The Departure: A Conservative Exodus to Costa Rica?
Costa Rica? Not so much. Costa Rica is ranked #46 on the Economic Freedom Index. Costa Rica already has national health care and is working towards being carbon neutral. While it has small government and lower taxes than the U.S., good luck opening a business or getting a hearing in court in a reasonable amount of time. Corruption is a big problem in Costa Rica, with Heritage proclaiming, "The government does not emphasize enforcement of anti-corruption laws, regulations, and penalties. Some foreign firms have complained of corruption in the administration of public tenders."
How are Americans emigrating to Costa Rica treated? Reports one author:
Costa Rica is touted as a bargain, but I was surprised by how expensive it is. Expatriates have told me there are two economies: one for Ticos (Costa Ricans) and the other for gringos (expatriates). Gringos are charged considerably more for products and services.
Have people who are thinking about Costa Rica even researched the country they're moving to? Or do they just think that if they're going to be rolled in a banana republic, they can at least move to one where the weather's nice?
The argument for staying in America cannot be made with reason or logic, but for most of us it's innate. Every nation, no matter how economically free, has its downside. Hong Kong may enjoy great freedom now, but all it takes is a change of heart in Beijing to upset the whole apple cart. Not only is Singapore overcrowded, it restricts rights we take for granted in America such as freedom of speech. Australia has a top marginal tax rate of 45% and state governments have prosecuted Christians who have made critical statements about Islam. New Zealand's government spends 41% of its GDP. Other than a high personal income tax rate, there's a lot to like about Ireland, but that country really doesn't want immigrants.
Perhaps it would make good financial sense to abandon ship, but emotionally, it's just not an option for most of us. While there are nations with good policies out there, there is no country in the world like the U.S.A. If one believes in the ideals of the American experiment, the most likely fate I can imagine for a disgruntled expatriate is wandering the globe in exile, never truly being at home no matter how far they roam.
Rather than dreaming of escape to a non-existent Central American fantasy land, it's time to realize that America is irreplaceable and worth fighting for with every ounce of determination. The title of this piece was inspired by a 1970 episode of Dragnet, in which Joe Friday rounds up a group of teenagers plotting to start their own country on an island off the coast of California. He gives them straightforward advice that conservatives would do well to consider today:
Don't try to build a new country. Make this one work. It has for over four hundred years; and by the world's standards, that's hardly more than yesterday.