Every leap year in recent memory it seems that some Americans – especially famous Americans – promise to leave the country if their opposing presidential candidate is elected. President George W. Bush brought forth those proclamations, as did President Obama.
There is renewed enthusiasm for those promises now that Donald Trump is doing well in the Republican nomination race. In fact, on-line inquiries on how to emigrate to Canada spike after each Republican debate – or so it has been reported.
Canada would be a convenient choice, since people could escape there by car. Comedian Kathleen Madigan refers lovingly to Canada as America’s attic. To paraphrase her: you forget it’s up there, but then you go, and you see there’s a lot of cool stuff up there.
They do have a new leader, who is young and Bernie Sander-ish, so many anti-Trumpsters would probably be very happy.
Interestingly, CNBC reported a while back that the number of Americans giving up their citizenships has increased dramatically over recent years.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, in the period 1998 through 2008, roughly 500 people per year gave up their citizenship each year. In 2008, only 231 people turned in their papers, but in 2015 alone, over 3,400 people gave up their citizenships.
Many of those people may already have been living abroad, and chosen to cut their patriotic ties for all sorts of reasons, including more tax enforcement, but some may have become disenchanted with the direction of our country.
I don’t know if I’d leave the country if the “wrong” person were elected. I’ve lived through some presidents I didn’t much like. I’d like to think that my happiness doesn’t rely so much on the government as it does on myself and my family. But, I guess everybody has their breaking point.
It’s also true that it’s probably better for people to leave than to stay and complain constantly. Complaining doesn’t really help anything.
It’s also true that if it became more favorable for people to live in the United States – tax-wise – fewer people would leave, and in fact, a lot of people with a lot of money might decide to come back and pay the more reasonable taxes. We know that some people move from high tax states to low tax states, not because they’re greedy, but because they like to keep more of what they’ve earned.
At this point nobody knows who will be the next president. The least that can be said about this year’s contest is that it is very, very interesting, and it’s hard to escape the feeling that almost anything could happen. I guess you can keep a bag packed and your car gassed up, or charged, just in case.