The Corner

More on Eduardo Saverin’s Citizenship

Mario, I think you might misunderstand me. I’m not advocating Schumer’s law (indeed, in my original post I described it as a “gimmicky waste of time” that essentially monetizes the value of citizenship). Nor am I criticizing Saverin’s choice to live abroad. Instead, I’m expressing contempt for his decision to renounce his citizenship.  

You raise outstanding points about the “foolish and counter-productive tax policies of the left,” but isn’t that a reason for an American citizen to participate in the process and perhaps use a portion of their resources to seek to improve those policies? Let’s also keep these tax policies in perspective. Saverin is essentially fleeing the George Bush tax regime, a tax regime preferable to Bill Clinton’s and far, far preferable to the tax structure of decades past. Moroever, tax policies change — frequently — as a result of political pressure, and we’re in the midst of a presidential election that could result in substantial improvement.

Citizenship is not a mere matter of comparing potential personal balance sheets from nation to nation. In our American tradition it is certainly something far more meaningful. Saverin’s family fled here for protection, he voluntarily became a citizen, enjoyed the fruits of a business and litigation climate that made him a billionaire (recall that he used our court system to guarantee his place in the Facebook pantheon), and then dropped his citizenship (during a war, no less) when — coincidentally — he can enjoy the fruits of his American success more fully as a citizen of Singapore. I find that pathetic. Not punishable, but pathetic.

I understand that not everyone serves his country in uniform. I also understand that citizenship doesn’t require any kind of service at all. But doesn’t it require at least a measure of loyalty? The oath certainly does. And it’s hard for me to believe that our current capital-gains tax rate relieves Saverin from the moral responsibility of that oath.

Schumer’s bill turns a narcissistic, post-national man-child into a free-market martyr. He doesn’t deserve that kind of respect.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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