Those in the libertarians/fiscal conservative sphere tend to put loyalty to money ahead of loyalty to country. An example from earlier this year is at the link, and another example is offered by the case of Gérard Depardieu. That French actor has "gone Galt" by giving up his French citizenship and moving to Belgium in part to avoid high taxes ( peekURL.com/zEf4J2g ).
The arguments in this dispute are very revealing. Depardieu’s critics in France are heaving volcanoes of emotion, tossing out accusations of unpatriotism and “pathetic” selfishness. Depardieu, on the other hand, offers the rational argument that (a) he has the resources to choose his tax regime, (b) he has no particular reason to fund Hollande’s socialist tax policies, so (c) he’s moving to Belgium.
To paraphrase from a movie in which Depardieu did not appear - it’s not personal, mon cher. It’s business. Except, of course, the French government wants to make it personal. They want to appeal to patriotism, as if anyone ever pledges allegiance to a tax code, precisely because they can’t win the argument on either rationality or business. Hiking taxes in France will do exactly what it will do in the US - force the wealthy who are already providing the lion’s share of income-tax revenue to decide whether to stay put, push capital into markets where it’s welcomed rather than punished, and drive revenues down instead of up when the economy declines as a result of both.
When someone renounces their citizenship in order to save money on taxes, clearly any patriotism they once had takes a back seat to their loyalty to money. Depardieu is doing a bit more that just "choos[ing] his tax regime": he's switching sides over money. Depardieu leaving will cost France some money, but in the long run they'll be better off by being rid of someone who's loyalty to their country could be bought by lowering his taxes. The same goes for all those in the U.S. who've threatened to go Galt or similar: let them leave since they weren't too American to begin with.
UPDATE: Those leaving comments at Hot Air are, as always, scarily entertaining. For instance, "@FireBlogger" says:
The French may not understand it but Gérard Depardieu is their biggest patriot.
In the Oppositeland where fiscal conservatives dwell, dropping ones citizenship over money is the height of patriotism.
Only one Hot Air commenter ("lostmotherland") isn't patriotically-confused. He or she points out how much Depardieu's career has been underwritten by subsidies from the French government to their film industry, and in exchange gets called a "fascist".
Mon, 12/17/2012 - 11:59 · Importance: 4