40 thoughts on “James Antle Article on Gary Johnson at American Conservative

  1. John Balzer

    Gary Johnson represents what all the others lack. He wants to reform income tax, he wants to reform arcane drug laws, he wants to balance the budget. There isn’t anything not to like here. He is rising fast in the Libertarian party and we can likely anticipate him taking the stage in the great debate. When Americans see what he has to offer, history will be made.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    GP, have determined whether GJ is one of those “stupid” Ls who doesn’t buy into AGW? Have you determined whether your candidate Wrights is “stupid” on that issue?

  3. Webster T. Findlay

    he wants to reform arcane drug laws, he wants to balance the budget.

    Which LP candidates don’t?

    There isn’t anything not to like here.

    See @3

    we can likely anticipate him taking the stage in the great debate.

    15% in September polls? Dream on.

  4. John Jay Myers

    I want to like the guy, I really do, and chances are I will end up fully supporting him when/if he is the eventual nominee, which is very likely.

    Unlike some characters in the LP he doesn’t repulse me, but, he will fail to make a difference in the election if he can’t justify 3 things:
    1. Why would we want to come up/work hard towards a new tax system, which isn’t really much better than our current one? The problem is really spending, but… I would recommend that we at least go to a flat state tax, where the state sends money to fund the limited (very limited) Federal government. But the real debate is just why another tax scheme? We don’t need one.

    2. Gitmo… his stance was bad… really bad, and it shows he doesn’t understand civil liberties, and he really doesn’t understand the wars. It’s not enough to say that the wars cost too much, he needs to understand they are morally wrong and create terror, how you can you side with the idea of people being kept in a prison indefinitely is crazy? Or until the end of the WAR (what war?), even crazier.

    3. He needs to explain how he gives the perfect libertarian answer in regards to Syria, but if you ask what should we do about Israel he has a completely different answer? Do we need to go through a list of every country to see where his allegiance lies or where his libertarian compass guides him?

    Just seems strange to have a policy of “it’s none of our business” “it’s a civil war”, “we can’t afford it” and then without hesitating remove all of those things from the equation when it’s a different country, one that I don’t want a dollar of my money spent to defend, and I certainly don’t want my children dying for.

    We are not the world’s police.

    If he can’t justify/clarify these three things, I don’t think he stands a chance to bring the throngs of Ron Paul people on board, they wont donate, they wont go out and work for him, etc.. and then that’s the end of that.

    Though, I really believe that our Libertarian candidate is as much about education as anything, but if he isn’t educating people in some sort of consistent libertarian way…. who cares?

    He can’t be shown to be a flip-flopper or have no real backbone on some of these tough libertarian issues. Foreign Policy is a big one, and he needs to be able to call out the wars for what they are, or it will be hard to take him seriously on other issues.

  5. Brian Holtz

    Johnson’s actual position: “Individuals detained by the U.S., whether it be at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, must be given due process via the courts or military tribunals, and must not be held indefinitely without regard to those fundamental processes.”

    Libertarians get misrepresented enough by non-Libertarians. Do we have to do it too?

  6. Steven Berson

    @7
    John –
    1) I agree the “FairTax” bills has some serious flaws to it – mainly the “prebate” program so that it is not regressive which seems to me to be invasive and clumsy (but likely preferable to making exemptions for some “essential” goods while raising the tax rate to a super high rate on non-essentials) – but simplifying tax code to one transparent consumption tax does in fact provide a number of advantages over our current cluster-f of a system to me. One is that it makes all pay into the system whether they are residents or visitors – so that it ends problems related to immigrants not paying for public services that they might be using. Next by making it transparent and a single tax – it makes political suicide to ever advocate for raising it. It ends having special interest add loop holes or breaks for themselves into law as happens over and over in our current tax code. It also makes exports more competitive and bringing business back to the USA more attractive by making a 0% effective corporate tax rate. The thing I’ve learned from speaking with GJ that he is in fact open to hearing from Libertarians plans on how to make a consumption tax non-regressive and better structured than what exists in the current FairTax bill. From my few conversations with him I’d say he is a realist in terms of whether the FairTax bill could pass Congress now (he doesn’t think it would) – but he wants to get the conversation going as to how we can reform our tax structures towards ways that do in fact make more sense. And with $15Trillion and rising worth of national debt and a Congress unable to come up with even close to a balanced budget – I’d say advocating ending the income tax and replacing it with nothing without doing a transition towards this means advocating default or hyper-inflation – things we might be heading to anyway – but to rush into these immediately would completely undermine the lives and liberty of the vast majority of Americans – so I’d say the “revenue neutral” part of the FairTax while not a Libertarian goal by any means actually makes a ton of sense to do at this point.

