Mark, all I can say to your terrific post is “Amen”. Well, “bravo”, would do nicely too. Or, for the retro, “huzzah”.
This point from one of your commenters (Wellington123) is well worth repeating (well, maybe not necessarily the bit about “romantic dream wars” or the jibe at “homelanders”, but…) :
Most people abroad who are affected by these silly tax regulations didn’t leave to avoid taxes. They were simply getting on with their lives. I moved to Europe as a young person for the adventure, not to pay lower taxes. My life is established here now, and I ain’t coming back. Not even to fight in your romantic dream wars. You homelanders tend to have such nice, noble arguments that don’t make a shred of sense. And yes, I am just one of the 99.9% of the middle class expatriates who are the true targets of these laws. Why is the discussion in America always revolving around rich people and fat cats? They don’t even represent 1% of those affected or traumatized by these stupid laws.
Isn’t that so often the way? The AMT was originally targeted at around 150 people. It catches a touch more than that today. When the federal income tax was reintroduced in 1913, it was paid by fewer than 1 percent of the population. And then there’s capital gains (due to rise, of course, courtesy of Mr. Obama), and still not adjusted for inflation, a deliberate anomaly that means the taxpayer pays real taxes on unreal “gains”. Even the amount of the best-known capital gains tax exemption (on the sale of a primary residence) of $500,000 for a couple, $250,000 for a single person, hasn’t been changed since 1997. That won’t matter for most, for now, but give inflation QE and time: The IRS is waiting.
And you can bet that the brunt of Obama’s current attack on the rich will end up being borne by the middle. That’s the way that the Buffetts of this world like it. Keeps the competition down.
But back to the expats:. The US tax code has simply failed to keep pace with the way that people these days move around the globe. Once this was a country that celebrated the get-up-and-go of people who upped sticks in the name of a better future. Now it penalizes them. And the people who seem most okay with that are, it turns out, just the sort of Democrats who usually like to proclaim how internationalist they are. Oh well.