by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
May 21, 2012 09:25 AM | 1093 views | 3 3 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Eduardo Saverin, a co-founder of Facebook and a billionare at age 30, has publicly renounced his U.S. citizenship to move to Singapore. He was born in Brazil and became an American citizen as a teenager. Saverin denies that he is giving up his citizenship because of Singapore being a more favorable tax haven, and while we can’t get into his head, there is plenty of evidence to believe that the different tax laws probably drove his decision.



Saverin won the genetic lottery when he was born a brilliant innovator. He probably came from a good family, too, that qualified them to move to the United States and to become citizens. Saverin distinguished himself by graduating from Harvard and becoming friends with the other co-founders of Facebook. Since severing his relationship with Facebook a few years ago, Saverin hasn’t figured out what he is going to do next, but he defines himself as “a global citizen”, and “wanting to engage in more sophisticated financial activities within Singapore”, according to a NYT report.

Now that we know a little bit of Saverin’s background, I wonder what he has ever given back to the country that allowed him to succeed, that gave him every opportunity to use the talents bestowed upon him at birth. Countless millions of people all around the world would give anything to become American citizens. Countless millions would also give up a lot to attend a good American university. I’m sure motivating factors don’t include our tax structure. Some who so badly desired to become Americans joined the armed forces to gain citizenship but died serving their adopted country before achieving it. Saverin also received other blessings of liberty like being able to live in a stable democracy, and federal, state and local governments that have low levels of corruption compared to most other countries. I’m sure Saverin knew that calling 911 almost anywhere in the United States would get an immediate police, fire or emergency services response. He knew that he could have one of his contracts enforced or defended in an American court. And he could sleep well at night knowing that the best military the world has ever known protected him and his interests. These, among so many things we often take for granted as Americans, are things that Saverin considers less important than how much he will ultimately pay in taxes despite already being wealthy beyond imagination. And again I ask, other than to pay his taxes (and surely taking advantage of every lawful loophole), what did Saverin ever give back to the country that gave him so much?

 

I think back to the invasion of Singapore and the other Asian countries that the Japanese invaded and occupied during World War II. And I wonder how much it would have been worth to be an American citizen when U.S. Navy warships were rescuing fleeing Americans. I wonder how much money it would have been worth to Saverin to be one of the rescued. Good bye and good luck, Mr. Saverin. May the United States fill your void with other industrious people who want the opportunities you had, people who will give back because they know the meaning of gratitude and want to make America better in return for what they were provided to succeed.

 

 

Comments
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B. D. Lane
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May 26, 2012
Having a country run by the rule of law is certainly a driving factor in societal stability, which then creates a productive business environment, and I am very fond of this particular nation where all are at least free to exploit their talents as they see fit.

While I have also lived in other countries, it would be a completely foreign concept for me to ever drop American citizenship. Frankly, it wouldn't even occur to me to do such a thing.

I have no idea what Mr. Saverin is thinking either, but I enjoyed reading your post.
Barry J Schwartz
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May 23, 2012
Those of us who were born in the USA, “by the luck of the draw” have more freedom, rights, accessibility to education and healthcare and opportunities, than almost anywhere else in the world. Too many of us take all this for granted. I think those of us who were born here and those who chose to come to the United States to be able to live this lifestyle owe it to the system to live by the rules. This means paying your taxes to help fund the system. The Agitator’s comment “May the United States fill your void with other industrious people who want the opportunities you had, people who will give back because they know the meaning of gratitude and want to make America better in return for what they were provided to succeed.”, says it all.
Diane B.
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May 22, 2012
Thanks for doing a good job pointing out what we get from our so-called "big government" and for our relatively low taxes. When I'm feeling mean I sometimes say I wish these anti-government people would be transported to Mogadishu or someplace like it for a little while, just to see how they'd fare on their own.
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