I am asked this question more often than you would expect.
Clearly, many people are thinking things are only going to get worse and not get better any time soon in America.
The short answer is that no one has to leave TODAY, but a lot of people should be preparing to leave. The world is a very complex place, as Mises and Hayek taught us. It is hard to know with exactness much too far in advance what will happen. Right now it looks like the trend is toward more and more regulation, which will suffocate life in America. It's possible that could change, but the wise person is thinking about escape routes.
One of the problems I have with those who ask me about leaving America is that they seem to think about it in a macro sense, that is, they assume there will come a day when there is a clear signal that everyone should leave.
I don't believe that will be the case. If more regulations come forth out of Washington D.C., as it appears they will, it will affect some more than others, and may pass others by completely.
Medical doctors are at the top of the list, in my view, of those who should be thinking about leaving the U.S. soon. They should be pretty close to packing their bags. Once Obamacare kicks-in, Medical rates will be controlled by the government. How a doctor treats a patient will be controlled. What types of patients a doctor will be able to see will be controlled. If I was a physician, I would start thinking about setting up in one of the Caribbean Islands or South America, close enough to the U.S. so that wealthy Americans would be willing to fly to be treated.
Also at the top of the list of those who should have plans in the final stages are political bloggers. All this talk about AN internet kill switche scares me. There will be enormous pressure from very powerful commercial internet groups to prevent the broad-based kill switch from being implemented for any significant period of time.. But, the idea of the kill switch hints that the government is indeed scared of the internet. If they can't shut down the entire net, they will, when they deem it necessary, shutdown political bloggers who don't support the regime. How they actually shut things down is not exactly something I want to hang around to find out.
While medical doctors and political bloggers, are at the top of the list, others may be able to survive without much government harassment. There is little reason, at this time. for, say, the government to harass a Southern California surfer dude or, perhaps, a Maine lobsterman. The surfer dude and the lobsterman may be able to stick it out under totalitarian conditions for a long time, and live comfortably.
The answer to when someone should leave America is a personal one. But it is better to be years too early than a day to late. Ludwig von Mises saw what was coming in Austria and he left, while many other Jews failed to act and were killed.
But that doesn't mean everyone had to flee Germany and Austria. I recently spoke to a German girl whose grandfather was of military age when Hitler was on the rise. He had broken his arm and thus was deemed unfit for the German army. He remained working on a farm, during the entire war, a realtively peaceful and calm life.
Everyone should be thinking about options, but there are some of us that should be thinking about those options in a lot more detail than others. What everyone should be thinking about is how new regulations will, or will not, impact you, and how much will it change your life and suffocate you. It is quite possible that things could get so bad that most will want to leave. But the first wave of those that should leave are those that the government is likely to take direct aim at in the near future.