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Are Wealthy Americans Leaving the Country?

I thought I would share my process for gathering viewpoint and facts.  Perhaps others would offer to put articles together in the future, but if nothing else, a look into how I brainstorm a publication:

The high-middle and high-earners in America  pay for the majority of social programs implemented by Congress.

With states facing nearly $100 billion in combined budget deficits this year, we’re seeing more governors than ever proposing the Barack Obama solution to balancing the budget: Soak the rich.

American Senators and Representatives should be thrilled, but instead disparage them for making the money that those Congressmen desperately need to tax.  What happens if they leave?

Perusing democraticUnderground.com, one would find the following comment:

“LEAVE. Take your money and go. America will survive without you… So rather than ruin our country for the other 90% whom you despise. Go away. Take all of your precious money and go elsewhere. Even if it means depression we will be better off in the long run without your manipulation..”

Liberals would love to see anyone with capitalist or free-market ideals leave, but seriously, would they really?  Sure, the populist view is to hate the wealthy – go Robin Hood and such.

Last September, Bob Bauman reported that, “Indeed, the growing trend of Americans voluntarily ending their status as U.S. citizens — the only legal way by which they can escape U.S. taxes and government controls — has reached a new peak and shows no signs of abating.”  Heck, even the radical left site, DailyKOS.com reported that the Bush family bought thousands of acres in Paraguay.  Although Obama doesn’t see what he’s causing, apparently his predecessor and his family did.

How serious are these ex-patriots:

Interestingly, although such a move offshore means departing Americans may have to pay an exit tax that the Democrat Congress and George Bush imposed in 2008, lawyers say this is a price people have become more willing to pay this year, now that recession and decreased asset values has reduced the size of this onerous and unfair tax.

So why do the non-wealthy care?  The top 1% of all earners pay 40 percent of all taxes. Examine the recent health care bill that relies heavily on the wealthy to fund the measure.  If there are not enough wealthy people, the rest of will be left to foot the bill.  A cost the rest cannot afford.

Continuing to hate top-earners for working hard and taking risks is counter-productive.  At some point, the government has to realize that not everyone can work for unions for middle-class wages unless the government is willing to tax middle-class wages at much higher rates.  It is well-known that our legislative branch would never admit such a truth.   Why should they, it would cost them their precious seats.

Wealth Bulletin quotes Jay Krause, a partner at private-client specialist law firm Withers who says he’s seen a rise in those interested in expatriation lately

We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts. -wsj.com

Those who disapprove of tax competition complain that lower state taxes only create a zero-sum competition where states “race to the bottom” and cut services to the poor as taxes fall to zero. They say that tax cutting inevitably means lower quality schools and police protection as lower tax rates mean starvation of public services.

The Live Free or Die State has no income or sales tax, yet it has high-quality schools and excellent public services. Students in New Hampshire public schools achieve the fourth-highest test scores in the nation — even though the state spends about $1,000 a year less per resident on state and local government than the average state and, incredibly, $5,000 less per person than New York. And on the other side of the ledger, California in 2007 had the highest-paid classroom teachers in the nation, and yet the Golden State had the second-lowest test scores.

Christian Kälin, a partner at residence and citizenship planning consultancy Henley Partners, said his firm has had a big rise in such inquiries.
He said: “Tax reasons might be the biggest reason why US citizens will want to drop their passports..” – clubconspiracy.com

Jay Krause, a partner at private-client specialist law firm Withers, said: “The number of inquiries from US citizens wanting to expatriate from their citizenship has increased rapidly in the last year.” – wealth-bulletin.com

To become a resident of Costa Rico for instance only requires proving an income of $50,000 USD per year.  Put $1,000,0000 in the bank and cut a crappy 5% annual and you’re in.   That is nothing serious for a middle-upper earner in their mid-50’s.


