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Old 02.09.2015, 11:01
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Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

US Ambassador to Switzerland, Suzan LeVine, must have been having a bad hair day. In a swissinfo interview published yesterday she dropped a bomb and claimed that a reason for US taxation of its overseas citizens was that Americans abroad benefit from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Like many Donald Trump statements, she was dead-wrong with this outrageous claim.
swissinfo did some fact checking with the former American Citizens Abroad director, Jackie Bugnion: According to Ms. Bugnion, ““ that’s not quite accurate”, because Social Security is linked to working in the US, not to citizenship, and Medicare and Medicaid services are only provided in the US. “
Indeed, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are primarily supported by US payroll taxes and not US income taxes. Americans abroad seldom pay US payroll taxes but are generally liable for US income taxes. Ambassador LeVine was seriously confused.
Ambassador LeVine’s outrageous remarks don’t stop there. She also claimed in the interview: “that helping American citizens in Switzerland is one of the US embassy’s top priorities. “We’ve been doing a lot to have a dialogue with the Swiss Bankers Association and with major banking institutions here to look at what are some of the ways to alleviate some of the stressors within the banking experience for US-related persons,” she says. “And there are some banks that are coming forward and saying ‘We take Americans!’ And so I think that we’ve made some traction on that. Hopefully more this coming year.””
The reality, of course, is that Americans in Switzerland can obtain current and savings accounts at several banks – which was also the case before Ambassador LeVine arrived - but are mostly excluded from any type of investment account in Switzerland. Outside of the company pension fund, Americans in Switzerland can forget about saving for retirement.
Below is a short list of unpleasant consequences as a result of the Obama administration‘s jihad against Americans in Switzerland:
1. The number of Americans in Switzerland declined by 2.6% in the past 12 months while the number of all foreigners in Switzerland increased by 3.1%.
2. The number of Americans on public welfare in Switzerland increased by 40% from 2009 to 2013. (2014 figures not yet available.)
3. The number of renunciations at the US Embassy in Bern has apparently skyrocketed from under 100 in 2009 to over 1,100 in the first 10 months of 2014, according to a Federal Register document published last week. (The embassy is not identified in the document but it can be deduced to be the US Embassy in Bern.)
4. The number of Americans who have become unemployed in Switzerland is unknown but is likely considerable and is evidenced by the decline in the number of Americans in Switzerland and the sharp increase in Americans on welfare.
In addition to being factually incorrect about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Ambassador LeVine has tried to defend that which cannot be defended. Of course, her life hasn’t been destroyed by banking issues in Switzerland because she is only living here temporarily.
And one last item, Ambassador LeVine certainly has a distinctive hairstyle. Whether it is considered a tasteful or comical style is a matter of personal preference. Donald Trump may like his.


http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/suzi-lev...-woes/41630800
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Old 21.09.2015, 11:45
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Re: Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

US Social Security retirement benefits are available to US citizens, non-citizens and former citizens in Switzerland (and elsewhere) who have worked in the US. It is not based on US citizenship and is not based on paying US income taxes:

"You don’t earn Social Security benefits simply by being a U.S citizen – you must legally work and pay Social Security taxes in the United States. If you legally worked and paid taxes in the U.S. long enough – in most cases, 10 years – you’re entitled to Social Security retirement benefits. That’s true whether you’re a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen or a former citizen."

http://finance.zacks.com/can-former-...fits-7099.html

Similarly, Medicare is available to US citizens and permanent residents (non-citizens) in the US and who have paid into Social Security for a period of time, generally 10 years. It is not based on US citizenship and not based on paying US income taxes.

Note that treatment is available only in the US so would normally not be available to otherwise eligible US citizens and greencard holders unless they went to the US for treatment:

"You qualify for full Medicare benefits at age 65 or older if:
  • You are a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident; and
  • You or your spouse has worked long enough to be eligible for Social Security or railroad retirement benefits — usually having earned 40 credits from about 10 years of work — even if you are not yet receiving these benefits; "
http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-...igibility.html
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Old 21.09.2015, 11:57
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Re: Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

just a hunch, but I suspect the decrease in Americans living in Switzerland and increase in unemployed Americans within Switzerland have much more to do with the increasing difficulty in obtaining non-EU work permits than anything Obama has done.
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Old 21.09.2015, 12:05
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Re: Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

A few additional 'gotchas' wrt Medicare and the US citizen abroad:

https://americansabroad.org/issues/healthcare/

Although one is not covered by Medicarewhile resident abroad (see the link for exceptions), nonetheless if one does not sign up for (and pay for!) Part B by the end of the enrollment period after one turns 65 and then later returns to the US, one may be penalized by a 10% increase in the premium for every year eligible but not enrolled. (There is an exception for those still employed who are covered by a national health insurance plan, but this does not apply to the self employed or to those who have retired. See the FAQ linked above.)

