3 THE BIG SQUEEZE

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Getting offshore legally, and staying there legally . . . that’s the

goal. So, it is best to start the process right and avoid any hard

lessons. You will have plenty of opportunities as you go along

with your plan to internationalize your finances and reduce those

burdensome taxes, but you want to avoid breaking any laws with a

quick fix or other strategy that could expose you to government attack

or open another can of worms. Whether or not you approve of the

government’s methods and scrutiny, it’s best not to justify away the

facts and take an unnecessarily high risk. Save high-risk measures for

when you really need them.

Avoiding taxes will likely not be your sole reason for wanting to

move all or part of your money and assets to another country, although

as we have seen, high taxation has had the net effect of driving

people to offshore solutions.

Typically, pressures such as the ones in the following list provide

strong incentives for seeking alternative solutions:

_ Government oppression

_ Dwindling privacy

_ Discrimination

_ Lawsuits

_ Threat of crime

_ Excessive government

_ Terrorism

This list names just a few incentives. If we look back over the past

few decades in the United States, we can see a pattern of social deterioration

in our society at all levels. It may have started at the bottom,

but it now seems to have reached the top—just look at the players today in business and in government. Would you buy a used car from

some of these people?

There have been significant and rapid developments in the

United States and elsewhere, especially in the new century. Problems

just seem to get worse as we are forced into accepting a globalized society.

But what does this mean?

Young people are more willing to accept the way things are because

they haven’t been around long enough to witness or feel the

effects of change. In time, they, too, will realize that their futures

will be marked by change, putting them in potential jeopardy;

one day, they will reminisce about the past when they had more liberties,

freedom, and opportunity. Fortunately, there are also plenty

of offshore possibilities for young people, including foreign job

opportunities.

Talk of global free markets and worldwide democracy gives us a

warm fuzzy feeling, certainly. But shouldn’t we look carefully at such

fine-sounding concepts if they are coming at the expense of our sovereignty

as individual citizens of an independent nation? This is the

country that has guaranteed our rights and liberties under the U.S.

Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and we have the good fortune and

privilege to be the beneficiaries of this legacy. But the sad news is that

these rights are in danger of vanishing—and quickly.

How? Let’s look at one area: privacy. It is a bit unsettling to consider

the erosion of our privacy. More and more, we are subject to new

surveillance. We are unwittingly photographed in our automobiles at

traffic lights and tollbooths, in parking garages and overpasses. Our

persons are photographed on the street corners, in malls, in office

buildings, in banks, at airports, sitting in a bus station, walking down

the street minding our own business, you name it. And on occasion,

these cameras are face-recognition devices that, unbeknown to us,

may be running a check on our identities, and possible criminal

records, as we go quite innocently about the business of our daily lives

in what we consider to be our private little worlds. Is it so far-fetched

to imagine that next, it could be the bedroom?

When we are at work, and even at home, it is now possible for our

own government and others to spy on us through our phone conversations

and e-mails. Our banking and other financial institutions

can now be used as extensions of law enforcement efforts and government

snoops to keep tabs, not only on our financial affairs, but

on what the information may say about us. Today, the government is using libraries and bookstores to learn more about who we are and

what we are doing, based on what we are reading—truly Orwellian.

Under broad legislation, much like the racketeering laws that

were meant specifically to catch gangsters, the new powers are regularly

used against ordinary citizens in the hopes of getting convictions.

And the same applies to laws passed under the guise of

eliminating certain bad elements such as drug traffickers, counterfeiters,

smugglers, and money launderers, but then are used to better

control the general population. The natural progression could be

the potential criminalization of nearly everything.

Is this why we have a secret federal court in the United States, in direct

violation of our Sixth Amendment rights? According to Associated

Press, federal courts are keeping thousands of cases sealed so

they never see the light of day. These are not cases against terrorists.

These are cases against defendants in criminal cases. Since 2003,

there have been over 5,000 such cases. And why are they being kept secret?

The Justice Department was asked this question but remained

conveniently silent. Maybe a liberal application of broad laws and

powers would encourage more lenient plea bargains and eliminate the

need for fair and speedy trials. Could that be why?

The fear of terrorism led to the passage of the Patriot Act in the

name of “security.” To paraphrase a famous American, it seems that

what we need to fear is fear itself. We are letting the aura of fear become

an excuse for surrendering our freedoms.

Of course, all rational people want to eliminate criminal activity

as much as possible. But at the cost of violating the civil liberties of

citizens who supposedly have rights, and who are taxpayers, too? The

“War on Terrorism” starts to look suspiciously like a war on our very

freedoms.

Incredibly, a recent poll of Americans turned up the interesting

fact that the majority support these tactics in the name of antiterrorism

because they believe that this is the price to pay for freedom.

Well, if the American public is willing to believe this, then it is

no wonder Congress rubber-stamps whatever the president wants

to sell.

It is not too late, and there are still measures that each of us can

take to preserve the key values of sovereignty, freedom, privacy, and

individuality. These may require a conscientious effort, but the cause

is worth it, and the degree of our success may depend on how seriously

we view the threat. Bolder action may be required.

Privacy is an important commodity that helps to insulate us

against all forms of oppression and intrusion from the government, or

other persons and entities whose motives are unlikely to benefit us. At

the core of the question is an individual’s right to sovereignty, which

in theory, should carry more credence than any rights bestowed on a

government by its own citizenry, as in, “We the people . . . ,” the very

breath that gave our Republic life.

But, if we think we have already seen the worst on the subject of privacy,

we need only to return to the news. A movement is afoot toward a

single form of personal identity, and we aren’t chatting just about the

new idea for a national identification (ID) card. Indeed, the talk is also

about the technology for a microchip—to be embedded in your body—

and the uses of which are being seriously discussed in certain circles

for identification and control. Who? You. There will be many “good” arguments,

some truly well meant, to support such a plan, but once in

place, like the “temporary” income tax of 1913, it will likely never go

away and potentially it will be abused beyond our imagination.

Still other means of physical identification are being employed,

aside from the good old fingerprint, such as the reading of the retina

of your eye for positive identification. Sound like the movies? Well,

technology is moving forward quickly and the subject of our privacy is

of critical interest. My hope is that all of us will remain vigilant on the

topic as we take positive action in our lives to preserve our other values,

such as our freedom, our income, and our assets.

The real point is that awareness of changes and impending

changes that can threaten or compromise your liberties, freedoms,

and financial security should be a priority in these times, along with

an interest in what you might do to minimize or avoid unnecessary

trouble and undesirable potential outcomes. Please refer to the many resources

in Part Four of this book, including excellent sources of information

about the current status of the field and the best options to respond and deal

with it.

Although the creative and legal ways to avoid excessive taxation

provide a worthy theme, attacks on us can come in many forms such as

our dwindling personal privacy. Any outside pressure (government

oppression, economic woes, or whatever it may be), brings with it a

host of issues that come with the territory, and we need to examine

them in relation to our own existence. Is action required? It may help

to think of protecting your freedom as a game that you intend to win.

People have more power than they give themselves credit for, but, to

be effective, you must identify the problem and exercise the solutions.

Now is the time!

You might start by making a comprehensive list of your goals and

build on it. Include the negative pressures that challenge you daily.

Then list possible alternatives that are within your power to consider

and that would ease these unpleasant elements. This book represents

possibilities and, for those who want them, real solutions that are

at hand.