I am proud to be a US citizen. For my generation and for that of my parents, the United States of America is and will always remain the country that liberated us from the Nazi Occupation. Since than, it lost all its wars.

 

I was born, almost to the date, when Hitler and Goebbels committed suicide in Berlin. The post war period, an effort that lasted nearly a half century, was a time during which countries had to rebuild themselves and their economies. These efforts, which were funded largely by the U.S. Marshall Plan, helped many European countries become even stronger and more advanced nations.

 

The decision to become a U.S. citizen while maintaining Belgian citizenship mirrored my emotional, political and practical vision. After nearly 20 years, the U.S. has become home. This attachment strengthened when I became a citizen and again when I could vote in my first U.S. election. In my opinion, voting rights are essential and unfortunately, but resent the difficulties made by Belgium to give access to votes to non-residents nationals for sordid political calculation. As a proud citizen of this country and a resident of New York, I participate in elections every first Tuesday of November. Additionally, I am grateful for access to Medicare (the health care system Republicans hate so deeply), which allowed me access to an extensive and life changing surgery.

 

I am a registered member of the Democratic Party. While I am not particularly proud of the Democratic Party, the Grand Old Party (The Republicans) which I refer to as the Gross Obstructive Party, however, is in contradiction with most of its   fundamental values, particularly women’s rights, voting rights,  immigration, access to healthcare, secularism, defensive use of the military,equal opportunity, and gay rights to name a few.

 

The United States is no longer a true democracy but  a plutocracy.

 

It takes a billion dollars to make a president, and a second one to lose the race. Over 41 years the Clinton raised three billion dollars.  The disparity between classes continues to grow as the wealthy become wealthier and the poor become poorer. In a country where everything and anything is available for purchase, it is an absolute shame to reach the number of citizens and immigrants that live below the poverty line. Ultimately, it is likely this disparity will one day lead to revolutionary actions. Individualism and selfishness are the rule.

 

However, generosity is still very much an ingrained and admirable characteristic of American culture. The support of less fortunate populations, whether domestic or abroad mobilized the largest amounts of funds available in the world. Volunteers are an integral part of the social fabric of the Nation and the concept of “giving back” one of the duties of those who live in it. It is true to schools and universities, local communities or the private hospital system.

My journey to US citizenship

 

It started with the development of the City of London when US  banks opened offices in London to develop the Euromarkets after one of those legislative mistakes the US Congress has the secret to self-inflict: the interest equalization tax.

Morgan Stanley was the leading investment bank in London and its leadership was impressive: Archibald Cox Jr was the head of the London office and I approached him to explore the possibility to join Morgan Stanley as a Managing Director where I became a senior banker, followed by the responsibility of Continental Europe for mergers and acquisitions.

The second call came from Mike Carpenter, who was running Kidder Peabody and needed a head of Europe. It was the Ponzi scheme of Jo Jett, the head of Government bonds in New York who destroyed this white shoe Wall Street firm.

I went to the New York Stock Exchange following a call of John Liftin, who had been asked to find a senior executive to develop the NYSE’s international business. It was a great journey around the world with 300 companies capitalizing 2.7 trillion dollars listed from abroad. Another inept action of the US congress put an end to the international aspirations of the NYSE through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

As my role was ending at the NYSE, I decided to create Galileo Global Advisors and started a global but more personal career.