Gary Johnson: "The Libertarian Party is more in tune with the American electorate than any other party at the moment"

Local news site Allvoices covers a Gary Johnson talk at Santa Clara University:

Johnson reiterated his support for the Fair Tax and directed people in the audience to www.fairtax.org to learn more. Johnson promised that as president, he would advocate for a complete scrapping of the current U.S. tax code, going so far as eliminating the I.R.S. and ending payroll withholdings. In place of today’s tax system would be a 23 percent consumption tax – dubbed the “Fair Tax” by its supporters -- on all new goods and services.

The consumption tax would be offset by what Johnson terms “prebates,” monthly $200 checks for every American. The annual sum of $2,400 would offset the cost of the consumption tax up to the poverty level, currently calculated at $10,800 for an individual and $22,350 for a family of four....

Johnson said he would consider [being Ron Paul's running mate if the opportunity arose], but that Paul had signed the Susan B. Anthony Pledge which affirms the candidate’s commitment to “advance pro-life legislation,” according to the language of the pledge.

“I believe in a woman’s right to choose,” Johnson said, adding that he didn’t think he would qualify under the terms of the pledge....

Johnson, who has been excluded from 14 of the 16 Republican debates by what can only be described as “Catch-22” logic, has been the subject of recent speculation that he might end his GOP bid and seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Johnson added that by shutting out its libertarian voices, “The Republican Party is abandoning a lot of the electorate. The Libertarian Party is more in tune with the American electorate than any other party at the moment.”

Reason.tv interview with the former New Mexican Gov. Johnson:

 

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  • SIV||

    Who is this "Gary" guy? Oh, another one of those VAT-taxers.

  • Weird Science||

    Don’t you think Gary was acting a little strange tonight?

    Gary? Who the hell is Gary?

  • ckinger||

    Read the definition of a VAT tax:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_added_tax

    VATs are added on at every stage of production and allow politicians manipulate the tax rate at these stages without our knowledge. No transparency.

    The FairTax is only taxed once at retail, no taxes on stages of production, it removes embedded taxes.

  • protefeed||

    Am I the only one thinking that advocating for a 23% VAT and $200 a month welfare checks for everyone isn't particularly libertarian?

  • anon||

    Are you talking about the FairTax?

    If so, you seriously misunderstand the proposed legislation.

  • Punch in the Nads||

    Nope he doesn't. It's a duck.

  • protefeed||

    I'm talking about what the article says Johnson is advocating for. You used the Orwellian phrase "FairTax", not me (the Orwellian part is that there is no "fair" way to steal from others, even if you call that stealing "taxation".)

    What part of "a 23% national sales tax" do you think is a misstatement?

  • JT||

    Well then why even bother with elections? Elections imply a government. A government does not exist without taxation. I'm not putting down anarchists here, but why even bother with candidates for office if you are an anarchist?

  • protefeed||

    A government does not exist without taxation.

    Not true. A declared monopoly on the initiation of force does not imply coercive financing via taxes. A government could exist by charging fees from those who choose to purchase its services.

    It would be a very small government, since it is hard for a government to outcompete the private sector when going head-to-head.

  • FTNow||

    The FairTax removes tax on income and payroll, and instead taxes excess consumption. I say excess consumption, since the monthly rebate on tax paid on purchases to the poverty level for the household effectively removes the tax on items required to live. The FairTax empowers individuals to choose when and how much to pay to the government by choosing to buy new goods beyond poverty level expenditures. That is a freedom you don't have now. It also frees you from the IRS, frees you from audits, frees you from paying too much or too little, frees you from tax forms and costs, and returns power to individuals.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    I believe M. Friedman supported the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.

    Mostly as it's a far more efficient way to dispense "aid" than various programmes like food stamps.

  • ckinger||

    No of course not. But then again the FairTax isn't a VAT. It is only taxed once on new good and services at the cash register. But in theory all taxes are evil. If you must tax this is a step in a better direction than today's system hands down.

  • Hirai||

    Gary Johnson is starting to sound like a broken record with his shoehorning the Fair Tax in everything all the time.

