Getting Outta Dodge

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Were I without family ties, I might consider expatriating to one of the quiet, out-of-the-way towns in Central- or South America that I drove my VW bus through in 1977-1978. Spending a year and a half living life at a slower pace and speaking in a second language was world view- opening for this California born American. Through it all, I met many wonderful, amazingly generous people. Unfortunately, I also saw a lot of grinding poverty and misery. I finally lost count of how many times I stared into the barrel of a loaded submachine gun held by an edgy 19 year-old soldier at some border crossing or roadblock.

My experience was life-changing, and made me appreciate the blessings of life in the United States – such as they were then. Thirty years later, I am not sure what I would feel coming home from such an adventure. I am saddened that governments at all levels have completely lost self-control. I am distressed that corporations now find it more profitable to pay off politicians for special subsidies and protections than to compete. I am depressed that Americans now walk away from commitments and belly up to the entitlement bar without any compunctions. We have spent the last forty years eating our seed corn and frittering away our wealth on trifles.

I am having great difficulty facing my young adult children with the news that their lives will be harder than mine has been…that college might have been a waste of time and money…that funding my granddaughter’s college savings fund may be an exercise in futility…that saving and deferred gratification were cruel jokes that a manipulated stock market, zero interest rates, and future inflation will render worthless.

My family is here, so I’m resigned to remaining here to see whatever fate delivers. I feel strongly that we’re close to the tipping point, after which collapse is inevitable. While a real, final dot.gov crash will make for very hard times, in the end it may be the only way to break the fever that is killing the country. Perhaps then we can dust off the Constitution and rebuild.

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I enjoyed reading the “The Persistent Myth of American Economic Dominance” as I enjoy reading many of the articles here at The Daily Reckoning. Anyway, it was asked, in this article, for us to share our stories with you on “Getting out of Dodge.”

I went down to Chile in 2008 with the idea of just vacationing and learning Spanish. I found to my surprise that Chile is a great country and an economic power in its own way. It has low government debt, etc. Anyway, I found a job with a tech company making about 15% less than I was making in the US, but my money went so much further. I was able to buy a 2-bedroom 2-bath condo with all the amenities and 24/7 security for about $120,000 US dollars. There was also no income tax. Basically you just pay a 19% sales tax on everything. It was just so simple to live there. The government left you alone and expected you to work for what you got. They also have a privatized retirement plan where you pay 12.5% of your check to a company who manages your stock portfolio for you. Then you pay 7% for your private medical care comparable to US health care. It was nice to never have to fill out any tax forms and to keep roughly 80% of my paycheck every pay period.

My wife and I came back to the US after a few years there to give my wife, who is Chilean, the experience of living in the US. I think what I learned from my experience in Chile is there are lots of other countries who understand much better the importance of freedom and keeping government intrusion to a minimum if you want a healthy economy.

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My wife and I recently expatriated. We are fortunate that although we were both born in the USA, due to accidents of birth, we hold passports of EU countries allowing us to live and work in the EU freely. Getting a foreign citizenship (and passport) is essential prior to expatriation; this is totally legal in the USA and you do not have to forfeit your US citizenship as a consequence. However, very few will be able to get a foreign passport so easily. The hard way is to live in a new host country for a long period of time and apply for citizenship. Some countries are rumored to sell passports, but this smacks of fraud and I’d be very suspicious of the utility of such a passport if push came to shove.

A better way is if your parents or grandparents were foreign born, to check out whether this could entitle you to a grant of citizenship. Germany for one, grants automatic citizenship to children of German nationals born abroad (until recently this only applied to German fathers, not mothers); this is the best way possible since your foreign citizenship is not something you have to apply for – you already have it and perhaps are just not aware of it. Ireland grants citizenship to grandchildren of Irish nationals regardless of where born, but genealogical proof is required. Expect these rights and programs to become more limited or even to vanish over the coming years, so your readers should investigate the opportunities as soon as possible and avail themselves quickly; there is no downside to having a foreign passport ‘at the ready’, and it makes international travel much easier even if you do not expatriate.

We thought long and hard about giving up our citizenships, but in the end we could fathom no logical reason for hanging on, other than blind inertia. As your article points out, the US government has made it very difficult on expatriates in many ways and it’s hard to justify blind loyalty when your own country treats you like a criminal.

The act of expatriation is disarmingly simple and quick, but best handled by an attorney in a foreign country who specialized in this. You have to be living overseas to do this, and you have to have a foreign passport otherwise you would become stateless, and as a result the embassy people won’t let you renounce your US citizenship.

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If there were a poll on the issue I think eighty percent of Americans would want to stay put, while twenty percent would pack for an offshore destination.

