Savage Love Letter of the Day: We're Not Moving To Canada (Yet)

Comments

1
Calm your tits? Here, have this. http://www.kausfiles.com/2017/01/19/its-…
2
I agree LW. Who do Americans not leave a country which doesn't respect majority rule.
It's not a democracy Dan, and you guys should stop fooling yourselves that it is.
3
I think the things people are afraid of most probably won't happen. It's even possible he'll end up being really good on LGBT rights (women and blacks, probably not), and who knows, maybe on health care too- he has said things that sounds like he might come out for single payer and price negotiation. I think in foreign affairs we're looking at an ultra-militarized post-political best-for-business with no consideration for the environment policy. Domestically, privatization of just about everything- especially schools- and increased police power. Increased wealth inequality also. Those things are going to be catastrophic, but not in the way people who make comparisons to Nazis are expecting. I don't think we're going to have a rounding up of people, except illegal immigrants, and that is nothing new since Obama and Bush have been doing that for years (millions of people). I don't know if people should calm down though because any unexpected thing might happen, and even these expected things are frightening or they could escalate into terrible things- the scary thing is how unknown it all is. I think people just need to focus and stop pretending history is going to repeat itself in exactly the same way or that Trump is the old style of conservative. But who knows. As for him taking down those pages of the website, isn't it just because he's likely to replace it with his own pages? Isn''t this normal? Or not? I don't know. As for the pictures, that's floating around a lot but I've seen another that was more crowded. I'd like to believe no one showed up, but they could've been taken at different times of day, no?
4
If same sex marriage could be taken to the Supreme Court, why can't the situation of voter inequality? It is insane stuff . Now the great uneducated are in control, and it will happen again and again until the EC and overrepresentation in the senate and congress are fully addressed. That is the battle ground.
But you guys just seem to get cross about it for five minutes, then forget. Until it happens again.
5
Please @3, cut the crap. We all can see what he's on about and that is not going to change.
6
Lava, I probably should have put an @1 in that comment, but I was responding to the article that the first commenter posted that was about people freaking out about whether or not Trump is going to be like Hitler (literally). I think he's going to be awful, but in different ways, and we should be prepared for whatever he throws at us. One thing about him and his supporters is that they love to piss off Democrats but also he likes to antagonize Republicans. I think he's not going to be a traditional conservative Republican in that way- he likes to divide people. Moreover, in terms of "what he's been on about"- he has over the years taken many different positions on health care, including supporting single payer in the past. I don't think he'll go that way now, but it wouldn't completely shock me if he did.
7
Straight, White, Married, Female, upper middle class person here in a (formerly blue) Midwest State.

I'll be Ok. The Right fucking loves me.

I am going to fight, keep active, donate as much money as I can to places like the ACLU, SPLC, LAMBDA Legal, PP (among others).

I am going to speak out in support of my LGBTQ friends and coworkers and neighbors.

I am not going to let these racist fuckwads get the best of me or my friends/family/coworkers who are not white christian rich male entitled assholes.

I am going to vote in every single fucking election for people who are not white christian rich male entitled assholes.

I am going to raise my 3 kids to be progressive thinkers, to be kind, loving, tolerant and to NOT VOTE REPUBLICAN (or for a third party who only runs every 4 years as a vanity project).

I sat at my desk today, surrounded by people watching this tire fire of an event and I tried hard not to cry.

Instead I went to facebook and saw stories of friends and loved ones on their way to Washington wearing adorable pink pussycat hats by bus and train and plane and car. I was helped by knowing that WE did win in every way that actually counts and we have the numbers if we could only be better organized at the local and state level to push these mother fuckers out.

I am not moving to Canada (although I have love for my neighbors to the North). Cowards run and hide (even if the land up there looks better)...I am staying here and I am fighting.

8
I'm with the LW and I must say the best gift my family ever gave me is that they moved from Montana to Canada. I'm grateful that I don't have to be worried about being randomly shot, and I'm grateful that I can go to the doctor whenever I need to. The USA is twisted and sadistic and evil, and I'm so fucking glad my family moved away.
9
Fair enough EmmaLiz. I believe @1 is a troll, so I didn't click their link.
10
@Lava, it's not a great article, but it touches on a decent point, which is that fear that Trump is going to behave in a certain way can distract us from seeing what he's actually doing - the good and the bad. We are thinking about him attacking rights in the way religious conservatives (or politicians like Pence) do. I bet he'll go for more of a divide and conquer stance. Good on LGBT rights, bad on reproductive rights for example. If he did want to implement single payer, does he even understand it, could he do it, would he be able to say so over the course of his election and still get the GOP vote, does he have the attention span for the battle? I'm not optimistic, but I've started to think he's not as much an idiot as we all thought- one could be politically shrewd at the same time as factually ignorant. I don't know if @1 is a troll or not, but trolls don't usually post coherent on-topic articles do they?
11
Tho all the people he's putting in power might do whatever they want which is terrifying, Trump or no. How much control does the prez really have? GOP prolly can do most anything.
12
People who suggest emigrating to Escape From the US haven't thought through what a huge financial, emotional, and psychological shock it would be to move to another country and look for work -- especially if you have children.

I studied abroad in several countries, and it was incredibly challenging to land in a new place knowing no one and have to figure out how to succeed in a very short time period. I have so much respect for people who've had the courage to do that.

