I had my bags all packed and was ready to move to Switzerland, but the Swiss voted against me. Today they voted on a referendum that would have given each adult the equivalent of US $2,600 a month tax free. I don’t particularly like the climate in Switzerland, especially the winter weather, but for $2,600 a month I could put up with it. Unfortunately for would-be freeloaders like me, the Swiss voters roundly defeated the referendum.
Of course, you can’t live very well on $2,600 a month in Switzerland. A basic combo meal in McDonald’s that costs about $7.00 in the USA costs the equivalent of $14.35 in Switzerland, more than twice as much. A pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that costs an average of $3.99 in the USA and can be found on sale for as low as $1.99 costs $10.39 in Switzerland. I couldn’t even consider eating chicken in Switzerland.
Of course, my plan was to establish an address at a post office box in Switzerland and then rent an apartment somewhere in Southern Spain where prices are much cheaper and the people are much friendlier. I would be able to live at the expense of the Swiss taxpayer without having to pay Swiss prices, but now my hopes are dashed.
I should add that despite the high prices in Switzerland, the average Swiss person is able to live better than the average American, because the Swiss earn much more. However, I certainly have no intention of working for a living, so that’s irrelevant to my situation.
My hopes may have been dashed in any case. What gives me the right to live in almost any Western European country is my dual citizenship. I am a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom, and the United Kingdom is a member of the European Union. However, the British also have a referendum coming up later this month. They are going to vote on whether or not the country should stay in the European Union. If they vote to leave, what value will my British passport have outside of Britain? At present, no one can answer that question.