Having read about Superman’s act of treachery , I wondered: How often do Americans renounce their citizenship? Why do they do it? And has anyone famous done so before the Man of Steel?

First, how did this citizen of the universe go about renouncing his US citizenship? Well, it’s pretty simple and laid out in the Immigration and Nationality Act:

Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship.”:

A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:
1. appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
2. in a foreign country (normally at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate); and
3. sign an oath of renunciation

The text of the renunciation?

“I hereby absolutely and entirely renounce my United States nationality, together with all rights and privileges and all duties of allegiance and fidelity.”

How often does it happen? According to a 2010 Financial Times story , Americans are standing in line to bid adieu:

As many as 743 American expatriates made the irreversible decision to discard their passports last year, according to the US government – three times as many as in 2008.

The trend was particularly noticeable in the UK, where 190,000 Americans live and work. There is a waiting list at the embassy in London for people looking to give up citizenship, with the earliest appointments in February, lawyers and accountants say.

I’m sure everyone can think of a certain special someone they wished would relinquish their US citizenship, but after extensive googling I could only find a handful of well-known names who ever did. There’s Terry Gilliam . (Who also renounced directing after he made “Brazil.”) Bobby Fischer . And Elizabeth Taylor, who — according to Wikipedia and some other shaky sources– reportedly sought to renounce her United States citizenship (she had dual citizenship with England) in 1965. The State Department did not accept it request because she refused to renounce “all allegiance to the United States of America.”

She wouldn’t even do it for Richard Burton. But Superman?

A 2010 AOL’s Daily Finance piece explored the Obama Administration’s tax crackdown on the wealthy and ensuing yacht exodus. So perhaps this sniveling, woe-is-me act by the son Jor-El is just a PR stunt, a distraction. Perhaps Superman is one of those fat cat trust fund babies – his father was a Kryptonian scientist, after all — his real kryptonite the confiscatory taxation policy supported by the Obama Administration?

Just a theory. Like Donald Trump or Andrew Sullivan , I’m simply asking questions, not making accusations.