  1. what would keep the wealthy here
  2. what is the worth of upper-middle income ($200,000) to the American economy
  3. Is the ObamEconomy more about bringing everyone to the same lower-middle class status?
  4. How does Obamacare and the financial reform bill increase Americans worth/income?

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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  1. I think the super rich leaving the US is a very small minority. The majority of people giving up their citizenship are people already living abroad, i.e. nonresident in the US. These people have lived abroad for years. It is unfair to be required to file US income taxes every year when you do not reside in the US or earn any income in the US. More recently the U.S. has required all citizens to report any accounts which total US 10K or more to the US treasury every year. I think this was the last straw for many people who already live and work outside the US and have done so for years. It has forced many people who were on the fence and eligible for citizenship in their current country of residence to finally make a decision.
    I am a US citizen living in Europe; own nothing but an IRA in the US. Have not set foot in the US since 2008, I am basically a working stiff in my European country of residence, yet I must still report every cent I earn to the US government. Plus register any accounts totaling over 10K with the US treasury. It’s not fair. No other developed county requires this. I am pretty sure US corporations are not taxed on their foreign earned income unless it’s recognized on their US books. It will cost me 1500 Euro or more to get my taxes done because it’s so complicated it requires an expert familiar with the foreign and US tax systems. You can exclude income up to 90k and some housing costs, but beyond that you are taxed. Costs of living in places like Switzerland are high, so salaries are high, and depending on the exchange rate it gets worse when converted to USD. This does not take long before you are hit hard. The US should encourage its citizens to work abroad and bring what they learn back home but this does the opposite. It’s not a right wing or left thing it’s just bad for our country and its citizens. I support the idea of going after havens and cheats, but the current system is not the way to do it.

  2. I read the book called Leaving America, and the number of people leaving was around 3 million a year for jobs, education, for a new experience and to retire. The number was much lower than this twenty years ago… I also think that a different type of consciousness exists about traveling then thirty years ago. i worked with all high level professionals in their thirties… traveling and living abroad was what many peoples goals were. I noticed there was a time when people would not consider moving away from where they were born.
    Many people seemed to resent the hectic pace of life here. I discuss taxes with people and I’ve reached the conclusion quickly that most people have no idea what the top 1% or top 10% pay and how if effects them and their community …and these are the same individuals that are voting away their own rights ..

  3. Though many leave because of taxes still more are leaving because of politics and the police state that USA has turned into.
    to the tune of 300,000+ a year now are leaving for good the outcome of all this can’t be good for USA.
    When the brightest and richest start leaving in these high numbers what will be left in 5 years time?

  4. You are wrong. You do not have to give up your citizenship to avoid us taxes. Just move overseas and don’t live in the US. I worked on an oil crew for years. Most of them worked on platforms 6 to 8 weeks and 3 to 4 off. They lived in Belize when they rotated off. There was a large American community there. And, if you did not live in the US, you paid 5% Belizian taxes.

  5. Your observations are a joke. The wealthy in the US enjoy one of the lowest tax rates in the civilized world, and are taxed far, far less than they were in the earlier 20th century. Bought out politicians have fought hard to protect these individuals. As a result, we have the widest disparity of income in the world. It is very simple….the top 1% of Americans live like Jed Clampett AT THE EXPENSE OF EVERYONE ELSE. They have pushed for the sale millions of jobs overseas to make higher profits and to bust unions, while 3rd world workers now produce the goods at horrendous wages.
    The gig is up. Either pay your fair share, OR LEAVE. There is zero doubt that your “rich and famous” lifestyle is more important to you than your country or your fellow Americans. No problem. Just get out. Now.

    1. You states Income taxes. What about the other 50 taxes and fees people pay ? Exactly what do Rich take from poor ? Idiot loser.

    2. You know, I met a number of socialist here in San Francisco and the real funny thing about them is this: They hate and despise, read “resent” the wealthy because they have got the money and the power; and don’t you know these same socialist look down on and feel racism and contempt for minorities? Aren’t they a wonderful bunch.

