Facebook Founder Flees Fleecing
by EDWARD CLINE
May 22, 2012
The subheading would read: Globalist Senators in Hot Pursuit.
One look at the arrogant, sneering expression on the face of Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York) and one glance at what he had to say about Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin's renunciation of his U.S. citizenship in favor of living in Singapore, and I felt an immediate and compulsive urge to, well, slap Schumer silly. Instead, I must leave him with worse than a stung cheek and a cleaned clock.
But then I'd go to jail, because it's a capital offense to strike any member of Congress. Congressmen, however, may assault us with taxes, regulations and countless Bronx cheers and sneers from the safety of their aerie of indemnification, and walk away with impunity.
Schumer said Saverin's actions were "an outrage," adding Saverin "wants to de-friend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes. We aren't going to let him get away with it." He said Saverin "turned his back on the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire."
So, I must settle for characterizing Schumer and his colleagues in Congress as a slimy, collective, real-life Jabba the Hutt, the crime lord from Star Wars.
They are the less-than-one-percent filthy rich that OWS isn't concerned about, an elite bevy of senators and congressmen who usually retire from "public service" (that is, from serving the public sunny side up) to multiple homes, continuing fringe benefits, sumptuous taxpayer paid health plans excluded from Obamacare, and cushy university appointments or a lucrative lecture circuit. I call them "filthy rich" because their wealth is largely ill-gotten through connections with lobbyists and special interests and crony capitalists and each other.
I grimace every time I read of a Senate or House ethics committee grilling a victim or plying a leftist activist ringer with leading questions (e.g., Sandra Fluke), when the only ethics Congress is noted for practicing is that of a thug wielding the club of a subpoena. The Party is immaterial. As a rule, Congress lets its own malefactors off the hook with a verbal slap on the wrist. See the careers of Charles Rangel and John Kerry. They can lie through their teeth and juggle the books, but they're still there, untouched.
To return to Eduardo Saverin - here is a man who helped to create a means for uncounted millions to find friends, make connections, and communicate with the rest of the world without spending anything more than their own time. Saverin and his former partner Mark Zuckerberg (now worth $17.5 billion) deserve every penny of profit from their efforts. I do not use Facebook much myself, and there are aspects to it I don't particularly like, although I have a page which I use primarily to alert "friends" (and enemies) to my columns and writing projects. Facebook went "public" with an Initial Public Offering that dazzled some investors, others less so.
Why did Brazil-born Saverin renounce his U.S. citizenship, which he did in September 2011 and paid the extortionate "exit tax"?
"My decision to expatriate was based solely on my interest in working and living in Singapore, where I have been since 2009," Saverin, 30, said in a statement released to ABC News. "I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government. I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen."
Saverin, who helped Mark Zuckerberg develop the social network as Harvard students, is expected to save millions of dollars by not paying capital gains taxes on his shares of Facebook, which is expected to have the largest technology IPO ever on Friday.
Saverin paid a standard "exit" tax, which included approximately 15 percent of the pre-IPO value of his shares. Saverin is likely saving millions of dollars because he will not pay capital gains taxes while he lives in Singapore.
"As a native of Brazil who immigrated to the United States, I am very grateful to the U.S. for everything it has given me," Saverin said. "In 2004, I invested my life's savings into a start-up company that initially was run out of a college dorm room. Since then the company has expanded dramatically, has created thousands of jobs in the United States and elsewhere, and spawned countless new companies across the United States and other countries."
All those jobs and new companies are nothing to Jabba the Hutt, nor is the fact that Saverin has already been fleeced by the Treasury Department per Congress's own rules for departing citizens.
The performance of Facebook stock is not the subject here. It opened at $45 a share on the 18th and closed at $38. Whether it will become another Microsoft or Apple stock, or fade away as a flash-in-the-pan, remains to be seen. Some financial observers are wild about it. Some aren't.
Senators, Representatives, and Presidents, however, do not announce IPO's. They make offers Americans can't refuse. Or rather they delegate the tasks to vast, impersonal bureaucracies, which implement the ethics of gangland extortion, shake-downs, and protection rackets. Project, if you will, life in these United States as one enormous TSA airport checkpoint. As Forbes notes:
It is unimaginable that U.S. taxes were not a huge part of his decision, since "taxpatriations" are now all the rage. See Celebrity Leavings: Bidding Stars Adieu. And that is perfectly legal. Tax avoidance intent when expatriating used to trigger tougher tax rules, but that changed in 2008. Tax motivation is no longer even relevant to the tax treatment of citizens or permanent residents who permanently depart the U.S. See Ten Facts About Tax Expatriation.
