Free Minds & Free Markets

Stossel: Libertarian Larry Sharpe Brings New Ideas to New York

New ideas, like leasing naming rights for public bridges and buildings, would save taxpayers money.

In New York, Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo wants to raise taxes.

But John Stossel interviews an interesting candidate with a different plan–Libertarian Larry Sharpe. He proposes alternative ways to raise money.

One idea is to lease naming rights on public infrastructure.

"The Triborough Bridge could be called the Staples Bridge, or the Apple Bridge," Sharpe explains to Stossel. "Hundreds of thousands of vehicles pass by, and see that big sign. That's valuable!"

Most people we asked on the street didn't like his idea. "I definitely wouldn't want to rename something after some sort of corporation," one man told us.

Sharpe says it's necessary, "You can shake your fist and say 'this doesn't sound good' if you want to. And you're going to wind up in a place where the tax burden is insanely high." That, he points out, would lead to more businesses and people leaving New York.

Although Sharpe is the Libertarian candidate, he's doing well for a third-party. A recent poll has him getting 13 percent of the vote. And after survey respondents hear his campaign pitch, that number goes up to 25 percent.

Stossel thinks the reasons for his success may be that he speaks well, campaigns constantly, and–unlike most libertarians–doesn't propose cutting existing government programs. He only wants to stop creating new ones. Sharpe also talks positively about unions.

"There are [rail] systems out there...that are both safe and unionized, so we keep the unions happy and our workers safe," Sharpe told Stossel.

"Why do you want to keep the unions happy?" Stossel responded. "Unions can be destructive."

"They can be, absolutely," Sharpe said. "[But] unions are part of our First Amendment. It's people getting together saying they won't do X until you do Y. Nothing wrong with that at all."

"It raises prices," Stossel pushed back.

"Fine, that's okay," Sharpe said. "It is what it is. Collective bargaining is fine. My issue with the unions has always been, are you forcing me to be in a union? Are you forcing unionized labor? If you're forcing it, I'm libertarian, I have a problem with that. But you're voluntarily doing it? I don't have a problem at all."

He assures Stossel that he'd prevent any new government programs.

"You do know what party I am part of, right?" Sharpe asks. "Libertarians believe that you should be as conservative or as liberal as you want to be as long as you don't want to force yourself on others."

Stossel is glad that there's a small-government candidate running for office who actually draws enthusiastic crowds.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • NoVaNick||

    I guess for NY, not expanding government is essentially cutting it. If Sharpe's only idea is to allow corporate naming rights for bridges, that's pretty lame, and would not raise nearly enough revenue to ease the tax burden.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He is twisting Libertarianism to fit all the unhappy people in NY.

    That just wont work. You cannot make everyone happy. You certainly cannot make everyone happy with Libertarianism because government needs to be cut by 50-75%+ under Libertarianism.

    Successful candidates like Trump have set goals and the voters adjust to allow for how he gets to those goals.

  • ||

    If Sharpe's only idea is to allow corporate naming rights for bridges, that's pretty lame, and would not raise nearly enough revenue to ease the tax burden.

    He didn't propose just bridges and it could be interesting to see what kind of market he generates. I'd probably donate some money to make "The Victoria's Secret Tunnel" happen.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Per entry fee, you get panties handed to you by Victoria Secret ladies.

  • loveconstitution1789||


  • Earth Skeptic||

    $100 tolls, and many happy customers.

  • NoVaNick||

    I'd line up for that

  • Hank Phillips||

    How about the Pro-Avid-Life birth control clinic?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its not a horrible thing to get people talking about Libertarianism as an alternative to the GOP and Democrats.

    Oh the other hand, cherry picking a few Libertarian talking points, does not a Libertarian make.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    But it might get a better candidate elected.

  • NoVaNick||

    Oh the other hand, cherry picking a few Libertarian talking points, does not a Libertarian make

    See current POTUS, who I keep being told is the most Libertarian since Calvin Coolidge

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I said talking points.

    I would say that he's the most Libertarian-ish doer since Coolidge.

    Trump has actually accomplished more Libertarian-ish things as president than Larry Sharpe even talks about.

  • Sam Grove||

    "I would say that he's the most Libertarian-ish doer since Coolidge."

    The hurdle isn't very high.

    "Trump has actually accomplished more Libertarian-ish things..."

    Attacking the regulatory apparatus is pretty good.
    Trade war is pretty bad.
    Nominating judges that are not progressive is fairly good, but nowhere near great.
    Cutting taxes is worthless without cutting spending, though cutting corporate taxes is a boon.
    The best thing he does is bother the left.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The best thing the left does is win the culture war, and generate a half-century of great American progress against the wishes and efforts of right-wingers.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Yep. The national average for per pupil spending is about $11,000, but New York State spends about $21,000 per pupil. The Libertarian candidate for governor of New York is a former public school teacher who thinks the state needs to increase revenue.

