My Thoughts On The Libertarians: Gary Johnson

gary johnson

Today, I’m finishing up my series on the Libertarian candidates for President, and so far, I think they’ve been great. The final one I’m talking about is Gary Johnson. Johnson is the former Republican Governor of New Mexico, which isn’t exactly a red state in any sense of the word. Johnson started his own handy-man business, all by himself, and grew it to be the biggest construction company in the state of New Mexico, a feat that is not easily done. Johnson is an adventurous character: he’s managed to climb several of the tallest peak throughout the world, and is looking to finish that sometime in 2016.

So, to simply say, Gary is a cool guy. I don’t think there really is any disputing that.

Now, onto where he stands with the issues.

Positions

So, to start, allow me to show you this. It’s not really indicative of any position specifically, but it allows you to get a general sense. Also, it’s cool:

#1. Government Spending

By the time Barack Obama leaves office, the national debt will be $20 TRILLION. That is not just obscene, it is unsustainable — and arguably the single greatest threat to our national security.

Responsibility for the years of deficit spending that have created our debt crisis rests squarely with BOTH the Republicans and the Democrats. The debt doubled under President George W. Bush — and doubled again under President Obama. During that time, both parties enjoyed control of Congress, and the deficit spending just kept piling up.

It doesn’t have to be that way, despite what the politicians say. But the idea that we can somehow balance the federal budget without cutting military spending and reforming entitlements is fantasy. What is required is leadership and political courage. As Governor of a state with an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature, Gary Johnson stood up to excess spending, vetoed 750 bills and literally thousands of budget line items…and balanced the state’s budget.

Governor Johnson has pledged that his first major act as President will be to submit to Congress a truly balanced budget. No gimmicks, no imaginary cuts in the distant future. Real reductions to bring spending into line with revenues, without tax increases. No line in the budget will be immune from scrutiny and reduction. And he pledges to veto any legislation that will result in deficit spending, forcing Congress to override his veto in order to spend money we don’t have.

No excuses. No games. A REAL balanced budget.

I like this. He’s got executive experience, and to a certain degree, knowns how the game works, especially since New Mexico had a Democrat legislature during his time in Office. He knows that actual cuts need to be made, and not just scratches to the surface. This is what the R’s and D’s mostly forget, which is why nothing changes with them for the good.

#2. Taxes

Today’s federal tax code does all the wrong things. It penalizes productivity, savings and investment, while rewarding inefficiency and designating winners and losers according to political whim. For far too long, tax laws have been used not just as a means to collect needed revenues, but as a weapon with which to manipulate our behavior, create and destroy industries and fulfill politicians’ dreams of social engineering. The result is a tax code that is more than 70,000 pages long enforced by a government agency with almost 100,000 employees.

It is nothing less than a massive deployment of government force on our lives, our finances and our freedom.

Governor Johnson advocates the elimination of tax subsidies, the double taxation embodied in business income taxes, and ultimately, the replacement of all income and payroll taxes with a single consumption tax that will allow every American and every business to determine their tax burden by making their own spending decisions. Taxes on purchases for basic necessities would be “prebated”, with all other purchases taxed equally regardless of income, status or purpose.

Many leading economists have long advocated such a shift in the way we are taxed, and Gary Johnson believes the time has come to eliminate the punishing tax code we have today and replace it with a system that rewards productivity, investment and savings. The IRS as we know it today would no longer be necessary, and Americans would no longer need to live in fear of the force of government being wielded under the guise of tax collection.

I like this part from Gary. To me, it looks like a good plan. He’s calling for the elimination of several taxes (Personal and Business Income Taxes to name just two), and the instituting of ONE tax (a consumption tax). There isn’t a specific “detail-by-detail” plan of what he would do percentage wise with the consumption tax, but that could still come soon.

For a look at what Gary has supported in the past, here he is when he was running for President in 2012 under the GOP: [Link]

#3. Term Limit

Americans are increasingly frustrated, even angry, that — regardless of which political party is in control — nothing really changes in Washington, DC. The spending continues unchecked. The wars continue. Government keeps taking away more freedom. This disastrous allegiance to the status quo by career politicians is a direct result of the reality that those politicians are more concerned about keeping their jobs than about doing what needs to be done. That’s why Gary Johnson is a strong advocate of term limits. Run for office, spend a few years doing the job at hand, and then return to private life. That’s what Gary Johnson did as Governor, and that’s what Senators and Representatives should do.

I see nothing wrong this. Good for Gary.

#4. Jobs

During the 2012 campaign, Gary Johnson was lauded for having the best “job creation” record of all the former governors running for President. His response: “As Governor, I didn’t create a single job.” His point, of course, being that government doesn’t create jobs — except for itself. Entrepreneurs, growing companies and a robust economy create jobs.

