WASHINGTON, February 8, 2016 – The number is small but significant: 4,279 Americans renounced their citizenship and surrendered their U.S. passports in 2015, and that number is expected to climb in 2016. And doing so is not cheap. Leaving the “land of the free” is not, well, free.
In 2014, the U.S. State Department quietly raised the citizenship renunciation fee by 422%, from $450 to the current $2,350, the highest in the world.
And this comes at a time when our so-called “divided government” – the White House and Congress– actively encourage, through unilateral Executive Orders and legislative inaction, illegal immigration, and with it the depletion of the nation’s social safety net.
“Welfare use varies among immigrant groups,” says the Center for Immigration Studies. “Households headed by immigrants from Central America and Mexico (73 percent), the Caribbean (51 percent), and Africa (48 percent) have the highest overall welfare use.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, welfare recipients in the state of Hawaii, our president’s birthplace, can receive as much as $49,175 a year.
Democratic presidential hopeful and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders “doesn’t flinch over returning to the 90 percent personal income tax rates of the 1950s for top earners. And if reducing income inequality reduces economic growth, he says, that’s fine,” the New York Times reported.
Sanders sells his version of history’s great poverty’s multiplier as “democratic socialism,” saying, “Innovation, entrepreneurship and business success should be rewarded. But greed for the sake of greed is not something that public policy should support.”
Mike Konczal, an economist with the far-left Roosevelt Institute, told the New York Times that Sanders “implies a very active role for capitalism in the framework” of “social democracy.”
Konczal and Sanders speak as if social democracy is something new to the Americas. Author Marcus Rediker in his book “Villains of all Nations: Atlantic Pirates of the Golden Age,” writes:
“Shipboard democracy… could be intoxicating. Some crews continually used the council, ‘carry everything by a majority of votes’; others set up council as a court. They loved to vote, claimed a captured captain, ‘all the Pirates’ Affairs being carried by that.’ Indeed, there was ‘so little Government of Subordination’ among pirates that ‘they are, on Occasion, all Captains, all Leaders.’”
But Bernie’s updated brand of piracy has an Achilles heel: “The trouble with socialism,” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously observed, “is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
It’s going to be hard feeding the growing number of U.S. government-dependent foreigners living off U.S. taxpayers without the economic growth Sanders so stupidly dismisses.
Someone has to create the wealth Washington hopes to plunder. Its political class has so far borrowed against the imagined treasure ships of the future to the tune of more than $19 trillion.
But a growing number of Americans have decided to become socialism’s “problem” by denying Bernie and his pirates’ access to their future earnings.
“Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters,” wrote Ayn Rand in her novel Atlas Shrugged, “the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.”
The price of admission for America’s immigrants is low. The price to U.S. taxpayers is quite high. A price that extends to those fed up with bearing the burden of caring for the world’s destitute; those that renounce their U.S. citizenship to live freer lives abroad.
It looks like Uncle Sam has noticed a trend and is hoping to stem its tide or, failing this, increase federal revenue as a vindictive parting shot to high-wage earners sailing over the horizon.
But once gone, the treasure ships are gone forever.
If the renunciations escalate, the dishonorable Captain Sanders and his equally dishonorable pirate crew will have nothing to eat but their empty social-democratic platitudes.