Record Numbers Renounce Citizenship; Corporations Choose Inversion

This graph showing the boost in the number of American citizens who gave up their American citizenship or long-term residency (expatriated) since Barack Obama became president is pretty shocking. There might not be a correlation between Obama's policies and the explosion of those fleeing, but that's an argument I'd like to hear.

That graph is only through 2013. This year is already on pace for a new record, and Fortune reports that the numbers are understated:

It may seem like a drop in the bucket, especially when droves want to immigrate to America. Still, the newly published names of individuals who renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated long-term U.S. residency is up, with 576 for the quarter and 1,577 so far this year. …

The tally was 2,999 for all of 2013, a 221% increase over the 932 who left in 2012. The Treasury Department is required to publish a quarterly list, a kind of public outing putting Americans on notice of who relinquished their rights. Consular expatriations, where people don’t file exit tax forms with the IRS, are apparently not counted.

Indeed, the Treasury Department’s published list states explicitly this is just those about whom the Secretary of the Treasury has data. It means these numbers are under-stated, some say considerably. Although tax law used to impact how one is taxed on departing the U.S., is no longer relevant why someone expatriates.

It's not just people. Things have gotten so bad for corporations that many are now practicing something called inversion, where they move their residency overseas to countries with tax rates lower than America's notoriously high corporate tax rate. This isn't as simple as filling out a change of address card. In order to make it legal, the American company typically has to purchase a company in the country it wants to reside in.

Economic illiterates like Joe Scarborough will howl about how inversion raises our taxes. This of course is ridiculous. Does anyone believe our taxes will decrease if companies are no longer allowed to switch residencies? The immediate benefit to companies paying a lower tax rate is cheaper prices for consumers and higher returns for stockholders and 401Ks.

Rather than make America more business-friendly, President Obama has been reduced to smearing businesses his policies have failed as "deserters." He is now considering yet-more lawless executive action that will (without Congress) adjust the tax laws in a way that will punish businesses for legally trying to keep more of the money they have earned.

People and businesses are fleeing America, and as a result Obama and his media have decided that despotism is easier than competent governance.


Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC               


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