Most of us can't afford leave anyway, so we've no choice but to stay and remain defiant, both for ourselves and to support others.
13
@ 8, My fave topical quote from a gal who moved to Toronto after CaliguBush's 2004 reelection: "I'm so glad I got out of that crazy fucking country!" So true.
14
The freewheeling panic and dread that we're all feeling is directly related to the fear that we're going to be "trapped behind the lines" when President Twitter Troll and the RepubliKKKans flip from being neo-Nazis to just regular murder-them-all Nazis.

I mean, these are people with no conscience, no morals, and no value of human life. Just look into Paul Ryan's or Mike Pence's soul-less, dead, fish eyes. They don't feel human emotions other than greed, fear, and hate.

Those coal industry jobs aren't coming back, but you can bet your ass the Trumpists will be climbing all over themselves to sign up for the soon-to-be booming concentration camp guard industry.
15
CLIT, had every discouraged liberal left the U.S. after the horror of 1968, where would we be today? People could have retreated after the painful loss in 2000 and the further deflating loss in 2004, but then how could we have come together to elect Obama in 2008? For a time things can seem pretty bleak, but if the answer is always to run away, you'll soon find that the world is a small place, with few places hide.
16
Good on LGPT rights. Trump is going to be good on LGBT rights. Are you out of your mind? Within one hour, literally, of taking office, the White House’s LGBT rights page had disappeared, along with their pages on climate change and civil rights. You think that's a coincidence?

Fuck's sake. Good on LGBT rights. Hey, I hope you're right. There's not a snowball's chance in hell, but here's hoping anyway. But almost as much, I hope you're honest enough to admit, as the evidence starts to mount all too soon, that you were completely and totally wrong.

Good on LGPT rights.
17
@15:

My wife is Canadian, so I have an easy out, if it comes down to that, although personally, I'm more of a "stand and fight" than a "run away! Run away!" kind of guy. But, even I have to admit this constant refighting of the same battles over and over again is draining, and the older one gets the harder it is to pick ones self up off the mat and raise the gloves.

I fear this nation is rapidly approaching a point where the divide between two diametrically opposing points-of-view: liberal, intersectional progressives versus conservative, exclusionary reactionaries; is simply too great to be reconciled in any meaningful way. I don't know how such a separation would manifest, but it seems clear that, barring some actual external threat that might - MIGHT - bring the two sides together, we are going down the road of becoming a perpetually divided nation, and such dis-union cannot be maintained without a radical reconfiguration of our national identity. I won't be around to see it, thank the goddess, but I can well imagine that in 100 years, at most, the "great American experiment" will be over, and something else, hopefully, something better, but probably only so for some of our posterity, will have taken its place.
18
@16 People are flipping out over a thing that didn't happen. All the pages were down, including the offices of management and budget. They are transitioning the website. Just like the Twitter accounts. Washington Post, CNN, NPR and others are already reporting on all this. It was just that some people on Twitter noticed that the LGBT site and the CC site were down, and not that all the pages were coming down/changing. I can't even get past the splash page right now. http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/20/politics/o…

I don't know if he'll be good on LGBT rights or not. His appointees, if they get their say, sure won't be, including Pence which should give anyone pause who is thinking about impeachment. But I'm looking at his actions - he has never said anything about walking back LGBT rights himself, said he would not challenge gay marriage, said he is fine with trans people using the bathroom of their preferred gender, and a couple of his main advisors and lead to his transition team are openly gay. I don't know if he'll be good or not, but he has not spoken out about gay people the way he has about immigrants, inner city people (code for black) or women. And let's keep in mind he's spent his entire life in NYC with businesspeople and celebrities. I'm not sure, but I think it would be right up his alley to divide and conquer. Loads of gay people are nonwhite and women. Trump has issues with them, but apparently no problem at all with white gay men. 15% of gay people voted for Trump; I bet most are white men. The alt right loves Milo, Thiel. It's a new world of bigotry, and there is really nothing that would delight these trolls more than to be able to antagonize and confuse "social justice warriors" by coming out in favor of gay rights (again, to those gay people who aren't hurt by Trump's stance against women, poc, etc, which means gay white men). It's classic divide and conquer and really wouldn't surprise me one bit.
19
Stand and fight? The Stein craybabies I'm exposed to are still rationalizing, and already working toward a second term for the Big Cheeto.

He is doing just what he said he would do, and what the goddam' Republicans have been promising to do for decades. If I see another 'vanity candidate' voter express shock and surprise at Trump's lawlessness, or his appalling appointments. I want to beat them over the head shouting: Then why did you vote for him?