    2) GJ has stated explicitly that he is absolutely against any form of torture or endless detention being committed in the USA – and that he would have internees in Gitmo tried without delay via either civil trial or military tribunal. I agree with others on this thread that military tribunals do not represent due process – and I think GJ could be swayed towards seeing the correctness of this position and taking this position into the campaign.

    3) Gary Johnson has stated in no uncertain terms (speaking directly with me, and in numerous articles, interviews and speeches) that he is completely OPPOSED to giving taxpayer’s money to foreign nations (aka “foreign aid”) in ALL cases (including to Israeli). My understanding is that when GJ speaks of supporting military alliances he means sharing intelligence and coordinating with other nations towards mutually beneficial goals – NOT subsidizing other nation’s military budgets.

    Hope that helps clarify his positions.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    Steve@12,

    “[The “Fair” Tax] ends having special interest add loop holes or breaks for themselves into law ”

    Why on earth would you think anything like that? It already has one huge loophole/break (used products aren’t taxed) in it.

    I’d put the over-under on howw long it takes the homebuilders/lenders lobbies to get a new home exemption at about 90 minutes, give or take — however long it takes to do lunch with a congresscritter. The auto-makers will have to settle for doing after-dinner drinks to nail down their exemptions.

  8. Steven Berson

    Thomas – the 2nd hand market exemption in facts is a huge part of what little bit the word “fair” actually applies to the FairTax bill as far as I’m concerned. It means you’re taxed only once on any item and that “green” behavior of re-use is encouraged. The fact that everyone is going to cheat and everyone is going to lobby for their special interest is a given with any society. The thing to me is that in a paradigm of reset/start-over you’re at least in a better place than post-decades worth of corruption and tomes of unfathomable legislation and regulation piled on. Obviously ommv.

  9. Ted Brown

    @10 I have heard that the defendant can be found “not guilty,” but the president can still choose to keep him locked up. Sounds like something from Kafka to me.

  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    Steven,

    I’m not disputing the claim that the used exemption is one of the few not-completely-insane parts of the “Fair” Tax.

    It is, nonetheless, an exemption/loophole — and there will be 20 more by the time the bill passes and another 200 by the time the ink dries on it.

  11. John Jay Myers

    Just for the record, I got the GJ’s stance on Gitmo directly from the horses mouth, when Gary came to speak in Denton Texas. There were about 80 people there who can verify the conversation, so if he has changed his position… great.

    However, since this was less than a year ago, I think we are going to have to put a small grain of salt with his change of direction.

    However we should also put of grain of salt towards the idea that understanding why Gitmo is wrong isn’t something that most of us needed to learn within the last year.

    Just sayin’

  12. John Jay Myers

    In regards to foreign policy (and Israel), I will guarantee that if asked point blank “What should we do about Israel” his answer would not be the same as his answer in regards to Syria.
    Let’s ask him and find out.

    The answer in regards to the Fair Tax, helps to explain why being so “gung ho” about another “tax scheme” is such a weird thing, seriously, pick your battles. This is not one we should be taking on, the issue when asked about taxes should be spending. And then getting the Federal government reigned in by not allowing them to just take our money … for anything, no income tax, no fair tax. States should flat tax, (everyone, no exemptions) and then send the to the Federal government what their share should be for the services (constitutional services) they provide.

    If you don’t believe the Fair Tax will pass, then there is no reason not to support an even simpler plan in regards to taxes.

  13. Libertarian Party Needs Your Support

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    Gary Johnson on jobs:

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    “we kept government in check, the budget balanced, and the path to growth clear of unnecessary regulatory obstacles.”