    3. Bob I am really shocked you would make such ambiguous comments. How do rich people push jobs overseas? Get it right, consumers push jobs overseas. Wealthy people are able to position themselves to still profit from the buying trend. How much stuff do you own that is made over here?

      For example, lets say I sell toys for children at bulk wholesale levels. If I buy from American companies, you know, “Made in America,” the cost is higher because the standard of living is higher. Then my resellers start losing business to competitors that import through online resources like alibaba.com. They can seriously under-price me and my retailers, because they’re selling foreign made products. But the people, poor people especially, continue to shop at the other places.

      Who is forcing business overseas? The power is the consumer my friend, plain and simple. The person spending a dollar makes the choice each and every time he or she buys something.

  6. Americans are leaving of all income brackets, all ages,
    People cannot afford the high health care premiums,
    which two hospital rep’s before congress admitted
    fraud,folding in illegals health care to working americans
    bills and congress just sat there.

    1. the illegal immigrants only make up 7 million of the 46.3 of uninsured in this country. Beyond that, it is not legal for them to get anything but emergency medicare in any state.
      A few may get fake ID’s, but they get caught. Most immigrants you see receiving benefits are here legally. I’m not sure what a person with a green card does get. And many hispanics are home grown, maybe here for generations.
      so stop spreadiing the myth and go check the facts.

      1. True-most gov’t benefts are paid to citizens, including home owners who get property tax deductions and mortgage interst deductions even on second and third homes. these are entitlements to encourage home ownership. at one time Republicans wanted to end these. another myth is that only Hispanics get welfare. Many Asians who come get welfare and total college tuition paid.I knew a man from Vietnam who bragged that he never worked a day in his life and all his 5 girls had college paid to top schools. Some states are very generous and are reimbursed or matched by federal gov’t. some social service offices are set up to handle Asians only and provide customized services. saw similar with Russians and Ukrainians- groups(just off the boat) that are not used to working like Americans due to their country’s welfare mentality and dislike towards the American work ethic(ditto for Russians/Ukranians who have come here, asssimilated, work hard), they went back because myth of easy money no true.recently, stats reveal 14 million suburban homeowners on medicaid, nursing homes take up most of the medicaid dollar and Jewish residents make up the majority of the nursing home population, family disperses resident’s money 3 years before(family ships resident back and forth for 3 years-another tactic) and so often a considerable amount of money not counted for eligibility determination. a lot of white people, white communities and others use the welfare dollar-most people on welfare are white, and there are a lot more white people in this country as an identifiable group.Orthodox Jews are heavy users of the welfare system and that causes distaste for other Jews who live in proximity due to increased tax burdens,polygamous groups ditto and Mormons at one time The myth of Hispanics using all the money does not add up.

  7. The percentage of rich Americans leaving is probably small but so is the total of rich Americans as a percentage of the population. A lot of middle class professional types leave for more money and better working conditions. Given the choice of working for an American company or a foreign one in my industry the offshore job would win 100% of the time. America has changed in the last 35 years. Nobody should be surprised that some people are not in agreement with the direction of that change. So our choices are to stay and make ourselves and a lot of other people miserable because we don’t feel any sense of belonging in what was our country or we pack up and go somewhere that we can be accepted and treated with courtesy and respect. Courtesy and respect for a middle class white boy in America is a thing of the past. Accept and move on. Or just move! It’s a lot easier being a minority in someone else’s country, I assure you.

  8. You are saying it is counter-productive to hate the rich bcuz they work hard and take risks…just like Bernie Maddoff, right?

    1. Is Bernie still rich?

      I don’t think he’s talking about scammers. He’s talking about people that have good ideas, implement and expand on those ideas and consequently become wealthy.

      Many people are wanting to raise the Robin Hood Index. One of the key notes Obama got elected on, “I’m going to redistribute the wealth,” is another way of stating I’m going to increase the Robin Hood Index.

