A rapidly deteriorating political situation, accompanied by shrinking incomes and disastrous social conditions with racial problems to top it all off wouldn’t go unnoticed in any state.
The inhabitants of such a country in the long-run would be appalled by the prospects of living in poverty for the rest of their lives, surviving on crumbs that fall from the oligarchs’ table. Nobody wants to live without prospects or hope, therefore, people are often leaving such states in droves, renouncing their citizenship with no intention to ever return again.
And we are not talking here about those who fled the poorest countries of the world, even though a massive flow of such people has swept Europe over the last 12 months due to the massive number of refugees fleeing hunger, poverty and conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. In fact, we are talking about the so-called “stronghold of democracy,” namely the United States.
The rapidly deteriorating living conditions of common Americans have been covered only by a handful of media sources, both in the mainstream and the alternative media. However, what the US media and politicians prefer to keep silent about is the massive exodus of American citizens from the United States.
However, one must admit that the number of those renouncing their US citizenship has been skyrocketing lately. This can be confirmed by the data provided by the Federal Tax Service in the Federal Register.
It’s hardly a secret that Americans have started renouncing their citizenship en masse starting back in 2009. Ever since, this army of “traitors”, as those people are usually referred to in the US, has been growing at an alarming rate. There must be a number of good reasons for a person to take such a serious step, but one of the main reasons is the veritable hunt for tax evaders that the federal government announced six years ago. This hunt was declared once UBS – Switzerland’s largest bank – admitted that it was assisting wealthy Americans in their bid to hide money overseas. This incident resulted in the adoption of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) by US Congress. This document requires foreign financial institutions to report the income of their clients, in cases where they happen to be US citizens. For nearly five decades only the wealthiest Americans were subjected to double taxation, but now, however, American authorities are subjecting any American citizen to double taxation, regardless of their income. Those who commit FATCA violations are usually facing heavy fines or even exclusion from the global financial system.
Although US authorities say that FATCA is aimed at only the wealthiest Americans who are reluctant to pay taxes, it’s the middle class that is getting caught in the crossfire. That is why, according to a deVere Group survey, four out of five American expats are thinking about giving up their passport due to FATCA.
As a result, the US government has transformed the desire of common Americans to pack up and leave into a profitable business. It’s been reported that the US government has collected about 12.6 million dollars in fees since fall 2014, after quintupling the amount it charges for renunciations, according to official data. That’s more than double the total it garnered over the six previous years.
The number of Americans who renounce their US citizenship is still growing at an alarming rate. The number has tripled in 2009 in comparison with the previous year, reaching 742. 2010 saw 1,534 Americans leaving their homeland forever, while in 2013 this number grew to 3,000 people. The number in 2014 with 3,415 men and women renouncing their citizenship was surpassed last year, when 4,279 Americans gave up their passports. This is 20% higher than the year earlier and 18.5 times more than back in 2008.
One may ask where all these people go? In general, they are going to English-speaking countries. In such countries, Americans find jobs more easily and make the necessary connections with the help of native English speakers. It should be noted that the absolute majority of the American population knows no second languages which puts a severe limit on their options. To a certain degree, this fact can be attributed to the hegemonic ambitions of the state and ongoing national propaganda that leads people to a conclusion that the rest of the world should adapt to the rules, customs, and language used and imposed by the United States. This feature is typical even for US diplomatic workers who often have a minimum knowledge of foreign languages, in spite of the requirements of their job.
So almost a quarter of former Americans are living in Mexico, since many of them have at least a minimal command of the Spanish language. Canada and the UK also remain a fairly popular destination, even though many former Americans prefer to live in Germany, Australia, Israel – all states with large American diasporas.
Against this backdrop, most experts agree that if Washington refuses to address the most pressing concerns of common Americans, concerns the Obama and Bush administration have decided to turn their backs on in favour of unending armed conflicts in various regions of the world, the number of Americans fleeing abraod will continue to rise rapidly.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”