Joel Bowman

Run, Saverin! Run!

Were it not for the fact that you’d still have to suffer the eternal torment of actually living with your wicked, miserable little self, life as a willing and active member of The State might be pretty tempting. After all, Team State — operating in direct competition with Team Freedom — enjoys some rather significant advantages, both on and off the field.

For one thing, Team State writes the rules of the game…rules it claims the right to change at any time and for any reason. It can choose to make Team Freedom’s goal the size of a pea, for example, and its own goal the size of…well…whatever it wants. It can recruit a million, steroid-jacked players to wear its own colors, and limit Team Freedom’s membership to a couple of wimpy, though doggedly irreverent, newsletter writers. Who listens to those guys, anyway? Pshhh…

Off the field, Team State may choose to sequester part or all of Team Freedom’s funding. And if Team Freedom doesn’t like it, Team State — reading again from its own rulebook — can choose to simply begin kidnapping members of Team Freedom at gunpoint and locking them up in cages.

More troubling still, Team Freedom suffers the added disadvantage of large scale defection and even of outright collusion with the enemy. In other words, many of Team Freedom’s players are really (whether knowingly or not) playing for the other team…using morally malleable catchphrases like “fair share,” “civic duty” and “social contract” as a way to distract and bamboozle some of Team Freedom’s star players. They read aloud and with unashamed authority from Team State’s own rulebook, exclaiming with sweaty excitement, “But it’s the law! Look, Team State wrote it down, right here!”

And what can Team Freedom do about all this, other than vote for another member of Team State to act as game referee every four years or so? Nothing. Or so it would seem…

Fellow Reckoners will by now be aware of the latest scheme by Team State to encroach on the lives of those they clearly consider to be “their property.” Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey, two of the more…er…“active” members of Team State, held a press conference Thursday morning on Capitol Hill where they outlined legislation that would prevent Eduardo Saverin, the Brazilian-born, Singapore residing co-founder of FaceBook, from ever returning to the United States.

Now, why would these senators do such a thing, you ask? What do a couple of freeloading, career barnacles have against the entrepreneurial spirits of a go-getting, 30-year-old success story?

Turns out that, back in September of last year, Saverin decided he didn’t want to be considered a US tax slave anymore…a move 1,700 other now-freer people also made during the same year. Abiding by the law, as decreed by members of Schumer and Casey’s Team State, Saverin relinquished his citizenship and moved to Singapore back in 2010, a place where he (and his property) are treated in less of a “gun-in-your-face, gimme-all-your-money” manner.

According to industry estimates, the move should “allow” Saverin to keep about $67 million more of his own money than he would have otherwise been “entitled to” were he still officially a US resident when Facebook makes its IPO, tomorrow.

Of course, the fact that he followed the law, to the letter, wasn’t enough for the senators. Why? Put simply, they didn’t get (what they saw as) their cut. Curiously, Schumer claims Saverin somehow owes “the country” something…beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars he must — and does — already pay.

“Saverin has turned his back on the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated him, and helped him become a billionaire,” Schumer said at the conference. “This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong.”

Apparently, helping to found a free product that serves 901 million voluntary users is not enough for Schumer and Casey. Of course, the Senators are not in the business of voluntary transactions, so we can see how this achievement might be lost on them. After all, their own transactions are made not with a handshake, but looking down the barrel of a gun.

So what’s their beef, specifically, this time?

Facebook today serves approximately 180 million people in the US alone…including both Sens. Schumer and Casey. One might think that, if the Senators were so upset with Saverin, as they piously claim, they would take down their own Facebook pages. Since they have not, we encourage Fellow Reckoners to swing by and leave them a warm and fuzzy message. (See links above.)

Clearly not embarrassed to showcase their own conspicuous lack of real world marketing skills, Schumer and Casey are calling their little bill the “Ex-PATRIOT — Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy — Act.” Seriously. Who, besides Team State, would even let these guys play for their side?

