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WHERE CAN YOU AFFORD TO RETIRE TAX FREE?           WHY ARE SO MANY OF THE MIDDLE CLASS LEAVING THE US & EUROPE?

Our September 20, 2005 Newsletter:
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Gold is going up, up, up.....Poverty in America: The world looks at New Orleans -  Inflation Statistics:  Are the numbers really accurate, Plus More
John Schroder - Author of The Ascot Advisory News Letter Bulletin and Numerous Expatriate  Articles
IN THE NEWS:
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GOLD RISES TO 17-YEAR HIGH ON CONCERN OVER GLOBAL INFLATION
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Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Gold rose in New York and London, touching a 17-year high for a second day, as investors sought protection from inflation.  A 48 percent jump in oil prices this year boosted fuel and raw-material costs that companies are passing along to customers. DuPont Co., the third-biggest U.S. chemical maker, said Sept. 12 it will raise prices on 35,000 products. The central bank of Argentina said Sept. 14 it may boost gold reserves to protect against inflation and financial crises.  Gold futures for December delivery rose $4, or 0.9 percent, to $463.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices earlier touched $464, the highest for a most-active contract since June 1988. Gold has risen 14 percent in the past year, including a 9.6 percent rally during the past two months and this week's 2.3 percent gain.
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http://www.bloomberg.com/
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EDITORS NOTES:  Talk on the street is that you should expect gold to hit US$500 - and then some. Prices paid by U.S. consumers, also known as inflation, rose at an annualized rate of 3.9 percent in August (at least that is what is reported anyway, we think the real number will be much higher).  The Central Bank of Argentina announced they might be buying more gold to shore up their reserves (it is sometimes nice to see a central bank owned by the government, and indirectly by the people, that knows what it is doing).  US consumer confidence numbers recently came out, and they are not too positive (since the US consumer makes up about 70 percent of the US economy, expect trouble when Americans stop buying).  What else?  Keep an eye on the US Dollar.  With all that new debt and price-inflation pressures, if the Federal Reserve does NOT increase interest rates, expect some in world markets to start dumping dollars and also expect further devaluation.  And if the Chinese ever decide to stop loaning money to America - watch out (falling rock zone).
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Are you worried about inflation coming back?  I have news for you, it has been around for some time now AND the true rate of inflation has been falsely reported as well.  Ever wonder why they keep telling you - do not worry, be happy - but over the years your paycheck does not seem to buy as much?
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What has Government Done to Our Money, by Murray N. Rothbard (you can buy it on Amazon) is an excellent quick read about the history of gold and fiat currencies, and I encourage every American to read it.
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Also of interest is some information put together by a gentleman by the name of Michael Hodges, who says:
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One US Dollar in 1950 will buy only 13 cents worth of goods today, 87% less than before - Inflation in my adult years (according Mr. Hodges) increased average prices 1,000% or more:
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A postage stamp in the 1950s cost 3 cents; today's cost is 37 cents - 1,233% inflation.  A gallon of full-service gasoline cost 18 cents before; today it is $2.28 for self-service - 1,267 % inflation.  Monthly Medicare insurance premiums paid by seniors was $5.30 in 1970; its now $78.20 - 1,475% inflation.
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Several generations ago a person worked 1.4 months per year to pay for government; he now works 5 months.  And in the past, one wage-earner families lived well and built savings with minimal debt, many paying off their home and college-educating children without loans. How about today?  Few citizens know that a few years ago government changed how they measure and report inflation, as if that would stop it - - but families know better when they pay their bills for food, medical costs, energy, property taxes, insurance and try to buy a house.  Is inflation a threat to society?
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http://mwhodges.home.att.net/inflation.htm
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HOW THE WORLD SEES THE NEW ORLEANS ISSUE:
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THE OTHER AMERICA - An Enduring Shame: Katrina reminded us, but the problem is not new. Why a rising tide of people live in poverty, who they are--and what we can do about it.  By Jonathan Alter - Newsweek
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Sept. 19, 2005 issue - It takes a hurricane. It takes a catastrophe like Katrina to strip away the old evasions, hypocrisies and not-so-benign neglect. It takes the sight of the United States with a big black eye--visible around the world--to help the rest of us begin to see again.  Does this mean a new war on poverty? No, especially with Katrina's gargantuan price tag - But this disaster may offer a chance to start a skirmish, or at least make Washington think harder about why part of the richest country on earth looks like the Third World.