'Progressives' learned nothing from 2000, so we got 2004. Any 'fight' that's left in Americans will be tested in 2018. Low turnout, vote-suppression, bathroom bills to pull out the white-trash hate-vote. Are we going to act like we've grown some brains?
20
The big thing that Dan, LW, and all the commenters have ignored: you can't just up and move to another country because you want to. Just like immigrating to the US, almost every country has fairly strict immigration laws, especially if you're going to work (as most of us do; if you just want to retire somewhere, there are plenty of countries that will take you). Getting a Canadian work permit is relatively difficult, and as a noncitizen, non-permanent resident you aren't eligible for many of the benefits right away.
21
If we all moved to Canada, the scumbags who remained would have free rein to pursue the ideas found in the darkest corners of their brain. And before long, one of those ideas would be to invade Canada and monetize all that delicious fresh water they have up there. The only thing keeping Trump and his worshipers from sending cruise missiles in all directions is us. I'm staying.
22
Also, EmmaLiz: as far as being "good on LGBT rights", it's pretty clear how Trump will be on that. He just appointed John Gore, the lawyer who defended North Carolina's HB2 in court, to head the DOJ Civil Rights Division. A nice big "fuck you" to everyone who believes in civil rights and to the LGBT community in particular.
23
It should be noted that the disappearance of web pages on the White House website means nothing other than they were all moved to an archive. EVERYTHING was removed from the website.
24
There's Australia too. Yes, NZ has become a preferred destination for a few Americans and others. Understandably, it's a georgeous country. Then it seemed to get a little earthquakey over the last few months.
I'm not fussed with labels, yet I see similarities between trump and my children's father, so I'm labelling them both as narcissists. And they can't be reasoned with thru any form of confrontation. Or humiliation. Especially that one.
Front on criticism is when they explode and seek revenge. Ivanka know how to play her father, that's why she is close in. She knows not to criticise him, she would have learnt that early.
I stood up to my husband( still not divorced), and it took forever for him to recover, and become a normal person again. Very damaged ego, self image, just like trump. I found ways to reason with him, as I'm sure Ivanka has with trump.
He is a gross old white man, no risk about that, and very vindictive. His children still love him. As my children still love their father. They show fear of trump too..it's in their eyes.
If it stays a them and us routine only, then they will just impose nastier and nastier restraints.
These people are scared. And greedy. The greedy part just has to keep being exposed, the scared parts can be educated. The poor voters are going to be hit the hardest. Health, declining education for their children, shitty wages.. these people do need compassion and education.
25
Don't move to Canada. Its cold and boring and filled with passive aggressive jerks. Plus its stuck between Russia and USA, so shit may get bad. Also when shit does get bad you can't get a stiff drink to drink your problems away.
26
Aussie joke perhaps:
Correction@24: gorgeous.
27
darlin 13 @7: great post. I remember the power of American Women coming down the cultural line, back in the sixties and seventies.
Soon as it was so apparent these fools were after repressing female agency, i knew that power American Women have when they unite, would be rising again.
28
@10 EmmaLiz, some trolls do link to on point articles. Around here on other threads.
Trump is playing both sides against the middle. It's his business model and he's bringing it to the White House.
Now the Arab states are pissed with him because he wants to move the US embassy in Israel. China and now Arabs.
Let's hope he is so preoccupied with the fervour at home he forgets the world. He is a trouble maker. Not sure where the political shrewdness is in that. We've had enough of war.
29
My fiance and I had a long, difficult conversation about whether or not we should leave the country. We have the means, although we are by not rich by any description, and our skills would probably make it possible for us to find employment (and therefore citizenship) in Canada or a similar country. I did go so far as looking up all the requirements and the process. In the end, we decided to stay. Why?

We're both white and straight.

As shitty as things are about to get in the next few years, it is probably going to be the least shitty for us, compared to a lot of other people who are going to be in actual physical danger. We owe it to them to use our privilege and safety to stay and fight for theirs, and we shouldn't take up space in an immigration line when other people are going to need it a lot more.
30
I moved to a different country where I held citizenship AND spoke the language, at age 31 with no ties to leave behind, and it was really difficult. CLIT, I think you are underestimating just how difficult it is to pick up and leave everything and everyone you know: family, friends, career, owned home. Establishing citizenship in a new country is not easy (CLIT, please google the requirements to become Canadian. We all have).

And yes, Canada is cold.
31
22 months to midterm elections. Let your reps know that you vote, and that you're watching their votes. Don't ask for the moon -- they can't deliver. But you can remind them of what is important to you. And that you're watching them...Repeat EVERY month.

22 months.
32
@10 +1. @1's comment is troll-like but the link is an interesting and rational article.

@30 +1. Exactly right. LW doesn't realize it's not just emotionally difficult but logistically requires SIGNIFICANT financial means to move to another country, unless one qualifies because of parents or similar birth right.

Requires half a million to multiple millions US$ (creating jobs, investing in a business, in addition to what you need to live on and get a home). Even if you're skilled hard to get a work visa, years to get permanent residency. Canadian universities and government agencies, for example, have to prove a non-Canadian hire is a superstar otherwise they have to hire Canadian. There are a few high need areas but most jobs aren't in those.

It ain't like a tourist visa. (Even tourism is difficult if you're trying to travel FROM a developing economy.)
33
I admire those who say they want to stay and fight. Bravo! But at some point along one's timeline, you get tired of fighting battles and want to declare some things won. Seemingly everything that I have fought for is in jeopardy AGAIN. But now it's up to the younger folk to carry the banner. My marching days are coming to a close. That's why Canada appeals to me, Rights and privileges there don't ever seem threatened or in peril.

I love how people say, "I'm moving to Canada," without ever checking out what is required to do so. You've either got to be someone that Canada would love to have (like Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa), someone who has skills that are needed but are in short supply (like a brain surgeon or a physicist), or have a buttload of money - enough, say, to start a business and hire Canadians. People over 55 need not apply (unless you have that buttload of money). Canada doesn't want you moving there and soon becoming a burden on their Medicare.

So, moving to Canada is very difficult for us regular folk. Dan's right. The paradox is clear. The people who can afford to move up north don't have to. Wealth insulates them from the shit that the rest of us have to eat.
34
Whew! Reading all of these comments makes me realize how lucky I am to have moved to Italy almost thirty years ago.

I was a pessimist and believed life in the U.S. could not get any worse than it was during the Reagan years. Trump's election has made me an optimist; ilife in the U.S. can always get worse.
35
Some of us ARE moving to Canada.But we're not talking about it until our papers come through. It is a slow process. I applied in August and hope to hear in the next month or two. I imagine most people applied in November which means they won't hear until late spring.

