Libertarian Candidate for President
Governor Johnson, who has been referred to as the ‘most fiscally conservative Governor’ in the country, was the Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1994-2003.
A successful businessman before running for Governor of New Mexico in 1994, Gary Johnson started a door-to-door handyman business to help pay his way through college. Twenty years later, he had grown that business into one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico, with more than 1,000 employees.
Not surprisingly, Governor Johnson brings a distinctly business-like mentality to governing, believing that public policy decisions should be based on costs and benefits rather than strict ideology. Johnson is best known for his veto record, having vetoed more than 750 bills during his time in office — more than all other governors combined. His use of the veto pen has since earned him the nickname “Governor Veto.” He cut taxes 14 times while never raising them. When he left office, New Mexico was one of only four states in the country with a balanced budget. Term-limited, Johnson retired from public office in 2003.
An avid skier, adventurer, and bicyclist, he has scaled the highest peak on each of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest. In the 2012 presidential election, Johnson placed third and garnered more votes than any other Libertarian candidate in history. Johnson was raised Lutheran. He has two grown children, a daughter Seah and a son Erik, and currently resides in a house he built himself in Taos, New Mexico.
Other information sourced under topic.
Criminal Justice Reform
How is it that the United States, 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. The failed War on Drugs is, of course, the greatest example. Well over 100 million Americans have, at one time or another, used marijuana. Yet, today, simple possession and use of marijuana remains a crime — despite the fact that a majority of Americans now favor its legalization.
More generally, mandatory minimum sentences for a wide range of offenses and other efforts by politicians to be “tough” have removed far too much common-sense discretion from judges and prosecutors.
These factors, combined with the simple fact that we have too many unnecessary laws, have produced a society with too many people in our prisons and jails, too many undeserving individuals saddled with criminal records, and a seriously frayed relationship between law enforcement and those they serve.
Fortunately, a growing number of state and local governments are taking steps toward meaningful criminal justice reform. The federal government must do the same, and Gary Johnson is committed to bringing real leadership to this long-overdue effort.
During the 2012 campaign, Gary Johnson was lauded for having the best “job creation” record of all the former governors running for President. His response: “As Governor, I didn’t create a single job.” His point, of course, being that government doesn’t create jobs — except for itself. Entrepreneurs, growing companies and a robust economy create jobs.
Government’s role is to create and maintain a regulatory and tax environment in which private job-creators can prosper. Gary Johnson did that as Governor, and would do so as President. Government regulation should only exist to protect citizens from bad actors and the harm they might do to health, safety and property. Regulation should not be used to manipulate behavior, manage private lives and businesses, and to place unnecessary burdens on those who make our economy work. Eliminating unnecessary regulations and applying common sense to those rules that are necessary will free up capital and allow those who want and need to create jobs to do so.
Likewise, adopting the tax reforms Governor Johnson advocates will literally create millions of jobs. While most politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, suggest that modest reductions in business taxes might create jobs, Gary Johnson believes eliminating income taxes on businesses will transform the U.S. into the “job magnet” of the world. Why would any corporation move its operations off-shore when the best tax “haven” on the planet is right here at home?
By the time Barack Obama leaves office, the national debt will be $20 TRILLION. That is not just obscene, it is unsustainable — and arguably the single greatest threat to our national security.
Responsibility for the years of deficit spending that have created our debt crisis rests squarely with BOTH the Republicans and the Democrats. The debt doubled under President George W. Bush — and doubled again under President Obama. During that time, both parties enjoyed control of Congress, and the deficit spending just kept piling up.
It doesn’t have to be that way, despite what the politicians say. But the idea that we can somehow balance the federal budget without cutting military spending and reforming entitlements is fantasy. What is required is leadership and political courage. As Governor of a state with an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature, Gary Johnson stood up to excess spending, vetoed 750 bills and literally thousands of budget line items…and balanced the state’s budget.
Governor Johnson has pledged that his first major act as President will be to submit to Congress a truly balanced budget. No gimmicks, no imaginary cuts in the distant future. Real reductions to bring spending into line with revenues, without tax increases. No line in the budget will be immune from scrutiny and reduction. And he pledges to veto any legislation that will result in deficit spending, forcing Congress to override his veto in order to spend money we don’t have.
No excuses. No games. A REAL balanced budget.
Today’s federal tax code does all the wrong things. It penalizes productivity, savings and investment, while rewarding inefficiency and designating winners and losers according to political whim. For far too long, tax laws have been used not just as a means to collect needed revenues, but as a weapon with which to manipulate our behavior, create and destroy industries and fulfill politicians’ dreams of social engineering. The result is a tax code that is more than 70,000 pages long enforced by a government agency with almost 100,000 employees.