    “My priority was to get government out of the way, keep it out of the way, and allow hard-working New Mexicans, entrepreneurs and businesses to fulfill their potential,”

    “Summarizing: Gary doesn’t accept the fallacy that job creation is something that the government can do.” -Rui Nobre Pinheiro

    Spread the word about Gary Johnson
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  14. Rob Banks

    Why would we want to come up/work hard towards a new tax system, which isn’t really much better than our current one?

    It’s actually worse.

    “Mr Holtz may love military show trials”

    Libertarians get misrepresented enough by non-Libertarians. Do we have to do it too?

    I don’t want to misrepresent anyone but this question remains unanswered (except by those who say it’s not possible)

    How can you have due process through military tribunals?

  15. Ad Hoc

    He’ll be at the California convention this weekend. I understand that several of the people who read this regularly live in California, and that some of them will be there. I hope someone records an answer.

  16. Precede with Caution, via Lake

    Ted Brown // Mar 2, 2012:
    “@10 I have heard that the defendant can be found “not guilty,” but the president can still choose to keep him locked up. Sounds like something from Kafka to me.” [or North Korea, or Syria ……]

  17. Hardy Macia

    Why gung ho on overhauling our tax system?

    Because I just received 60 pages of “Employer’s Tax Guide” from the IRS. If the FairTax bill were to pass I wouldn’t be getting that.

    I’d instead get a one page letter saying, if you have retail sales/services then collect 30% sales tax on it and send it into your state taxing authority.

    As for used goods having an exemption — the consumption tax was already paid on the good when it was sold new so reselling it as a used good 1) would be double taxation 2) be a lot more complicated because anytime someone sells something on Craig’s List or in a yard sale they would have to collect a sales tax on it and one of the goals of the FairTax bill is to make our tax system much less complicated.

    There are still a couple issues with it 1) the one big exemption is educational services aren’t taxed 2) the 16th Amendment should be repealed before the initiation of the full FairTax bill. 3) I’d like to see the pre-bate be 75% of the poverty level which would save about 100B.

  18. Michael H. Wilson

    Hardy @ 29 Why gung ho on overhauling our tax system?

    people have been talking about simplifying the tax code for years going back to the time JFK was in office and sometimes something happens.

    The LP and its candidates need to focus on cutting government. Bringing the troops home from abroad, reducing the handouts to agribusiness, corporations, and on and on and on.

    Neither the Repugs or the Demos want to talk about bringing the troops home.

  19. paulie

    I’d instead get a one page letter saying, if you have retail sales/services then collect 30% sales tax on it and send it into your state taxing authority.

    Don’t bet on it. Legislation as proposed =/= legislation as passed and implemented, and the “sunset clause”
    for the income tax will almost certainly either be stripped out or habitually pushed back time after time.

    I’d like to see the pre-bate be 75% of the poverty level which would save about 100B.

    It’s a massive universal entitlement program which will only grow over time. Even if someone pays no tax at all – say by growing their own food and buying only used items – they still get a government check, unless of course they are someone who does not use an SS number for religious or other reasons, in which case they are screwed.

    Getting virtually everyone used to getting a government check all the time is pretty much a death knell to ever hoping to seriously cut government.

    would be double taxation

    So’s a sales tax on everyone who saved money and paid income tax for many years. Then when they spend the money years later they get whacked again.

  20. Charles Frohman

    Congressman Paul if elected president would propose cutting a trillion in government in 2013; Governor Gary Johnson would cut 1.4 trillion. So it can’t be said Mr. Johnson isn’t focusing on spending. It’s one of his 3 promises, after all: to make the 43% in cuts to balance the budget immediately. His record as Governor Veto backs his convictions – that he’ll do what he says.

    On taxes, who in their right minds wants to continue living in fear of a income tax audit? If the national government’s going to continue under a Libertarian president then why not advocate for a tax system that collects revenue when one buys something, instead of the tyrannical “guilty-until-proven-innocent” income tax? If you want to lobby during that great debate to abolish the prebate or cut the rate, I’ll support you. But to say it’s not libertarian to advocate for taxing sales instead of income would lose a golden opportunity to remove a toe of the boot of govt from our necks.

    As for Guantanomo, all the governor has said on enemy combatants is that they should’nt be tortured or detained without due process. He hasn’t ruled out non-military trials for them. As someone above suggested, in his next online townhall ask him if he’d support non-military trials as part of the due process he’s promised enemy combatants.