  • libconlib||

    And that's why they'll never win.

  • ||

    I do not see the so-called "fair tax" as in any way a meaningfully better alternative to what we have right now, and what we have right now SUCKS.

  • Juice||

    It's actually worse than what we have now.

  • ||

    Why

  • ||

    Please go to www.fairtax.org and take a good look at the principles of The Fair Tax. Once you understand it you too will demand it!
    What is the FairTax plan?
    The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality, and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

    The FairTax Act (HR 25, S 13) is nonpartisan legislation. It abolishes all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities.

    The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend on new goods or services, not on what we earn. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent, and intelligent solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system.

    The FairTax:

    Enables workers to keep their entire paychecks
    Enables retirees to keep their entire pensions
    Refunds in advance the tax on purchases of basic necessities
    Allows American products to compete fairly
    Brings transparency and accountability to tax policy
    Ensures Social Security and Medicare funding
    Closes all loopholes and brings fairness to taxation
    Abolishes the IRS

  • Colin||

    The Fair Tax is a really, really stupid idea. If he's getting rid of the IRS, who's gonna collect the revenue and ensure it gets paid?

    Also, I happen to live frugally. I spend considerably less than $200 a month on goods and services (assuming he doesn't consider rent a "service.") Does that mean I will get a welfare check?

    No, thank you. Just don't tax me in the first place.

    Go home, Gary. It's been a long year.

  • tarran||

    If he's getting rid of the IRS, who's gonna collect the revenue and ensure it gets paid?

    THIS!!!!!!!!1111!

    Not only is it not going to get rid of the IRS, the IRS will be in every busienss' books trying to determine which revenues were from consumers and which were from businesses.

    It would eviscerate cottage industries and the self-employed.

  • SIV||

    The IRS will need a lot of "fair tax" tactical teams for all the paramilitary raids on flea markets and garage sales.

  • ||

    Not a problem in Louisiana. The state has already made cash transactions for used goods illegal.

  • sarcasmic||

    The Fair Tax only applies to things that are new.

  • SIV||

    The "fair tax" proposal. Real estate developers and auto dealers (among others) aren't going to sit idly by while that passes.The used goods "loophole" is also the easiest path to fraud. Everyone seeking an exemption or a lower rate will propose plugging the revenue gap by taxing used goods.

  • sarcasmic||

    And until it changes, the Fair Tax does not apply to used goods.

    I agree that it will become just another tool for the social engineers as they set different rates for different goods and services depending on what our betters feel we should purchase or avoid.

  • tarran||

    I purchase stuff in junkyards, refurbish them into kinetic sculptures.

    Is it new, or old? Will the government accept my claim that it's all old?

  • Zeb||

    "paramilitary raids on flea markets and garage sales"

    Yeah, that happens all the time in states with sales taxes.

    I don't think that Fair Tax seems like a very good idea either, but it's not as if it is a big unknown. There are plenty of examples of similar taxes to look at.

  • ||

    There is no tax on used goods, flea market stuff
    it has already been taxed, FairTax tax one time for a new good or service

  • ||

    FairTax has nothing to do with revenue, your income. It replaces the income tax

  • Colonel_Angus||

    For efficiency sake, the "best" federal taxation scheme is a simple low flat rate income tax on individual gross income only.

    Let states fuck around with their own income or consumption taxes. They are assholes if they tax different goods and services at different rates.

    Property taxes will always be the gayest.

  • Juice||

    The best federal tax would be a direct tax on states, not individuals.

  • ||

    Please go to www.fairtax.org and take a good look at the principles of The Fair Tax. Once you understand it you too will demand it!
    What is the FairTax plan?
    The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality, and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

    The FairTax Act (HR 25, S 13) is nonpartisan legislation. It abolishes all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities.

    The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend on new goods or services, not on what we earn. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent, and intelligent solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system.