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http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9287641/
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AMERICA'S DARK UNDERBELLY - By Frank Hornig, Der Spiegel Magazine
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America is not only licking its wounds, but also confronting underlying race problems revealed by the floodwaters. Just how racially imbalanced is the world's richest country? Poverty under the Bush administration has climbed by 12 percent.  On the same day the levees broke, Charles Nelson of the US Census Bureau in Washington presented the most recent report on income and poverty in the United States. The numbers and graphs he unveiled offered an appalling insight into the USA.  The number of those in America living in poverty climbed by 1.1 million to fully 37 million people - the fourth jump in a row. While the official number of US poor dropped steadily during Bill Clinton's presidency, it has grown by 12 percent under George W. Bush.  The presentation of the poverty numbers is an annual, late-summer routine - a statistical insight into a reality that Americans prefer to ignore. This time, though, a fundamental debate about poverty in America has been triggered. The numbers, after all, were accompanied by televised images of an unimaginable catastrophe. America has taken a good look at itself in the last two weeks -- and is horrified by what it's seen.
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http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,374199,00.html
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NEW VISTAS: The poverty of America
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People in India often ask me whether poverty exists in the West. I tell them it is widespread. They accept the truth of this, but look puzzled. They find it hard to reconcile the ubiquitous imagery of abundance and luxury from the West with what they know of poverty as they experience it ~ the emaciation of extreme want. Do people labor in the fields for less than a day's wage? Do they suffer hunger? Must they work 16 hours a day? Do they send their children to work? Must they wait till evening for the money that enables them to eat?  No, it isn't like that. Poverty in the West is, assuredly, a violent visitation. But it has a different face from the poverty of India. It is hard to describe to those who have never been out of India, the face of poverty in the richest societies in the world.
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http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=4&theme=&usrsess=1&id=89382
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THE AMERICAN DREAM IS A NIGHTMARE FOR MILLIONS - The United Nations (favorite whipping boy of US neo-conservatives) - has likened poverty levels in parts of America to those in the Third World - September 11, 2005 - By Paul Vallely
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Parts of the United States are as poor as the Third World, according to a shocking United Nations report on global inequality.  Claims that the New Orleans floods have laid bare a growing racial and economic divide in the US have, until now, been rejected by the American political establishment as emotional rhetoric.  But this week's UN report provides statistical proof that for many, well beyond those affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the great American Dream is an unending nightmare.
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The annual Human Development Report normally concerns itself with the Third World, but this year's edition scrutinizes inequalities in health provision inside the US as part of a survey of how inequality worldwide is retarding the fight to eradicate poverty.  It reveals that the infant mortality rate has been rising in the US for the past five years - and is now the same as in Malaysia. America's black children are twice as likely as whites to die before their first birthday.  A baby boy born to one of the richest 5 percent of American families will live 25 percent longer than a boy born in the bottom 5 percent.  Black infants in Washington, DC, have a higher death rate than their counterparts in the Indian state of Kerala.  US citizens' health is influenced by differences in insurance, income, language and education. Black mothers are twice as likely as white moms to give birth to a low-birth weight baby. And their children are more likely to become ill.  Hispanic Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to lack health cover.
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http://www.sundayindependent.co.za/
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EDITORS NOTES:  I have given you some news stories from around the world, but the point is NOT to highlight something you already know.  However, there are some commonalities in terms of how the rest of the world sees this (and the focus is not entirely on any failures for relief or promptness of government intervention - BUT rather the shocking truth about poverty in the so-called wealthiest nation on earth).  This is what has now been brought to the attention of the third world and poorer nations especially (and they are a bit shocked).  In addition, the first article from Newsweek got it right also, when the question was asked:  Will this renew the war on poverty in America?  Heck no - There are too many other bills to pay. 
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Just as the editorial from a newspaper in India indicated above, the promotion and marketing of America is about success and a certain standard of living.  When you tell poor people from other countries that America is not all wine and roses, they do not believe you.  They believe the myth that has been promoted and disseminated through the media and entertainment venues as well.  In addition, as I have commented about many times, YOU as the expatriate from the so-called wealthy nation (be it the US, Canada, Europe, etc.) will be asked many times by residents in your new country (Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Costa Rica, and so on) - Why do you want to live here?  We want to live there.  You tell them, listen, it is not what you think it is, just as you do not realize what you have here either.  Once again, they give that smirk that reeks of the fact they think you are blowing smoke, or they think you have some kind of agenda in discouraging them from going.  In other words, they think you are lying to them (and would prefer to believe the fairy tale).
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The other issue of course is the constant arrogance and lack of knowledge on the part of some Americans in terms of how they view the rest of the world (and what kinds of propaganda is drilled into them at home).  Which is to say, just as people in many other countries, and poorer countries in particular, are fed a line about what the Unites States represents and is (everyone in America is a millionaire, no?) - Americans at home are also filled with the notion that they (Americans) are better off than the rest of the world.  This relates back to the questions that many Americans have in terms of why there is some hostility towards the US.  Again, the official line of baloney is that people from around the world are jealous.  The reality is that people and governments from other nations resent the arrogance, hypocrisy and insistence that the US is a role model everyone should follow.  In short, the US wants a world order, in which, the US does what it likes, and insists that the rest of the world follow along using the argument they (US) know best (and are the best).  However, this argument is full of holes.
