Gary Johnson

The news that Osama bin Laden had been brought to justice sparked my interest in American politics once again.

I strongly supported Ron Paul for President in 2008. (For the record, here’s how Ron Paul would’ve handled bin Laden.) I still believe that the USA would be far better off today had he been elected. Government spending would be lower, the economy would be stronger, and we wouldn’t be fighting wars in Libya, Afghanistan, and so many other places. However, after thinking about Paul’s comments on a recent appearance on John Stossel, I no longer think that Paul is a good candidate for President in 2012.

Ron Paul recently proposed what has been dubbed the “10% solution”: opt-out of the system, pay a flat 10% income tax, and don’t ask the government for anything. This sounded good to me: no social security, no Medicare, and no welfare. I don’t want those things from government; I can get them from the free market. But on John Stossel, the question of what would happen to public goods was brought up: defense, federal highways, etc.

Ron Paul’s response was poor and unsatisfying: to the question of defense, he said that we would protect ourselves via the Second Amendment; and to the question of federal highways, he noted that many highways are already privately funded.

I believe that the Ron Paul of 2008 would have said that these things are largely within the proper scope of government. The Constitution allows for the government to provide for the common defense: and Ron Paul is self-proclaimed Strict Constitutionalist. I even believe that public highways, to some extent, are permitted by the Constitution, and I imagine that Paul would have said they were fine– or, at minimum, they could be paid for and built by the States. In 2008, Ron Paul was practical and realistic; the freedom he envisioned was inspiring.

Not anymore. The Ron Paul of 2011 seems to be more extreme. He seems to believe that even public goods can be efficiently handled by the free market. National highways built by private citizens? To my knowledge, that’s not prevalent in the US, and not even prevalent in the two places that Ron Paul holds up as good examples: Hong Kong and Switzerland. Would Paul still say that HK and Switzerland are good role models? I don’t know. He seems to be a little too theoretical now. I don’t think practical economics backs up the notion that national defense and common infrastructure is best handled by private individuals. I would like to ask Ron Paul today: what about GPS? Police, fire fighters, clean water?

Ron Paul’s focus has also subtly shifted. In 2008, he emphasized all the things that government should do: keep its citizens safe, protect private property, protect copyright, enforce contracts, fight fraud, have a strong court system, etc. He used to focus on the positive side: for example, reducing federal Pell Grants for education loans would reduce tuition costs thanks to supply and demand. Today, he seems to care less about the positive side of why we need government, and instead appears to focus on dismantling government in almost every way.

One of the questions brought up during the Stossel appearance was whether Paul might consider Gary Johnson as a running mate.

I had not heard of him before, so I looked him up — and, so far, I like his positions. I’m especially impressed by his speech at CPAC. I hope we hear a lot more from Gary in the future.

2 Responses to “Gary Johnson”

  1. […] just watched the First Republican Presidential Debate. I mentioned before that Gary Johnson narrowly edged out Ron Paul in my current perception of the candidates. However, I found […]

  2. Lucy says:

    I like the “Less Government” concept. I always thought of the USA as a free country and a land of opportunities for the entrepreneurship rather than a land of burriers for development in the personal and corporate levels. Most entrepreneurs have the ups and down in businesses. This concept I understand very well since i come from a family of entrepreneurships, hard work, sacrifice, sharing, paying employees, and all the encompases this mean of business. Exchange the baggage of wellfafe for sources of work, help the poor but do not allow people to become disabled e irresponsible putting the stick in every holl they find bringing children to socienty and abandoning them like if it is a jocke.. I see men taking disability benefits while making children with every woman they find and never forced to pay child support because the government is supporting them. What is the problem with these kind of men? If you are sick, ok, there is help for that, but not simply to run away from paying child support. This happens all the time.

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