As one approaches 65 one should keep this in mind if returning to the US is even a remote possibility.

Also, the new Medicare Net Investment Income Tax tax of 3.8 % cannot be off set by foreign tax credits. This may result in double taxation for this type of income.

The American Citizens Abroad website has a wealth of information on Medicare and residents abroad. A read-through is recommended.

---

Yes, Americans abroad or returning after time spent abroad get the short end of the Medicare stick. And yes, Ambassador Levine is... let's just say that her remit is to represent the interests of the US government, not the interests of US citizens in Switzerland.
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Old 21.09.2015, 12:36
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Re: Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

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just a hunch, but I suspect the decrease in Americans living in Switzerland and increase in unemployed Americans within Switzerland have much more to do with the increasing difficulty in obtaining non-EU work permits than anything Obama has done.
The number of non-EU citizens in Switzerland actually increased by 2.3% to 625,930 (June 2015) from 611,504 (June 2014) while the number of US citizens decreased to 17,739 (June 2015) from 18,026 (June 2014). See spreadsheet 4-30 "Letzte 12 Monate" at this link:

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/de/home...v/2015/06.html

As an aside, the number of EU citizens increased by 3.5% for the same period so EU citizens are increasing at a faster rate than non-EU.
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Old 21.09.2015, 14:42
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Re: Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

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The number of non-EU citizens in Switzerland actually increased by 2.3% to 625,930 (June 2015) from 611,504 (June 2014) while the number of US citizens decreased to 17,739 (June 2015) from 18,026 (June 2014). See spreadsheet 4-30 "Letzte 12 Monate" at this link:

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/de/home...v/2015/06.html

As an aside, the number of EU citizens increased by 3.5% for the same period so EU citizens are increasing at a faster rate than non-EU.
sure, but I suspect you will agree that Americans are not the ones the Swiss firms are hiring on the cheap to do IT work.

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Old 21.09.2015, 15:53
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Re: Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

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http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/suzi-lev...-woes/41630800 . . .

What other benefits are there?

“When you look at what the United States does worldwide, and what we have done in building coalitions, in coming together and being a leader in a number of different ways, that has costs associated with it in terms of what taxes pay for,” says LeVine.
Indeed. If she is referring to leading the meddling in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria etc. prompting a massive exodus of refugees to Europe, then yes, we are all seeing the "benefits" of that.
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Old 21.09.2015, 16:19
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Re: Is Ambassador LeVine really Donald Trump in disguise?

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sure, but I suspect you will agree that Americans are not the ones the Swiss firms are hiring on the cheap to do IT work.

ICT (Information + Communications Technology) makes up 4.5% of the Swiss economy by value, tied for sixth by sector:

http://ictswitzerland.ch/en/themen/wirtschaftskraft/

I have not located any figures on the number of Americans that the ICT sector employed in Switzerland and so do not know where the apparent loss of jobs occurred. I do note that the number of non-EU citizens from other developed English-speaking countries increased for the time period Jul 2014 to Jun 2015 and only the USA decreased:

Non-EU:
Canada: 6,190 to 6,247
Australia: 2,797 to 2,820
S. Africa: 1,647 to 1,670
New Zealand: 781 to 786
USA: 18,026 to 17,739

American employees are also not particularly expensive compared with other large immigrant groups:

Married couple, taxable median income, City of Zurich (CHF):
France: 119’100
UK: 104’400
Germany: 100’000
Austria: 80’000
USA: 80’000
Spain: 70’500
India: 65’200
Portugal: 61’400
Italy: 60’100
ex-Yugo: 45’000
Turkey: 41’800

http://blog.tagesanzeiger.ch/datenbl...-der-schweizer
Chart 3 in this article.
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