I just don't get it. How can someone with so much contempt for his oath of office, for the Constitution of the United States, and for the people of this country keep getting reelected? Senator Chuck Schumer has embarrassed New Yorkers over and over through sponsorship, support, and voting for bills which plunder American taxpayers, restrict their rights, and build the strangling bureaucracy in Washington and the states. The Senator is now introducing legislation against expatriates, those who leave the country and renounce citizenship, cleverly entitled the Ex-Patriot Act (Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy). The act is apparently an indignant response to the exit in 2009 of Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, to live in Singapore.
Schumer and his co-sponsor, Bob Casey, call Saverin's defection an outrage and seek to institute, in addition to the exit tax imposed under 2008 law, a 30 percent tax on capital gains (as opposed to the normal capital gains tax of 15 percent) In addition, the Senators want to make it illegal for the expatriates to ever again (as in forever) set foot on American soil. Never mind that it is an ex post facto law, seeking to impose requirements after the fact; after all, what's another mere violation of the Constitution among friends?
It is now an issue because Facebook is going public and Saverin's 4 percent share will likely be worth several billion dollars. There certainly are some legitimate areas for discussion. What does Saverin owe to the American people? Shouldn't Saverin, a native of Brazil, be a good, patriotic American who is happy to pay American taxes on any income, of any amount, earned anywhere in the world? Doesn't the money that he keeps come at the expense of other Americans? Isn't it wrong that someone should be so wealthy, especially someone as young as he? The answers to all of these questions depend on your assumptions about what it means to be an American. If you assume that the government is the giver and taker of rights and the ultimate owner of all income and assets, then it is apparent that he has no right to be wealthy, no right to take his chips and leave the game, and no right to use his property and talents as he sees fit. It is also apparent that, if you hold these assumptions, you have no concept of the American ideals of freedom, of the rights to life, liberty and property.
Freedom, whether American or otherwise, means the right to make choices over how to run your life, how to use your assets, and how to make the best of your talents. Freedom means voluntary exchange without the use of coercion. The result is that the parties of that exchange all expect to be better off afterwards, otherwise they would not have made the transaction.
Whether or not you use or like Facebook, it is fantastically popular. It has allowed a new world of connectivity not dreamed of a few years ago. Free of charge for users, it is funded by advertisers in a way that is not overly intrusive. It is a worldwide phenomenon with an estimated 900 million users. The founders of Facebook are wealthy, but they are so because they developed a business model that gives lots of people what they want at a price they are willing to pay. The people of the world got the value by using the service that Facebook offered. Nobody, as far as I know, ever put a gun to anyone's head and forced him to use or advertise on the application. Thus, the owners of Facebook don't owe a debt to society. Society got its value at the same time the Facebook organization did.
Politicians do not create value, but can only erect barriers to that creative capacity. Schumer and his buddies are good at grasping at the limelight, but they are the reasons that an increasing number of Americans are repudiating their citizenship. Politicians are making a mockery of American citizens and that citizenship. Other countries welcome the likes of Saverin. If Schumer and Casey want to keep intelligent, productive, inventive, innovative people here in America, they simply need to quit the abuse of American taxpayers, stop the class warfare, and start protecting the rights of all Americans to their lives, their liberty and their property. They need to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as they swore under solemn oath to do.
New Yorkers, haven't you been embarrassed enough? Isn't it time to let our Senators know?