    The FairTax:

    Enables workers to keep their entire paychecks
    Enables retirees to keep their entire pensions
    Refunds in advance the tax on purchases of basic necessities
    Allows American products to compete fairly
    Brings transparency and accountability to tax policy
    Ensures Social Security and Medicare funding
    Closes all loopholes and brings fairness to taxation
    Abolishes the IRS

  • ||

    There is plenty wrong with the Fair Tax. But we are spending $300 billion a year collecting income taxes, whereas we could pay retailers a tiny fraction of that huge cost by paying retailers to collect sales taxes.

  • ||

    Preview is my friend.

  • ||

    What is wrong with the FairTax other than you have no idea what it is

  • ||

    You would think libertarians would oppose progressive income taxes for their violation of the equal protection clause. But I'm not seeing any of that here.

  • Tony||

    The wealthy are not a suspect class but, by definition, the most privileged people in society.

  • anon||

    I don't think you understand the difference between wealth and privilege.

    Members of congress are privileged; wealthy individuals are just wealthy.

    See how wealth can be independent of privilege?

  • ||

    Equal protection doesn't just protect suspect classes, either.

    If it did, it would be "suspect class protection", not "equal protection."

  • Zeb||

    By what definition? Of which word?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Stop confusing money with wealth, stoopid.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Stop using the arrogant "by definition", too. Its an indicator that you are creating some fallacy.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I oppose progressive income taxes.

    Tony is a fanny bandit.

  • ||

    then you like the present regressive income tax.
    Question is why?

  • protefeed||

    You would think libertarians would oppose progressive income taxes for their violation of the equal protection clause. But I'm not seeing any of that here.

    Your failure to understand what some of us are saying is up to you to fix.

    I oppose taxation, period. It is stealing. Progressive taxation is an even more evil form of stealing. To the extent one supports taxation, one is unlibertarian. Gary Johnson supports a 23% national sales tax. This is unlibertarian. Perhaps it would marginally lower the amount collected by government, but it certainly wouldn't be a drastic decrease in government theft.

  • Juice||

    You would think libertarians would oppose progressive income taxes

    I, for one, do.

  • ||

    I wouldn't worry about the collections. The Federal Reserve, in collaboration with the Treasury Department, will use Total Information Awareness crawlerbots to datamine every bank account in the nation to track deposits.

    Cash transactions will be illegal.

  • ralph||

    Thanks for the article. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, please see http://​www.Libertarian-Internation​al.org , the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization

  • Appalachian Australian||

    What do you call this? A splenda SugarFree?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    95% sugarfree'd?

  • ||

    Real estate developers and auto dealers (among others) aren't going to sit idly by

    No kidding.
    And "farmers" and doctors and lawyers and solar power equipment manufacturers and medical device makers and textbook publishers and pharmaceutical companies, and...

  • ||

    OK that may well be the coolest thign I have ever seen dude. Wow.

    www.WebPrivacy.tk

  • ||

    By the time they get done working out who will be excluded from the tax as "socially beneficial" in some way, the tax on what's left will have to be about 173%.

    For teh FAIRNESSES!!

  • ||

    Fair Tax = no exceptions, transparent simple.
    Please go to www.fairtax.org and take a good look at the principles of The Fair Tax. Once you understand it you too will demand it!
    What is the FairTax plan?
    The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality, and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

    The FairTax Act (HR 25, S 13) is nonpartisan legislation. It abolishes all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities.

    The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend on new goods or services, not on what we earn. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent, and intelligent solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system.

    The FairTax:

    Enables workers to keep their entire paychecks
    Enables retirees to keep their entire pensions
    Refunds in advance the tax on purchases of basic necessities
    Allows American products to compete fairly
    Brings transparency and accountability to tax policy
    Ensures Social Security and Medicare funding
    Closes all loopholes and brings fairness to taxation
    Abolishes the IRS

  • ||

    Will the government accept my claim that it's all old?

    As soon as you alter it, it's new. And, since buying art is just narcissistic self-gratification, you're not on the "social benefit" list.

  • ckinger||

    Used is by definition the taxes already paid once and only once. It is up to the business selling you goods and services to remit the tax to the state collectors than the fed.

