Continuing my series on libertarian criticisms, I will address the argument that if libertarians don’t like living in the United States, then we should move to a country that has less regulations and less laws.
Firstly, it should be noted that this argument is more than likely a shut-down of the conversation when the other side does not wish to debate. This kind of statement shouldn’t have to be refuted because disagreeing with the structure of the United States government doesn’t equate to hating the country, but alas, this is stated often enough that it must be addressed.
Ideally, most Libertarians would love the idea of being able to move freely to a country that more closely matches their values, but it is not as simple to leave the United States as one may think. Currently, under some conditions, a citizen may be taxed to renounce their citizenship.
If one’s average annual net income for the next five years is too much, if one’s net worth is $2 million or more, or one has failed to comply with the IRS for the last five years, then the citizen wishing to expatriate is probably going to pay an “exit tax.”
“the exit tax, […] is a tax on the net unrealized gain in the individual’s property (such as a house) as if the property had been sold for its fair market value on the day before the expatriation date.
Net capital gains are currently taxed at the rate of up to 23.8 percent (20 percent maximum capital gains tax plus the 3.8 percent net investment income tax),” according to CNBC.
Even if a citizen were not wealthy enough to meet these criteria, they could still have to pay taxes on any mistake on their last five years of tax returns. Renouncing one’s citizenship also doesn’t protect them from the estate tax on anything they own in the U.S. Also, Forbes states that “[…] the U.S. has the highest fees in the world to renounce citizenship […].”
The U.S. makes it extremely difficult to become a citizen of a different country by adding cost to an already costly venture and in some cases, someone may still be taxed even if they become a citizen elsewhere.
Renouncing citizenship and leaving the country also doesn’t protect young Americans from a possible draft. The U.S. Department of State writes “Persons who wish to renounce U.S. citizenship should be aware of the fact that renunciation of U.S. citizenship may have no effect on their U.S. tax or military service obligations […].”
Besides the difficulties of permanently leaving the U.S., it would also be foolish because this country is the only one that guarantees all of the rights in our Constitution. While Salon claims that libertarians wouldn’t leave because there are no countries with libertarian governments (and somehow this discredits our views), it’s more the fact that the United States’ constitution was written so that writes are given to the people, not the government.
Countries like the United Kingdom have no stated right to freedom of speech in their constitution, while others, like Australia, have completely banned the possession of firearms. America is also below average on tax rates when compared internationally.
Right now, this country is the best place to be for liberty lovers who wish to make a difference and create a more libertarian society. So, next time a libertarian has this statement spat at them, I hope to hear because this country is the closest thing currently and I would like to see it become better.
Click the links below to read my other articles on Libertarian Criticisms