Government’s role is to create and maintain a regulatory and tax environment in which private job-creators can prosper. Gary Johnson did that as Governor, and would do so as President. Government regulation should only exist to protect citizens from bad actors and the harm they might do to health, safety and property. Regulation should not be used to manipulate behavior, manage private lives and businesses, and to place unnecessary burdens on those who make our economy work. Eliminating unnecessary regulations and applying common sense to those rules that are necessary will free up capital and allow those who want and need to create jobs to do so.

Likewise, adopting the tax reforms Governor Johnson advocates will literally create millions of jobs. While most politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, suggest that modest reductions in business taxes might create jobs, Gary Johnson believes eliminating income taxes on businesses will transform the U.S. into the “job magnet” of the world. Why would any corporation move its operations off-shore when the best tax “haven” on the planet is right here at home?

This is the same approach to which he used in New Mexico. And this is also what he didn’t take credit for, saying that he didn’t create a single job as Governor, but just cleared the way for economic growth and more jobs. And quite honestly, I want this, and this is how Governor’s and so on should be looking to job creation, seeing as how if they were to be consistent with taking credit for job creation, they would also say how many jobs they destroyed.

#5. Personal Freedom

When you ask Americans today what the greatest threat to their individual liberties is, far too often the response is: “The government”. That is simply unacceptable in a nation that was literally founded on the notion of liberty.

Imagine the disgust of the Founding Fathers if they were to see the national government spying on citizens’ private communications, monitoring financial transactions, photographing license plates, and even demanding to know what a person is doing at a public library — all without warrants or due process of law.

Imagine their shock to learn that the government has decided it is appropriate to tell adults what they can put in their bodies — and even put them in jail for using marijuana, while allowing those same adults to consume alcohol and encouraging the medical profession to pump out addictive, deadly painkillers at will.

The list goes on, but the point is clear: Decades of ever-more-intrusive government has steadily eroded personal freedom in this country. Adults are no longer free to make their own decisions, and virtually no part of Americans’ private lives are today safe from government scrutiny and regulation.

Gary Johnson believes government should be truly limited — limited in the way the Founders envisioned. Responsible adults should be free to marry whom they want, arm themselves if they want, make their own decisions about their bodies, and lead their personal lives as they see fit — as long as no harm is done to others. And they should be able to do so without unconstitutional scrutiny by the NSA, the ATF, the DEA or any other government agency.

I think Gary is being a bit conservative here, as we can say with great confidence that the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves right now, maybe fast enough to power all of New York City without end. The NSA, ATF, DEA, and practically every other alphabet agency that threatens freedom in some sort of way needs to be shut down, and disbanded. And as for adults, they’re capable of making their own decisions, and should be able to do so.

#6. Foreign Policy & National Defense

The objective of both our foreign policy and our military should be straightforward: To protect us from harm and to allow the exercise of our freedoms.
Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed and the trillions spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. The chaotic, reactive military and foreign policies of the past two Presidents have, if anything, created an environment that has allowed real threats to our safety to flourish.

Radical Islam and sharia ideology were not created by our actions, but they have prospered in the wake of the instability to which our actions contributed. And while our leaders have thrust our military and our resources into regime changes, failed nation-building and interventions that have strained valuable strategic relationships, the murderers of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other violent extremes have found new homes, established the caliphate of their warped dreams and secured the resources to become very real threats to our lives and our liberty.

As President, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to refocus U.S. efforts and resources to attack the real threats we face in a strategic, thoughtful way. The U.S. must get serious about cutting off the millions of dollars that are flowing into the extremists’ coffers every day. Relationships with strategic allies must be repaired and reinforced. And the simplistic options of “more boots on the ground” and dropping more bombs must be replaced with strategies that will isolate and ultimately neuter those who would, if able, destroy the very liberties on which this nation is founded.

This is a foreign policy I can get behind. I find the bolded portion (I bolded) to be a really key part, which is something conservatives and types on the right like to try and use against non-interventionists. They always like to say that we’re blaming America for radical islam, when that’s not the case at all. What we’ve created is the vaccum. They exploited and prospered because of it. There is a difference.

We need a President who will use his head on foreign policy, and not be a reactionary neo-conservative with a blood lust (I mean, seriously, they always want war and destruction). We need someone who will be able to think clearly, and not respond with just bombs and bullets, ending up in our guys dying, and creating more people who will hate the US. I believe that Gary will be good on this, and it’s something the country desperately needs, after 8 years of Bush and Obama (though there really isn’t a difference).

