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Letters: Going after tax refugees

May 20, 2012

Re "Payback for a tax refugee," Opinion, May 16

In calling for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin to be exiled from the United States, Bruce Ackerman seems to argue that people should not be able to move freely around the world, even as our policies embrace free trade.

Ackerman ignores that Saverin has always had two national loyalties and now lives in a third country. Such "third culture kids" are increasingly common today, and many are not super-rich. Rather, their statuses reflect a beneficial global market of talent moving across borders.

Nor does Ackerman acknowledge that the United States is unusual in taxing nonresident citizens on their income, even if entirely from foreign sources; and even as a noncitizen, Saverin will pay a lot of U.S. tax.

In renouncing his citizenship, Saverin loses its benefits. So why bar Saverin from the occasional trip to New York?

Hugh Eastwood

Saint Louis

Ackerman's idea would probably be unconstitutional. If you are upset that Saverin gave up his citizenship for a few pieces of silver, then stop using Facebook.

A better way to go after people like Saverin would be to heavily tax their U.S. investments. When a company pays dividends, it would ascertain if the stockholder had renounced his citizenship. If the person had, then the dividends would be taxed at 90%. Income earned from selling stock, homes or a business should all be taxed heavily.

Of course, this will not happen. However, we now understand precisely what right-wingers mean when they scream, "America, love it or leave it." If you leave America for money, then you are copacetic.

Arch Miller



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