Tired of the social injustices of the Republican Party? Frustrated by the intrusive and anti-business economic policies of the Democratic Party? If you answered YES to both of these issues, you may be a secret Libertarian -- you've just never known the right label.
As both major parties look to derail and discredit each other on every policy imaginable, it can get frustrating to watch. While the next election is probably a little far away, it doesn't mean that you can't start researching alternatives to mainstream political parties now.
The Libertarian Party, the third largest political party in the United States, adheres to the slogan, "Free Minds and Free Markets." To remedy our current political problems, Libertarians propose the implementation of a free-market economy and a consistent dedication to personal freedoms. Here are four reasons that Libertarians deserve strong consideration next time you vote:
Taxes: Despite not having universal support within the party, most Libertarians are staunch supporters of the FairTax. The plan would first eliminate all federal income taxes and payroll taxes. To keep the government revenue-neutral, the FairTax raises the amount of sales tax (a "consumption tax") to 23 percent across the board. This may seem like an unappealing idea at first glance, but hear me out: Because businesses do not have to spend so much money on input taxes to create their goods, they can sell them for a lower base price. Add on the higher sales tax rate and the price of goods will essentially be the same.
So why change anything? The removal of income taxes allows consumers to keep all the wages they earn, providing them with more money to spend. Also, shifting to a consumption-based tax system makes taxing entirely voluntary: if you don't want to be taxed, don't buy that product. Instead of an income tax that punishes productivity, consumption taxes provide both individuals and businesses with more incentive to work hard.
I encourage you to look into this plan in greater detail. There are many other beneficial aspects of this proposed plan. For example, the sales tax would only apply to new items, monthly prebate checks would be given out to households, and price tags would be all-inclusive, meaning that taxes will already be incorporated into the displayed price and there will be no surprises at the cash register.
Economy: As displayed by their relatively forward-thinking tax policy, Libertarians advocate as little government involvement in the markets as possible, but still recognize it as a necessary evil with valid functions. Their general mantra recognizes that the free markets can do a much better job allocating resources than the government. The government, therefore, exists to maintain public order through enforcement of private property and contract laws.
Civil Liberties: Freedom and equality are supposed to be defining features of the United States, yet some still attempt to deny equal rights to homosexual couples and censor materials they deem inappropriate. Libertarians are advocates of gay marriage and are against government censorship, believing in unrestricted freedom of speech.
In addition, Libertarians believe that abortion should only be banned after the first trimester and that marijuana should be legalized, taxed and regulated instead of criminalized. Social beliefs generally fall in line with those of the Democratic Party.
Foreign Policy: Following a pacifist philosophy, Libertarians place more focus on trade and preventing war; their non-interventionist military policies work to avoid negative relationships with other countries. Any nation would hate to have foreign armies on its soil -- therefore, the removal of all troops from the Middle East is the best anti-terrorism insurance. While accused of being isolationist, Libertarians counter that stopping attacks on other countries to foster better relations is exactly the opposite of isolationism. To better grasp the premise of Libertarian foreign policy, watch this video.
Remember that every political party has its advantages and disadvantages, so do your own research and find reliable sources. Be skeptical and educate yourself.