It is not like you decide to leave and other countries accept you with open arms. Whether you apply for residency or citizenship there is a legal process to follow. You don't just pack up and move across the border. Just because you want to leave doesn't mean they want you.

In my case I am a senior which means Canada has to decide whether it pays them to allow me to enter. Then there is the little matter of my husband. I applied for me alone since I have a prior relationship with Canada. Then we have to go through the whole thing again with him.

Last but certainly not least there is the issue of giving up your American citizenship. Basically you CAN'T give it up. The USA more or less won't let you. Or makes it so difficult that it isn't worth the effort. Which puts the rich and famous in the position of paying double taxes. And from what I am hearing from the rich, whether they 'like' Trump or not, one and all they are all looking forward to his tax policies which more or less will tax the poor and middle class and make the rich 'great again."

36
I should bookmark this article so I can trot it out whenever people take jabs at progressives who live in Texas.
37
Tantragal, It's very easy to renounce US citizenship if you have citizenship in another country. If you don't, then of course it's far more difficult (and foolish) because you would be stateless.

Getting residency rights in Canada does not make you a Canadian citizen so yes, even if you could do that, it would be difficult to renounce your US citizenship. It's not the US making that difficult for you- it's that the other country where you are a resident may not offer you a path to citizenship. Getting a work, tourist or residency visa is not the same thing as having a path to citizenship, but like I said, this has nothing to do with the US and everything to do with the host country.

The US is annoying in that it requires all its citizens (even those that are binational and live/work/earn abroad) to file taxes showing their foreign income even if they made all that money in the foreign country and hold citizenship elsewhere. They also make you show your spouse's earnings, even if your spouse is not a US citizen. I think this is what you are referring to. If you do hold dual citizenship, the US rationale is that you are still eligible for US benefits. The most common reason people renounce US citizenship is this tax issue, but it only makes sense if you hold citizenship elsewhere. But if you don't, renunciation makes no sense at all. What would you do if/when your visa in the foreign country expires?

If you do hold citizenship somewhere else, renunciation is as easy as going into a consulate, signing an oath of renunciation, paying a ridiculous fee, and surrendering your passport. You must file taxes that year, then never again. You keep all your assets and you are still entitled to any benefits that you have paid for (such as SS) just like an immigrant who paid into the system would be. If you continue to earn in the US, you will still have to pay US taxes regardless, but you'll no longer have to file if you earn entirely in the country where you are a citizen. The only thing that is difficult about it is the ridiculous fee which is (I think) around 2K. That might put renunciation out of the reach of some people, but it certainly doesn't present an obstacle great enough to justify the statement that the government won't let you renounce.

The hard part, as you and others pointed out, is finding another country in which you can take residency and/or a path to citizenship. If you just intend to move abroad for a few years, however, this is not so difficult to do, though naturally it's harder for older people and people with children, etc.
38
tantragal @35: "paying double taxes"
Not really. All US citizens, wherever they live in the world, have to file US tax returns. But you can exclude a reasonably generous amount of "foreign" earned income, and get a credit against your US tax for the "foreign" tax you pay on the rest of it. Assuming Canada's tax rates are higher than the US's (due to public healthcare), you would therefore not be liable to US tax. You would just have to complete a stupidly complicated form to prove it.
39
Lava #12 had it right that emigrating to a new country isn't something a lot of people can do. It means leaving behind everything, including your job and assuming things will be better when they might not be.

Cracked had an article that made a good point, we can't run away from this. Nothing will change if we do. The best thing we can do is stand and fight. Take back our country and for once LEARN from history. Yes it will suck but what choice do we have?
40
To above commenters talking about taxes. I'm Canadian / USA dual citizen and I have to pay taxes in both countries. It sucks. I'm a grad student and I make zero dollars. This year I'm going to be doing that stupidly complicated tax form on my own because do you know how much it cost me last year to have an accountant do that stupidly complicated dual citizen tax form crap? $900 CDN last year. $650 the year before. I'm about to renounce my US citizenship for that reason alone. Why would I pay hundreds of dollars a year to hold citizenship to a country I never want to live in?
And to all those who say Canada's cold. The west coast is just like Seattle. Rainy and temperate, not cold. As for the rest of the country, no colder than Minnesota usually. And really, I'd rather wear a parka and have my basic rights respected than be warm and get shot on the street and/or not have healthcare. Also, as a queer woman I'm accepted by society here. I'll take accepted and occasionally playing in the snow thanks.
41
GoodOmens: Good timing, because it's actually illegal to renounce US citizenship to avoid taxes. You can now renounce it and claim it's in protest of Trump.

(I also have Canadian citizenship rights, and recently spent a week in Vancouver, the only Canadian city with tolerable temperatures for me. I know some people consider Vancouver/Seattle winters "temperate," but I'm skinny and have Raynaud's syndrome, so I consider them "cold." Sorry. Glad it's working for you though! Seriously, if I was 31 again, I would totally move there. But now I'm 45 and own a home and a business. It's too late to start over eight time zones away.)
42
America will never fall to fascists. Look at the fifties, all the communist witch hunts. Then the sixties and seventies, civil rights women's rights gay rights. Americans found courage at those times. I don't know enough about your history to call out the other times courage was called for and found in your country.
43
Of course AIDS. maybe the time in my life where the most courage and love was shown by loved ones and others in the community to assist those dying from a dreadful disease.
44
@BDF

Where did you get that info? Things change, but as far as I know, that's untrue. Though it's unclear who you are referring to. Are you talking about people who do not hold dual citizenship and are therefore seeking to become stateless? I assume you can't become stateless just to avoid taxes. There are many restrictions on renunciation for people who wish to become stateless or wish to remain in the US, and some consulates abroad reject those applicants straight out since it would create a problem for the host country. Likewise, you can't remain in the US stateless as that would put you out of status and there is no legal process to obtain illegal status, but I don't know the specifics of rare cases when someone tries to do this. Obviously if this were easy to do, very wealthy Americans could just take residency abroad or bounce about on tourist visas and never again pay taxes anywhere.