  • jtuf||

    Gary Johnson is one of the best presidential candidates currently in the 2012 race. That being said, what does everyone think of his foreign policy. He wants to bring troops home, which is a good idea for most of our bases. He also wants to rely more on military alliances, because he thinks they are more cost effective. That second position worries me.

  • ||

    He also wants to rely more on military alliances, because he thinks they are more cost effective.

    Not to worry. These "military alliances" will be a means of substituting paper for the actual deployments we have now. Actual deployment as called for by the alliance will be at our discretion. The way NATO works now (for the other members), pretty much.

  • Old Mexican||

    Johnson reiterated his support for the Fair Tax and directed people in the audience to www.fairtax.org to learn more.


    Yes, I am also fond of oxymorons, Gary, like Fair Rape and Fair Food Poisoning.

  • Beloved Rev. Blue Moon||

    Yes, I am also fond of oxymorons, Gary, like Fair Rape and Fair Food Poisoning.

    Not everyone is an anarchist.

  • protefeed||

    You don't have to be an anarchist to think taxation is theft. The government can offer services, and charge fees for those services.

    It wouldn't be a very big government, but it would still be a minarchy, not anarcho-libertarianism.

    Ending taxation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for achieving anarcho-libertarianism.

  • Beloved Rev. Blue Moon||

    You cannot just define away the essence of a government in order to avoid the anarchist label.

    If you want to be an anarchist, be an anarchist - nobody here is going to judge you. But attempting to cram down the definition of "government" to fit into a concept where it does not belong is just conceptually wrong and misleading.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's wrong with trying to find a way to fund government that doesn't involve extortion?

    Government is supposed to react to (and theoretically prevent) force and fraud, not perpetrate it.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Your definition of "government" sounds more like "protection cartel" to me.

  • sarcasmic||

    Your definition of "government" sounds more like "protection cartel" to me.

    One sends a nice man with a club and a gun to break your legs when you don't give it protection money, the other sends a nice man with a club and a gun to lock you in a cage if you don't give it protection money.

  • Jeesum H. Crowbar||

    Give the ideological purity (and libertarianer than thou) bullshit a rest. Let's talk about shit that might actually ever happen.

    I agree, ideologically speaking, that taxation is theft. Every single person who reads Reason with even faint regularity already knows that many libertarians feel that way. Saying it over and over again clarifies the matter for no one.

    But, as a so-called minarchist who views government as a useful evil (and a necessary one in the short term), I personally believe that money has to reliably come from somewhere. Taxation of some sort, regardless of the degree to which it may or may not be immoral, is the only workable solution in the here and now.

    I live in New York City. With 12 million people stacked on top of each other, a "pay as you go" fire department wouldn't work. That's a local concern, of course, but the same logic extends to federal matters such as the U.S. shores being invaded. I wish it weren't the case, but for the time being we need an armed and trained military (what we don't need is that military stationed all over the globe).

    Johnson's fair tax (oxymoron or no), as an idea in the grandest sense, seems a major step in the right direction. It's wildly imperfect, but so are Ron Paul's views on a number of subjects (immigration, for example). To me, Johnson seems the more feasible and capable candidate of the two, as he's proposing policies, vastly superior to those under which we're currently suffering, which have a snowball's chance in hell (if not much more) of actually happening.

  • protefeed||

    But, as a so-called minarchist who views government as a useful evil (and a necessary one in the short term), I personally believe that money has to reliably come from somewhere.

    So, the only reliable source of money for an entity disbursing services is stolen money taken via coercion?

    How the heck do private companies exist in your worldview?

    If by "reliable", you mean, "can not be allowed to fail and be replaced by competitors no matter how coercive and wasteful they are", OK, but that's not the definition I'm working off.

    With 12 million people stacked on top of each other, a "pay as you go" fire department wouldn't work.

    Really? A private fire department that ensured entire buildings, that then passed that cost on to the tenants as a condition of renting space there, is unpossible?

    If people have a strong enough incentive to get a service, which certainly applies to not having one's possessions and live vanish in a fire, someone will come up with a creative way to make it work.

  • Jeesum H. Crowbar||

    In a big picture sense I actually agree with you, and hold such ideals myself. I'd not be surprised that Gary Johnson also ultimately agrees with you. We have to make sure our shit doesn't burn down in the meantime though.