I don’t think the issue is as clear-cut as staying in the US or leaving it. Staying or leaving is a shadow issue cut in half. Half the problem is that too many of those who would stay – regardless of how unlivable the US becomes – are confessing apathy and resignation to the rapacity of a government that considers itself too big to fail. The other half of the problem is that those who would choose to leave the US would be confessing to surrender of all hope for the US.

The only ones who seem to know where they want America to go are the Progressives, the Socialists, the statists, and the one-world control freaks, who, if floated head to toe, would form a gooey bridge from Brussels through Ivy League campuses to the White House and Congress.

The real issue is for Americans to realize that America has been hijacked by the most cynical and diabolical crowd ever assembled in Washington, DC. After that realization dawns, we must re-dream America. We must not settle for pretenders representing us in our nation’s top offices. We must re-claim, renew, and reorient America. That’s the issue.

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I would leave next week if I could liquidate my rental portfolio and personal residence that fast.

I’m fed up!

I think it will get much worse. If I don’t leave soon, they may not let anyone out of the country at all.

It’s sad because I just found the perfect place to live in the US.

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I can only share a perspective of a small business owner. We are a manufacturing company with approximately 25 full time and 8 part time employees. We have been in business 26 years and my sons represent the third generation. I do not expect business to be easy and we don’t mind working hard. But I don’t understand this feeling that I get from the current administration that we are the enemy. I would repent if someone would tell me what I have done wrong. Hugh Smith Of Two Minds recently quipped that one would have to be insane or a masochist to hire an employee in America. I wonder how long we can remain insane enough to keep this up.

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A few years ago I lost my job of 31 years at a mid-size bank, and, to carry me over to retirement, I took a job as a store cashier. It was my trip to the real world. I live and work in Cleveland and the clientele flowing through our store daily is enough to give one pause. A large number of customers are on the food stamp card. Or, as I prefer to call it, the Junk Food Card. The big game is for two people to live together – one with some income and the other drawing unemployment or welfare (or even both drawing welfare). It is very common for food card purchases to consist entirely of pop, candy, ice cream, etc. Then out comes the big wad of cash for the beer and cigarettes. With most of these people it seems very likely that they have no inclination to work at all, and gaming the system is how they wish to live.

Then there are the folks drawing disability. Most of them look quite healthy enough to be working – maybe not at a job they had been doing previously, but still capable of gainful employment. Many of our other customers are older people on fixed incomes. People who are working steady jobs are in the minority.

The problem here is obviously that the failure to maintain entitlement programs – which truly cannot continue to be funded given today’s local, state, and federal government deficits – will almost certainly result in anarchy. The thought of where Cleveland will be in a few years is absolutely frightening. Making things worse, the intelligencia has all fled the city, leaving opportunists to run the government. Every week the news reports are highlighting another local politician that is under investigation for fraud in office.

I don’t think I’ll be moving to a foreign country, but I’ll definitely be selling my house in Cleveland and moving to some small town somewhere that has all the amenities I require – with more favorable demographics. And I can understand that moving to a foreign country could be an even better alternative in the long run. So, basically, I’m all for “getting out of Dodge”!

———–

I left the mortgage industry in 2003 and started a stone masonry business. My clientele are wealthy and still spending money. They are moving further out into the countryside and a few are building hardened shelters under their homes as well as installing generators with over capacity propane storage, chickens, gardens, trout ponds, orchards, and enough land to isolate and hide the operation from passersby. A one to one and a half hour ride to town is not out of the norm. They are not all retirees.

My employees, friends and family are involved part time (full time, 2nd shift) in food production. We pasture raise broiler hens, beef, pigs, and vegetables. Canning and dehydrating is back in vogue. We are preparing for the worst hoping for the best, raising children, and trying our best to stay in God’s grace.

Regards,

You, The Daily Reckoning Readership,
for The Daily Reckoning Australia

Editor’s Note: Eric J. Fry, Agora Financial’s Editorial Director, has been a specialist in international equities for nearly two decades. He was a professional portfolio manager for more than 10 years, specializing in international investment strategies and short-selling. Joel Bowman is managing editor of The Daily Reckoning. After completing his degree in media communications and journalism in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.

The Daily Reckoning
The Daily Reckoning offers an independent and critical perspective on the Australian and global investment markets. Slightly offbeat and far from institutional, The Daily Reckoning delivers you straight-forward, humorous, and useful investment insights from a world wide network of analysts, contrarians, and successful investors. Founded in 1999, The Daily Reckoning is published in 7 countries with a worldwide readership of almost 1 million people.
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Comments

  1. Just on the topic of european citizenship, unfortunately for me, even though both my parents and grandparents were born in italy, I cant get any citizenship in Europe since they became naturalized in Australia when they arrived. Spewing!

