only happening in America—thousands of people are leaving their birth nations all across the Western world.
What is the most often cited reason Americans—and other Westerners—leave their country?
It is rather distressing when a government’s economic policy—primarily its tax policy—is so oppressive that people choose to say goodbye to their country … forever. It would be easy for those who remain supportive of the modern-day, economic slavery system to say, “Good. Leave. Don’t need you. Don’t want you.”
Consider, however, that many former citizens were not actually even American. A piece of paper claims they were American, but they barely—if ever—lived in America. This could be someone born in, say, Vietnam, to an American father and a Vietnamese mother. According to the United States tax code, that child is an American citizen due to his father’s nationality.
This child may live his entire life in Vietnam, never once visiting the United States. He becomes an adult, becomes educated, has a career—he is Vietnamese—he has known nothing else. However, one day he sorts through his mail and curiously opens a letter from the U.S. government.
The purpose for the letter? The United States wants twenty years worth of back taxes.
Think about that. Never in your life have you benefitted from a single government service—and yet you’re forced to hand over a large chunk of your income, plus penalties and interest, of course.
These letters are sent by the IRS on a regular basis. The USA is nearly the only government in existence that even has citizenship-based taxation. Regardless of where you live, regardless of whether you have visited America, regardless of your pledged allegiance, if you are an accidental American, you are required—forced—to file tax returns and pay tax to the United States of America, the “Land of the Free.”
To an American, that may seem normal because they are taxed on everything short of breathing—and I’m sure the American elected representatives are furiously contemplating a way to tax the oxygen that exists within their borders as you read this. However, citizenship taxation is not common. Sure, most countries have what is referred to as residency-based taxation. In this scenario, a country will tax you based on whether or not you are a resident of that country.
And if you are an American citizen and chose to live as a resident in the Philippines, you would not pay any residency tax until you surpassed the $99,000 income level. Like most countries, the Philippines only taxes people who actually reside there. For Filipinos living abroad, they don’t pay a single peso in income tax to the Philippines government—because that is sensible.
What’s truly mind-blowing is that when these Never-Once- Lived-In- America Americans get fed up alongside American citizens and file the papers to renounce their citizenship to end the madness, they aren’t able to be free of the “Land of the Free” until they pay what they are told they owe.
Even if they have never lived or worked in the USA, they must pay. Does that seem fair?
Solvent governments don’t engage in this type of behavior. You don’t see the Philippines devouring its own citizens through oppressive taxation that essentially drives them to end their citizenship.
On the contrary, the Philippines’s taxes are so low—and their cost of living even lower [How Much Does It Cost to Live in the Philippines?]—that they’re attracting foreign talent and business like bees to honey.