IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Forms of Government in Honor of Fourth of July

Posted by IT Pilgrim on July 7, 2008

In honor of Fourth of July Weekend, I thought I would do a quick governmental review. I have noticed that people often mistake the different forms of government and what they really entail, mainly, because of the emotional bias involved with the various forms. So here’s a quick run-down, then I’ll give a little more info.

  • Anarchism – Rule by none
  • Authoritarianism – Including Autocracy and Oligarchy – Rule by few or one.
  • Democracy – Rule by any
Don\'t Tread On Me

Anarchism – there are many forms of anarchism, including anarchist communism, anarcho-capitalism, libertarian socialism, most advocating some form of abolition of “The State” as a ruling structure. It is characterized by the strong desire for complete personal freedom and no invasion into citizen’s lives by rulers or the state.
Anarchist communism is a theory of removing the structure of the state in favor of voluntary associations and councils which everyone can use to satisfy their basic needs.
Anarcho-capitalism is also know as free market anarchism. It is a political theory that replaces the state with a totally free market. Security for the masses being provided by voluntary and competitive organizations rather than being paid for by taxes and non-regulation of economic works, allowing the demands of the free market to structure society.
Green Anarchism is based on environmental concerns. Sometimes referred to as anti-civilization anarchists they view civilization as a exploitive and damaging to the environment.

Authoritarianism– Defined as a form of a social contract between the state and the people with strict adherence to the authority of the state or party, often enforced with oppressive laws and violence. Citizens are subject to state authority over much of their lives with little in the way of civil liberties and personal freedom. Including Absolute monarchies, Communism, Dictatorships, Fascism and even some democracies a lot of these forms of government tend to be short-lived and vulnerable to take-over.

Absolute Monarchies , states ruled by a single leader, usually an inherited position, who has complete authority. The level of control each monarch asserts over their people is highly dependant on the individual in power at the time.

Communism, can be either authoritarian or totalitarian, depending on those in charge. Originally meant as a stateless society, the authoritarian stage is meant to be a stepping stone on the path to true communism.
Dictatorship is an autocratic form of government where all the power is held by a single, often self-appointed ruler. Often the result of a military rule, dictatorship is rule without the consent of those being ruled.

Democracy, while usually considered to be an entirely different form of government, can become authoritarian as the state gains more and more control over people’s lives and as the people sacrifice personal freedom in the name of security. Referred to sometimes as a Police State, some believe this is the current direction of the United States.

US Flag

US Flag

Democracy– defined as a rule by the people, or a rule by majority, the theory is that all the citizens would have equal access to power and that they would all have the same recognized freedoms and liberties. Originally brought about in Ancient Greece, most current forms are in fact forms of a Republic, characterized by representative decision making, as opposed to people directly voting of each and every single issue, which would be participatory democracy.

This is just a quick list, the 5 minute run-down if you will. I would hope that people would read this and take a minute to think and consider. Consider which form of government you are under, and what you can personally do to make it better.

Photo Credits via Flickr: purpleslog , Soul Pusher, and Stuck In Customs

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

If You’re Born Here You’re Here Forever

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 11, 2008

 

Taxes. We all love to hate them, but this one seems like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I came across an article written for the Sovereign Society, entitled The U.S. Wants to Keep the Slaves on the Plantation – Including You.. Seeing this I had to do a little research on my own.

As an IT worker, jobs overseas are not that uncommon. It is not uncommon to become an expatriate for anywhere from 6 months to several years. Here’s the kicker, you have to pay taxes in both countries. I looked up the Expatriate tax code on the IRS’ site, and here are a few choice excerpts:

The expatriation tax provisions (prior to the AJCA amendments) apply to U.S. citizens who have renounced their citizenship and long-term residents who have ended their US residency for tax purposes, if one of the principal purposes of the action is the avoidance of U.S. taxes. You are presumed to have tax avoidance as a principle purpose if:

 

  • Your average annual net income tax for the last 5 tax years ending before the date of the action is more than $124,000, or
  • Your net worth on the date of the action is $622,000 or more.

So if you happen to be a high-income earner, it is assumed that the reason you would want to leave the US is to avoid their income taxes. Well, they’ve got me there. It turns out, you cant even request to terminate your citizenship without being subject to an exit tax. Now there’s the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008. Billed as tax relief for veterans, the writers slipped in a few more little gotchas such as:

Section 301 - Sets forth additional rules for the tax treatment of high-income individuals who relinquish U.S. citizenship or residency to avoid U.S. taxation (expatriates). Treats all property of expatriates as sold for fair market value on the day before the expatriation date and includes gain (over $600,000) or loss from such sale in their gross income. Allows expatriates to elect to defer payment of any tax resulting from expatriation if adequate security for payment of such tax is given.

  • Requires 30% withholding of tax for certain items of deferred compensation payable to expatriates.
  • Imposes a separate tax on gifts and bequests from expatriates exceeding $10,000, payable by the recipient of such gift or bequest.

Well, that was nice of them. Turns out this is not just for the super-wealthy, this applies to any expatriate has a net tax income liability that exceeds $139,000. To be fair, if you are working abroad, you can exclude the first $80,000 of your income. There are various other exclusions, depending on the country, and the tax treaty they have, or dont have with the US. I believe that the only countries in the world that tax their citizens living abroad are the US and Libya. Its good company we keep.

After reading all that, I have to admit to feeling a little trapped, a bit like a dog wearing one of those electric barrier collars. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-government in any way, I just dont appreciate the realization of ownership. While the guards at the gate will let you out, you better not let them catch back up to you. It seems that the new penalties include $10,000 fines and prison terms. The United States already has one of the highest prison populations in the world, what’s a few more right?  The end result is much the same … If you’re here, you’re here forever.

Photo Credit: o2ma

Posted in Finance, Taxes | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »