Patriotism! Super Rich Renounce US Citizenship to Make Tax Evasion Easier (And Other Ways the Wealthy Cut Ties to Country)
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Just how many potential stateless super rich are currently roaming the world? Late last year, the Singapore-based Wealth-X consulting firm put the overall number of global ultra wealthy worth at least $500 million at about 4,650. These super rich together hold an estimated $6.25 trillion in assets.
That’s more than enough, note urban planners, to create havoc in the hotspots where the stateless super rich most often gather. Their gathering, a veritable gentrification on steroids, tends to supersize prices for all sorts of local products and services — and price out local residents.
The massive mansions and apartments pf the stateless super rich also exacerbate local housing shortages — and constitute as assault on any healthy sense of urban community. These super-rich properties sit idle most of the year. The resulting emptiness, notes Columbia University sociologist Saskia Sassen, sucks the neighborhood vitality out of great urban centers.
The super rich don’t notice. Or care. They have no interest in putting down roots. During their brief seasonal sojourns, they live in isolation from the greater community around them. They venture out into local public life only long enough to corrupt it with trinkets for local pols who promise to keep tax rates toothless.
The stateless protagonist in the classic short story Edward Everett Hale penned nearly 150 years ago ends up desperately yearning to rejoin the society he so treasonously spurned. Today’s stateless super rich don’t figure to display any similar yearning. They’re having too grand a time. At our expense.
Sam Pizzigati is the editor of the online weekly Too Much, and an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.