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People often make the comment to me - that I seem to be full of anger and hatred towards the US, and why is this so?  I do not hate anyone or any country, as hate is a negative emotion that not does yield anything positive, or at least I believe this to be true.  On the other hand, I am angry.  Angry about what the US was, now is, and where it seems to be going.  I am angry to think the Social Security Trust Fund has been squandered on God only knows what, and that other taxes perhaps have gone for something other than what the public was told.  Something is rotten, and we are not talking about the state of Denmark.  I think there is a lot more hidden in that compost pile that you have not even become aware of yet. 
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On the issue of the poor - Forty years ago, former US President Johnson declared a great new society and a war on poverty in America.  Forty years later, the ranks of the impoverished remain the same, or about 12 to 15 percent of Americans were poor in 1968 and the same statistics exist in 2005.  So, where has all that government taxpayer funded money gone to I wonder?  Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal - they have all had their hands on the controls, yet the train keeps moving in the same direction regardless.  What have these clowns been doing for the last forty or fifty years with my Grandfathers money, my father's money, and my money as well - and what will the next fifty years be like?  What other disasters, and not acts of God either, are lurking in the shadows that are not so apparent, yet wait to be revealed? 
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U.S. MINT CONFISCATES 10 RARE GOLD COINS - U.S. Mint Confiscates 10 Rare Gold Coins From Jeweler Who Tried to Authenticate Them
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PHILADELPHIA - Aug 25, 2005 -- The U.S. Mint seized 10 Double Eagle gold coins from 1933, among the rarest and most valuable coins in the world, that were turned in by a jeweler seeking to determine their authenticity.  Joan S. Langbord plans a federal court lawsuit to try to recover them, her attorney, Barry H. Berke, said Wednesday. Langbord found the coins among the possessions of her father, longtime Philadelphia jeweler Israel Switt, who had acknowledged having sold some of the coins decades ago. She now operates her father's business.  David Lebryk, acting director of the Mint, had announced in a news release that the rare coins, which were never put in circulation, had been taken from the Mint "in an unlawful manner" in the mid-1930's and now were recovered.  The coins, which are so rare that their value is almost beyond calculation, are public property, he said.  But Berke said Mint officials couldn't prove the coins had been stolen, or were subject to forfeiture.
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In 2002, Sotheby's and numismatic firm Stack's auctioned off a 1933 Double Eagle coin for $7.59 million, the highest price ever paid for a coin. That Double Eagle, which is believed to have been part of a collection belonging to King Farouk of Egypt, surfaced when a coin dealer tried selling it to undercover Secret Service agents.  After a legal battle, the dealer was permitted to sell the coin at auction on the condition he split the proceeds with the Mint.
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http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=1067585
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EDITORS NOTES:  Most Americans have no idea, or are not aware of, the gold confiscation executive order number 6102 signed by former US President Roosevelt on April 5 of 1933 (note that an executive order is a decree signed by a President and in effect a law passed without the consent or approval of the legislature).  This executive order remained in effect for 40 years (prohibiting US citizens from owning gold) until the ban on private gold ownership in the US was repealed by an act of Congress codified in Public Law 93-373, which went into effect December 31, 1974.   So, as of 1974 Americans are allowed to own gold, yet the US mint confiscates gold coins in 2005?  In addition, an Egyptian is allowed to sell the very same coins in 2002 and split the proceeds with the US Government?  As Sergeant Schultz from the old television program titled Hogan's Heroes would say - Very Interesting.
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In addition and unfortunately, I think most Americans are equally unaware of the various more recent executive orders signed by Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush (both father and son) expanding the capability of the Federal Government and its related organizations to seize an entire myriad of assets from private citizens.  There are groups of people out there that might be considered conspiracy theorists when they talk about a number of these issues.  On the other hand, if you bother to read about FEMA (what it is and how it was formed also) and all of these orders, which have become law without the vote of democratically elected representatives - the truth may concern you.  In any event, for those with an interest in reading up, please visit the links below:
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Former US President Ford creates FEMA with executive order number 19921:
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http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-11921.htm
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned and establish new locations for populations.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
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EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President. 
