HOW MUCH IS YOUR VOTE WORTH?
By David Harper
People come and live in Mexico for many reasons. The most often quoted is the weather and the fact that it is less expensive to live here than anywhere else in North America and so your retirement buck can bring you a better quality of life in Mexico.
Within Mexico there are many choices depending on your own personal ideas about lifestyle and whether you prefer to live in proximity with other expats or would rather be far away from them. The writer has lived half his life as an expat in one country or another and enjoys the expat lifestyle and mixing both with nationals and other expats.
Some Americans move to Mexico for the above reasons plus one more: The desire to escape the political madness that seems to have enveloped the USA. The writer arrived here while the 2008 presidential campaigns were running hot and strong and was dismayed to find that some local expats were fully involved in getting out the US expat vote for one candidate or another.
This is not a new phenomenon for citizens of the USA, one reason being that they do not enjoy any tax breaks while living abroad, or the tax breaks that do exist are only for people working abroad and receiving high salaries. So as long as the US government is taking a slice of your retirement income, why not exercise your right to vote? It is a fair question.
Now we have the next major election in the USA and the different groups are winding up again. This time there is a “Tea Party” group added that seems to have some people worked up; if letters to the editor in the expat publications are anything to go by.
As the unelected spokesperson for those who came here in part to escape political madness NoB, the writer asks if USA politics is so important to you why did you decide to live in Mexico? Are you perhaps having your pie and eating it too?
After every election we learn of new types of voter fraud and vote tampering, together with just plain inefficiency in vote counting, so how important is your vote anyway?
No doubt it gives satisfaction that you have done your duty as a citizen. But since you don’t live there how much of a citizen are you? Who has more need to vote in the USA, a US citizen who has lived legally in Mexico for ten years, or an undocumented Mexican who has lived in the USA for ten years?
So as the unelected spokesperson for this virtual committee I propose that once a retired US citizen has lived permanently abroad for two years, he or she loses the right to vote. We remain citizens but may not vote. In return for which he/she is no longer required to pay US taxes for services not received.
Now do I have your attention?
So here’s the suggestion: All you Democrats Abroad, Republicans Abroad and Tea Partiers get together and form an ad hoc committee for the purpose of having legislation enacted that will allow you to give up your vote in return for no taxation. Remember your history “no taxation without representation”. Do you really think you are being represented while living in Mexico?
Kindly don’t ask me to be involved, I’m strictly an “ideas” guy.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com