The Ex-PATRIOT Act Has No Place in a Free Society – Article by Ron Paul

The Ex-PATRIOT Act Has No Place in a Free Society – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
June 3, 2012

The characteristic mark of a tyrannical regime is that it eventually finds it necessary to erect walls to keep people from leaving.  This is why we should be troubled by the “Ex-PATRIOT Act,” an egregiously offensive bill recently introduced in the Senate.  Following a long line of recent legislation and regulations attempting to expropriate more and more wealth from hard-working Americans, this new bill spits in the face of overburdened taxpayers and tramples on the Constitution.

Current law already dictates that Americans with a net worth of over $2 million who expatriate must be assumed to have sold all their assets and must pay a corresponding punitive exit tax on those assumed sales.  The Ex-PATRIOT Act goes even further than current law by assessing a 30% capital gains tax on all future earnings of expatriates.  Not content just with this additional tax, the bill also grants the IRS the sole authority to determine whether individuals have expatriated for tax purposes and allows the IRS to bar those individuals from ever re-entering the United States.  Finally, the bill blatantly violates the ex post facto provisions of the U.S. Constitution by extending all of these provisions to anyone who has given up their U.S. citizenship within the past decade.

This bill, and other similar legislation, casts a chilling effect on saving, investment, and entrepreneurial activity.  The bill was introduced in response to news reports about one of the founders of Facebook who might save millions of dollars of taxes by renouncing his U.S. citizenship.  But in their blind envy towards successful entrepreneurs, the bill’s sponsors ignore the fact that they will ensnare many ordinary middle-class Americans who work hard, save and invest wisely, and benefit from rising home values.  These Americans may easily find themselves pushing past the $2 million mark by the time they retire, especially as inflation continues to seriously accelerate.  If they wish to escape the Federal Reserve’s inflation by emigrating to lower-cost countries so their dollars will go farther, as many Baby Boomers are starting to do, the federal government will penalize them, and continue to penalize them for the rest of their lives as long as they hold any money in the United States.

Unfortunately, the mere consideration of such legislation, even before it has passed, has made American banking customers a potential future headache for banks around the world.  They don’t want to deal with the IRS any more than Americans do, and if American account holders become a Trojan horse for the IRS to insinuate themselves into their affairs, there may be more cost than benefit to extending banking services to Americans.

We live under a federal government that has eviscerated our Fourth Amendment rights, that can detain U.S. citizens indefinitely based solely on the President’s word, that assaults toddlers and grandmothers at airports in the name of security, and regulates virtually every aspect of our economic lives.  No wonder increasing numbers of Americans feel this government is engaged in outright warfare against its own citizens.  Every day the noose grows tighter, yet anyone who sees the writing on the wall and seeks to leave must pay exorbitant taxes just for the privilege of leaving, and increasingly the possibility looms of never fully breaking away from the government’s tentacles no matter where they go.  Ultimately, the Ex-PATRIOT Act proposes to control people by controlling their capital, and it has no place in a free society.

Representative Ron Paul (R – TX), MD, is a Republican candidate for U. S. President. See his Congressional webpage and his official campaign website

This article has been released by Dr. Paul into the public domain and may be republished by anyone in any manner.

One thought on “The Ex-PATRIOT Act Has No Place in a Free Society – Article by Ron Paul

  1. Throughout history, people (both wealthy and poor) have moved themselves and their assets around the world for a variety of reasons. This freedom of movement is generally accepted as a basic human right. When the US receives someone as a legal immigrant they herald them. When someone exercises their own free will and determines that they no longer want to live in the US, and legally depart, he is called a traitor. A bit hypocritical I would suggest.

    Senator Schumer gave a press conference the day before the IPO ( and criticized Mr. Saverin for having “evaded taxes of 67 to 100 million dollars”. He failed to mention several things 1) Mr. Saverin did NOT engage in illegal tax evasion. He exercised his right to engage in legal tax avoidance (the same thing someone does when they take a spousal deduction); 2) Mr. Saverin had paid several hundreds of millions of dollars in capital gains taxes based on the January 2011 deemed disposition; and 3) The 67 to 100 million dollar figure was based on the opening IPO price rather than the market price. Of course, this did not end up being the on-going market price. In retaliation for what Senators Schumer and Casey called “an outrage”, they proposed the Ex-Patriot Act.

    I am a private client lawyer who for over 20 years has specialized in assisting HNW individuals efficiently organize themselves internationally. A large majority of my clients are expatriating Americans such as Mr. Saverin. In an upcoming book that I am co-authoring with a London School of Economics Professor Emeritus, we have labelled this client group, “The Golden Geese”. Today is my first day in the office after three successful weeks of speaking with European countries about bringing my American Golden Geese clients to their shores. During my trip the whole Ex-Patriot Act controversy erupted. Following up on last weeks surge of calls, I am responding to emails and setting up calls all this week with past, present and future Golden Geese clients who are in an uproar about the Ex-Patriot Act proposals.

    Since the US has a progressive tax system, where the top 1% account for well over a third of the total tax revenue, the views of the Golden Geese on this topic are important to the US. The two senators proposing this bill talked in their press conference about what a small number of people that this would affect. However, the point they missed is “quality” (i.e. whether these individuals are 1% super tax contributors) is much more important than “quantity”. If this proposal prompts even a small number of American Golden Geese to decide to leave, then it will have a large asymetric negative effect on local, state and federal tax revenue. As has been previously pointed out (, what happens to this group in a positive or negative way has an immediate and profound impact on government tax revenues.

