The go to retort for many self-proclaimed patriots who find themselves unable to argue against a criticism against their beloved mother land is “If you don’t like, you can leave!” This seems like the ultimate way to shutdown an argument because anybody who doesn’t like the United States is free to leave whenever they want. OK, that’s not entirely true. Anybody who can afford to pay the government off is free to leave and its price just went way the fuck up:
To leave America, you generally must prove 5 years of U.S. tax compliance. If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $157,000 or more for 2014 (that’s tax, not income), you pay an exit tax. It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left. At least there’s an exemption of $680,000 for 2014. Long-term residents giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the tax too.
Now, the State Department interim rule just raised the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship to $2,350 from $450. Critics note that it’s more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries. The State Department says it’s about demand on their services and all the extra workload they have to process people who are on their way out.
Leaving the land of the free isn’t free, which really refutes the claim that the United States is the land of the free. In the government’s eyes every citizen is property. If you pay it enough money is may be so kind as to grace you with the privilege of leaving but your taxes had damn well better be in order first.
This is why I usually refute “If you don’t like it, you can leave!” with “I can’t afford to leave so you’re stuck with me.”