Wealthy Americans are already starting to abandon ship. The first high profile case was Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, who gave up his U.S. citizenship and moved to Singapore. A part time resident, he moved there permanently to avoid being overly taxed if Obama gets his way; though his lawyer claims it was for other reasons.
Now there's 68-year-old Denise Rich (ex-wife of billionaire trader Marc Rich) who turned in her passport back in November of last year. She's selling her posh Fifth Avenue co-op penthouse (all $65 million dollars worth of it) and moving to London. Her former lawyer says she's moving
"so that she can be closer to her family and to Peter Cervinka, her long-time partner."
But others believe it's also to save a bunch on taxes when the time comes.
You might recall that Rich's ex, Marc, was an international commodities trader who was indicted for illegally making oil deals with Iran during the Iran Hostage Crisis, and for tax evasion. He fled the country and was a fugitive until Bill Clinton pardoned him in 2001.
But Saverin and Rich aren't the only two who have left or are planning to leave the country. Around 1,800 people handed over their passports and green cards last year compared to between 300 and 400 in 2008. That's a huge jump in four years. And you can bet that if the rich are Obama-taxed, they will start leaving in droves. There's nothing stopping them, other than a hefty exit fee, but it's probably worth it to them in the long run.
What most people who berate the rich (especially those in the theatre world) fail to realize is that many of the wealthy, like Rich, also happen to be philanthropists and patrons of the arts. If you tax them too much, and they don't leave and take their money with them, they will stop supporting charitable organizations and the arts. The economy and the Madoff scandal have already sent theatres to an early grave, taxing the rich will bury even more.
And guess what? Rich is a Democrat.