    Since your article touched on expatriation as a strategy, I thought that you might be interested in what the reaction of the Golden Geese has been to Senators Schumer and Casey ‘s initiative. In quick summary here are some of the points that my Golden Geese clients are making:

    -With the exception of currently only North Korea (Eritrea’s dictator only uses this as a method of securing a tithe for his regime upon passport renewal), the US is the only country that taxes based on citizenship. Every other developed country operates on the “If you are resident here (day count and/or connections) then we tax you”. The fairness of this tax basis is questioned by many Americans and by most wealthy people around the world.

    -During his press conference, Senator Schumer outlined why he thought that individuals like Mr. Saverin owed all their success to the U.S., and could not contemplate any situation where anyone would be justified in expatriation. Apparently, he was unaware (or ignoring the fact) that there are millions of people around the world who acquired their US citizenship by having one US parent. They never lived in the US; were never educated in the US; never made their wealth through the US; or often never even applied for a US passport. Many live and pay taxes in high tax countries like Canada. As a result of the new FATCA rules and a vast increase in sharing of banking information, these people are suddenly becoming aware of this unique basis for a previously unknown US tax burden. While they will update their filing and pay any US tax owed (rather than face the wrath of the IRS), they have no interest in continuing to do so in the future. This group already and will continue to account for a large number of expatriations. The justifications given for the Ex-Patriot Act ring very hollow to them;

    -Even expatriating Americans who were born or became naturalized (like Mr. Saverin) in the US will pay on the capital gains they made while US citizens. Just like any other US taxpayer. However, they have the added burden of a “deemed disposition” which makes that tax obligation immediate upon expatriation and not at a time when there is an actual sale. At the time of his expatriation (January 2011), Mr. Saverin held shares in a non-public company. He therefore was forced to calculate (and pay!) his capital gains based upon a reasonable valuation of those shares at that time. He had no assurance that those shares would ever go public or if it did, what the value of those shares would be when actually sold. Whether the valuation that the US government required him to place on those shares in January 2011 is higher or lower than what the value of those shares will be in the future is dependent on the market. Senators Schumer and Casey pulled numbers out of the air based on the value of those shares upon opening of the IPO and conveniently failed to mention that Mr. Saverin had already paid enormous capital gains taxes as a result of US rules and might never see the values that they based their complaints upon. This was very well explained in this Bloomberg posting ( As your article pointed out, the supposed “tax loss” never happened in reality.

    -Expatriation has always been a perfectly legal tax avoidance strategy. What the senators are proposing is to retroactively impose a heavy financial penalty and the onerous denial of a basic human right of travel for having done something completely legal. A very apt analogy would be if someone legally avoids paying tax by contributing to their 401K or deducting their mortgage interest, then 10 years later a lawmaker such as Mr. Schumer calls such a thing “unpatriotic” and retroactively imposes fiscal and immigration penalties on them.

    -Many of my Golden Geese clients clearly remember the US government’s outrage that the then Soviet Union was charging an “exit tax” before it allowed Soviet Jews to depart ( (,3378291). Like these Senators, the Soviets then claimed that these individuals were state assets who had benefited from their education and economic system. This was the same reasoning behind the building of the Berlin Wall. The US politicians of the day howled in protest. Senators Schumer and Casey are proposing the same thing. The hypocrisy is not lost on the Golden Geese.

    -If the purpose is for the US government to maintain or increase its tax revenue by introducing this legislation, then I would venture to say that it will have the opposite effect for the following reasons:

    1) Golden Geese have been very wary of another tax grab. The Senators showed their hand on this one. Even if this doesn’t pass before the end of this congress, it will probably be re-introduced next year. The Golden Geese see the barn door closing and are already rushing to the exits. Future tax revenue, their investment dollars and the product of their entrepreurial zeal will all be lost;

    2) Tech Entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalist are already actively looking to abandon the US and this will just add fuel to the fire. Quite frankly you don’t need to be holed up in Silicon Valley to create the next Facebook. Look at Skype. You can get programming talent in a large number of other places. In addition, venture capital and private equity are not only available in the US. Finally, New York is not the only place in the world to take a company public.

    3) The US education system: With tuition rates already sky high and increased hassles for foreign students to get student visas, they are already looking to alternatives. MIT and other on-line and mixed media education options will continue to flourish as a result of this. Like any gambler entering a casino, these foreign students all hope to be the next Zuckerberg and win big. Putting a high cover charge and hassling bouncers is bad enough. Signally that the bouncers will take most of your earnings if you win isn’t going to help to attract a lot of quality participants.

    While my strong suspicion is that the senators proposed this simply as a crass election year political grandstand, it has spooked the Golden Geese. This is very dangerous for the US. I am just finishing reading “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty” which talked about why places like Rome and Venice first flourished and then failed as a result of moving from inclusive to extractive/confiscatory political policies. This type of proposal is a giant signal as to which direction the US is moving. Each of these societies also thought they were unique and exceptional and that the rules of economics did not apply to them. Much to their dismay, they found out they were wrong.

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