The Republican Congress and President Obama teamed up on a new law that allows the U.S. government to revoke the passports of people who owe back taxes, Bloomberg News reports:
In an effort to fight tax evasion, the IRS recently began forcing expatriates to report not just their income, but additional information on savings and investments—rules that have made it harder to open bank and brokerage accounts overseas. More ominously, the IRS and the State Department are also implementing a provision approved by Congress in December that could revoke the passports of Americans who owe too much–raising the prospect of being stranded abroad on account of poor arithmetic....
The new passport-revocation rule, slipped into a transportation funding bill signed by President Barack Obama, raises the stakes. It allows the U.S. to revoke the passport of any American whose tax debt exceeds $50,000.It's not hard to see how expatriate taxpayers could get to this level, especially if they're late in realizing they needed to file in the first place. The fines for failing to report bank accounts are high; the IRS can impose a penalty of $10,000 for each violation of the rules.
The threat to revoke travel privileges fits with a point I have been making about the presidential campaign. By restricting immigration, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz want to make it harder for people to get into America. By imposing an exit tax, Hillary Clinton wants to make it harder for people and companies to leave America. There is no major politician or party of which I am aware that is standing up for the principle of free flow of humans and capital across borders.