Edited by Eric Fry and Joel Bowman
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Hi. I moved to Canada 40 years ago (only one of my family to leave the USA), became a citizen asap and I never looked back. I didn’t like the USA back then, and the situation there now is horrendous, I am so glad I left. It’s interesting to watch the country where I grew up disintegrate before my eyes, only they will take the rest of us down into the great abyss with them. More power to people who choose to leave the late great USA (and don’t forget to give up your citizenship, or there’s no point in “getting outta Dodge”).
Kudos to the stone mason–learning to produce one’s own food will become a vital survival skill in the future.
I personally examined the option of expatriation many years ago. Without getting soapy, this is my country and I’m going to live and die here. Yes, there is going to be civil strife, and yes, blood in the streets before the Constitution is “dusted off”. Right will eventually assert itself and America can and will be the country that it once was…
I’m about to graduate at the top of my class with an civil engineering degree. The last four years of 70+ hour weeks of studying, leadership positions, and captaining competitions were supposed to assure me a job, but as I have found out this summer after applying to every company in Denver, CO, there is no opportunity here anymore. I had several lunch meetings with high level managers who where very impressed with my credentials, communication skills, and work ethic, but there was just not enough work to justify an intern. This in a country who’s infrastructure is crumbling to pieces… there’s no work for a civil engineer.
Resources have been so viciously siphoned to unproductive vampiric institutions that indispensable industry is suffocating. The productive youth find themselves frustrated and full of empty potential. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be expatriating. The most recent failures of central banking have been successfully propagandized to hold capitalism responsible. Nowhere visible in the public discussion is mention of the Federal Reserve’s culpability in creating bubbles. I am optimistic for the future of libertarianism, but it will take calamity to rouse the zombie sheeple from their not so blissful slumber of ignorance. The first international firm to post me overseas and I’m gone.
Great article or, better, collection of thoughts but…
I’m not leaving.
I enjoy reading the musings of such expatriates as Fred Reed (Mexico) and don’t disagree with their observations or motivations in becoming expats but…
I’m not leaving.
Claire Wolff said some time ago and it remains true today, “America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system and too soon to shoot the bastards.” but…
I’m not leaving.
America is an idea more than a place. That its eternal truths have been defiled and abrogated for now does not deter.
I’m not leaving.
I’ve been fortunate in my time to experience natural panoramas that take your breath away and inspire perspective transcendent of mere worldly existence while swarms of bugs or other vermin seemed to conspire to drive me out but I did not go.
I’m not leaving.
It’s likely that I have both the means and the ability to become an expat but…
I’m not leaving.
I dare not speak for or judge the motives of others for “I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death” – Patrick Henry
I’M NOT LEAVING!
So sad to see what the US is becoming. It used to be that Canadians would like to go and live in the US. But no more. The US is becoming a basket case third world country.
My husband & I have been thinking about leaving, but are at a loss in trying to figure out where Americans could find a place that’s safe and where there’s some degree of freedom. Also, regardless of where we went we wonder about always being “outsiders” or refugees in a place that may not exactly welcome Americans.
While I appreciate the expatriate mindset, and I have friends who think this is a good idea, I’m not leaving.
It’s true, the cities are in disarray, and if there is a natural or man-made disaster that causes a food or medicine or water supply to be disrupted, the violence will be worse than Baghdad, worse than any third world country, including the war-lords raising their heads with power and might and enforcing through fear, death, and privation. The eager and self-satisfied Welfare dependents, cut off from their comfortable, well-fed and cared-for existence, won’t behave like the Depression-Era hobos and families – they will become vicious and violent, jut as they did in New Orleans during Katrina. It will spread outward – and the Executive Orders that both Bush and Obama have passed will come into play; martial law, food and gun confiscation, every Marxist practice that Americans find so abhorrent will become a way of life for them. Herded like sheep, unable to feed or protect themselves, separated from their families and all that they know, America will hurtle towards third-world status at dizzying speed.
For this reason, we packed up our belongings and high-tailed it 1700 miles from our home. Home – where 63% of the population was Welfare dependent, where children having children for government payment was encouraged, where filth – filth of state-sponsored drug and alcohol addiction, filth of dependence, filth of the home, mind, body, and spirit – was the norm, not the exception. The water was filthy – the very air was filthy. And the people wallowed in it, were PROUD of it, disparaged anyone who didn’t also wallow.
We moved to 60 acres where we are raising our own food, chickens, and cattle, where hunting is the norm, where personal freedoms are sacrosanct… and are still within the borders of the USA. NO ONE comes here – we are 263 miles from the nearest Wal Mart, and the same distance from a four-lane road, much less an interstate. We are in the “Flyover country” that everyone on both coasts disparages – where the water is completely pure, where the air is clear and unpolluted, where the winters are harsh and the summers are short, where the people work hard and play hard and take care of each other.
To us, moving to another country would mean not only leaving our adult children, but leaving the country that we were raised to love and respect and hold dear. Instead, we found a place in that country that is neglected, abandoned, even sneered at by politicians, the Lamestream media, and the city folk alike… a place where food and water are abundant and unpollutable by government or terrorist, where people work hard and earn what they work for, where decency is a watchword and independence is demanded. There are places like that all over this still-great country; ‘rabbit warrens’ of independence, freedom, and free market exchange. I would encourage those of you who do not want to, or cannot, trip lightly across the borders of this or any other country to look for yourselves, for your own little ‘rabbit warren’ of peace and plenty. They abound – if you are willing to give up restaurants and WalMart, fast food and faster violence, the filth and detritus of what remains of America and her culture.
Basically I flip my personal bird at all you quitters and gainsayers who left when the going got to hard. They day will soon come when the United States ceases to be the worlds cop and all you freeloaders who let us pay in blood and dollars the costs of the wars thats that need to be fought and you will realize that you are no so safe in your so called paradice. As for the moron who says in Chile he keeps 80% OF HIS PAYCHECK, you simply forgot to add in the almost 20% sales tax in that calculation. Enjoy you little vacation aborad because when we go down, you are gonna go right down the sinkhole with us, and then where will you go? China?
Many central American countries lack the stability and even if they have it the political private property and security that America has, even so there is always a risk of nationalism and socialism,
as for chile the program has been reformed and it works a bit more like a wealth redistribution scheme a bit, but it has been advocated for being more free market and risk.
, as for the cleveland comment, social programs are generally state and federal, and for the junk food comment, its hard to define junk food as a hamburger laden with butter or dole’s peaches in syrup
or applesauce can be junk food as well, surely ice cream is not healthy and is probably junk as well
as chips, butt he problem is excess of an item as far as the fats and sugar , that’s another topic,
the biggest entitlements however are social security and medicare and defense spending,
they are a bit of an entitlement and redistribution of wealth, because when its time to get ss, you
get more than you put in if you are a low or middle income earner or at least more than a high income earner would get, also you have to pay tax again if you investments and other income.
Having said that, do folks take the US for granted as in is it more socialist already or do folks have a romantic
vision of countries where in the next election or uprising your wealth can disappear and hard earned work.
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