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In you conduct a search on GOOGLE, and type in executive order and the number, you can read each one in full.  Also, below are some other interesting comments about FEMA, although admittedly slanted towards the conspiracy theory crowd, it is another interesting point of view just the same.  Which is to say, the general known promotion is that FEMA is a government organization meant to help people, but these folks below seem to think that a very different agenda is in the works.  Are they right, or just a bunch of very articulate lunatics?  Read both sides of the story and decide for yourself.  
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http://www.sonic.net/sentinel/gvcon6.html
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http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/hardtruth/fema_executive_orders.htm
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What does this have to do with a news story concerning someone that had gold coins confiscated by the US government?  Maybe there is some related connection about the growing loss of freedom and liberty (plus an agenda geared towards government confiscation of private assets) - and then again, maybe not.  In the least, the lesson to be learned here is, if you own any 1993 Double Gold Eagle coins from the US Mint, get them out of the country, and give them to an Egyptian to sell for you. Better yet, you might as well get yourself out too while you are at it. 
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A brief synopsis concerning GOLD related matters and the US Dollar throughout the last forty years:
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THE DOLLAR: TIME FOR A CHANGE - by David Champeau, June 4, 2005
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Fast-forward 20 years to the early 1970s. The US has mounting trade deficits and is bleeding gold. On August 15, 1971, president Richard Nixon closed the Gold Window, removing the last formal link between gold and the dollar. The result was inevitable. In February 1973, the world's currencies floated. By the end of 1974, gold had soared from $35 to $195 an ounce. It was also in 1973 that the world saw another new version of the dollar come to market, the petrodollar, defined as dollars accepted by oil-producing countries and forcing the world on a dollars-for-oil standard.  From 1873, we have seen changes in the dollar in 1913, 1933, 1956 and 1971-1974, each change coming roughly 20 years apart. Silver and gold have been relegated to the sidelines. Credit-based, floating currencies make global exchange possible. We have three versions of the dollar in the world: US domestic dollars, Eurodollars and Petrodollars. We could also say that the Asian or Japan dollar was created during this time. The Japanese held $12 billion in long-term US securities in 1978, and now hold $700 billion.  The next change if the cycle were to hold should have occurred in the 1990s. With China's rise accelerating in the 1990s, China began to accumulate massive US dollar reserves. China held no long-term US securities in 1989, $18 billion in 1994 and now holds over $200 billion, second only to Japan, according to the US Treasury.  What's next?
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With the euro-zone countries holding over $200 billion in US securities and Asia with $1 trillion or more, the stage is now set for another change in the dollar. If the 20/40-year cycle follows its past pattern, the next change will occur sometime around 2011-2016 and it will be a big one since it will be on the 40-year cycle. We have already seen three instances where the US has had a "two-tiered" dollar, where, in two of those instances, the domestic dollar was not the same as the dollar outside the US.  The 2011-2016 time frame makes sense not just from the cycle standpoint but also from a demographic standpoint. By 2015, the baby boom generation will be well into the belly of the retirement bell curve. We know that the US government has something of the order of $50 trillion in un-funded obligations in order to make good on the promises made to the baby boomers. This $50 trillion dwarfs what foreigners are currently holding. If we spread this over 20 years, the US will need roughly $2.5 trillion a year, the equivalent of this year's federal budget. Something has to give.
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http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/GF04Dj01.html
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READERS WRITE IN:
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HI - I have lived in the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC myself.  I am American born in the USA, but decided to go to medical school there at LA UCE (UNIVERSIDAD CENTRAL DEL ESTE) in San Pedro de Marcoris.  I lived there for 5 years and it was the best experience I ever had.  Now mind you - I was a student living on student loans and family support, and I still managed to live like a queen, have the time of my life and become a physician.  I went there in 1992 and came back home in 1997.  Thanks to that country, I am making a ton of money.  I am investing in real estate there and I am planning to retire to the Dominican Republic in the future.  Where else can I live like that??  SO CAREFREE!!  Certainly not here in the good ole USA - Where Uncle Sam is after my every dollar.  I totally support your views on the Dominican Republic and have personally witnessed life there.  I KNOW THAT WHAT YOU ARE REPORTING IS IN FACT REALITY.
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EDITORS REPLY:  Thank you for your letter.  The fact is there are many things I write about, and many of these topics or subjects perhaps unpopular or difficult for some to consider - but that alone does not mean they are false.  And as I have stated before as well, it all depends upon whom you speak with.  The man (or woman) that has had a positive experience will be upbeat and the person that has had a negative experience will of course be sour.  The question is, which of the two really is more prevalent and why?
