August 14, 2011

GOING GALT? Reader Isaac Vavra emails: “I’m a 20 year old who works at a McDonalds and saved up enough money this year to travel throughout South America. I met a kid in San Jose, Costa Rica: He is in his 20’s, he got laid off from his job with Medicare, and is now living down here in Costa Rica. He says he has enough to stay for five years. He is collecting unemployment and just withdraws the money in Costa Rica.” Well, that’s one way to ride out the recession. I hear Costa Rica’s nice.

UPDATE: Various readers say it’s more like “going Mooch.” As Rand Simberg comments: “I’m pretty sure that no one living in Galt’s Gulch was collecting government unemployment checks.” And reader Brian Townsend writes:

I’ve been living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for some time and it is also nice. Don’t take too seriously the scary news reports about Mexico. They are true enough, but are about the border region and a couple of other states. This part of Mexico, home to a large expat community for nearly sixty years, is as safe as they come. Yes, you can come here and live cheaply. I came down here myself to escape high taxes and excessive government control of my life in Canada. Mexico is like going back in time to before government decided it had to take over your life for your own good. They are moving in that direction, but by the time they get there, Canada and the US will probably have had The Libertarian Revolution!

But in the meantime, I have to warn that Mexico (or wherever in Latin America) might spoil you: very pretty girls who will actually smile back at you, nice climate, relaxed tempo of life–after a few years of that, you may not find it so easy to fit back into the North American rat race!

Sounds horrible.

MORE: Reader R.A. Rose asks if this is unemployment fraud: “I thought you had to be actively looking for a job to collect unemployment. I doubt if a job in Costa Rica fits the criteria.” In the Obama economy, you have to look where the jobs are, I guess. . . .

MORE STILL: Reader Richard Rollo emails: “I don’t believe the story about the young man collecting unemployment in Costa Rica. UI as it’s called in California requires that you be ‘available for work’ and that you are ‘actively seeking employment.’ It may be a dance without music these days but you’ve got to be at the dance. I suspect this individual is receiving Social Security Disability for the permanently disabled and just doesn’t want to tell his story to passing strangers. That’s my guess. UI? No way.”

More skepticism here. I’ll bet you can live okay in Costa Rica on SSDI, though.

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