I am a self-proclaimed centrist. As my friend Dave says, “fiscally competitive combined with socially responsible.”
Any government involvement in business is anathematic to me. Government “control” has never worked. Yet complete free-market systems haven’t either. Living in Canada opens your eyes to other ways of doing things, other ways of failing. No, Canada has not done it very well either. Think Tom Peters.
Yet we need safety nets. We are humans and we supposedly live by human values. We care about each other, and that means caring for each other. I have type one diabetes. It is not my fault I got sick. It is not my fault I am a financial burden. I am one of many such cases: mental illness, physical disability, rare diseases, accidents, etc. We cannot throw people off the bus, and we shouldn’t hide them. Abolishing Obamacare may seem fiscally responsible, but it merely hides expenses. Sick people still need treating. I’d rather make the expenses visible. The conservative in me says we can only manage what we measure, and hiding “charity” healthcare inside large tax buckets is wrong. Obamacare may not be right, but doing nothing is wrong.
2016 will be a different election for me. 2012 was a scary election. I was not happy with President Obama, but the whackadoodles lined up on the right made me shiver. I couldn’t pull the GOP trigger.
In 2016 I care not who runs. Let it be Clinton. Let it be another Bush or a Christie or even a Ryan from my home state of Wisconsin. *good lord, please don’t let it be Ryan. I have made up my mind that I will vote for the party most likely to abolish citizen based taxation, FBAR, and FATCA. If you’ve read any of my other postings along this theme, you will understand I think America’s tax treatment of us expatriates is wrong. I call it stupid, and while I can tolerate wrongness, I cannot tolerate stupid.
The Democrats have been stupid about this issue. There is absolutely no logic behind making me file taxes. I owe them no money. Never have and never will. The majority of us never have and never will. We are not tax avoiders: we pay taxes in the country of our residence. Skimming revenue off American-foreign country tax differences is merely regulatory arbitrage. It is a technique practiced by scum-bag corporations. It hurts our investment options. It takes away our ability to minimize taxes within the countries we live in. “Oh John, if you invest in Tax Free Savings Accounts, you’ll just have to pay the saved taxes to America.” What The Fuck! How does a tax policy like this make any sense? How come I cannot save for my retirement the same as my neighbor can? Just ask Boris Johnson how he feels. No taxes on the sale of your primary residence? Too fucking bad, America doesn’t agree with the UK’s tax policies, so fuck you Boris.
In 2011-2012, Senators Tierney (MA) and Honda (CA) took runs at our foreign income exclusion (over $90k of our earned income is excluded from being taxed, the one saving grace to expats). This weighs heavy on me. It seems obvious that Democrats have no understanding of our issues. Oh, and FATCA and this whole crusade at ending the long-standing practice of us ignoring the homeland is a child of the Democrats. They only care about money and votes.
Yet Republicans have not stepped up to the plate. I had lunch a couple of years ago with an extreme right-winged whackadoodle who helped fund the Terri Shiavo case. Complete ignorance of my hurt; complete uncaring. I should be out setting up pay-for-view websites and making money like a real Republican. “We can’t let tax evaders have free reign!” No. No, we can’t. The Pubs do seem to be in the lead, though. At least it’s on their agenda to discuss. See: “J. Non-Resident U.S. Citizens”
It is very early in the race, but at the moment the Pubs are clearly ahead of the Dems. The score? 1 to -3? I don’t know. As the election nears, as more and more of us expatriates attempt to make these issues visible, hopefully I can clarify the race more. But hear this: ignoring us is not an option. I will vote for the best chance to end this madness, regardless of how much I feel it hurts the rest of America, regardless of how opposed to the candidate is for other reasons. This is a one-issue election for me and the over seven million expats out in the wild, the abused foreigners with a very low voting [7%?] turnout.
We will be heard. Hopefully we will be voting.