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  2. Im all for contemplation of the basics (morals in fact) but I reckon it would pay to maybe once in a while put on the tin foil hat and ask if the booms and crashes, the dependencies etc, and most of all the lack of the peace dividend (both from productivity improvements, technology etc… these are amazing machines that make stuff compared to say 1870)… are not deliberately manipulated by an elite to enslave the masses. just a thought. it’s actually a positive one.. the crash is for ‘them’ to pick up the real assets for pennies in the dollar, and the cycle starts again.
    also, a few movies came to mind reading this , “children of men”(we’ve gotta get out of this place) and “the road”(farms and bunkers).
    dont forget the kids will have drones soon, so nowhere to hide.

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  3. “…the crash is for ‘them’ to pick up the real assets for pennies in the dollar…”

    The rich get richer and the poor get children… with drones, perhaps?

    Biker Pete
    January 7, 2011
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  4. speaking of tinfoil hats peterg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiK_RF3ioRw

    evil seeds..funny little lunatic. Interview was worth it for the muppet fits.

    Not that I know anything about gmo’s .

    look after that orchard BP….

    http://www.wayodd.com/mutant-fish-banana/v/4494/

    ;)

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  5. Lachlan, I tune into Keiser from time to time, I like him (them). BUT AFAIK wikileaks is a disinformation campaign by the elites, and Assange is a shill. unfortunatley almost all of the so called alternative press is hooking into it, even Pilger in his latest doco. why else would the MSM give wikileaks the attention (bad cop and good cop)? look for the general thrust of the leaks (bad Iran, bad Pakistan, bad internet that needs to be controlled, and all you pollies better watch out what you say cause we control the press and can release (dribble, not leak) what we want). overall its a great big new distraction, and most importantly, misses the whole point on Isreal and 911 which, if blown, would change a lot, or given apathy and disfunction, maybe not. that’s why I reckon that any investment decisions which dont take into account this world view miss the mark, or at best (if not part of the club) can pick up the bigger crumbs and work for ‘da man.

    BP. image of all the kid drones acting as Santas little helpers, darting down the chimneys (more advanced bunker busting versions) of the rich to take the toys Robin Hood style. now thats a contrarian thought to the good senses at the DRA.

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  6. Well I knew QLD was wet, but that’s ridiculous, Lachlan.
    Peaches will be Perches next… . :D

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  7. Peaches perches… and pineapples too BP :)
    http://homepage.mac.com/wildlifeweb/fish/pineapple/pineapple_fish01.html
    I remembered the old pineapple fish from my grade one days. Memorised the names of every fish in my favourite book, “What Fish Is That”
    I’m sure you would know it. The school librarian used to think I was funny, obsessively reading this book all the time. I was a lonely wonderer then too. Yes at that age… crumbs I would not let my kids out on their own at that age and my parents were very cautious types too. I’d trample the reefs and mangrove swamps on my lonesome….just a fish mad little squirt. Fantastic times they were BP.

    Re. gmo’s: Never worried about it. But it seems maybe I should look into it. And keep saving for the block with the fruit trees etc. Thought I may have been able to get there soon because of the bumper seed crops. They are 90% ruined now but there will be a lot more to follow over a long period if the rain stops one day. I’m still very optimistic. It has to stop raining one day and when it does the mines will fire up again and moisture like this will produce a windfall of seed in a reasonable time frame. Its a land of droughts and flooding rains but for sure. Gotta sympathise with the farmers. At least I can move to areas with moisture in the dry times. They just have to suck in whatever comes their way. And Aus sure can be cruel at times.
    We do choose much of our lot though in this lucky country. And without struggle there may not be such gratification later. Late last year I met with some very accomplished amateur botanists in one inland area which had been dry for ten years. They were falling out their tree with excitement over the wildflower displays in their favourite places. Never seen anything like it…and they are both well over 80 yrs old. They both absolutely love the Aussie bush. Cheers BP.

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  8. Its raining very hard now. The QLD damages bill will be a lot higher. We’ll be completely cut off soon. Might get a practice run for a food shortage.
    Hope you got a boat Ned.

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  9. Gidday peterg. I have not followed the wikileaks thing much to be honest. From a distance I question why wikileaks continues to operate and why nothing of great consequence comes from it. I think we can be eternally skeptical of all information but its entertaining. Peoples responses are interesting. Its difficult to pin the truth on anything and it pays to question every conclusion we make every day. There’s a lot more solid ground to be found in a study of human nature.

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  10. “Hope you got a boat Ned” – I don’t buy in flood areas Lachlan. One of the advantages of growing up in Rocky and having family members who know what floods are maybe? Got me tricked why any townies would buy in flood to tell the truth. It just seems extremely strange behaviour given the ease with which council reports on such stuff are available these days.