#7. Immigration

Having served as Governor of a border state, Gary Johnson understands immigration. He understands that a robust flow of labor, regulated not by politics, but by the marketplace, is essential. He understands that a bigger fence will only produce taller ladders and deeper tunnels, and that the flow of illegal immigrants across the border is not a consequence of too little security, but rather a legal immigration system that simply doesn’t work.

Militarizing the border, bigger fences, and other punitive measures espoused by too many politicians are all simplistic “solutions” to a problem caused by artificial quotas, bureaucratic incompetence and the shameful failure of Congress to actually put in place an immigration system that matches reality.

Governor Johnson has long advocated a simplified and secure system of work visas by which willing workers and willing employers can meet in a robust labor marketplace efficiently and economically. Aspiring immigrants would undergo a background check, pay taxes and provide proof of employment.

Making it simpler and efficient to enter the U.S. legally will provide the greatest security possible, allowing law enforcement to focus its time and resources on the criminals and bad actors who are, in reality, a relatively small portion of those who are today entering the country illegally.

This is an immigration system I can get behind. It might not be as simplistic as that of Austin Petersen (see Ellis Island protocols), but it is much more simplistic than what the current system is, and it would allow people to come more easily, thus taking away much of the incentive to come to the US illegally.

And I trust Gary on this. He was Governor of New Mexico, and they’re on the border. He’s dealt with border issues, the Border Patrol, and so on before. He has been able to see quite well what has gone on, and has probably experienced the work visa system before with his construction company.

#8. Criminal Justice Reform

How is it that the United States, the land of the free, has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world?

The answer is simple: Over time, the politicians have “criminalized” far too many aspects of people’s personal lives. The failed War on Drugs is, of course, the greatest example.

Well over 100 million Americans have, at one time or another, used marijuana. Yet, today, simple possession and use of marijuana remains a crime — despite the fact that a majority of Americans now favor its legalization.

More generally, mandatory minimum sentences for a wide range of offenses and other efforts by politicians to be “tough” have removed far too much common-sense discretion from judges and prosecutors.

These factors, combined with the simple fact that we have too many unnecessary laws, have produced a society with too many people in our prisons and jails, too many undeserving individuals saddled with criminal records, and a seriously frayed relationship between law enforcement and those they serve.

Fortunately, a growing number of state and local governments are taking steps toward meaningful criminal justice reform. The federal government must do the same, and Gary Johnson is committed to bringing real leadership to this long-overdue effort.

kid-thumbs-up

I approve. There needs to be reform in mandatory minimums, namely their removal. The War on Drugs is an easy one, especially for Gary, since he was the CEO of Cannabis Sativa. These two would lead to billions in savings on the part of the American taxpayer, and would allow for criminals to fully do their sentences, instead of being let out or shipped to some lower prison because the prisons are full of druggies.

#8. Internet Freedom & Security

Gary Johnson has often said, “There is nothing wrong with the Internet that I want the government to fix.”

The Internet has literally changed the world, and has done so largely without interference from the government. It is no coincidence that the unprecedented innovation and entrepreneurship — and the resulting improvements in our quality of life — that has occurred in cyberspace has happened in one of the last refuges of freedom.

It needs to stay that way.

Yet, there are increasing calls for government regulation and intrusion into the Internet. From some politicians’ suggestions of a government “kill switch” to recently-passed so-called Cyber Security legislation, the government is determined to insert itself into our freedom to communicate, conduct business and seek information via the Web.

The government is even demanding that it be granted special “back doors” into encrypted, private information held and moved by Internet providers. The excuse is security — a laughable concept from a government that has proven time after time to be incapable of protecting even the most basic data.

Gary Johnson has consistently opposed these attempts at government interference with the Internet, and as President, would return the government to the side of freedom and innovation — not regulation.

No opposition, what so ever.

#9. Environment

The environment is a precious gift and needs to be protected. Gov. Johnson believes strongly that the first responsibility of government is to protect citizens from those who would do them harm, whether it be a foreign aggressor, a criminal — or a bad actor who harms the environment upon which we all depend.

Consistent with that responsibility, Gary Johnson believes it is the proper role of government to enforce reasonable environmental protections. He did so as Governor, and would do so as President.

However, Gov. Johnson also believes that it is NOT the proper role of government to engage in social and economic engineering for the purpose of manipulating the energy marketplace or creating winners and losers in what should be a robust free market. Such efforts have failed in the past, and are doomed to continue to fail. Preventing a polluter from harming our water or air is one thing. Deciding in Washington, DC, that one source of energy should be subsidized and others penalized is a different matter.

