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Going John Galt.

More Americans are renouncing their American citizenship. Is it because of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? No. It’s mostly over being overtaxed and over-regulated:

Anecdotally, frustrations over tax and banking questions, not political considerations, appear to be the main drivers of the surge. Expat advocates say that as it becomes more difficult for Americans to live and work abroad, it will become harder for American companies to compete.

American expats have long complained that the United States is the only industrialized country to tax citizens on income earned abroad, even when they are taxed in their country of residence, though they are allowed to exclude their first $91,400 in foreign-earned income.

One Swiss-based business executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of sensitive family issues, said she weighed the decision for 10 years. She had lived abroad for years but had pleasant memories of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Yet the notion of double taxation — and of future tax obligations for her children, who will receive few U.S. services — finally pushed her to renounce, she said.

“I loved my time in the Marines, and the U.S. is still a great country,” she said. “But having lived here 20 years and having to pay and file while seeing other countries’ nationals not having to do that, I just think it’s grossly unfair.”

Yes, we have to prevent all of you rich people from using tax loopholes (read: tax deductions, exclusions and credits) from hiding your income in Swiss bank accounts!! It is grossly unfair that there is even a tax on foreign income, but when your government is avaricious, it’s not going to allow you to escape paying it its fair share of your income. That being said, I agree with this complaint about the Patriot Act:

Stringent new banking regulations — aimed both at curbing tax evasion and, under the Patriot Act, preventing money from flowing to terrorist groups — have inadvertently made it harder for some expats to keep bank accounts in the United States and in some cases abroad.

Some U.S.-based banks have closed expats’ accounts because of difficulty in certifying that the holders still maintain U.S. addresses, as required by a Patriot Act provision.

Oh, it’s not just affecting expats. It also affects everyday Americans. When I deposited a large sum of money into my bank account, the bank only released about $1,500 for immediate use and said the remainder had to be held for 10 business days. Now, I don’t know about you, but my debtors are not going to give me an additional 10 business days and trying to input the funds over a course of several weeks will only result in the total amount being aggregated and you being potentially reported for suspicious activity. But, as it always with regulations, it is easier to police the law-abiding chumps than it is to police actual criminals. Does anyone think that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are now making massive transfers of money into American banks? To ask the question is to answer it.

So I guess the expats have answered the questioned posited by Hank Rearden in Atlas Shrugged, “When all the countries of the world are People’s States where will you go then?” Answer: Perhaps it is not to go back to your own People State and stay in one that is more favorable to your position in life.

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