    Yep, more solid soaking rain happening here periodically too.

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  11. I’m just heading down to the local high level bridge now Ned to see if we’re under or not. House here is on a spur and road to the bridge follows a ridge. The rain here is still heavy.
    Re house sites: the first thing my young wife and I did on our first block was check for flood history and also made use of aspect to make the house most liveable. Lots of others we know didn’t care about aspect…big mistake imo.
    Cheers Ned

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  12. lachlan, for sure. and its good to be alive, good to have the net, good to have half a brain to question and moreover, good to have been brought up well enough to be able to question without getting too mad over it all, even the blessed/cursed rain. times like these I LIKE living on the edge of a steep hill.
    cheers

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  13. Whenever I buy, a clause making the contract subject to a council flood report “satisfactory to the purchaser” always goes in Lachlan. The last RE agent gave me the impression she thought it was a bit strange? So maybe lots don’t ask for it. But they’d be nuts not to IMO. Some pretty big areas of Brissie went under in 1974. Badly!

    OK, so they’ve done some flood mitigation work since. Good – I’ll simply buy well and truly above where there is any history of flood regardless. Plus hope their mitigation work hasn’t stuffed that area up! :)

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  14. best not to talk about global warming and sea level rise when the sun is smiling kindly on us… but if it is going to happen, and if it is going to happen sooner rather than later, then that surely is a good angle upon which to invest (to higher ground) . in the long run though we are all as Keynes said we would be (dearly departed) , and he should know.

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  15. “…times like these I LIKE living on the edge of a steep hill.”

    Likewise. I could get used to island life… . ;)

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  16. “From a distance I question why wikileaks continues to operate and why nothing of great consequence comes from it.”

    I think it’s because Wikileaks is what each of us wants it to be. Some want it to shove it up the US, others want to see it offer the openness the MSM used to be proud of, rather than the banal crap they spew out 24\7 now. It continues to operate because it’s not a threat and allows the us to give the dissenters and angry mobs something to focus on, a part of ‘Bread and circuses’.

    I honestly think Julian ‘believes’ he is exposing the US and releasing the leaks that are important or will impact the US. I also have a lot of weight for the idea of a false flag. The fact that the very first wikileaks phone number was smack bang in the middle of the Washington CIA intelligence communities addresses raises eyebrows, but I would put more stock in them being fed useless crap to ‘expose’ so the US can control and flood the channels with rubbish to keep eyes off whats happening elsewhere.

    Chris in IT
    January 10, 2011
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  17. How are you and the cows and the chooks going in the big wet Lachlan?

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  18. Udderly exhausted and eggstremely stressed, is my guess, Ned. Shouldn’t joke about too much rain, but we could use some here. On our place, we don’t waste spit. Off to harvest more marine delicacies in the morning. Forecast says wind speed will be zero offshore… glassy… .

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  19. “Udderly exhausted and eggstremely stressed, is my guess, Ned.” – Expect so Biker. I went to go out to do some renos on a house about 20 kms away today but on taking a look at the state of the traffic and state of the creeks within about 4 km of here decided discretion was the better part of valour.

    Third liquor outlet I visited was open so just came home and got mellowed out … After buying some flour as all the panic shoppers for food had bought out all the bread?!? Hmmm …

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  20. Gidday Ned and all the gang…we just got our internet back on this minute. Power was out a few days and came back on yesterday. Mobile phone believe it or not was out a few days??
    The main bridge I posted about days ago went under an awful lot of water and is now eroded/cut through at the buttress. We may be able to get out the other way today though…yesterday not so with a bridge cut off there also.

    Ned at the peak of our rain we had a storm which caused a creek in the house paddock to become a violent torrent. At that precise time a group of 20 or so females and calves decided they desperately needed to cross it. There seemed to be no rational reason for this. The torrent carried these animals briskly downstream some way before they were able to climb out the other side. Another group of animals were too frightened to try the same and anxiously paced up and down the bank for some time looking for a safer way across. Two hours later the stream was reduced to about one third of its volume and was completely passive. We are not sure if any animals were lost yet. Seems we humans aren’t the only ones who can make unwise decisions based on emotions.
    Saw an older fellow on the news who was determined to stay in his flooded house and drink beer even though Kevin Rudd asked him to leave. Funny old fellow he was…no such anxiety there ;)
    Let us know how ya be Ned.

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  21. Good to hear all’s as good as it can be with you then Lachlan.
    Same here. For me and mine anyway.
    Looks like another day of sunshine for Brissie. So a lot of the creeks that were up locally should be back down again with traffic moving a lot more normally I’d guess.
    Just reading the reports, it sounds like Brissie in general might come out of it considerably better than expected overall too.
    Cheers!

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