In the ugliest election since Jefferson supporters called Adams “a hideous hermaphroditical character,” there’s a chance for a Libertarian to break through.
Now that we know who is carrying the Red and Blue banners, I’d like to introduce you to another option, two people who are truly likable — and when 60 percent of the voters are unhappy with the choices presented, Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, may just have a chance.
Both Johnson and Weld served as Republican governors for two terms in states controlled heavily by Democratic legislators. Both were rated the most economically responsible governors in the nation in 1992 and 1995.
We are creeping up on a national debt of $20 trillion, courtesy of the Blues and Reds teams. Gary Johnson is promising to submit a truly balanced budget with no tricks involved.
I’m not sure I agree, but Gary 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.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Gary was credited with having the best job creation record of all the former governors running. Gary’s response was, “As governor, I didn’t create a single job.” He was making the point that government doesn’t create jobs — except for jobs in government. Entrepreneurs, growing companies and a robust economy create jobs.
Having served as governor of a border state, 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 of a system that simply doesn’t work.
Governor Johnson has long advocated a simplified and secure system of work visas by which willing workers and willing employers can meet in a labor marketplace efficiently and economically. Aspiring immigrants would undergo a background check, pay taxes and provide proof of employment.
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 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.
How is it that 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. Mandatory minimum sentence efforts by politicians to be “tough” have removed far too much common sense from the law. This, combined with the simple fact that we have too many unnecessary laws, has also given us a seriously frayed relationship between law enforcement and those they serve.
The environment is a precious gift and needs to be protected. 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. Along with that, he believes it is the proper role of government to enforce reasonable environmental protections.
Gov. Johnson also believes 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 free market.
That’s all I’ve got room for today. Please make a point to leave your cheerleader outfits in the closet this year and at least consider all of your constitutional options.
Phil Miller of Greenfield is the former chair of the Hancock County Libertarian Party. He also served on the Greenfield City Council.