Inevitably there are tax issues on the way out. U.S. citizens or long-term residents who expatriate after June 16, 2008.are treated as having sold all their worldwide property for its fair market value the day before leaving the U.S. Although taxed as a capital gain, this "exit tax" is unforgiving. See Rich Americans Voting with their Feet to Escape Obama Tax Oppression.
Senator Schumer and his grim-faced co-author of the "Ex-Patriot Act" bill, Pennsylvania Democrat, Senator Bob Casey, are "globalists." That is, they wish to pursue "tax dodgers" beyond American shores with the full power of the Treasury Department to snare expatriate money squirreled away by its owners to protect it from evangelical thieves like Schumer and Casey and their ilk in Congress and the various Washington satrapies. The government has done this before with the same sanctimonious ballyhoo.
In 2008, a hearing by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, estimated that at least 19,000 US citizens were hiding "undeclared accounts" with the help of UBS bankers.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the committee chairman, stated that these accounts held "$18 billion dollars in assets that have been kept secret from the IRS." At the time, UBS was also being investigated by the IRS, the FBI, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
UBS stated that "undeclared" accounts would no longer be provided as a "service" and that they were planning to weed out those existing accounts; suggesting that they would reveal such account holders to authorities...Last year, The Swiss bank agreed to give U.S. tax authorities the records for more than 4,450 American clients. [Ernest] Vogliana is just one of the seven people that were charged by the U.S Attorney's office last year. [80 years old, sentenced to two years' probation and fined $900,000 in penalties for depositing $4 million with UBS.]
Saverin's public statement about his citizenship was ill-advised. He should have simply vanished and have had nothing to say after Schumer's hue and cry. His renunciation was likely leaked to the MSM, which promptly took up its pitchforks and torches, led by Schumer and Company. They wish to bring an end to the Frankenstein monster of an evader of the capital gains tax. Schumer wishes to make an example of Saverin - as a warning to other Americans who want to escape servitude and the malignant psychosis of envy that governs the actions of creatures such as Schumer, Casey and their ilk. He has admitted as much.
Schumer called Saverin's decision "outrageous" and labeled his tactics a "scheme."
"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. "This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong."
The only thing wrong with that "success story" is that the country did not keep Saverin safe, did not educate him, and did not help him become a billionaire. But then, according to Schumer's metaphysics, all good things pour from the cornucopia of federal largesse and legislation. No one could exist or save a dime unless Washington, like God or Allah, made it happen.
My point here is that Schumer and his ilk wish to cut off all escape for those who wish to protect their wealth by placing it in off-shore bank accounts. They wave the flag of "paying one's fair share" of taxes when they know damned well that if all the billionaires in America were tomorrow stripped of their wealth and saw all their physical and financial assets seized, and were reduced to sleeping in Zuccotti Park with the OWS, it would result in only a miniscule ding in the national debt while it continues to mount, thanks to legislation passed by Congress. A spitball launched from a slingshot will not pierce the hide of a rhinoceros.
Perhaps that's an insult to rhinoceroses. Again, think instead of Jabba the Hutt and the spitball embedded in his revolting epidermis.
I do not underestimate Senator Schumer's intelligence. He knows that this administration's economic and "social" policies have cooked this country. He knows that it's riding for a fall. He wants to make sure that no one escapes its fate. Schumer is a "humanitarian." A "progressive." A socialist. He doesn't want to die, but if he must die, he wants to ensure that his moral betters do not continue living. Whatever Eduardo Saverin's virtues or flaws, he produced something that Schumer et al. could never even imagine. Looters are not creators, except in the many ways to penalize success, such as the "exit tax" for anyone who renounces his U.S. citizenship. Again, as Kelly Phillips Erb of Forbes explains it:
The expatriation laws are a bit tricky. The basic rule is that, for purposes of the tax, any assets that you leave the country with are treated as though you had sold them on the date before you leave. Any gain which would have occurred had you actually sold those assets are subject to tax (with some exceptions). So Saverin doesn't get a free pass. His assets are still subject to tax. Lucky for Saverin, however, the value of his assets pre-IPO are [sic] still considerably less than the value of his assets post-IPO. And by lucky, I mean absolutely planned.