    On foreign aid, he’s opposed to it. Period. And as we pull our troops home and cut 43% of the Pentagon, he’d rely on allies to deal with overseas threats. If such threat impacted our national security, he’d take it to Congress for a war declaration. And just because an ally attacks a neighbor doesn’t mean we have to join in its folly.

    There are issues on the margin the governor will change, if convinced. So convince him. He was convinced the Death Penalty was bad, so he stopped supporting it. He was for civil unions before marriage equality, but he was convinced for practical and moral reasons not to deny marriage to gay couples. If you think the income tax is great, convince him. If you think repealing our treaty alliances is great, convince him. If you think due process isn’t enough to protect detainees, convince him. Do the convincing in the next online townhall. He’s been convinced there before, and maybe you’ll be the one to do it next.

    PPP has the governor at 7% nationally – half way to the 15% required for debate invitations. Join your state’s campaign director and let’s make a good showing for the LP this Fall: http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/state-contacts

  21. Ad Hoc

    On taxes, who in their right minds wants to continue living in fear of a income tax audit?

    Who wants to have all their purchases tracked so as to cut down on sales tax evasion? Who wants to have most Americans receiving monthly government checks while the tax is (probably) going to just be included in the shelf price of goods, so even more people think they get something for nothing from the government – and some of them in fact will? Who wants seniors double taxed on the money they saved after paying the income tax all their life?

    And if you get rid of the "prebate" people will say it's regressive.

    As for Guantanomo, all the governor has said on enemy combatants is that they should’nt be tortured or detained without due process.

    No, that’s not all he said.

  22. chris

    Most of these comments don’t reflect the fact that Gary Johnson lives in reality and is the best electable candidate for America. It’s happening and we all need to support him.

    His track record as Governor says it all.

    As for the Fair Tax. You abolish the IRS and have states collect the money with the sales tax; hyper efficient, and it’s a non-issue until he presents his balanced budget to congress for 2013.

    Congressmen will be clawing for votes after their inability to effectively respond to Gary’s fiscal responsibility.

    What we need to do is rally around him and donate.

    As for Israel, hey are an important ally.

    Let’s bring the troops home but not be total idiots. Isolationism die before WWI.

  23. paulie

    Most of these comments don’t reflect the fact that Gary Johnson lives in reality

    We all live in reality.

    and is the best electable candidate for America.

    He’s not “electable” in the sense of having any real chance to be the next president. The odds against him are about the same as any LP candidate in the recent past or present.

    we all need to support him.

    My support has to be earned. As someone who is at this point an uncommitted possible delegate, I suggest that you all earn it rather than tell me what I need to do. I’ll grant that Johnson will probably get the LP nomination even if I vote for someone else, but there are other types of support to earn before and after that.

    have states collect the money with the sales tax; hyper efficient,

    What will they do about the massive growth of sales tax evasion? What about the so-called “prebate” welfare program? How about the ways people who saved money that was income taxed for many years get walloped?

    The Flat Tax Is Not Flat and the FairTax Is Not Fair
    http://lewrockwell.com/vance/vance243.html
    by Laurence M. Vance

    Can a Tax Be ‘Fair’?
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance200.html
    by Laurence M. Vance

    Against the FairTax Proposal
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/cox4.html
    by Jim Cox

    There Is No Such Thing as a Fair Tax
    http://mises.org/daily/1975
    by Laurence M. Vance

    The Fair Tax Fraud
    http://mises.org/daily/1814
    by Laurence M. Vance

    Laurence Vance on the “Fair Tax” – YouTube

    The FairTax: A Trojan Horse for America?
    http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/fairtax.htm
    By Claire Wolfe & Aaron Zelman

    Make That the FraudTax
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/fraudulent-tax.html
    by Laurence M. Vance

    Dear Congressman
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance83.html
    by Laurence M. Vance

    The FairTax Scam
    http://lewrockwell.com/orig6/fair-tax.html
    by Laurence M. Vance

    What’s Offensive in the Boortz FairTax Book
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/cox/cox8.html
    by Jim Cox

    The Crackpot FairTax Trade
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/cox6.html
    by Jim Cox

    http://fairtaxfraud.com/othervoices.asp
    Twenty Two FairTax Criticisms by Hank Van Gieson

    Describing the sales tax rate as “a 23% sales tax” is false and misleading. The sales tax rate in terms all Americans understand is currently estimated to be 31%, or, if preferred, 23% of every dollar spent. Integrity demands clarity!

