I like Dubai, having been there perhaps 75 times in the past 4 or 5 years. It's a city where, no matter what time I'd go out, I always felt safe. However, that said, Dubai has a bunch of major problems, not the least of which is their refusal to allow non-indigenous workers to emigrate. What that means is that if you decide to go over there to work, and then spend an entire working career there (or even just a year or two), when you finally decide to retire or quit your job, you will have exactly 30 days to leave the country. The reason for this is that the government doesn't want you to become a "drain" on their economy. So for those of you who are contemplating a move to Dubai, to earn a higher income and avail yourselves of the US foreign tax laws, I'd recommend not falling in love with that country, as you will ultimately not be allowed to settle there.
Another problem for Dubai is that no one working there is actually indigenous to the place, and so, if some years from now, they run out of oil, they will not have the means to pay those who labor in their interests, and overnight the country will turn into a ghost town. That's why they have been spending so much on infrastructure and tax incentives; so that western companies will find advantage there, what with tax advantages and inexpensive labor. The Royal family is doing a great job in those areas, but much less so regarding human rights. Another big problem is the desalination of sea water into fresh water, and it might become the largest problem they have to face.
For Cancer Researcher, your comment "Already doctors and nurses who are American trained make a crap-load more money in these countries without having to pay taxes and are provided homes, cars, chauffeurs, etc. So pretty much 100% of their salaries go towards savings minus the food you eat. They make more over there than they do here. I have know several doctors who have gone there, worked for 10 years and secured their retirements and have come back to work part time as physicians. Not a bad idea at all. I will also be looking into this. As an American and an American-trained doctor, I will be very high on the pay scale hierarchy.", I agree with this statement, but remind you that as a US citizen, regardless of where you work, you are still responsible to pay some amount of US taxes. The reason for this tax is that it's your investment in the future of this country, so that if you ever decide to return to the US, the infrastructure that you left, will (hopefully) still be here when you return.
For Jakarta Expat, Indonesia is another country that I really like a lot, and can understand your desire to live and work there, and appreciate the fact that you continue to support the USA with your taxes, but if you like it so much, and this goes for CR too, why not just cut the cord and emigrate to Indonesia and Dubai, become a citizen (if you can???), and enjoy the lifestyles that you both seem so enamored with. That would allow you to stop paying US taxes and any other encumbrances that being a US citizen might involve.
However, I suspect that neither of you will relinquish your U.S. citizenship, because regardless of how much you dislike our society, it's still the best one out there. After all, the world tries to get in here, not there.
JJ, I agree with a lot that you have said and I do take the tax exclusion every year but when I go over the limit (for 2008 filing it is 90k) I pay what I owe. Just becuase I have made Indonesia my 2nd home why suggest I give up my US passport, it is where I was born. My Indonesian wife and I are considering adopting so why not keep my citizenship to be able to give our adopted child the ability to be a US citizen as well. As for Indonesian citizenship it is bestowed on some expats here (with the approval of the standing President of Indonesia at the time) but it is a controversial issue here with the locals and has to be done with some grace and timing. I understand that currently the Indonesian president has roughly applications and paperwork from appx. 150 expatriates that have met the requirements but still no signature to get the Indonesian passport.
JJ, I have heard from a couple of US pilots that fly the international routes, I know, that they have overseas bank accounts setup and deposit money there to avoid US tax, I never knew if these 2 were bullshitting me but they sure knew the details of the banks involved but I never could see how they could have their employer deposit some of their salary in an overseas account tax free? Any ideas?