In a healthy economy that allows the market to function unimpeded, consumers, innovators and personal choices will ultimately bring about the environmental restoration and protection society desires. Conversely, destroying prosperity and innovation through government intervention will only harm the environment.

When it comes to global climate change, Gov. Johnson believes too many politicians are having the wrong debate. Is the climate changing? Probably so. Is man contributing to that change? Probably so. The important question, however, is whether the government’s efforts to regulate, tax and manipulate the marketplace in order to impact that change are cost-effective — or effective at all. Given the realities of global energy and resource use, there is little evidence that the burden being placed on Americans is making a difference that justifies the cost.

This is probably the interesting plank of his platform that I believe would be the most controversial. That being said, I don’t see much of issue with this. I find the “preventing a polluter from harming our water or air” part to be a bit vague, and I’d be interested in finding out more as to what that would entail, but the rest I think is fine.

#10. Education

Governor Gary Johnson was one of the first governors in the nation to propose and advocate a universally available program of school choice. He did so while governing with an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature and while facing a powerful teachers’ union. He was well aware that his proposal would not be enacted and would generate fierce opposition. However, he believed it was important to raise the issue and force the teachers’ unions to defend a clearly failing status quo.
More broadly, Gov. Johnson believes there is no role for the Federal Government in education. He would eliminate the federal Department of Education, and return control to the state and local levels. He opposes Common Core and any other attempts to impose national standards and requirements on local schools, believing the key to restoring education excellence in the U.S. lies in the innovation, freedom and flexibility that federal interference inherently discourages.
As Governor, he saw first-hand that the costs of federal education programs and mandates far outweigh any benefits, both educationally and financially.
 Education is still a big issue, and I’ve got two brothers still in school. One goes to an underperforming high school, and he’s still a really smart kid, but I think the school is really not doing as well as it could do if it tried. The other is in a Charter School, which I would say is better, though has some issues of it’s own. I’ve been through public, charter, and private schools. I’ve been through it all, and I would say that the best was the Private school, followed by the Charter, then finally the Public system (Virginia was better than Florida, in my opinion).

Education reform needs to eliminate the Department of Education as the Federal level, and destroy it for good. The funds need to then be either eliminated from Congress’s budget, or divided amongst the states in a grant (no strings though). The elimination of Common Core (a huge joke, in my opinion) is also a needed thing, if we even want to have an educated people.

#11. Abortion

Gary Johnson has the utmost respect for the deeply-held convictions of those on both sides of the abortion issue. It is an intensely personal question, and one that government is ill-equipped to answer.

As Governor, Johnson never advocated abortion or taxpayer funding of it. However, Gov. Johnson recognizes that the right of a woman to choose is the law of the land today, and has been for several decades. That right must be respected, and ultimately he believes this is a very personal and individual decision. He feels that each woman must be allowed to make decisions about her own health and well-being.

Further, Gov. Johnson feels strongly that women seeking to exercise their legal right must not be subjected to persecution or denied access to health services by politicians in Washington or elsewhere who are insistent on politicizing such an intensely personal and serious issue. As Governor Johnson did support a ban on late term abortions.

Again, this is an area where conservatives will, and do, have an issue, though I think knowing that he was for stopping late-term abortions helps. My issues is that there are plenty of libertarians who are against abortion, such as Ron Paul, Austin Petersen, Tom Woods, Julie Borowski, etc…, and all of them have been able to reason it out well as being perfectly consistent with the philosophy.

I don’t know. Quite honestly, I still don’t fully understand this issue, and I probably will never be able to.


Now, let me address some things that Gary has done that is upsetting some people. The first would be reaching out to others, and using rhetoric that some libertarians find issue with. This would be the equivalent of Rand Paul reaching out to social conservatives, or supporting another terrible GOP nominee. You should be well aware that Gary can’t just sit around and appeal to libertarians all day. If he is the nominee, then he will need to reach out to other groups, like the social conservatives and so on. You might not approve of the rhetoric, but if you look to the message, it will still be the same.

The next thing would be the cake issue. Yeah, I disagree with him on that one, and I don’t see how the power utility could discriminate against a certain person. The power utility has no real reason to discriminate, and they know that the person doesn’t really have much of a choice for another option. Why would they discriminate, and thus decrease their revenue? It doesn’t really make much sense, if you ask me.


I think that’s really all I have to say. I think Gary is a great guy, and sure, he has some faults, but compared to Trump and Clinton, he’s still 1000x better than any cell that composes those two. If you’re looking to someone who has executive experience, look at Gary Johnson. If you’re looking for someone who is a strong leader, look at Gary Johnson. If you’re looking for someone who had a backbone in a time when it was fashionable to not have one, look to Gary Johnson. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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