It is nothing less than a massive deployment of government force on our lives, our finances and our freedom.
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 and every business 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.
Many leading economists have long advocated such a shift in the way we are taxed, and Gary Johnson believes the time has come to eliminate the punishing tax code we have today and replace it with a system that rewards productivity, investment and savings. The IRS as we know it today would no longer be necessary, and Americans would no longer need to live in fear of the force of government being wielded under the guise of tax collection.
Governor Gary Johnson was one of the first governors in the nation to propose and advocate a universally available program of school choice. He did so while governing with an overwhelmingly Democrat legislature and while facing a powerful teachers’ union. He was well aware that his proposal would not be enacted and would generate fierce opposition. However, he believed it was important to raise the issue and force the teachers’ unions to defend a clearly failing status quo.
More broadly, Gov. Johnson believes there is no role for the Federal Government in education. He would eliminate the federal Department of Education, and return control to the state and local levels. He opposes Common Core and any other attempts to impose national standards and requirements on local schools, believing the key to restoring education excellence in the U.S. lies in the innovation, freedom and flexibility that federal interference inherently discourages.
As Governor, he saw first-hand that the costs of federal education programs and mandates far outweigh any benefits, both educationally and financially.
Energy & the Environment
The environment is a precious gift and needs to be protected. Gov. 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.
Consistent with that responsibility, Gary Johnson believes it is the proper role of government to enforce reasonable environmental protections. He did so as Governor, and would do so as President.
However, Gov. Johnson also believes that 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 robust free market. Such efforts have failed in the past, and are doomed to continue to fail. Preventing a polluter from harming our water or air is one thing. Deciding in Washington, DC, that one source of energy should be subsidized and others penalized is a different matter.
In a healthy economy that allows the market to function unimpeded, consumers, innovators and personal choices will ultimately bring about the environmental restoration and protection society desires. Conversely, destroying prosperity and innovation through government intervention will only harm the environment.
When it comes to global climate change, Gov. Johnson believes too many politicians are having the wrong debate. Is the climate changing? Probably so. Is man contributing to that change? Probably so. The important question, however, is whether the government’s efforts to regulate, tax and manipulate the marketplace in order to impact that change are cost-effective — or effective at all. Given the realities of global energy and resource use, there is little evidence that the burden being placed on Americans is making a difference that justifies the cost.
The objective of both our foreign policy and our military should be straightforward: To protect us from harm and to allow the exercise of our freedoms.
Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed and the trillions spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. The chaotic, reactive military and foreign policies of the past two Presidents have, if anything, created an environment that has allowed these threats to flourish.
Many military and political analysts conclude the rise of ISIS can be traced back to the instability to which our actions contributed. While our leaders have thrust our military and our resources into regime changes, failed nation-building and interventions that have strained valuable strategic relationships, the murderers of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other violent extremists have found new homes, established a state to implement their warped dreams and secured the resources to become very real threats to the stability and security of the Middle East.
As President, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to refocus U.S. efforts and resources to attack the real threats we face in a strategic, thoughtful way. The U.S. must get serious about cutting off the millions of dollars that are flowing into the violent extremists’ coffers every day. Relationships with strategic allies must be repaired and reinforced. And the simplistic options of “more boots on the ground” and dropping more bombs must be replaced with strategies that will isolate and ultimately neuter those violent extremist groups.
Having served as Governor of a border state, Gary 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 a legal immigration system that simply doesn’t work. Militarizing the border, bigger fences, and other punitive measures espoused by too many politicians are all simplistic “solutions” to a problem caused by artificial quotas, bureaucratic incompetence and the shameful failure of Congress to actually put in place an immigration system that matches reality.
Governor Johnson has long advocated a simplified and secure system of work visas by which willing workers and willing employers can meet in a robust labor marketplace efficiently and economically. Aspiring immigrants would undergo a background check, pay taxes and provide proof of employment.
Making it simpler and efficient to enter the U.S. legally will provide the greatest security possible, allowing law enforcement to focus its time and resources on the criminals and bad actors who are, in reality, a relatively small portion of those who are today entering the country illegally.
Inequality & Family Issues
When asked what he would do about income inequality in an interview with NPR, Johnson responded “[A]s governor of New Mexico, I may have vetoed more legislation than the other 49 governors in the country combined. A lot of that legislation gave people with money more advantage. What government can do is just create a level playing field. And as president of the United States, just count on me to sign legislation that will actually move us in that direction. Count on me to veto legislation that just makes crony capitalism more ingrained in everything that we come across.”