  • CDRSchafer||

    When has any American public school system said "Hey we're fully funded, thanks!".l

    Never. They're always moaning and groaning about being underfunded.

  • NoVaNick||

    How much of that goes towards teacher and staff salaries I wonder? Cost of living is much higher in NY for sure.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    It costs a lot of money to change all the signs for a bridge. I wonder who pays for that.

    Building bridges and some other infrastructures are crony boondoggles and money pits. So naming them after a politician sounds right.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Building bridges and some other infrastructures are crony boondoggles and money pits.

    How disaffected, anti-social, and bitter must one be to object to bridges (and, one may reasonably infer, modernity in general)?

  • MoreFreedom||

    Sharpe also stated he's against being forced to join a union. So his "corporate naming rights" isn't his only idea. He also suggested renting out the subways for commercial freight use at night.

    Personally I think it's all kind of moot, in that unless we have Instant Runoff Voting or Approval Voting, the winner by plurality system we have always seems to result in a D or R winner, with an establishment party often supporting a L candidate simply to take votes away from the other side. Though I still usually vote L when given the chance.

  • PCGUY||

    Private sector, not tax dollars, should also sponsor and pay for art installations.

  • Deconstructed Potato||


  • loveconstitution1789||

    Larry Sharpe is okay on some Libertarian issues but he is not seem Libertarian.

    Larry Sharpe avoids difficult Libertarian positions because he cannot explain them to people or does not like them himself. The question would then be would he change to become more libertarian after being elected or become less Libertarian-ish?

    On the 2A:
    "The key point is to keep regulation of the 2nd amendment within the bounds of the Constitution...."

    On welfare, Sharpe has said he would not expand benefits but would not cut benefits either.
    Larry Sharpe website

  • Zeb||

    I think that like any political party, Libertarians will inevitably have to compromise and weaken their positions if they want to be actual political players and not just activists and symbolic candidates.

    I don't know if that's good or bad, but it's just how things work as far as I can see. Politics will never produce anyone's ideal outcome.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I think Libertarians dont have to forgo all positions just emphasize the popular ones to get elected. Let the other positions be pleasant surprises for people.

    The problem with many LINO politicians is that they are actually against some Libertarian positions. Gary Johnson was against leaving bakers alone.

    Weld is against the 2nd Amendment among other Libertarian things that he opposes.

  • creech||

    David Bergland was probably the only LP presidential candidate that gave the media the same answers that he gave the Choir. I was there for some of his media interviews and verified later that they quoted him correctly.
    How did he do on election day? Something like 250,000 votes nationwide. That's probably the size of the actual mainstream libertarian electorate.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its too important to keep Democrats out of office, so most people vote Republican around the USA.

    Once the Democratic Party cannot compete for most elected offices, it will likely be the GOP vs LP.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Well this is some wishful thinking.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Well this is some wishful thinking.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "'On the 2A:
    "The key point is to keep regulation of the 2nd amendment within the bounds of the Constitution...."'

    When I hear this I always wonder if it's true. I think many people that say that mean within the bounds of case law.

    To keep it within the bounds of the Constitution one would first need to define "infringed"

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That is a huge red flag for me about the Constitution.

    It says ...the People's right to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed

    No background checks, gun bans, limitations, waiting periods, ammo bans or registration, limits on ex-cons, gun permits....

    All those things infringe on the People's right to keep and bear Arms.

    All case law infringing on the right are wrong and unconstitutional.

    People dont like to go against government, so calling the government 100% wrong is tough for some people.

  • Just Say'n||

    Oh shut up, LC89. Sharpe is really good. Way better than most of the candidates pushed by the LP.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Oh shut up Just say'n. Save your outrage for Tony.

    I just watched the video interview blitzstrasse suggested and I was impressed. Larry Sharpe said he was an An-Cap but knows it will never happen in the USA, so he's a Libertarian.

    He is fine with tiny limited government for the USA, so he's fine.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Furthermore, I am posting his statements and my opinion about those statements.

    I 100% disagree with him about cutting welfare benefits. So, (1) he gets elected and then cuts benefits which will piss people off toward Libertarians or (2) he gets elected and then does not cut benefits..ever.

    As Governor he would not have supreme power to make cuts anyway but I think its a mistake to say you are Libertarian and say you would not shrink the government and cut outrageous budgets.

    He talks about Libertarian moral high ground and he's right. If he lies about not cutting welfare, he lost moral high ground.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Bin Ladin also brought some unusual ideas to New York. But at least he had the good grace not to pretend to be a libertarian candidate while doing it.