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Also, I think there is a real problem in the US especially in terms of what Americans think life is like in other countries.  Americans are brain washed to some extent (and as a result not entirely their fault) in believing the rest of the world is a quagmire of poverty or negativity and the object is to convince Americans not to leave home or wander off elsewhere.  At least, this is the only conclusion I can come to.  But, the reality is that no country is perfect and each has positives and negatives accordingly.  The question is, are other countries really all that bad as a relocation option - or not?  Often enough, the only way to find out is to go see for yourself - and then make up your own mind.
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ANOTHER READER WRITES:
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John - I was turned on to your news letter by my business partner and his wife. They visit other countries like Thailand, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic and have gotten me interested in the economics and politics of the DR. However, what about Haiti the other half of the Island? Can that country ever destabilize the DR or can the DR ever influence the Haitian's to become like the DR?
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EDITORS REPLY: Well, I have said in the past that Haiti is to the Dominican Republic what Mexico is to the US (same sort of imbalances in wealth and same issues with illegal immigration as well).  So, the question is also, can political or economic events in Mexico have a depilatory effect on the US?  I realize we are discussing the Dominican Republic and Haiti - but the argument is the same.  These are two distinct countries, with two distinct languages, separate local politics, etc.  Obviously there is a common border that is shared and obviously one might always be concerned that if something occurs in one country, how or if there will be an effect on the neighboring country.  I personally do not think the Dominicans would allow events in Haiti to influence their own country, and I also think the Dominican Republic is not deeply interested in becoming responsible for Haiti either.  You must realize there is some history there, and at one time in history the Dominicans did fight the Haitians for independence.  But, with that said, there is no hatred or severe animosity between the two, just two separate and distinct nations sharing a border.  On the same token, I do not think that Americans hate the Mexicans either, although there is tension there regarding illegal immigration issues as well.
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ANOTHER READER WRITES:
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I know that the US has much to do with Haiti especially with the IMF and the influence on their government leaders and the DR has tried to stay clear of that with the exception of the IMF loan that they want to pay off, and for good reason.  Also, I am convinced that the DR or Costa Rica are the places to be at this time especially with what has transpired in the Southern Gulf States. My confidence in this administration and the US government over the past 10-15 years was shaky, now it's evaporated. Katrina just sped up the eventuality of an economic collapse that will make the great depression seem mild. This event also peeled back the onion to expose the true fallacies of the system.  My fear is that in 10 years that CR and the DR will become over crowded (with scared Americans) immigration restrictions will have to take place or are these controls in place now. The money will be welcomed but how about the people?  Your articles are enlightening, keep up the fantastic work.
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EDITORS REPLY:  Thank you for your letter.  Your comments about Haiti dove tails into the previous letter.  In addition, you are correct in that while there is some focus and attention on Haiti because of the issues there, I would agree in that the Dominican Republic wants to live and let live - and stay clear of the problems of another country.  Again, this is not an issue of selfishness, but let us face facts - The Dominican Republic is wealthier than Haiti, but the DR is not exactly in a position to throw money or resources to solve the problems of another nation either.  However, there had been some tension in this regard between the US and the Dominican Republic in the past, as the US seemed to be trying to make Haiti the problem of the Dominican Government, and the Dominicans rebuffed this idea (and understandably so).
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On the issue of American or European expatriates in general, I think most countries that one might be considered emerging markets or third world (who makes up these terms anyway, and who or what is the second world?) - are more than glad to have new well healed citizens living inside their country.  If it is the case of retirees, then you have a group of people with an independent pension or source of income (that is obviously not taking employment away from locals) contributing to the local economy.  If we are discussing the case of younger people, then hopefully the idea of entrepreneurs bringing money and new skills to the country applies also.  So, all in all, the problem and benefit is this theme of trading places - the so-called wealthier nations getting the rest of the worlds poor and unskilled, and often enough these very same poorer nations getting the wealthier and skilled middle class people from the wealthy country. 
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Specifically in the case of the Dominican Republic, I have not found any negative sentiments at all in terms of how American or European Expatriates are received by the locals.  In fact, my experiences have been positive in this regard.  To be sure though, Europeans far outweigh Americans in the Dominican Republic, and I tend to think or get the impression there is a great deal of misinformation or negative stereotypes about the country (Dominican Republic) floating around in the US as well.  Case in point, the comments regarding Haiti.  Many Americans ask - Where is the Dominican Republic?  Next to Haiti is often the reply.  And then from there the additional comment from the person asking the question -Oh, I would not want to live there, with all that poverty and problems.  Ironically, when someone mentions they are visiting the US, most people would not say - Oh, that country borders Mexico.  I heard that Mexico is dangerous, and I would not go anywhere near that place if I were you.  So, it is the same thing.  Mexico is Mexico, Haiti is Haiti and so it goes.  But, what I am saying is, for this reason I do not think the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica is going to be overrun with Americans as many still have somewhat of a false impression about these places (and maybe that is a good thing, so the country is not over-run).  Also, regardless of how bad things might become, I do tend to think most Americans would still not leave regardless.  Case in point is the recent situation in New Orleans.  How many people sat, in essence waiting to die, when the government never showed up?  You wait a few hours, you wait one day, but after it is quite obvious that when three days have passed, one must have had the thought - I better save myself because no one else is going to do it.  Yet, even after three days, how many people still remained, still hoping or believing the government would come and rescue them?  I have the tendency to believe, the same would be true and is true in terms of expatriation.  If you tell someone that you are planning to expatriate for whatever reasons, most people still would prefer to blindly believe you are crazy, and continue to believe rhetoric instead.
