But you can’t check out

Why did a GOP Congress just give the Internal Revenue Service new power to yank Americans’ passports and with it, the right to travel? “Renouncing citizenship isn’t necessarily a way out any more -– the State Department just raised the fee for that by 422%, to nearly $2,500.” [Iain Murray, National Review] And: “We think of passports as being needed only for international travel, but some people may find that passports are also required for domestic travel in 2016.” [Robert Wood, Forbes]


  • “Millions of Americans, who aren’t even meaningfully represented in Congress,…”

    If they vote, they have the exact same representation opportunity as every other American.

    • From what I have heard about the way that absentee ballots are handled and counted, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

  • The Anti-Fascist Protective Wall (aka “Berlin Wall”) was built to protect the people of the German Democratic Republic from terrorism and sabotage by Imperialist intelligence agencies. (Don’t believe me? The government itself said so, and governments never lie.) Nevertheless it had some interesting dual applications. As we build walls along our borders against illegal immigrants and terrorists, we could invite some StaSi veterans to provide technical advice.

  • I think the link is to the wrong article. The one it seems to link to an article discussing with private collections of IRS debts, not passports. Although that is a problem in and of itself and worthy of a post, it is not the one I think you wanted..

    • Yes, it’s there, look at the final (number 10) item in Wood’s list.

      • Point taken. The article immediately preceding the one to which you linked, tilted “IRS Power To Revoke Passports Signed Into Law” might be more relevant.

        Whatever the case, thank you for alerting me to these important issues.

  • Why did the GOP do it?

    Was that a rhetorical question?

    If not, the obvious answer is: because the GOP is dysfunctional.

    By the way, you do not need “proper” identification to fly. TSA just needs to be able to verify your identity and it will take more time. Whatever the case, the requirement is silly and, IMHO, un-American.

  • If you try to leave the U.S., there’s also the “expatriation tax” of 30%.


    We’re essentially all kept in the United States in chains.

    • 30% of what? The stuff you’ve previously deferred your taxes on? Your capital gains over $680,000? That’s not entirely unreasonable considering the tax brackets involved – we’re talking people with over $2 million in assets or over $147,000-$157,000 in average income over the last 5 years (the number is adjusted for inflation so the exact amount depends on the exact income in those years, I think.) You can’t keep deferring your taxes if you’re no longer going to be covered under US tax law, after all.

      If you have that much money, 30% does not keep you here in “chains”, and if you don’t have that much money, this doesn’t apply to you. Even if it was 30% of the entire $2 million, which doesn’t appear to be the case, that would leave you with $1.4 million, which is probably enough money for most people to be able to settle into a new country.

  • The new fee for renunciation of citizenship seems disproportionate. It is hard to imaginse e that there is much work involved in watching someone take an oath and filing the form. Can they really refuse to recognize renunciation because someone hasn’t paid this fee?

    • Sure.

      When you try to stick it to the man, sometimes the man sticks back (and his stick is generally bigger).