  • loveconstitution1789||


  • Dont Tread On Womyn||

    Holy hell that is absurdly funny

  • Just Say'n||

    How is he any less libertarian than Gay Jay, the Cosmo God?

  • JeffreyL||

    I really think there is a difference between saying he is a small government candidate. What his platform sounds like is government will not get bigger, however, it can stay gigantic as it is now. I don't think that is a small government candidate

  • sarcasmic||

    Cutting government is a political impossibility. The only realistic possibility is to stop it from growing.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Public employee unions make absolutely zero sense for the taxpayer. The person government is supposed to be serving.

    If a union can exist and compete in the free market, great. Bu they government has no competition. In exchange for working in a place where you have no competitors ready to eat your lunch, it's reasonable for employees to given a choice on wages/benefits as in "take it or leave it".

  • Eddy||

    These sorts of violations of purism, on the part of a Libertarian candidate, may well make sense in NY where the cutting-edge political issues involve creating more government programs.

    What might be disappointing in a national or Utah candidate may be at least understandable in a NY candidate.

  • blitzstrasse||

    I saw a much longer-form interview with Dave Rubin and Mr. Sharpe that allowed him the latitude to explain his thoughts and positions to a much greater degree. I do not wish to imply that the conclusions drawn by other members of the commentariat here are hasty or irrational. I just want to state clearly that if you see the Rubin interview, you'll get the context to draw better conclusions about his personal positions on the topics in relation to your own.

    I personally really like Mr. Sharpe, and after hearing him in a longer form medium I find that he adheres more closely to libertarian principles than I would have thought from this interview alone; he has just been forced by circumstance to be pragmatic about his goals because he operates in the People's Marxist Republic of New York.

    Give him a chance, maybe?

  • loveconstitution1789||

  • blitzstrasse||

    Yep, that's it. I thought it might be beneficial for those who who were interested to have to do the work to find it but now that you have totally ruined that for me, I am happy to confirm that your RUBIN+SHARPE query at the youtubez has borne the proper fruit, sir!

    I can't and won't promise that Larry will pass even the least stringent purity test but I do promise that in the course of that interview he will make it clear that he had the same thoughts you did and he does a decent job of explaining where any why the babies got cut in half or went out with the bathwater.

    I reckon that's all I had to say about that.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Watched it. Highly recommended.

    Larry Sharpe is very articulate and an excellent speaker. He might win. He makes some perfectly reasonable political statements and knows who his target NY voter audience is. He might actually get those disinfranchised ~8 million NY state voters.

    He said he was An-Cap but knows that it will never happen, so he on board with Libertarianism.

    He was swayed by Obama but said he realized his mistake. This is normally a red flag for me but he is not parroting Libertarian positions. He seems to genuinely wants those Libertarian positions implemented.

    I think this Stossel video didnt allow him to shine because Sharpe can effectively discuss nearly every Libertarian position in 1 hour. Stossel just does 2 minute videos. The bridge thing is a gimmicky thing he should avoid. His comments about local governments sending traffic tickets to collection agencies to get cents on the dollar to make money is much more compelling.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Thanks blitzstrasse for the video info.

    I will be spreading it for people to check out.

    It would be interesting if he won in NY.

  • loki||

    He's not a perfect example of libertarianism, but, it's a start.

    - brought to you by Carl's Jr

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I agree.

    -brought to you by Chick Fil-A

  • blitzstrasse||

    He's a veteran.
    He's a business man.
    He's extremely intelligent.
    He's obviously affable, possessing charisma and character.
    He's a Black American. (this is meaningless objectively but subjectively I consider it a pro because reasons)
    He's libertarian-ish.
    He's FOR things far more than against things.
    He has A Plan that might actually work.

    He talks really fast. I think that might be a pro in the People's Marxist Republic of New York but it's off-putting elsewhere. But since he's operating in NY...

    --brought to you by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: The Corner Store next to you

  • Uncle Jay||

    Mr. Sharpe must be warned that any "new ideas" must be approved by the Ministry of Truth, New York Division.
    Any deviance from the politically accepted ideas and ideals from the People's Constitution of the New York Politburo will not be tolerated and appropriate punishment will be enacted accordingly.
    Additionally, Mr. Sharpe must apply for a license to bring his new ideas to light which will cost him $900,000,000, 000, a price that we, the New York ruling elites consider a bargain basement price.
    We look forward to examining Mr. Sharpe's ideas, taking his money and throwing him and his family into a gulag of our choice.
    Long live the People's Democracy of New York and our glorious elitist tyrants.

  • loki||

    New York's alright if you like saxophones.

  • loki||

    New York's alright if you like saxophones.

  • loki||

    New York's alright if you like saxophones.

  • The Surly Den||

    Don't base your entire opinion of Larry Sharpe on a 5 minute video. Check out the policies he'll implement if elected Governor of New York.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online