With President Joe Biden’s approval rating down to 36%, he is now more unpopular than his two predecessors ever were in office.
But, beyond politics, the very idea of America is losing luster. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (and rising) believe their country is headed in the wrong direction. For decades, it was assumed that America is the place to be an entrepreneur. The U.S. economy was synonymous with the American Dream. No longer: Upward mobility may be more alive in Canada than in America.
Indeed, upward mobility has been disincentivized, while the climbers are punished for daring to succeed. Government benefits are plentiful, while “taxing the rich” is the easiest refrain in politics. Under Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the average top tax rate on personal income would reach 57.4% in the United States — the highest rate in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). All 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., would impose top tax rates on personal income exceeding 50%.
Today’s experiment in Big Government won’t end well for the United States. But it will make entrepreneurs, investors, and other wealthy Americans reconsider their place in the world and reevaluate their options — and that’s a good thing. Countries should compete for residents. If people aren’t treated well in one country, why shouldn’t they go where they’re treated better?
People with means ultimately go where they’re treated best, and Americans are reaping the benefits of globalization more than ever before. From Croatia to the Caribbean, digital nomads across the socioeconomic spectrum are leaving one lifestyle for a better one.
As an offshore consultant who guides clients to where they’re treated best, I regularly advise high-net-worth individuals on second citizenship and residences. And, in recent months, I have seen a 300% increase in wealthy Americans seeking better tax climates and brighter futures. They have had enough of 50% tax rates.
While tax policy is a top complaint, there are other gripes. One is “woke” culture, which tightens the parameters of free speech and forces people into submission through political correctness. In a world of seemingly endless cancellations and contrived apologies, the First Amendment is under attack from all sides, while its public defenders are fewer and farther between.
Put it all together, and the result is a less appealing America to those with options. Other than patriotism and personal allegiance, why should a New York entrepreneur remain in a city with rising crime and legal drug injection sites? Why put up with constantly changing COVID-19 policies in Washington, D.C., when foreign governments may be more transparent? Why stick with 50% tax rates when tax climates are better in dozens of Asian, European, and South American countries?
I have lived in dozens of countries around the world, and it’s reassuring to escape the radical left’s grasp abroad. In some Eastern European countries, “wokeism” doesn’t even exist. Politics isn’t a fact of everyday life. People treat each other like human beings, not Twitter bots. In many Latin American countries, you can live more affordably and retain your individualism — free from government overreach. The same goes for certain Asian countries that continue to value entrepreneurship and upward mobility — with no disincentives, no punishments.
This is not to be alarmist for alarmism’s sake. But Americans need to ask themselves, and they are: Am I treated well here? Can I live better elsewhere?
With each passing day, more and more Americans are rethinking the meaning of “home.” The ongoing exodus to Florida is a perfect example. If people can move from New York to the Sunshine State for a better tax climate and brighter future, why can’t they move abroad too?
They can, and they are. The American exodus is here to stay and growing by the day.
Andrew Henderson is the founder of Nomad Capitalist, an international offshore consulting firm.