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Senators eye Facebook co-founder for dumping U.S. citizenship to avoid taxes

We got a huge response to our segment on Tuesday with The Nation's Ilyse Hogue about Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who has renounced his U.S. citizenship to avoid paying U.S. taxes on the company’s initial public offering.

Now that outrage has spread to Capitol Hill, where two U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) are proposing legislation to close the expatriate tax loophole.

“Eduardo Saverin wants to de-friend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes. We aren't going to let him get away with it,” Schumer said today at a news briefing.  “We plan to put a stop to this tax avoidance scheme.”

Saverin was born in Brazil and educated in the U.S., where he became a citizen.  In college, he co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg and others.

Saverin now lives in Singapore, which has no capital gains tax. The long-term U.S. capital gains tax for high-income Americans is a minimum of 15 percent.  

Under the bill proposed by Schumer and Casey, people like Saverin would be taxed at double the 15 percent rate and likely not be allowed to re-enter the United States.  

“We simply cannot allow the ultra-wealthy to write their own rules,'' Casey said.

"Mr. Saverin has benefited greatly from being a citizen of the United States but he has chosen to cast it aside and leave U.S. taxpayers with the bill. Renouncing citizenship to simply avoid paying your fair share is an insult to middle class Americans and we will not accept it,'' he said.

Ed used even stronger language on The Ed Show:

"These people have enjoyed the fruits of America.  They have enjoyed the security.  They made their money on our soil with our citizens. Yet they are going to play every angle they possibly can to avoid paying taxes," Ed said Tuesday.  "I think that is horribly un-American."