No More Excuses: It Is Time To Fish Or Cut Bait
No More Excuses: It Is Time To Fish Or Cut Bait
[Editor’s Note: The following post is by Jim Karger, TDV legal correspondent]
I assume you heard the news: A full-bore Statist was just reelected Dictator of the most dangerous country in the world.
It is not surprising. Rather, it is the natural order of progression from the collective fear engendered by 9/11 that netted Americans the Patriot Act, a massive legislative incursion on their civil liberties. Once those in power recognized the majority was willing to sacrifice their freedoms for a faux security, the endgame began. And in a short decade, virtually every right guaranteed by the Constitution has been trampled upon or simply ignored. From the NDAA to FATCA, the Statists are now in full control, which would be true even if the “other guy” had won. Central banking, fiat money, centralization of power in the executive, militarism, crony capitalism, and government intrusion into private lives in the name of religion will continue.
America has become everything the Founders tried to prevent.
The police have been militarized, your neighbor may be a spy, and soon every email and every phone call you make will be monitored by the State. America’s last vestige of hope, the judiciary, has been marginalized by an executive branch that is out of control. Indeed, Executive Orders are now the way laws are made. Congress has become a pathetic joke, a sub-intellectual class of do-nothing puppets with rubber stamps.
The United States has sadly and tragically transmogrified into a full-bore dictatorial police state. I observe this with no joy, but with a profound sadness and an intense clarity.
Beginning in two short months, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) will take it a step further, resulting in the US government not only having access to all bank accounts of citizens and non-citizens alike inside the United States, but to most US citizen and resident accounts outside the US. Remember that knowledge and access are the only two components needed for seizure and the US government will have both.
US passports are now harder to get and will soon be more difficult to renew, a first step to border control, not as in keeping the unwanted out but as in keeping the tax donkeys in.
Bottom line? It is time to fish or cut bait.
If you stay, then the result is on you. If it all turns out fine, congratulations. Enjoy the world of mindless shopping and endless traffic forever and ever, Amen.
But, if you find yourself or your money seized or locked into place, unable to cross a border, then you made a bad bet. In the words of the immortal Dr. Hunter S. Thompson: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
Think about it, hard.
If you decide now is the time to get out of Dodge, have a little money, some transferable skills and a lot of imagination, there are places in the world you can live that don’t invade your privacy with impunity, that won’t threaten you with prison for the slightest infraction of the rules, where it is not assumed you are a criminal with something to hide.
Mexico is one of those places.
Government here is, in a word, disinterested. The Mexican government likes expats to live here, or better said, they like our money, and as Jeff Berwick has pointed out on many occasions, we are generally treated with some deference here. They can’t quite make us out. They don’t know what to do with us, so they figure it is best to leave us alone. And that is just fine. If life was the “The Story of the Three Bears”, Mexico is living in Mama Bear’s porridge.
My wife and I and our 10 dogs live in what the readers of Conde Naste Traveler recently voted to be “the best city in Mexico” and “the 8th best city in the world”. I have written about San Miguel de Allende extensively, including for The Dollar Vigilante here and here. The living is easy, simple, straightforward, or as the locals say, “muy tranquilo.” This part of Mexico is known as “the land of Eternal Spring,” with an average year around temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. We walk nearly everywhere we go. We live on two-thirds of what it costs to live in the US and we have two full-time employees who do nothing but take care of us.
The architecture is stunning. Even after eleven years, when I stand on my rooftop overlooking the city, my breath is stolen away. The historical center of San Miguel has been preserved and photos taken 100 years ago do not reflect an image much different than which exists today.
San Miguel de Allende is a cultural center with everything from an internationally recognized chamber music festival to one of Mexico’s best beer tasting festivals, both held annually. At 6,200 feet above sea level, the air is clean, crisp, and never humid. We are 10 hours by car from the US border and just one-and-a-half hours by plane from Houston and 2 hours from Dallas. In other words, returning to see family and friends is not time-consuming or expensive.
But that which makes San Miguel de Allende most different from any other city in Mexico is its history of American presence. As early as the 1930s, US artists and bohemians of all sorts began making their way here. After World War II, the GIs discovered that they could come to San Miguel, study art, and still have enough to live on. During the 1960s, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Ken Kesey all made the trek to San Miguel. It was and remains a very hip place to be in the world. There are tiny sidewalk coffee shops, out of the way bars, and there is a 5-star Rosewood Resort, all within blocks of each other, and nearly everything in between.
Americans and Canadians have been coming here for more than 70 years, which is important if only because there are only a handful of people living in San Miguel who remember a San Miguel without Americans. We are accepted here as part of the landscape, a part of society.
And, we are an important part of the social fabric here. Over the years, many non-governmental organizations have been founded by Americans and Canadians to help those in need, from breakfast programs for poor children, to those like my wife who has dedicated untold time and energy on behalf of homeless street dogs. The local community values and appreciates these efforts and it has made the relationship between expats and locals easy and self-sustaining.
As much as I love San Miguel and feel intensely fortunate for having stumbled upon it, I am the first to admit it is not perfect. No place is. There is a government here. There is red tape, but with a big difference. Government doesn’t actively seek to involve itself in our lives. Indeed, in eleven years of living here we have yet to receive a letter, a phone call or a visit from a government official. We keep our immigration status current and we don’t cause trouble. We live by the non-aggression principle.
And so it not surprising that the two casitas inside our centrally-located compound stay full, not only with tourists but with those looking at life alternatives. These are not kids who want to come down and smoke dope all day and drink all night, but serious people, those with transferable skills who want to see, who want know what is possible, who want to meet the lawyers, bankers, accountants, real estate professionals, and others in the know who can help them evaluate their ideas, their dreams, and assist in their implementation.
If you are one of this rare-breed, write me at email@example.com. Selfishly, I want San Miguel de Allende to become a haven for freedom lovers, a place with perfect weather, friendly locals, a world of opportunity, and liberty-lovers to socialize with. Simply, I want to live with those who not only believe in freedom, but who have the guts and foresight to experience it.
For the moment, I still travel to the US occasionally to do battle with the federal government on behalf of employers who want to be left alone. And while I still win battles, I know I am losing the war. Indeed, the federal agencies I have fought for more than 30 years don’t just seek compliance, not anymore. They seek subservience. They thirst for unbridled, unquestioned power.
And it is getting worse.
And it will continue to get worse.
And you know it because you see it.
So, if you are not ready to make a leap of faith now, then when?
Jim Karger is TDV’s legal correspondent and the TDV concierge for San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he and his wife have lived for 11 years. If you are interested in knowing more or visiting San Miguel de Allende, recently rated as the #1 City in Mexico and the 8th Best City in the World by Conde Naste, contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the San Miguel de All