      1. The question of who is rich was defined once by John McCain. he said the dividing point to be $5 million. I don’t know really.
        I had never heard the term Robin Hood tax, but the concept is clear.
        I am 66 and one of the many who live below poverty line. To me a luxury would be having a TV larger than 19″. Or eating out once a month. Going to see a fist run Movie. Buying clothes that nobody has worn before me.
        What I need is to be able to pay off my car repair debt. Buy new tires. A back operation. enough money to keep my car mobile.
        It would be cheaper and better for the pollution to take mass transit, but when you are older and have to walk several blocks to get to a bus stop, it’s also harder.
        I don’t begrudge the rich, Through hard work or luck of birth, either one.
        I don’t pay income taxes, I pay sales taxes, so do all the poor and all the workers. I know the rich pay 40% Of the income tax, but at a lower % rate.
        When you only get $8,500. a year, there really isn’t that much to tax.
        The thing I do resent is that my kids, and most people I know pay about 45% in income taxes. But The very wealthy only pay 13% or there about. Is that fair?
        I know that big corporations often pay no taxes but have subsidies and such.
        I worry about the large number of children, through no fault of their own live in poverty.
        I know there are cheaters out there, but they are darn few, compared to the many who need to buy their kids food and new shoes.

        Well, I don’t want to rant about the wealthy, have fun, but please, don’t think of me and others like me as Throwaways.

  9. Taxes are too high – our household is an example. My wife and I both made about 90k mostly because we are trained professionals. My wife is a nurse. We were paying a crazy amount in taxes and we lost out on lots of other things as well because of our income bracket – it is crazy. Most people think the high-middle class just pay a higher tax rate but its actually much higher than that because we lose out on LOTS of other things that just keep adding up. It’s pointless for us to open up a education account for our children. We do not qualify for many kinds of retirement accounts. When we bought our house and we did not get our large goverment rebate. When the government gave tax money back a number of years ago – we got less. The list goes on and on. And all of this actually has a multiplication effect on the tax bracket.

    My wife then left her job for a year and then all of the sudden we qualified for more programs, more discounts and had less tax penalties. It is almost pointless for her to go to work so she has been home ever since. This is nice for us because she can take care our child as well as more things at home. But, society just lost a very useful working trained professional – a nurse – because of basically taxes. She could go to work but it would put our “total tax bracket” higher that its hardly worth it.

    On another topic, I know people in our extended family that can live off of “government programs” and they basically can survive without working. They are from outside the country and have been here 5-10 years and have never paid a single cent in income tax. They get food stamps, subsidized housing, and better medical care then I do. They don’t live wonderfully but they do not have to work. This drives me nuts actually.

    1. I think that is wonderful! that is how it’s supposed to work. The man makes enough for the mom to stay home and care for the kids.
      That is how everyone lived up until the mid 60’s.
      I’m sorry you feel burdened, but I would rejoice that your wife can stay home with the kids.

      1. You are right – it really is for the best – especially the kids! It just really got to us for a year or two. While the world did lose a nurse, for now at least anyway, our two children gained a mom.

  10. The notion that the wealthy only pay 13%, or some other low tax rate, is not accurate. Anyone, not just the wealthy, can generate income at reduced rates. For example, qualified Dividends generate reduced tax income.

    Taking Qualified Dividends as an example, the wealthy pay 15% while middle and lower income citizens pay 0% (nothing) on that income.

    There are investments that requite large amounts to participate. But lowr income citizens enjoy greater tax relief than others, even when making the same income streams.

    The fact is, most people are not willing to take the risk. The tax relief is an incentive to invest moeny with American Companies. These types of investments should not be viewed as something for wealthy alone.

    I do not consider anyone a throwaway. A life is a life. Howver, I do not want to carry others for bad choices in life, just because they exist. I am very charitable, with the miney I want to give towards charity. In addition, I help a lot of people. I’ve provided housing for people in hard times… Clothes and food too. It should be my choice to donate to people as I see fit.

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