    After tax prices will initially rise by an average of 15%.

    Effective tax rates for most retirees will be higher under the Fairtax than under current law.
    Federal government taxation of state/local governments may be unconstitutional under the doctrine of intergovernmental tax immunity.

    State and local bond issues will have to offer higher than basic interest rates in order to attract investors.
    The implicit taxation provisions of Section 801 of HR25 will add to consumer debt costs and reduce investment returns.

    State/local taxes will increase by an estimated $300 billion annually.

    Government enterprises are not taxed under HR25 and will continue to compete with the private sector.

    Placing a tax on permits at the local level will adversely impact the construction industry.

    Retiree and Roth type savings will be essentially double taxed.

    In year one of the Fairtax implementation, the national annual budget deficit will approach $1 trillion.
    At an estimated $600 billion, the annual prebate will become the largest single entitlement program in history.

    Adding the prebate to the federal budget will result in entitlements becoming the largest share of the federal budget and will put increased pressure on discretionary spending.

    Inducements for social policy change through use of the income tax code will be lost forever.

    The time honored separation of church and state will be placed at risk by removing the income tax restrictions on churches.

    Governments cannot tax themselves into prosperity. Under HR25, the estimated $200 billion in annual taxes owed by the federal government to themselves is nothing but a shell game for the purpose of lowering the proposed sales tax rate by several percentage points.

    Tax transparency claimed by Fairtax advocates is a myth. The only way to determine an individual’s annual tax burden with the same degree of accuracy enjoyed under current law would be to collect and add up every expenditure bill and receipt during the course of the year, an unlikely process for all but the most anal!

    Claims of “controlling taxes by controlling spending” are misleading. Half of the average person’s budget is services and there are no “used” services. As a practical matter, the availability of used goods is limited to automobiles, houses, boats and similar infrequent purchases.

    Purchasing used goods will avoid federal taxes, but the prices paid for all used goods will include a portion of the embedded costs of the Fairtax.

    While purporting to eliminate all income taxes, under the provisions of HR25, foreign corporations with income from US sources must pay a 23% income tax.

    Adding the 31% national sales tax to the normal customs duty charges for all foreign imports could clear the retail shelves of inexpensive foreign made products, and adversely impact every American’s budget.

    In order to raise the revenue needed by state and local governments to pay the national sales tax, cascading taxation may become a reality. This is in direct conflict with one of the stated goals of HR25.

  24. paulie

    "Why the FairTax is a Sham" by Allen Buckley

    "A FairTax Primer" by RobFromGa.

    "The Unfair FairTax" by LittleDavid

    "March of the FairTax Sheep" by John Sugg

    "Debunking The FairTax Myth" by CrellMosett (Daily KOS)

    "Boot Boortz" by Justin Raimondo

    "Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich – and
    Cheat Everybody Else
    " by David Cay Johnston

    "Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth" by Michael J. Graetz

  25. paulie

    it’s a non-issue until he presents his balanced budget to congress for 2013.

    Since he won’t be presenting a budget in 2013, it’s his advocacy of it which is an issue now.

    As for Israel, hey are an important ally.

    Where’s the treaty of alliance?

    Let’s bring the troops home but not be total idiots. Isolationism die (sic) before WWI.

    Isolationism opposes free trade and open immigration. I support them. In what ways did the disastrous involvement of the US in WW1 negate non-interventionist foreign policy? In my view it only strengthens the argument for non-interventionism, and the only thing that’s idiotic is to think that it makes a case for the US world police making the world a better place.

    If not for the US jumping into WW1 – I won’t even go into its domestic effects – there would have been a negotiated truce that would have ended the war earlier, essentially as a stalemate. Germany would nut have been crushed under punishing sanctions which set the stage for Hitler coming to power. The Bolsheviks may also have been prevented from taking power in Russia.

  26. paulie

    Most of these comments don’t reflect the fact that Gary Johnson lives in reality and is the best electable candidate for America.

    He may “live in reality” in the colloquial sense, but you do not if you believe he stands any serious chance of being elected.

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