...Saverin's advisors are pretty savvy: Singapore is a terrific choice because it does not have a capital gains tax. It's also no stranger to expats from all over the world because of its favorable tax laws.
Saverin, age 30, was also moved to renounce his citizenship because Singapore does not recognize dual citizenship beyond the age of 21.
Also important to note is that the U.S. is now violating the sovereignty of other nations by conducting raids on those countries' banks and financial institutions in pursuit of wealth that will not ameliorate the government's debt. These are vendetta raids moved by a malice for the "rich" that knows no bounds - except when it comes to speculating on the net worth of individual Congressmen and federal executives and other czars, and then the drawbridges of privacy are raised to block invasive inquiries. Schumer's press conference was a vote-garnering public relations ploy to assuage the fictive envy of an imaginary citizenry whom he and Congress presume wishes to send the rich to an auditor's guillotine. The New York Times reported in 2011:
The penalty [on foreign banks] stems from the violation of a rule known as Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or Fbar(pronounced EF-bar), that requires American taxpayers with overseas bank accounts and foreign assets to file a special disclosure with the Treasury Department each year. The top penalty for failing to file the disclosure is 50 percent of the account balance for each year of violation, a level that can leave tax evaders owing multiples of what their accounts hold.
Now the Justice Department, which is conducting a broadening inquiry into Swiss and Swiss-style banks, including Credit Suisse and HSBC, according to court papers and statements by the banks, is exploring how and whether it could apply the penalty to the banks, should it find that they violated American tax laws, according to two persons briefed on the matter. The persons, one in government and the other in private legal practice, spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
The malice does not end with punishing U.S. citizens. The Treasury and Justice Departments also penalize those foreign banks for "abetting" tax evasion. This is intended to frighten and discourage foreign banks from offering succor and security to American depositors. Of course, the MSM applauds that move, as well. But the federal government throwing its weight around is not nearly the eye-candy of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Imagine now Jabba the Hutt doing the Twist with one of his slave girls.
Complementing the spectacle of the federal government going on pillaging Easter egg hunts overseas, is the proposed surrender of U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations in a bewildering array of concessions to that looters' club of dictatorships, theocracies, tyrannies, and one-man régimes. Call it a kind of political schizophrenia. Only when the U.N. and the European Union impinge on Congressional power will one hear Congressmen cry foul. However, if the power violates the sovereignty of individual Americans and subjects them to the ukases, mercies and injustices of foreign politicians and bureaucrats, that is only fair and proper for the greater good of global amity. Canada Free Press reports:
Last week, the Senate gave...a clear and unmistakable illustration of why we need to sack all the Democrats, and a bunch of the RINOs, too. They voted down not one, not two, but five budget bills, four of which would actually have done America some good. This comes as we move into the fourth year that the Senate has failed to do its duty by passing a budget, leaving the country economically adrift.
That great patriot and Swift Boat Hero from his four whole months in Vietnam, John Kerry (R-MA), has vowed to get them onto the Senate floor for votes as soon, he hopes, as this summer. They include:
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS or LOST, "Law of the Sea), which cedes control of all the world's oceans and their contents, including our territorial waters, to the U.N.; The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, aka, Small Arms Treaty, that would virtually outlaw privately owned firearms or ammunition of any sort; he United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which takes away parental rights to raise their children as they choose, and gives them to the U.N.; The International Criminal Court, which allows foreigners to have Americans arrested and tried in kangaroo "international" courts, using foreign law; The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which destroys, among many other things, marriage; And a host of outrageous environmental treaties that would doom most of the world's people to Third-World level poverty in a world-wide police state.
Our omnivorous (and carnivorous) Congress wishes to nail American taxpayers coming and going, and even when they stay put, susceptible to arrest by the U.N., the OIC, and the European Union. Who could have guessed a hundred years ago that Congress would make the surrender of the sovereignty of one's own life to both the parasites of the welfare state here and abroad a measure of one's "patriotism"?
November cannot come too soon. It may be too late for Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg, but Senator Schumer and his looting gang must be shown the door as finally as Jabba the Hutt met his end before they do more damage to America. Perhaps, for starters, a charge of treason for not abiding to their oaths of office to preserve and protect would be entirely and legally appropriate.
Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.