James Cameron is only the latest member of the super-rich to exit America:
Cameron’s decision fits the trend of wealthy Americans pulling their money out of the country and reinvesting it to buy land in the southern hemisphere, escaping spiraling tax rates and protecting themselves against the potential for widespread social dislocation.
In 2010, John Malone, billionaire chairman of Liberty Media, announced that he had bought a retreat on the Quebec border as an insurance policy to “have a place to go if things blow up here,” adding that he was concerned about the survival of the dollar and whether or not “America (was) going to make it” through the economic crisis.
“My wife, who is very concerned about these things, moved all her personal cash to Australia and Canada,” Malone told the Wall Street Journal, “We own 18 miles on the border, so we can cross. Anytime we want to we can get away.”
The political class are also seeking financial refuge in foreign land buys. The Bush family purchased 100,000 acres in Paraguay back in 2006.
Growing concern that economic stagnation could lead to widespread civil unrest, allied to crippling tax hikes, is causing many members of the super-rich to abandon the United States in pursuit of more stable countries with friendlier financial conditions for those with wealth. According to the Census Bureau, “The top-earning 1% of US taxpayers are leaving the USA at the highest rate in history.” In addition, a Zogby International poll found that more than 3 million US citizens relocate abroad every year, as record numbers of rich US citizens renounce their citizenship to escape punishing levels of taxation.
Now, it’s entirely possible that these elite individuals are all moving abroad for the Tuscan sun and New Zealand sheep-shagging. But that seems unlikely. I don’t think it’s so much a taxation issue as it is a sense that the goose doesn’t have a lot of gold remaining in it.
And yet, it would certainly be interesting to know what it is these very wealthy, very connected individuals know that is driving them to take such drastic, life-altering measures.