The proposal targets wealthy Americans who seek to renounce their citizenship — and, along with it, their tax slave status — unless the unfortunate, would be escapee can convince the IRS they are not leaving the country “for tax purposes.”

In other words, individuals looking to protect their property must first convince the thieves that they are seeking to do so for reasons other than protecting their property. Yes, you read that correctly. If the person is unable to prove the “innocence of their intent” to the IRS — just imagine! — they will be subject to a 30% capital gains tax on all future US investments…regardless of where they live…and assuming they still want to invest in their former jailer’s country at all.

Stranger still, the newly emancipated individuals will not be allowed back into their cell. Said Schumer: “They could not set foot in this country again.”

The battle line has been redrawn again, Fellow Reckoner. But as always, where the state exists, freedom does not. And where freedom exists, the state does not.

Choose your team wisely.

Joel Bowman
for The Daily Reckoning

P.S. As always, we encourage our readers to “pirate” any and all of our material. Feel free to share and “like” this article…especially, today, on Facebook.

Joel Bowman

Joel Bowman is a contributor to The Daily Reckoning. After completing his degree in media communications and journalism in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.

  • CommonCents

    Yes, Chuck says we must tax the successful out of existence. How else will he get his generous pension after all these years of loyal service to his constituency?

  • gman

    “After all, Team State — operating in direct competition with Team Freedom — enjoys some rather significant advantages, both on and off the field.”

    and you can bet your bottom capitalist dollar that Team Freedom From Competition wants those advantages. hey, if Team Freedom From Competition can’t find a Team State to play with, they’ll MAKE one! where do you think governments come from anyway?

  • Woody in Florida

    Maybe the Senators could explain why they have accountants do their taxes. If they were so worried about people paying their fair share, perhaps they should start with themselves. I only pay around 28%, I don’t use any accounting service, and I sleep well at night. Quit trying to tax people with a million pages of tax code. Just pick a percent for everyone over the poverty line and eliminate all loop holes.

  • Dave

    Imposing capital controls, like the senators are doing, merely highlights how serious the economic situation is.

  • 2 funny


    Governments come from God. Haven’t you read your Bible?

  • gman

    found this happy little gem over at zero hedge.

    “Indeed, as Jarrod Penwell notes, regulation is disproportionately applied too the little guy:

    There is both too much regulation and too little regulation. Small firms are aggressively regulated. This makes it difficult for them to become significant competitors to big firms. Meanwhile big firms are not regulated at all. It is called a small-target bias.

    The pattern is the same at most federal agencies, including the DOJ, SEC, FINRA, EPA, FDIC, FHA, FTC, etc. All of these agencies demonstrably exhibit a tremendous small-target bias. In order to demonstrate this yourself, take a look at any of these agencies’ enforcement actions over any significant period of time.”

  • gman

    “Governments come from God. Haven’t you read your Bible?”

    (have replied to this but dr has implemented some kind of limit to my posts.)

  • *Sparkie*

    Govt came fr man,whom also created GOD.In order 2 keep Social-Order! Which of course spells DOG back-wards! And also means were the systems Lap-Dog. And u can Whine,Cry & Sy bout it, and the fact is there’s nothin u can do bout it until ur 6ft DEEP!!! When u have Govt that has doubled in size fr GWB in alittle ov 10 yrs. Wadda u xpect! Come-on, ur gonna pay more an like it! So every1 stop ur Belly-achen! U wanted more Govt and did nothin bout it,so pay up!!! U think that Pretty Boy Cracker fr Bain is gonna change things? Grow Up,Will u…Hes gonna change things 4 him and his buddys,its “Human Nature!” I like just watt we have now! RP BB JR those r the wite people 4 the job! But we don’t want the wite people in office. Cuz our sad, pathetic lives want some thing 2 Bi%*h about. I’ll stick with watt we got. As always,*S* Woops,London is callin!Gotta-go, Wooo…

  • Andrew

    No idea what Sparky said. Is that English?