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ANOTHER READER WRITES:
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Dear John - I read with interest the comments written by the Dominican Republic national who immigrated to the USA, and is critical of those who desire the benefits of being international or who are interested in moving to the Dominican Republic. Although I cannot address most of his objections to the Dominican Republic, as I have never been there, two of his biggest criticisms peaks my interest.  I sold my business, which was buying, selling, and renting apartment buildings and other rental properties in Billings - Montana, mostly because of the lawsuits or the treat of lawsuits, and government regulation.  Now, I am not new to lawsuits. I have a step grandmother who all she does is look for lawsuits. She has sued many times over stupid stuff and is very good at it. My family has watched her work for years. However, two lawsuits that took place here locally in Montana were the turning point for me. The first case was a $2,000,000 lawsuit. The plaintiff was suing because the landlord wanted an extra $100 security deposit for the plaintiff's dog. The plaintiff insisted later in court that his pet qualified as a service animal, and therefore the landlord had discriminated against a handicapped person. The judge agreed and ordered the landlord to pay $2,000,000. The second case was also for seven figures and involved a hot tub that the landlord did not want installed on the property. The landlord lost.
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Unfortunately, the attitudes of the Dominican writer (now living in the US), is almost typical of an American. He wrote about how he can penalize his employer for perceived injustices committed against him. Even foreign-born Americans don't get it. I think that the American tort system should be considered geopolitical business risk because of the sheer number of American judges who have apparently lost all common sense.  If this DR ex national had blue eyes and blond hair like me and perceived himself to be at risk of losing 18 years of income from a bankrupting lawsuit he would be singing a different tune. He should feel lucky to be a dual national.  As for the building codes being lax in the DR. Try this on. I replaced the gravel in the driveway of one of my rental properties after confirming with the City Building Department what the requirements were.  However, while the concrete was coming off the truck, the job was stopped by the building inspector because the inspector disagreed with the information that I received from the city building office on what the requirements were. The good folks from the building department later told me that if I get advice from them and the advice is wrong then too bad for me. They are not responsible for incorrect information that they give out. To make a long story short I would have to replace aging city infrastructure in order to make improvements to my private property. This law was passed in Billings to fund city projects.  The real kicker was that the inspector was known to the local contractors who did not want the job once they knew that I had gotten in a dispute with the city. The contractors said that the concrete work would deliberately be failed and would have to be poured several times to punish me. I ended up selling the property with a disclosure to the buyer. My guess is that with respect to the Dominican writer of the letter, his involvement in real estate does not involve dealing with the building code in the USA. On point two the DR sounds pretty good.
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As for discrimination, I actually find more discrimination in the USA than outside. I applied for a job as a Firefighter EMT with the Cocoa Beach Fl. fire department when I was 22 years old. I was called for an interview as my qualifications far exceeded the minimum requirements. However, when I showed up at the office I was refused an interview. I tried to find out what happened later and I was told in confidence that the CB FD needed to hire a minority position and that I did not qualify with my blue eyes and blond hair.   I feel that this is racism, however I am not protected by the laws in the USA. I feel that there is more racism in the U.S.A. because of the political system and that it is fomented by the news media in America.
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The last year I was in business I had super high blood pressure and stress. That year I paid $19,500 in declared taxes on tax forms plus all the hidden taxes that we all have to pay. I felt that I was considered the enemy, as a businessperson. If the DR national likes it in the U.S.A., then I think that is great. As for me, I have now secured legal residency in Panama. I own an apartment in Bariloche Argentina. I utilize asset protection measures offshore, and I am seeking to be a dual national in more than two countries, and have traveled to over 50 countries. My blood pressure is way down and I don't plan on killing myself working to pay ridiculous taxes and fighting with government regulations. The DR national is right in that one can make a lot of money in the U.S.A. and with easy credit one can have a high life style. The really difficult part is keeping the money you make. Not actually making it. There is a lot more to life than money. Unfortunately, most people evaluate a country by economic standards. Americans who decide to look for opportunity and the rewards of a new life in another country should approach it as a serious job that involves a lot of investigation, learning, and research. To do this one needs to have relatively defined objectives for what one wants. Many Americans seem to let the sun and Beach get in their eyes and don't put hard work and effort into their research and eventually get lonely or discouraged.
