What is the easiest way to help the credit markets in America? Raising equity. What is the easiest way to raise a trillion dollars in equity for the depressed US real estate market? Giving a green card to any honest citizen from anywhere in the world who buys a home in the US for a minimum price of $500K without a mortgage. Why would a Russian, Chinese, Saudi, or any citizen from anywhere do this? Because having the possibility of moving to the United States to work with your family, even if you don´t take advantage of that possibility in itself is worth a lot. Now green cards have the disadvantage of global taxation even if the holder lives outside USA. That would also have to change for this offer to be attractive with the green card holders only paying taxes if they actually move to USA. The math is simple. 2 million buyers at bargain US prices would generate 1 trillion dollars in equity.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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alain on July 12, 2009  · 

This was the proposal of the President of the Ayn Rand Foundation to solve the US real estate crisis…Pretty smart proposal indeed even though it excludes the poor who can’ t afford even a cheap house in the US.

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Per Mosseby on July 12, 2009  · 

Not a bad idea at all 🙂

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Bastian Manintveld on July 12, 2009  · 


This is an excellent idea. In addition to your suggestion for the houses, the US should throw in some kind of incentive for entrepreneurs to come to the US and set up office.

If USD500K would buy me office space, a family greencard, and some of the incorporation/tax logistics of setting up shop in the US, I’d seriously consider moving to the US to set up a base for BeBanjo (my Madrid based startup).


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Bastian Manintveld on July 12, 2009  · 

Love the suggestion.

If they could make it work for businesses too it would be even better. E.g. If you invest $500K in setting up a US office and are willing to move to the US, you’ll get a greencard, tax breaks and help in setting it all up.

For BeBanjo (my Madrid based startup) that would be a real incentive.


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Bastian Manintveld on July 12, 2009  · 

—-Third and last try– Couldn’t post from Safari, so I’m trying from Firefox now. If it’s related to moderation…. the page should give a success message after posting —–

Excellent suggestion. They should make it work for businesses too. E.g. If you bring $500K to the US to start your office there, you’ll get a greencard, taxbreaks and help in setting it all up.

Something like this would be a real incentive for BeBanjo (my Madrid based startup) to move into the US.


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Frank on July 12, 2009  · 

That is hapening already in the US. But it costs a lot more than 500k

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thierry on July 13, 2009  · 

hello Martin,
i’m not that good in english but what I understand from this post, is that even if you have the green card and live outside of the USA, you still have to pay taxes ?

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Sameer Nadkarni on July 13, 2009  · 

US green card for investment into the US has been in place for quite some time. To my knowledge, it is focused on operating a business that creates a minimum number of jobs.

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perell on July 13, 2009  · 


That would be a strike!

It’s a win & win strategy!

I would seriously consider bringing family and friends! At least for a couple of months a year!

Push that kind of thoughts to your friends….(f.e. Clintons…)


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George on July 13, 2009  · 

The idea is brilliant, and I’m not surprised the Ayn Rand Foundation supported it…
You believe most people with this kind of cash would want to get a green card?

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Silvina on July 14, 2009  · 

Hey Bastian,
Frank is right, you can already get a green card if you invest on a business (I assume they have some specific things you can invest on). For what i read (a long time ago) the amounts are around 1.000.000 and 500.000 us dollars. I think what Martin means is that you can just put the money on the house and keep working back home. I assume its an option for people who don´t need their companies to keep growing but want their families to have a different way of life, or just an easy access to go inside the country. I don´t know where you are from, but probably, those 3 countries need a visa stamped on their passport (I´ve done the process a couple of times and it takes you at least one morning plus lots of paperwork). It´s like buying a green card without extra work.

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Eric on July 15, 2009  · 

I can endorse your thoughts on handing out more Green Cards with a recent citation from Thomas L. Friedman: “Now is when we should be stapling a green card to the diploma of any foreign student who earns an advanced degree at any U.S. university, and we should be ending all H-1B visa restrictions on knowledge workers who want to come here. They would invent many more jobs than they would supplant. The world’s best brains are on sale. Let’s buy more!” (Source: http://bit.ly/10MmFD)

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Lucas on July 16, 2009  · 

Bear in mind that an investor +$500K (risk investment) can get a green card today. The challenge is how to prevent a (mob) market of vicious reselling of the same stock; plus how to avoid the pricing gap (depreciation) on the -$500K house market (most US).

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Jan on July 22, 2009  · 

It certainly is a good idea
As being mentioned it is already happening but not massively – because it is not simple and costs more than the 500k.

They key thing here is, as Martin mentioned, the taxation. It really is annoying. These days, swiss banks don’t even call US numbers.

Maybe someone can bring that forward to people who can make it happen and so avoid the massive risk that we face today with the US deficits.

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jim jones on July 24, 2009  · 

A lot of people with money want to move to the USA. However, even if they dont have criminal records, are they necessarily the type of people the USA wants. Many will have pillaged to get the money, they will be politicians who have ripped off their constituents, industrialists who have ripped off their employees, and with them will come their values. The USA has always had high ideals, it doesnt want to compromise the very values that attracts people and keeps the USA respected around the world. I am sure that people from the Middle East could pass any financial test, but would you really want their attitude to women and religious values, many wealthy people from Asia, armed with funds and degrees all dubiously obtained would qualify, but so would all their relatives and their associated values. It is not a good idea to recruit immigrants on the basis solely of money. Money rarely goes hand in hand with social conscience, more likely it goes with greed and me first. This attitude will infect Healthcare, Schooling, Social Services etc. Not what is needed right now or ever. Acorns dont fall far from the tree, assess the countries and societies that they come from and you will get a pretty good idea of their values. That is what is important.

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