But that's not what we are talking about here (in Good Omen's case or most of the other thousands of renunciations a year) which is when someone holds dual citizenship. If you want to renounce your US citizenship and you are already a citizen somewhere else, it is not difficult nor are there restrictions on reasons like that. You could be rejected for saying that you want to do something like join a terrorist group, and they interview you to make sure you aren't coerced, but you can renounce to avoid double tax. That's legal unless it changed very recently. You can't avoid taxes you already owe- you can't avoid paying taxes on current assets or US property or income from the US or a US company- maybe this is what you are thinking. But if you earn all your money and all your assets are in the other country and you are a citizen of that country, then you may renounce without having anything to do with the IRS ever again other than file for that current year. Thousands of people do it around the world every year. You might still have to work your situation out with IRS later if your situation is complicated, but DHS has nothing to do with that.

You might be thinking of the Reed Amendment or other controversies (like that Facebook guy) of very wealthy people with investments and earnings in the US who seek to renounce and then avoid US taxes. I don't know the specifics of cases like that, but the renunciation is not a problem. They still have to deal with IRS and then later with DHS to re-enter the US on a tourist or residency visa, and their dealings with IRS or their renunciation to avoid the taxes might affect that. This is not about renunciation though. I used to hear stories about people who said they lost out in the interview process for saying this or that thing, but a lot of this is hearsay. By law, renunciation of a dual citizen to avoid US tax on foreign assets/earnings is actual stated as legal now because of this hearsay before. The people I know who have done it recently said they were not even asked a reason- just verified that they were legal citizens in the country they resided and that they were renouncing on their own free will. Then you deal with IRS later.
45
I have great sympathy for people that want to move.

I'm burned out. Very, very burned out. I've been fighting this fight off and on since 2004. Now, I am sure someone is going to pipe up and say that they've been active since "insert date before 2004 here" and to them I say, good for you.

I'm glad there are people who can make re-re-re-re litigating the past their primary focus in life. I'm not one of them.

I keep hearing from friend after friend after friend who can get a job but it's at Starbucks making $9 an hour.

The latest one has a STEM degree(in Biology, to be exact) and the consensus is that she's going to have a brutal time finding a job(even though in the northeast we have the strongest need for biology majors in the US due to big pharma, usually the only thing a biology degree is good for is to get a master's or PhD in Biology).

We don't have any idea what "comes next" from an economic point of view to replace the jobs that you could use to support a family. We can barely be considered to even be having the conversation.

We have major sectors of the public that can't even agree on basic facts.

I'm beginning to think that the divide between rural and urban is just too vast and that this will only get worse as we continue to ignore the rural areas.

46
I would love to move, but the main reason I can't is because I already have trouble finding work as an administrator/ office manager here- there's no way I would find a job willing to sponsor my visa in Canada, or any other country. My skills are just not in demand that way.
47
@ 45 - The way I see it, the problem is mostly that the rural population ignores the urban one (and every other group that doesn't happen to be white and heterosexual).
48
Emma @44: I get this info from having moved abroad, and then two years later discovering that I still have to file US taxes, and finding that outrageous, and looking into how I could possibly get round it. The answer was that I couldn't. So I've been filling out that complicated form -- and now FATCA as well -- ever since.

Renouncing US citizenship because a country that you wish to gain citizenship to requires it is not renouncing US citizenship because you don't want to pay US tax. Those are two different reasons, the first one valid, the second not valid. Many countries allow dual citizenship; you could become a citizen of the new country without renouncing your US citizenship. Some do not, so in order to emigrate, you have no choice.

In googling, it's not technically "illegal" to renounce citizenship to avoid tax; but were one to do it, one would never be allowed back into the US. As I have family there, filling out the complicated form is, for now, the less shitty option.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renunciati…

And it seems that since 2008, even renouncing citizenship doesn't get you out of paying US tax.

Horrible, horrible country. I regret that my parents ever moved there.
49
You are a US citizen who lived/worked/earned abroad correct? In that case, yes absolutely you must file taxes, even if your money didn't come from your work abroad. Moreover, if you marry a person with another nationality, you will have to report their income as well. It's insane for sure, but that has nothing to do with renunciation.

If you looked into renunciation, were you trying to apply to become stateless? Or do you already also hold citizenship in another country? Because those are two different things.

As for people who are only US citizens renouncing as a part of the process of gaining citizenship elsewhere- that's a different a rare situation. The US generally allows for dual citizenship, so renunciation would not be a requirement unless another country required (and those laws are on them). So in most cases, you would obtain foreign citizenship first and then later renounce your US which, as I said, is not hard to do. There is no process that requires you to become stateless first.

The most common renunciations (thousands a year in fact) are people who are already citizens elsewhere, and they generally do it to avoid dual taxes, and they are not rejected for this nor are they barred from re-entry as tourists or on work visas. It might complicate their attempts to seek permanent residency since a person who renounces can't change his/her mind, but none of this has anything to do with taxes. Many renouncers are accidental citizens (which it sounds like you might be?), others are married to citizens of other countries and are tired of having to report spousal incomes, etc. It also sounds like the case in which Good Omens finds him/herself.

