Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not those of St. George News.
OPINION – Who knew that Facebook could teach us so much about economics? The social media network that began as an idea in a Harvard classroom has grown into a multibillion-dollar company that trades openly on the stock exchange.
This incredible success is often cited as an example of the virtues of free market capitalism. But for those who are paying close attention, Facebook is also providing powerful insights into the Marxist worldview.
When Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels wrote their Communist Manifesto; they listed ten specific planks or demands that would need to be implemented in order to create a classless society.
Many Americans would be shocked at how many of those planks have, in fact, become an integral part of our own society. Of particular interest is plank four, which calls for: “Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.”
This plank came to mind after seeing the reaction of U.S. legislators last week when it was announced that Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin had officially relinquished his U.S. citizenship to become a citizen of Singapore. Saverin had moved there in 2009 and had announced his change of citizenship in September of 2011.
But there is heated speculation among some U.S. policy makers that he made the move to protect an expected $4 billion windfall he stands to make from Facebook going public. Singapore does not tax capital gains.
This prompted an angry outburst from Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who accused Saverin of engaging in a “scheme” to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes to the U.S. government. Schumer and fellow Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania have introduced what they call “The Ex-PATRIOT Act” which stands for Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy.
Under this legislation, the U.S. would impose a mandatory 30 percent tax on the capital gains of anyone who renounces their U.S. citizenship. The bill would also seek to bar those individuals from ever reentering the United States.
As disturbing as Schumer’s response may be, it’s telling to hear other Americans echoing the same refrain of “It’s not fair” regarding Saverin’s decision to take his own money to a nation with a less parasitical tax system. The ideology of class warfare is alive and well in America when we clamor to see a man punished for not allowing himself to be fleeced by our tax system.
No matter how much money he makes from his share in Facebook, Saverin will have earned it all through persuasion rather than coercion. Whatever money he earns as a result of Facebook going public, he will be a citizen of Singapore and therefore subject to its laws and taxes. This places him beyond the reach of collectivist parasites that would punish him for not surrendering what they consider their cut.
Those who claim that Saverin could never have succeeded without the U.S. government’s interference are either being laughably naîve or pathologically covetous. Saverin and his partner Mark Zuckerberg took the risks and did the heavy lifting to ensure that their idea got off the ground. Their success with Facebook is in spite of, not because of, the blessings of the political class.
Like crabs in a bucket, it appears that some people prefer equal misery to the prospect of Saverin being allowed to decide where and how his money is best used.
Those who are directing their anger at Saverin for removing himself from the laws of one country and to place himself under the laws of another country are missing the point. They should be asking themselves whether the federal government is using or abusing its powers in such a way that it no longer operates in the interest of the people it purports to serve.
What self-respecting businessman would look at the daggers being pointed at Saverin and honestly consider setting up shop in America? The economic wall being built by Senator Schumer and others would be far more at home in the former East Germany than in the land of the free.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.