    Great article Joel. Thank goodness you write for the Daily Reckoning and not Sparky.

  • onsen

    That shows how greedy this senator is. This immigrant turned US citizen has chosen to give up this precious and prestigious citizenship. I am sure he must have filed the Form 8854 and paid the capital gain tax on his shares based at the time of his expatriation. He needs to wait to get the clerance from the State department and the IRS before getting the final approval. If they still not satisfied, they can audit him to determine whether the value of his shares were stated correctly or not. This senator has in fact disgraced the US citizenship and telling the truth to the world, that the citizenship is in fact a slave badge. Now, almost everyone I talked to wants to know how to shake off this honorable badge. Sign!

  • gman

    “Is that English?”

    no. it’s twitter. a little ebonics too but since ebonics is mostly phonetic it fits right into twitter so it’s hard to tell them apart.

  • Victoria

    Really outstanding piece. Well done, sir.

  • chowthen

    You’re free to go but don’t come back sounds like a good idea to me. He can keep his money.

    I never agree with a democrat before the likes of Chucky Schumer but on the idea of never coming back after denouncing your citizenship I would agree. I don’t care about the taxes though…Saverin can keep his.

  • Roy Murray

    Sure, let’s all pay no tax; that would be great wouldn’t it?

    When everybody has the ability to dodge taxes equally, I might have some sympathy for this selfish billionaire who hasn’t the grace to pay his fair share to the country that made his fortune possible. Lottery winners pay tax; this man won the lottery that is business.

  • Sam

    Since most of what the government does is illegal, immoral, downright criminal, Saverin actual holds the moral high ground.God Bless You, Tax Resistors are my heroes!

  • Steve K

    There is an excerpt from Col. Davy Crockett’s time in congress where the do-gooders are appropriating funds to pay for a burned down house in the area. When Crockett retruns to his constituency, having voted for the appropriation, one of his neighbors schools him on the Constitution and informs him he’ll not vote for him again.
    Unfortunately, we’ve been dumbed down to such a degree that few would even understand what that “common” farmer knew.
    That includes most of Congress: “Are you serious??? Are you serious??” To quote the wise and powerful Mogambo:
    “We’re freaking doomed!!”

  • *Sparkie*

    Ie,ie. Dude!

  • Dean

    As much as I’d love to say Sen. Schumer is missing a few beers from a six pack. The blame for his outburst rests solely with the Democrat aligned media that launched the frontpage witch hunt on Saverin. Had they just run their anti-Wall street rhetoric, Senator Schumer would have been silenced by the facts of a trillion dollar deficit spending President and mumbling about Arizona state immigration laws. Instead, the “Democratic” statist media has just scared every single start up tech entreprenuer from every coming to America. The winner is not America and not Saverin, but clearly is Singapore.

  • Benton H Marder

    This all reminds me of developements during the reign of the late Emperor Diocletian. So many laws, regulations, onerous taxes were decreed (including wage and price controls and hereditary compulsory occupation) that many of his subjects fled to the barbarians on the outskirts of the Empire. They thought themselves blessed to gain such safety and freedom for themselves and their families. History does repeat itself.

  • Tom H

    Great article Joel!

    I’m delighted to see someone with an international audience displaying an appropriate level of cynicism about certain select government parasites (in this case Schmuck Shumer).

  • Smedley

    Our current national debt is about $15.6 Trillion. Our unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs and other pork is in excess of $62 Trillion. Income taxes are not paid to fund government programs, the printing press “funds” the government. Personal income taxes are a Control Mechanism. How do you like being controlled and living in fear? What are you doing about it?

  • David MInt

    The Saverin situation and fallout simply highlights the fact that the financially failing US Government is losing its bearings. Are they really acting in the best interest of their citizens?

    Thanks for examining these important themes.

    If you have a moment, please give a read to the latest musings at The Mint: Anarchy, Atheism with regards to government.

    Thanks again and all the best!

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