BTW, the US generally allows for dual citizenship, so most people would find this step unnecessary. In reverse, it's very different. For example, for a person to become an American citizen, many countries require them (on paper) to renounce their foreign citizenship or at least restrict travel on the foreign passport. So the US is not draconian in this way. In fact, it's one of the few countries that grant citizenship at birth. What's insane about the US is the double taxes and taxing of foreign spouses, not the difficulty involved in changing status which is pretty common or even lax compared with much of the world.

Again, your link mentions the Reed Amendment which I mentioned above, which has nothing to do with renunciation (as you state) but rather to do with how one can later obtain a visa back into the US. It's worth noting two things about this specifically. First, it's target is millionaires and billionaires seeking tax shelters. Second it's impossible to enforce since there is no requirement to state a reason you renounced in the first place. The amendment has no teeth, and it was widely ridiculed, and it is part of the reason that renunciation b/c of double taxes is now explicitly stated as not being cause for rejection. If you read the specifics of it, it has nothing to do with people who simply want out of IRS requirement to pay taxes on foreign income and assets which is what avoiding double taxes means. It's about people with money invested in the US and who earned money in the US, etc.

And YES- renouncing citizenship gets you out of paying taxes on foreign income. This sort of misinformation is dangerous. What it doesn't get you out of is paying taxes for the year you renounced or from paying taxes if you continue to work in the US, live in the US, earn money in the US or US companies, have US assets, etc. Just like any immigrant or alien resident, a former US citizen will still have to pay taxes on all that.

I'm very eager to criticize the US when it is due, but the horrible, horrible things here are the renunciation fees (which is three or four times higher than most countries) plus the raise in expatriation tax (which is what I think you are referring to about 2008) if you want to expatriate your wealth. But the vast majority of people in this situation, like Good Omens, simply sign the form, file their taxes for that year, pay the fee, and then they are done with the IRS forever. They can apply for a tourist visa or work visa just like anyone else, and no one will ever care why they renounced. There's no reason to make the process seem worse than it is.

Look, I'm sorry for being pedantic- I'm certainly no expert in all this, just binational and in a family full of immigrants who live/work all over the world. And as you know, you learn a lot about the system in that case. But I get tired of usually accepted untruths such as "it's nearly impossible to renounce US citizenship" or "if you marry an American you automatically become a citizen" and stuff like this.
50
Quick note- the reason it's such a big deal is that very wealthy people avoiding taxes on money earned and invested in the US is actually a problem. We shouldn't confuse efforts to prevent that from happening with the situation that we are discussing now (Good Omen's case for example) which is about binationals being forced to file taxes on income/property not earned in the US or being forced to report on their non-American spouse's income as well.
51
@47

Kinda. I think the problem is that the concerns of urban populations are VERY different from the concerns of rural populations and each group is advocating for their very distinct concerns.

Two examples.

1. Gun control. In an urban area guns are not really necessary at all as(in most areas) you can call the police and they can get there relatively quickly. In a rural area if you call the police they can take upwards of an hour for them to get to you. This is why people in urban areas think having a gun is crazy(and they are right in most cases) and people in rural areas think it's crazy not to have a gun in most areas(and they, too are right in most cases).

2. Jobs. In an urban area you have multiple vectors of employment. You read on Slog all of the time of various businesses closing and opening. This means that if any one source of employment goes away there are many more to take its place. In a rural area there tends to be a single significant industry or in some cases even a single factory that most people would work at. This is why you have urban populations being so confused about rural populations freaking out about the economy. The urban population points to all of the new jobs they have and the low unemployment rate(and they are correct). The rural population points to their one factory being closed and the jobs being replaced by low pay service jobs(and they are correct).

Unfortunately as far as I can tell the only real solutions for these fundamental differences of perspective(and there are more) is to do a LOT more at the state, county, and even town/city level and try to balance out the needs of the rural and urban populations more at the federal level.

What I think is going to actually happen is that the rural population isn't going to get helped, they are going to continue to get more and more desperate as their lot gets worse and worse and they will eventually force their states to secede from the US.

52
We need to stay and fight. For those who think that somehow Trump might not be so bad, yadda, yadda: his cabinet is the wet dream of what the Bush Admin would have been had they be bold enough. They'll make noises on social issues, and reproductive rights will be eroded, but I doubt much other social-wedge-issues will get passed. They'll be too busy ramming the plutocratic agenda through: massive tax cuts for the richest Americans, plus deficit and debt busting spending on the sectors most easily skimmed, with cuts to programs used by people who don't support the GOP "because we're fiscal conservatives".

Ignore the twitter - his nominees tell you everything you need to know. Across the board, he's picked the most extreme right wingers on any given issue to lead destroy from within the organizations they oppose.

The best hope is to strip away his ability to act in 2018 by flipping both houses of the congress (and making it so that RBG need only live for 2 years).

Now, if it starts looking like the Alternative Facts crowd is gaining in the real polls, not losing, then I'm preparing to GTFO with my family.
53
And all those women ( men too, mainly women) marched across the US and not a single arrest.
Yes. Yes. Yes. The Women are back!
54
@ 51 - However much of an urbanite I might be now, I spent the first 20 years of my life in three different one-factory towns, so I understand full well their predicament.

And you know what? When that factory closes, there's only one solution: you move someplace where there's still work. There's zero sense in staying there lamenting the lack of jobs: they won't come back.

