That phrase dates back to the practice of taking canaries into coal mines, so that if the bird was exposed to dangerous gases, it would die, the miners would notice, and they could get out before they lost their lives as well.
Perhaps it is a good analogy for what happens when a government overtaxes it's minions, and they renounce their citizenship and move to another country to avoid the higher bills - become a tax exile. It's been happening in the UK for quite some time, and the people who stay are not happy about it.
We've been seeing this with major corporations leaving the US and relocating their headquarters to a more tax friendly haven for some time, with the powers that be getting rather upset that the profit minded businesses might actually prefer to operate with less tax overhead. Imagine that.
Now, we're starting to see wealthy individuals in the news doing the same thing:
Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.snip
Saverin, 30, joins a growing number of people giving up U.S. citizenship ahead of a possible increase in tax rates for top earners. The Brazilian-born resident of Singapore is one of several people who helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook in a Harvard University dormitory and stand to reap billions of dollars after the world’s largest social network holds its IPO.Of course, this is practically being unpatriotic, especially if you're coming at the issue as a tenured college professor, who is immune to market forces:
“It’s plainly lawful and at the same time profoundly ungrateful to the country that provided these opportunities for him,” said Edward Kleinbard, a tax law professor at the University ofSouthern California in Los Angeles. “He benefited from his U.S. education, the contacts he made at Harvard, and most important the extraordinary openness and flexibility of our economy that encourages startup ventures to flourish.”I gotta admit, I about agree with the good prof up to the point that I start to question just What We Should Do To Punish Such Malfeasance. Are we a free people, or a bunch of indentured servants to our Very Tax Hungry government? Am I just a tad jealous because I lack the financial freedom to be able to make those kind of decisions? We hear the talk - Tax the Snot Outta The Rich, cuz They Can Certainly Afford It and It Just Isn't Fair. And then the rich move - away. Imagine that.
In all the material our Founding Fathers left behind on the subject of being a good citizen, I just don't remember seeing much on "paying taxes is the mark of a Patriot." Nope, I've seen how they thought someone keeping a sharp mind, well fed body and armed to boot was a great idea. Yet somehow the guys who were revolting against taxes they were none to fond of kinda negates the idea that our country was founded on the principle of paying taxes, and that is what we all should be doing now.
Perhaps it truly is a sign - the canary is dead, and the high taxes are the poison. Ya think?