Introduction – Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport
The 21st century has been notable for an evolving assault on representative democracy.
1. The rise of the head state who is to serve for life.
2. An unhealthy mass of power in the hands of political parties in general and small parts of the party in particular. Does the individual/local representative (Congressman or MP) even matter?
3. A sentiment that individual votes no longer matter or that they are no candidates worth voting for.
Variants of these themes are being played out all over the world.
In general, politicians operate on the principle that:
“The business of the public is none of the public’s business.”
Prologue – Citizens Abroad, The Right To Return And A Possible Right To Vote
In 1987, This Toronto Star article referenced in the above tweet may be read in its entirety as follows:
The Toronto Star identifies some of the problems associated with citizenship policies that are overly generous. Interestingly (see the Appendix) in 2009 Canada attempted to address these problems through amendments to the Citizenship Act.
The 1987 Toronto Star article is very similar to a 2020 article written by Professor Ronan McCrae where he argues that (among other things) that citizens abroad should not have the right to vote.
Prologue – The Only Certainties Are Death And Taxes
The above tweet references an article in the Globe and Mail on May 7, 2020. The article contains interesting perspectives, but much has changed since that time.
COVID-19 and the role of government assistance
Both the US $1200 payments under the CARES Act and Canada’s CERB payments were designed to fulfill the same purpose. Specifically, that purpose was to get relief money into the hands of individuals who were suffering from the the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears that payments were made generously with few qualifications for receipt of payments. The qualification appears to have been that an individual was a tax resident of the country. The $1200 CARES Act payment and the CERB payment were to fulfill the same function. Therefore, it would seem logical that both the CERB and CARES Act payment should be taxable in each country or neither payment should be taxable in the country. But, different characterizations of the payments appear to lead to different results.
First let’s review what we do know.
Fascining discussion. In this election season the politicans are agressively courting the vote of Amerians abroad. Yet, they seem unwilling to take the time to understand the problems of Americans abroad and how FATCA has destroyed many life – resulting in many renunications of US citizenship.