But if you do stay there, you end up being a "taker" - depending on social programs paid for by city dwellers' income tax. In which case, you'd be fucking stupid to vote against the interests of the urban population, since they're the ones who are feeding you.

(Please note that I have nothing against social programs and people who benefit from them, I'm just trying to show the irony of voting Republican when you're one of those the GOP is fighting to eliminate.)

(And I know I'm painting this picture with too-broad strokes, it's just to make a point.)
55
@ 53 - "Women are back"

Let's hope they never go away again (socio-politically speaking). The world needs them now more than ever.
56
Now where did I put that ITMFA button from ten years ago? Hmm...
57
Emma @49: I assume you mean me? I have dual citizenship from birth. Triple, actually, but let's not complicate things more than they already are. So had I renounced my US citizenship, I would not have been stateless. I would have just been barred from visiting my family.

The US does not respect dual citizenship, at least it didn't in 2004 when I was blocked from flying to the US on my British passport (the US one had been stolen). I was told that since I hold US citizenship, the US would not recognise me as a citizen of a different country.

I have experience with these sorts of things as well.

And I plan to hold onto my citizenship so that I can vote against the likes of Trump.
58
Guess that's one more reason I should never remarry.
59
Emma @50: Every other country in the world, aside from the US and the Philippines, levies taxes based on residency, not citizenship. If I left the UK, though I am a UK citizen, and had no income arising from the UK, I would never have to file a UK tax return again.

WHICH IS AS IT SHOULD BE.

If you have assets/income in the US, then you should pay US tax on that. But I agree that punishing expats by forcing them to complete returns every year, when they have absolutely no financial ties to the USA, is utterly ridiculous and does nothing to solve the problem you're talking about.
60
Emma, wait a minute. On the marriage thing, if you are a US "expat" with a "foreign" spouse, can't you just file as "married filing separately" so you wouldn't have to report your spouse's income?
61
@59 Yes that is exactly what is backwards about the US and the reason most people renounce. However, the US immigration laws (how you get citizenship, how you become binational, how you relinquish citizenship) is actually well in keeping with global norms, and in some situations (citizenship at birth for example) actually more lax. This is an important point because, for the majority of people seeking to renounce (unless you are a billionaire seeking a tax haven or a ideologue seeking to be come stateless) you will find the process very simple, though expensive. It is a myth that renunciation is nearly impossible or that you will be rejected for various reasons, and it is also a myth that you must continue to report to the IRS after renunciation (assuming you don't earn in the US or have investments there of course).

@60
Yes, generally. I know less about taxes than immigration, but even if your spouse is a nonresident alien and you are an American citizen, you have to file. There might be cases when spouse can get an exemption, but it depends on your (citizen's) property and assets in the US plus how often your nonresident alien spouse visited the US (if at all) and if you two have citizen children (regardless of where you live) and you file head of household. But as far as I know, even if you file married filing separately and your spouse is exempt (because neither of you had earning/assets in US and you didn't visit at all) you still have to report spousal income on your own form, you just don't pay taxes on it. And I believe exempted people have to get tax numbers (?). I don't know the specifics of all of this, but resentment over the intrusion of having the US government look into your spouse's foreign income is a big part of the reason people renounce.
62
@57 You have a US passport and a UK passport, so you already are binational. You just can't enter the US as an immigrant tourist if you are a citizen, hence not being allowed to enter on your UK passport. The US recognizes you as an American citizen in the US but does not prevent you from holding other passports. For example, India will not allow you to travel on an Indian passport at all after obtaining US citizenship. You are no longer an Indian citizen. You must get a nonresident status and travel exclusively on the US passport. Mexico was the same way until recently- you can now hold both passports but citizens who were forced to renounce their Mexican one must apply to have it reinstated. South Korea is the same. I don't know the details of EU countries, but the US is not odd in this regard. They let you have as many passports as you want, it's just that you must enter the US with your American one if you have one. If you were to renounce, you would not be barred from entry on your UK passport. You would enter as a tourist like everyone else and experience the same restrictions. I'm not suggesting you should do that (how would I know about your situation?) just that it is absolutely untrue that your renunciation or subsequent holding of only a UK passport would somehow prevent you from entering just like any other British national.
63

As I said in another post, I'm an American - born and raised here, lived here my entire life - and on Jan 3rd I sent in my application for Canadian citizenship. I'm one of the lucky ones - I have no money, no college degree, and at 51, even though I've always been gainfully employed and am healthy, I'm not a desired immigrant. I'd only be getting in (fingers crossed!) because my mother was born in Quebec.

I've been politically active and engaged for a long while. The election of Obama felt to me like the future - finally the door was closing on the old straight white dude brigade. The demographics were finally beginning to come to fruition - women and minorities are the majority, and a black president followed by a female - particually one so outspoken about women's issues - was the way it was going to be. No more Romney/Ryan type pairings - "the stupid party", right? ... So for the unthinkable to have become real ... for this catastophe to have been allowed to happen, due largely to our inaction (huge numbers still not bothering to vote, even in a genuine-emergency election such as this), to now have to sit here and watch as we are humiliated on a world stage yet again as we were under 8 years of W, to see the worst, most frightening elements of humanity (Bannon, et al) now stand up and be in control, to watch as all of the progress under Obama is dismantled - even as much as I disliked Obamacare ... I just can't stomach it.

I have to say, I feel disgust for my country right now, and since the election. It hasn't gone away.

