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More About Taxes

Larry Landwehr

Mary has gone back to the US for a month to take care of some business. I chose to stay at home, here in Mexico. Thank goodness I decided to study Spanish, because I sure need it now ­ the utility bills and the rent still have to be paid. My Spanish is very broken, but I can carry on simple conversations.

I could speed up learning Spanish by watching Mexican television, but it is incredibly bad. Most of the programs are either soap operas with people emoting all over the place, or game shows patterned after US ones. One game show, patterned after “Family Feud”, is called “100 Mexicans Say” with the same stupidity of people clapping for their own guesses as in the original show.

One really pernicious sitcom is called “El Chavo”. It has been on Mexican TV for something like thirty years. The story line is ­ get this ­ adults pretending to be children. This show is on one channel or another almost constantly. Hunt through the channels day or night and you will find it.

Another popular favorite in Mexico is a series of films made by an ex-wrestler about twenty years ago. Everyone agrees that they are awful, but Mexican TV still plays them.

Mexican TV is big on sex, especially if it involves bouncing boobs or ultra deep cleavage. One weird combination game/variety show featured a female dancer who stripped while dancing. She finally quit taking her clothes off when she got down to a bra that compressed and lifted her boobs, and thong panties that only had a string running up her backside. She would squat down and shake her read end for the camera. I was very surprised to see children in the audience, but Mary says that in Mexico this is considered family entertainment!

One of the things I like about Mexico is that an employer can hire whomever they want. They commonly specify the age, sex, appearance and even marital status of people they want to hire. This about to change because there is an Indian rights bill in Congress that would ban discrimination based on ethnic origin, sex, age, capacity, social class, health, religion, marital status or “anything else that violates human dignity with the object of annulling or reducing the rights and liberties of people.” Taking away the freedom to hire whomever you want somehow enhances the freedom of other people? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I wish it were paved with the bodies of liberals.

As long as I’m in a ranting mood, let’s talk some more about taxes.

Worldwide, there are three different tests that governments use to decide who owes income taxes. They are:

  • Taxation based on citizenship
  • Taxation based on residence
  • Taxation based on the source of the income

Only the United States and Libya use test #1. That alone should tell you that test #1 is wrong.

Several countries including Canada use test #2. Test #3 is used by Mexico among others.

The philosophy behind test #1 is that the government owns you. This philosophy is deeply entrenched in the US. If you are a resident of the state of Wisconsin and you buy an automobile in another state, the state of Wisconsin makes you pay Wisconsin’s sales tax ­ even though the purchase took place in another state. Sales taxes are based on residency. You are not allowed to go to a low tax state and buy there. No competition is allowed. Why proponents of state’s rights aren’t howling about this I don’t understand.

The US government taxes their citizens’ worldwide income. If you move to another country and use no service of the US government to make money, the US still claims you owe taxes ­ for what? What do you get in return? Nothing.

Another problem with living in another country is that you have no representatives in the government ­ no congressperson ­ absolutely nobody to represent your interests or viewpoint. But they still want to tax you. That’s called taxation without representation. The US was founded because of a rebellion against that unfairness, but now they don’t give a damn.

Rich people tend not to take things like this lying down. Starting in the early 1990's thousands of rich Americans began leaving the US. They were fed up with high taxes, snooping by the IRS, over-regulation, lawsuits, and government forfeiture of assets.

The rich escapees didn’t do things halfway. They renounced their US citizenship and became citizens in low-tax countries. Congress reacted to this “flight of the golden geese” by passing the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act, which claims the right to tax expatriates for ten years after they renounce their citizenship. So you pack you bags and say goodbye to Stalag Luft III and they fine you ten years of taxes for leaving. This is similar to how the Nazis pauperized the Jews who were lucky enough to escape. The US thinks it owns you.

They followed this up with the Immigration and Nationality Act that permanently bans expatriates from ever again entering the US if the government thinks that the expatriate renounced his citizenship to avoid taxes. You pay ten years of taxes and can’t come back in the country (for funerals and such). This is straight up vindictive.

Oh yeah, the law says “Any individual with a net worth of $500,000 or more (adjusted for inflation) on the date of expatriation or who has an average annual net income tax liability for the five years preceding expatriation of $100,000 or more (adjusted for inflation) is irrebuttably presumed to have expatriated for tax-motivated reasons”. In other words you are presumed guilty and you have no means of defense. Constitutional? I think not.

Finally, they passed the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act. This law demands that US citizens disclose information about their foreign holdings or else lose the right to challenge forfeitures in a US court. In other words, full disclosure or you lose the right of due process. That isn’t even vaguely constitutional.

The US government is arrogant, vindictive, and greedy. It murdered its own citizens in Waco - including burning innocent children to death. And then it wonders why it is hated so much. I don’t agree with what Timothy McVeigh did, but I can understand it. I really can.

Published or Updated on: May 1, 2001 by Larry Landwehr © 2008
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