    The "fair tax" is a step in the right direction.

  • RT||

    Have you ever read a lick of history on fires? Do you realize that the most devastating city fires on record all occurred because of some version of privatized firefighting, which has already been proven grossly ineffective and terrible every time it's been tired?

    And what's your idea for privatizing the police force? Everyone should travel with a phalanx of private security guards like some third world nation?

    There don't need to be creative solutions to the basic functions of government, most of which are enumerated in the Constitution. If you don't particularly like the idea of government itself, you're not a libertarian, you're an anarchist.

  • Zeb||

    Those aren't oxymorons. Fair rape is where everyone gets raped the same (very much like fair tax in that way). I am led to believe that STEVE SMITH is a fair rapist.

  • ||

    Yes, I am also fond of oxymorons, Gary, like Fair Rape and Fair Food Poisoning.

    There is stealing a kiss and an overdoes of vitamin c will kill you just as there is at some low tax rate there is a point in which i stop caring about taxes. Yeah it is still bad to take 1% of the fruits of peoples labor....but come on, its only 1%.

  • protefeed||

    Yeah, and that "not caring about the low tax rate" is precisely how the income tax allowing amendment to the constitution was passed, and how it worked, for about 3 years IIRC before the level of theft ramped up.

  • Old Mexican||

    "I believe in a woman’s right to choose," Johnson said, adding that he didn’t think he would qualify under the terms of the [Susan B. Anthony] pledge.


    Women have the right to choose already, Gary. What women do not have is the right to kill a person. If you want to hide behind euphemisms like a Progressive, be my guest, but then don't call yourself a libertarian.

  • ||

    No kidding. Just say it, Gary:

    "I don't think a fetus is a person, so I don't think an abortion is a killing. If a woman wants an abortion, I say go for it. Just don't ask me to pay the tab."

  • ||

    ^THIS^

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I have seen a fetus. They don't even resemble a baby, let alone a real person.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    That kind of thinking leads to some sordid conclusions. Newborns don't look like they should deserve the full right of a human being, but they do. Conversely, if we're going by mere physical appearance, teenagers would be considered persons, but that obviously makes no sense.

  • Beloved Rev. Blue Moon||

    What women do not have is the right to kill a person.

    The fallacy of begging the question is your strong suit, it seems.

    Oh yeah and No True Libertarian was thrown in there to further aid your foolishness.

  • Zeb||

    I'll agree with you on the silliness of how "choice" is used. I am in favor of everyone being allowed choice in almost everything. I also happen to favor legal abortion. But the fact that "pro-choice" means nothing but "pro-legal-abortion" annoys me.

  • protefeed||

    Women have the right to choose already, Gary. What women do not have is the right to kill a person.

    Not everyone may agree with your definition of how soon after conception a fetus can be considered a human being, nor with your implied contention that a woman must be forced to carry such a fetus inside her body until term.

  • ||

    Quastion:

    In a hypothetical universe in which Johnson gets the LP nomination and Ron Paul gets the Republican nomination, who do you vote for?

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Ron Paul

  • ckinger||

    Johnson said he will endorse Paul as the GOP nomination. I take that to mean he won't win LP. But I would have to vote for Paul as the GOP has much more exposure and chance of removing Obama.

  • FTNow||

    A lot of people are incredibly uninformed about H.R.25, the FairTax bill here. H.R.25 removes all tax on income, untaxes essentials for all legal citizens (wealthy or poor) using the prebate to keep purchase decisions tax neutral, and gets rid of the IRS by utilizing the state tax structures to collect the tax and send it, minus a processing fee, to the federal government. Since the FairTax removes the cost of tax compliance and embedded tax from the supply chain, while improving competition, prices will drop by the amount of embedded tax removed, which is calculated to be approximately 22% of the cost of retail goods and services. An item that currently costs $100 can drop in price by 22% and maintain the same net profit for the seller. The FairTax bill is 23% inclusive, and removes income and payroll taxes. $100 - $22 = $78.

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