It's particularly mortifying and ridiculous that the rest of the civilized world has already long since figured out the single payer thing - it is a non issue for them - and that we have to come up with this Rube Goldberg contraption that doesn't even fucking cover every citizen, and when it does cover you and you're middle class, your premiums are NOT in any way 'afforable' ($600 a month with a $5k deductible? Are you fucking kidding me?) Only to have even this pathetic system eliminated in a heartbeat, and repubs going back, with straight faces, to the notion of "health savings accounts", in a country with a net negative average savings ...

The endless bible thumping bullshit, the endless eroding of abortion rights and access, the litany of gun massacres, (the fact that even Sandy Hook ultimately caused zero change in gun laws and in fact gun sales soared), and for fears for my own ability to just be seen by a fucking doctor as I age - will Medicare even exist by then? As some have said, it's a giant undertaking, moving to another country, but then, a lot of our parents and grandparents did it, and when your country is being taken over by the most dangerous tyrants in modern history, if not now, when?

Ya, "stand and fight". I've done that. I did it for years. I spoke up, I voted - always, I volunteered, I protested at/inside my senator's office over like her support for the Iraq war, etc etc. I bothered to believe that we were past what Trump et al stand for. That history bends towards justice, etc. But if all of the efforts of idealisitic progressive people like myself ultimately results in Trump and Bannon and their ilk being in charge? Because so damned many millions of my fellow Americans actively wanted them and what they stand for? I'm done. Fucking over.


64
A couple of things, coming from a U.S. / Canadian dual citizen:

@57: The U.S. recognizes dual citizenship. It does not require you to renounce your other citizenships like some countries do. However, you have to enter the U.S. on your U.S. passport because you are a U.S. citizen. Which means carrying 2 passports for every member of the family whenever we have to be in the U.S., which I hate, but is the way things work.

@ a lot of the people talking about how to renounce: I've looked into it, quite recently, and I have friends who've also considered it. It does take money and patience to wait for an appointment, but can be done. The one point I haven't seen addressed above is the $2 million threshold -- if you have more than $2 million in assets, the U.S. will come after a large chunk of them before you're allowed to renounce. This, I imagine, is something the celebrities aren't going to go for. Even if they just want to reside here, not renounce, they're the ones who are most likely to have to pay U.S. tax because the foreign tax credit won't cover all their income and because they're businesses, not individuals, and have income from so many different sources. (Those referring to "double taxes" are being a bit misleading -- yes, we all have to file in two countries, but we generally never pay the U.S. anything -- that's what's so irksome to me about it. And I'm pretty sure the bad guys they want to get with the FBAR aren't filling it out or filing taxes.)

Also, though a number of people have mentioned above the difficulty of relocating to a new country, getting a visa, etc., there's something else that particularly applies to Canada that no one has mentioned. Jobs don't grow on trees here. Even for those jobs that do exist, many people here are very reluctant to hire a non-Canadian (and even if you've been in the country most of your life, if you were born in the U.S., you are still considered by many a non-Canadian. If you're mentioned in the press, you will be referred to as "the American-born actor" or businessperson or what have you). A lot of employers are suspicious of resumes with too much U.S. experience or education on them, even if the most recent experience is Canadian. Consider this: 1) Canada isn't a hotbed of industry, unless you're interested in mining or forestry, at least outside Toronto. 2) Jobs in Canada underpay -- often 20-30% less than the same job at the same multinational in the U.S. In my city, that's why we have so many small satellite offices of large multinational tech firms: Cheap, well-educated developer talent. Thus: Many employers here are kind of fascinated by the idea they could get a well-educated American, but then when it comes right down to it, they don't want to offer a job because they suspect the American will want to be paid more than a Canadian and will probably leave the job quickly, because Americans jump around more in their careers. It's not hard to find a Canadian who will be maybe marginally less qualified but will do the job decently and will take a low salary.

It's not easy to move to Canada, even though it looks just like the U.S. It truly is a different culture, which not many Americans seem to appreciate. To those of you trying, good luck, and please come here and start your own businesses (heaven knows we need more of them to grow and succeed and not get flipped to a multinational at the first chance).

To those of you staying in the U.S.: Bravo! Stay and fight, even though I know we all feel like Sisyphus. I was thinking of renouncing during the last few years, because the tax thing is just stupid, plus I have to say that I don't recognize the Midwest I grew up in when I go back now. But with Trump's election, I'm not considering it any longer. I want to keep a voice and a vote, for whatever little it's worth.
65
Emma @60: It has been more than 20 years since I was married in the US, so please refresh me: If you use the "married filing separately" option, you still have to report your spouse's income!? Then what the heck does "separately" mean?
If you're right then yeah, that would either make me renounce or live in sin in perpetuity for sure.
66
I don't want to move. I just want my state to start negotiating a peaceful separation with the Formerly United States. I am completely over that country. It is basically dead to me.
67
We basically live in a one party state. But if shit gets really bad--

You can seek refugee status in Canada on the basis of more than one category. You can apply for asylum if you have a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country based on:

> Race;
> Religion;
> Nationality;
> Political opinion; or
> Being a member of a particular social group, e.g. LGBTQ+, women, HIV-positive people.
68
@18 that's true but what is there now is an energy page that says the climate action plan has been scrapped. So he's doing nothing about climate change, except that he also signed an executive order putting a gag rule on federal employees not to talk about climate change or about the gag rule. We only know about it because someone broke the rules. Also on the website is a page on policing that has some rather negative things to say about protesters, implying that all of them are rioters and that we should crack down on them.