(There seems to be lots of use for the word meltdown these days.) I watched in disbelief the building hoopla last week over the Facebook “initial public offering.” That’s easy to say now, I guess, with the stock seemingly on its way to a long and deep decline, but the reason I didn’t comment in advance is because I felt I’d said it all over a year ago about the decline of MySpace. Some of the words that look so amazingly wise in hindsight are these: Continue reading Facebook meltdown
Eduardo Saverin is a co-founder of Facebook who renounced his U.S. citizenship in advance of that company’s initial public offering on the stock exchange; in doing so he has perhaps saved himself tens of millions of dollars in U.S. tax liability on the billions he will earn. Despicable, huh? He has profited beyond most people’s dreams, thanks in substantial part to the freedom to innovate and do business that living in the the United States of America has provided him, and now, just before the big pay-off, he thinks he can just file a form, escape to Singapore, and get away without paying Uncle Sam a cent.
The political response to this has come today from Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), in the form of their proposed Ex-PATRIOT Act (Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy), which would seek to tax those such as Eduardo Saverin even after they’ve left the U.S. and their citizenship behind, and would also impose a mandatory 30 percent tax on the capital gains of anybody who renounces their U.S. citizenship. That must be pretty pleasing to those outraged at Eduardo Saverin’s rude and ungrateful behavior. That’s understandable.
And I hold Mr. Saverin in no particular esteem. I don’t even have a Facebook account (can’t afford one). I probably would not like him very much, especially if his recent actions reflect some contempt he has for the good ol’ U.S.A. However, I feel sure I cannot be the only one with serious misgivings about the implications of this “Ex-Patriot Act” for what it means to be an American these days. Continue reading The Ex-Patriot Act: Not the America We Used to Know
There was a long-running TV show on the BBC in Britain called “Tomorrow’s World,” which looked at budding new inventions and technologies and predicted how they would change the way people lived. The YouTube clip below is from a 1967 episode and focuses on an early form of a home computer. It’s quite amusing, naturally, with hindsight; it resembles a Flintstones version of a modern appliance. (How do you download a bit-torrent on that thing?) But I was struck in another way by the final words of the narrator in the segment: Continue reading Tomorrow’s World: the home computer