The following is excerpted from my new, weekly column, “Planet IRS”:
“You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!” Those are the chorus lyrics to Hotel California,” the haunting rock classic by the Eagles.
Americans who try “running for the door”—in the evocative words of Glenn Frey, and the Dons Felder and Henley—soon discover that they “are all just prisoners here …”
Prisoners of Uncle Sam’s device.
If he can tolerate TSA assaults as he departs the country, an American who chooses to live and work overseas cannot escape the Internal Revenue Service. The United States is perhaps the only country “to tax its citizens on income earned while they’re living abroad.”
To loss of privacy and property, add the prospect of prison—and you get why, as Reuters has reported, droves of Americans are “renouncing their U.S. citizenship or handing in their Green Cards.”
On pain of criminal charges and “penalties of up to $100,000 or 50 percent of undeclared accounts, whichever is larger,” the expatriate must report his own bank accounts and all conjoint accounts—a spouse, a client, or business partners.
The victims of this shakedown are residents who have foreign bank accounts (the Canadian equivalent of a small USA 401K, in this scribe’s case), in addition to “an estimated 6.3 million U.S. citizens living abroad.” The aims of their pursuers, the IRS, are control and compliance. The rogue agency’s source of revenue, in this context, is derived primarily from penalties for forgetfulness or faulty filing.
All fear bankrupting fines, even imprisonment.” …
Click on the link to read the complete column, “Planet IRS.”
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UPDATE I: On Facebook, Anthony Michael Miceli writes this: “You’re one of the most honest writers that is publicly known. This and a lot of your work SHOULD be carried by major newspapers but when most are controlled by just a handful of corporations the writing and thought pool becomes the same incestuous crap ppl haven been exposed to for years.”
I reply: It takes concerted pressure from readers like yourself, AMM, to sway the editorial gatekeepers across the country. What should irk you is not that opinion such as mine (also yours) is shunned; it’s the mediocrity and piss-poor, unimaginative writing that is embraced instead. Also, to help restore standards, let us separate writers from TV show men and women. Let us restore the division of labor. Only a few people manage to straddle both worlds (Ann Coulter, for instance, who is a Republican through-and-through). Most TV showmen with a large presence, or politicians, ain’t writers.
UPDATE II: I shouldn’t, but I will. I mean, there is a need to say IT, simply because few know better. And, after all, to a contemporary journalism teacher, instructing the aspiring young writer, creativity equals, “Sharing your passion” (“I love myself, and my dog, and me again”), “showing your feelings (“I feel like Obama is trying to feel for us, but like…”). So, you need to hear this from someone who learned the hard way (from tough veterans):
The lead to this column (used to be written “lede”), the Hotel California segue, is bloody good. Just saying.
UPDATE III: An example of the above necessary division of labor: Judge Napolitano. Great orator; poor writer.