The American left has finally jumped the shark. Last week, one of its leaders, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), introduced legislation to construct a regulatory Berlin Wall to keep Americans from renouncing their U.S. citizenship.
The impetus for this legislation is the news that Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin recently gave up his U.S. citizenship and moved to low-tax Singapore. Saverin, who was born in Brazil, immigrated to America when he was 11 years old.
Conservatives and liberals have reacted to the news in different ways.
Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and the staff of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board have suggested that taxes should be lowered so that people like Saverin will want to live in the U.S. and start businesses here.
Liberals like Schumer have tried to change the federal tax code in order to bully Americans into keeping their U.S. citizenship forever, even if they have legitimate personal, familial or professional reasons to leave America. Schumer’s draconian legislation, which is being co-sponsored by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), would give the federal government the power to confiscate up to 30% of an entrepreneur’s self-made wealth if he drops his citizenship.
For centuries, America has been a beacon of hope, a shining city on a hill which welcomes people from all around the world. It’s shameful to think that President Obama’s party is now devising ways to encircle America with a virtual prison fence, a Berlin Wall for the 21st century.
We understand the frustration many Americans may feel regarding Saverin’s move. You work hard and pay your taxes. But so has Saverin. His move to Singapore simply reduces his future tax burden.
In any case, does it really help America to scare away the next immigrant co-founder of Google or Facebook before he comes to America? Wouldn’t it be better to attract and retain more Facebook-class entrepreneurs?
There’s a reason Democrats are pushing this regulatory Berlin Wall: The number of Americans applying to renounce their U.S. citizenship has increased by six-fold since President Obama’s inauguration. Last year, 1,781 Americans renounced their citizenship. During the Bush years, the mainstream media tried to convince us that hoards of Americans were looking to leave due to the war in Iraq. In fact, the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship each year had been fairly constant for decades before Obama took office.
This trend is being driven by the increased tax and regulatory burdens on individuals and family-owned businesses in America. And those burdens will only increase, if you believe what Mr. Obama says about his plans for America.
In addition, President Obama’s incessant demonization of hard-working, successful Americans is sending a message to the most productive members of society. And that message is: “You are an enemy and not welcome.”
Saverin should be celebrated for who he is and what he has done. He came to America as a child, worked hard and obeyed the law. While a student at Harvard, he helped create a company, tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity. Most importantly, entrepreneurs like Mr. Saverin provide hope and inspiration to young people everywhere who dream of starting their own businesses and escaping the yoke of government succor.
If the Obama administration helped drive Saverin out of the U.S. due to the tax and regulatory policies of the Democratic Party, Schumer can introduce legislation to mimic the pro-growth agenda of past presidents of both parties, such as John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
The Tech Guys feel that a great country needn’t force its citizens to stay. Rather, the U.S. should be an attractive place to move to and to live.
Shame on President Obama and the Democratic Senate for driving away some of our hardest working and most productive citizens.
And shame on Chuck Schumer for trying to build a regulatory Berlin Wall. To echo Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Schumer, do not build this wall!”
Charles Curran and Patrick Ennis have spent over 35 combined years as technology investors and innovators. They live in Washington, D.C. and Washington State, respectively. Follow Charles on Twitter at @charlescurranDC. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @pjennis.