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P.S. John, You wrote recently about some of your readers writing in about financial institutions offshore asking for a disclosure from their foreign depositors that they are not U.S. dual nationals or have legal U.S. residency. I think that if you examine this further you will find that these institutions also invest in U.S. securities. My polish girlfriend went through this same issue with trying to establish a brokerage account to buy U.S. stock. I am sure that you are aware of the dirty little secret that most U.S taxpayers are not aware of, and that is that capital gains taxes on U.S. securities are for U.S citizens and legal residents only. Foreigners buy and sell stocks in U.S. markets like NYSE, U.S. Government Bonds, receive U.S. source bank interest, etc - - All completely free of U.S. taxes. Citizens from territorial tax countries therefore buy and sell securities in U.S. markets completely tax-free. Free of taxes in the U.S.A., and free of taxes in their own country. Obviously, these institutions want to avoid being in violation of U.S. law because of the consequences. They would be in violation if they accepted a U.S. citizen by accident. These institutions differ from a bank that has an applicant who has residency in that foreign country. I agree that the situation is a raw deal for U.S.citizens. I wanted to buy a mutual fund once from a bank in the Cayman Islands and when they found out I was a U.S. citizen they could not get me out the door fast enough even though the investment was not going to be in a U.S. market and it should not have made a difference. 
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EDITORS REPLY:  Thank you for your letter.  On the issue of capital gains, you are completely correct in that foreigners can trade US securities and stocks free from any US capital gains (and I am quite sure most Americans are not aware of this, as you mentioned).  In fact, in many respects, the US is indeed a Tax Haven for someone that is not American.  This of course had been the issue or argument from other nations that have come under pressures from the US about reporting and taxation, etc. On the issue of interest or dividends, the IRS does require a TEFRA with holding by the US brokerage firm for foreign owned accounts, which the foreigner is supposed to claim back later on (good luck).  On the other issues, all I can say is that unfortunately this is the norm these days instead of the exception - even in Montana.  
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ANOTHER READER WRITES:
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John:   As you know, it's become much more difficult for non-residents to hold a banking or brokerage account in another country.  Some banks base their decision on residency, others on citizenship.   For example, non-Canadian citizens can open accounts if they are residents of Canada.   But not everyone wants to live in Canada.  It would be interesting if you reported on places where it is still possible to have a non-resident, non-citizen account, and at a reasonable price.   Has anyone ever done a survey, country by country?
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EDITORS REPLY:  Well, you are very correct, and why for Americans especially, having legal residency and citizenship elsewhere (passport) could mean the difference between establishing an account in Europe (and elsewhere) or not.  It is NOT in any way illegal for Americans to have banking or brokerage accounts outside the US, and also there are no regulations or restrictions in many countries when it comes to a non-resident or citizen establishing an account in that other country either.  However, what has happened is, that the US has put so much pressure on many non US financial institutions for reporting and so on, that they do not want to be bothered.  So, it not necessarily a case of various countries being or not being difficult, but rather individual banks or investment firms accordingly.  As I said, it is not a government issue in the other country per se, because this is an internal policy really of each bank or brokerage firm rather than any sort of legal restriction in place.
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On the topic of Canada not accepting foreign owned accounts, and any other country for that matter, my response is you can tell them to have a nice day.  I am glad to hear that Canada has so much money and that the economy is doing so well, that they can turn away foreign investors.  Good for them.  I would say to a large extent, this is the case with many US banks also.  No problem.  Open an account in Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, India, Brazil, or any place else whereby the local banks are nice to you, and would like to have you as a customer.  What more can I say?  If they do not want me, I certainly do not want them - or my money I suppose would be better stated.   
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When we assist clients with incorporation services or even banking introduction services, we do provide a brief list of bank and brokerage firms that we can suggest for our clients (aside from assisting with some accounts directly).  However, some of them, but not all, will not take a US citizen directly (but will if the US citizen can prove legal residency outside the US, or another passport as well).  Aside from that, there is no list I am aware of in this regard, and I am not so sure it to be a wise idea to publish such a list either.  Which is to say, I am quite sure there are some persons or shall we say, entities that would love for someone to hand them such a list, but it will not be me - thank you very much.  However, as I said, we do provide certain kinds of information to our clients that we are aware of, and gladly do so.  
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ANOTHER READER WRITES:
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I am disgusted by your endorsement of free zones. I know for a fact that almost all companies that operate in free zones fail to employ any locals at all. They often import workers from Asia who will work long hours for next to nothing. Free zones were created for the sole purpose of increasing corporate profits.
