Is the grass always greener?
It was a simple question to Gary Johnson in a 2012 interview, while running for President as the Libertarian candidate: How do you stop the deficits and out of control spending?
The answer from Johnson, who is currently managing 6% to 10% voter support in national polls:
A: Well, cutting $1.675 trillion from the federal government. You got to start out by talking about (cutting) Medicare and Medicaid by 43 percent. They could block grant the states, 50 laboratories of innovation. Give it to the states to deliver health care to the poor and those over 65 and do away with the strings. Do away with that regulations; let states handle it. There would be best practices emerge. Other states would emulate the best practices. They’re be failure. States would avoid the failure.
Johnson also wants to eliminate the Federal Income Tax, which would require huge program cuts in the federal budget to pay for it. His revenue solution would be a national 23% sales tax, plus virtual elimination of the earned Medicare benefit (now paid for by workers with a payroll tax).
About 25% of all doctors now refuse to accept Medicare patients, because payments for procedures are so low. Johnson’s plan would eliminate these payments and instead expect doctors to just accept a monthly stipend. Will nearly all doctors then refuse to treat seniors? Johnson also wants to exempt businesses from paying FICA taxes, currently their share of Social Security.
Another question for Gary, this from 2011:
Q: Will you issue an executive order to repeal ObamaCare as unconstitutional?
A: Yes, if it’s possible. I would do the same for [President Bush’s Medicare] prescription [drug subsidies]. Two parties can take responsibility for where we’re at right now.
The Medicare D prescription drug benefit plan that Johnson wants to eliminate, already requires seniors (who pay a monthly premium) to put out more than $4,500 a year per person, before catastrophic co-pay kicks into effect. With many commonly-prescribed drugs now costing more than $3,500 a year, some seniors must skip drugs for food and are risking their lives, just to save the government money. Current misery is not enough, Johnson wants more in his obsession for a “balanced” budget.
Citing a story in USA Today which reported that a rash of retirements in 2009 is pushing Social Security to the brink, Johnson said the retirement age needs to be raised perhaps to 70 or 72. “This is the reality, we’re broke,” said Johnson. “We’re broke.”
In 2011 he elaborated on his financial vision:
Q: You told the Wall Street Journal last year that you support means testing for Social Security, for which you said you would raise the eligibility age.
A: I would cut Social Security by raising the retirement age (to 72) and have common sense means testing that’s fair. I would scrap the entire federal tax system and replace it with the FairTax–a one-time consumption tax, with no more Medicare and unemployment payroll deductions–so we’d replace all federal taxes, abolishing the IRS.
If Gary just sounds like an extreme Republican, who would never get a vote from a Democrat, consider his lack of appeal to informed GOP voters with comments like these from 2012:
Q: Should the U.S. continue to support Israel?
A: No, cut all support and aid.
Q: Should the U.S. intervene in the affairs of other countries?
A: Yes, but only in matters of national security.
Q: How should the U.S. deal with Iran?
A: Iran does not threaten our national security and there is no proof they are building a nuclear weapon.
The most drastic defense department solution of any candidate comes from Johnson’s plan to cut spending by 43%:
Here’s what the National Review had to say, in a January 2011 interview:
“If Gary Johnson were president, he would immediately cut all federal spending–entitlements, defense, education, everything–by 43% to rectify our fiscal blunders. And he’d just be getting started. What is [Johnson’s] philosophy? In two words: limited government.”
Johnson believes in cutting government at any cost:
Q: Which programs will you terminate?
A: There are currently two that I advocate abolishing: the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Q: Do you favor a balanced budget amendment?
A: I do–but the problem is that passing balanced budgets for future years is what we do and it takes away the immediate problem and kicks it down the road.
And he shouldn’t be getting any “Bernie” voters with this plan from 2011:
Q: How would your plans for education include student loans and grants?
A: My plans don’t include doing anything when it comes to student loans. The reason for the higher cost in higher education rests with the fact that there are those student loans available. Because those loans are guaranteed, kids are graduating from college, literally strapped with [the equivalent of] a home mortgage. I’m a believer in free markets.
I suggest that if student loans did not exist…tuition would be a lot lower because colleges and universities want to deliver their product, and if there weren’t as many kids going to school because it costs too much, they would find ways to lower their price. They haven’t met that necessity; they don’t see that as a necessity because all students can get student loans. Hence the high cost of college education, where you see the costs of other goods and services dropping.
Johnson’s idol, Ayn Rand, would be proud.
Related: Romney says he may vote for Gary!