Run, Saverin! Run!
Were it not for the fact that you’d still have to suffer the eternal torment of actually living with your wicked, miserable little self, life as a willing and active member of The State might be pretty tempting. After all, Team State — operating in direct competition with Team Freedom — enjoys some rather significant advantages, both on and off the field.
For one thing, Team State writes the rules of the game…rules it claims the right to change at any time and for any reason. It can choose to make Team Freedom’s goal the size of a pea, for example, and its own goal the size of…well…whatever it wants. It can recruit a million, steroid-jacked players to wear its own colours, and limit Team Freedom’s membership to a couple of wimpy, though doggedly irreverent, newsletter writers. Who listens to those guys, anyway? Pshhh…
Off the field, Team State may choose to sequester part or all of Team Freedom’s funding. And if Team Freedom doesn’t like it, Team State — reading again from its own rulebook — can choose to simply begin kidnapping members of Team Freedom at gunpoint and locking them up in cages.
More troubling still, Team Freedom suffers the added disadvantage of large scale defection and even of outright collusion with the enemy. In other words, many of Team Freedom’s players are really (whether knowingly or not) playing for the other team…using morally malleable catchphrases like “fair share,” “civic duty” and “social contract” as a way to distract and bamboozle some of Team Freedom’s star players. They read aloud and with unashamed authority from Team State’s own rulebook, exclaiming with sweaty excitement, “But it’s the law! Look, Team State wrote it down, right here!”
And what can Team Freedom do about all this, other than vote for another member of Team State to act as game referee every four years or so? Nothing. Or so it would seem…
Fellow Reckoners will by now be aware of the latest scheme by Team State to encroach on the lives of those they clearly consider to be “their property.” Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey, two of the more…er…“active” members of Team State, held a press conference Thursday morning on Capitol Hill where they outlined legislation that would prevent Eduardo Saverin, the Brazilian-born, Singapore residing co-founder of Facebook, from ever returning to the United States.
Now, why would these senators do such a thing, you ask? What do a couple of freeloading, career barnacles have against the entrepreneurial spirits of a go-getting, 30-year-old success story?
Turns out that, back in September of last year, Saverin decided he didn’t want to be considered a US tax slave anymore…a move 1,700 other now-freer people also made during the same year. Abiding by the law, as decreed by members of Schumer and Casey’s Team State, Saverin relinquished his citizenship and moved to Singapore back in 2010, a place where he (and his property) are treated in less of a “gun-in-your-face, gimme-all-your-money” manner.
According to industry estimates, the move should “allow” Saverin to keep about $67 million more of his own money than he would have otherwise been “entitled to” were he still officially a US resident when Facebook makes its IPO, tomorrow.
Of course, the fact that he followed the law, to the letter, wasn’t enough for the senators. Why? Put simply, they didn’t get (what they saw as) their cut. Curiously, Schumer claims Saverin somehow owes “the country” something…beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars he must — and does — already pay.
“Saverin has turned his back on the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated him, and helped him become a billionaire,” Schumer said at the conference. “This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong.”
Apparently, helping to found a free product that serves 901 million voluntary users is not enough for Schumer and Casey. Of course, the Senators are not in the business of voluntary transactions, so we can see how this achievement might be lost on them. After all, their own transactions are made not with a handshake, but looking down the barrel of a gun.
So what’s their beef, specifically, this time?
Facebook today serves approximately 180 million people in the US alone…including both Sens. Schumer and Casey. One might think that, if the Senators were so upset with Saverin, as they piously claim, they would take down their own Facebook pages. Since they have not, we encourage Fellow Reckoners to swing by and leave them a warm and fuzzy message.
Clearly not embarrassed to showcase their own conspicuous lack of real world marketing skills, Schumer and Casey are calling their little bill the “Ex-PATRIOT — Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy — Act.” Seriously. Who, besides Team State, would even let these guys play for their side?
The proposal targets wealthy Americans who seek to renounce their citizenship — and, along with it, their tax slave status — unless the unfortunate, would be escapee can convince the IRS they are not leaving the country “for tax purposes.”
In other words, individuals looking to protect their property must first convince the thieves that they are seeking to do so for reasons other than protecting their property. Yes, you read that correctly. If the person is unable to prove the “innocence of their intent” to the IRS — just imagine! — they will be subject to a 30% capital gains tax on all future US investments…regardless of where they live…and assuming they still want to invest in their former jailer’s country at all.
Stranger still, the newly emancipated individuals will not be allowed back into their cell. Said Schumer: “They could not set foot in this country again.”
The battle line has been redrawn again, Fellow Reckoner. But as always, where the state exists, freedom does not. And where freedom exists, the state does not.
Choose your team wisely.
for The Daily Reckoning Australia
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