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EDITORS REPLY:  Allow me to borrow a quoted reply by former President Ronald Reagan - There you go again.  You say you know something for a fact, yet it sounds very much like personal opinion and speculation on your part.  So, how do you know this?
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I have lived in the Dominican Republic for many years and I have visited many of the free zones, but I will admit, not all of them.  I do not recall ever seeing an oriental working in any of the places I visited.  Now, this does not mean they do not exist (Asian employees).  There are many Chinese immigrants in the Dominican Republic (as many other countries also).  In fact, there are so many that there was public discussion about creating a China Town district near the Zona Colonial, off of Avenue Duarte here in the capital.  However, in order to legally work and live in the country, someone must go through the process of applying for residency, etc. which I can only assume these people have done.  I am not aware of any hidden secret plot, nor have I ever seen evidence of one, that has brought large numbers of Chinese or other Asians into any place to work for low wages in a free zone.  Also, the concept of a free zone is not unique to the Dominican Republic, and there are many free zones that exist around the world, in many countries.  So, I could not say if what you have said is true or false with respect to what may or may not go on in other countries, but it has NOT been my experience in the Dominican Republic.  Also, I do not see why Asians would need to be exported anywhere.  Most of what you buy right now is made in China, so if a Chinese citizen wants to work in a factory, they certainly do not have to travel half way round the world to do so.  If a Chinese citizen wants to move to another country and open a small business (which is usually the case I have seen with the Chinese in the US, Canada, Panama, and the Dominican Republic), then that is another matter.
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You are correct in that the concept behind a free zone is to provide a favorable environment, tax wise and otherwise to encourage foreign business to relocate there, and in turn create new jobs for the local citizens.  The end result for the company doing so is lower taxes, and lower labor costs - thus higher profit margins.  Since I am not a socialist nor am I a communist, I do not have any problem with this idea.  Similarly, in other parts of the world, the US state of Tennessee for example, local politicians put together a package or program of reduced taxes and tax incentives so that TOYOTA would be motivated to build a new auto factory in that state.  This is wrong?  This is what good government and sensible politicians are supposed to do, create a positive economic and business environment so their local economy grows and so local people have jobs.  Why is this a wonderful idea for Tennessee but not such a great idea when it happens in another country?
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Your point about lower wages in other countries has been a point of contention for many people over the years, in terms of lost jobs in the so-called industrialized nations of North America and Europe, and other sorts of social issues as well.  However, on the same token, I find it quite ironic that some people complain about sweat-shops, slave wages, etc. - YET continue to buy these very same low cost products.  If you live in Germany, and are upset about lower wages somewhere else, my response is ONLY purchase products made in Germany with union scale or whatever the local wage rates are there.  If you live in the US and are upset about General Electric refrigerators made in Mexico with these low wages, then do not buy General Electric refrigerators.  If enough consumers did this, and insisted on voting with their pocket books in terms of where products are made (and with what kind of wage rates) then the problem would be resolved accordingly.  However, the problem is that most people and most consumers in Europe or North America are not willing to do this.  They continue to buy Fruit of the Loom underwear for US$3 per package made in Honduras or the Dominican Republic, instead of insisting it be made in the USA and probably carry a retail price of US$15 per package (or whatever).  Consumers in these markets want lower and lower prices, YET they want to see higher wage rates paid to workers and better working conditions, and health care plans that include dental coverage, and so on.  You know what?  All the negative things that go with what you are complaining about is in fact the price you pay so you can buy three dollar underwear.  You cannot have it both ways.
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Not to go off on a tangent (but anyone that knows me will confirm that I often do), there is much complaint about illegal or so-called recreational drugs in America and now there is a new heroin problem once again.  The argument is that we should go and knock off or attack the drug dealers and producers (often enough in foreign countries, such as Columbia).  Fine, get the drug dealers, but you know how you will really put them out of business?  Simple economics - stop buying the stuff.  Stop buying the product and the producers will magically disappear all by them selves.  This is true for drugs, for refrigerators made with so-called slave wages made in Mexico and anything else.  You have the ability to vote as to what you want as a consumer with your own money - the question is do you want to?
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ANOTHER READER WRITES:
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John - First of all, your newsletter is a wonderful piece of information. I was glad to see that you finally "piped off" a bit in the last one, toward the fool ripping the D.R. in lieu of the paradise he knows as the U.S.  (You always sound so kind on your Web site, and it was nice to hear a little grit and edge.)  I've been looking at your site off and on since the mid-to-late nineties.
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EDITORS REPLY:  Thank you for your letter and your comments.
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