One-on-One: Gary Johnson Talks About Big Issues

Gary Johnson 5 percent Credit: Alaskadispatch.com[/caption]

This morning we answered ‘who is Gary Johnson?’ this afternoon we will give you some insight regarding the policies that the Libertarian presidential candidate champions. Earlier today we gained some insight into the candidate’s perspective on life, his experiences outside of politics, his predictions for the future of America, and his appeal as a socially liberal, fiscally conservative candidate.

Gov. Gary Johnson served the state of New Mexico as governor from 1995-2003. During his tenure as governor he set state and national records for using his veto record while using a cost-benefit analysis approach to governance. During his time in office, Gary Johnson cut the state’s budget by 10 percent.

During our discussion IVN asked Gary Johnson several questions on libertarian policy and how he would approach the big issues facing the country. The first portion of our talk highlighted the drastic policy shifts that he is calling for, IVN asked how he would implement these changes knowing that congressional obstructionism has been a major hindrance to change in recent years. He responded:

“You elect a leader to shift public opinion over time, whether you implement the changes or not. In New Mexico, I hammered away at income tax reductions and then [Bill] Richardson ended up running on reducing the income tax because he sees the light. Then the legislators who were hammering away at me are then shouting the same arguments that I was using for eight straight years and they pass it the first year that Richardson is in office. The notion that if you don’t change it, but it ends up changing that way. That’s the way it works.”

The long-term thinking employed by Gov. Johnson in relation to his proposed policy changes become more specific when the principles are applied to particular problems or issues. We pointed out that many Libertarians want the market to decide how many issues are addressed. We also pointed out that many people would be left without healthcare or coverage at astronomical rates. IVN asked Gov. Johnson how he would ensure that affordable options are available for all Americans. He informed us:

“I’m advocating that the federal government get out of the healthcare business completely. That [the federal government] devolve that to the states, both Medicaid and Medicare. Based on my experience as governor of New Mexico I believe that if the federal government would have block granted 43% less money for Medicaid that I could have overseen the drawing of new lines and established new eligibility. There could have been stricter eligibility but I still would have been able to maintain a healthcare safety net for the poor and effectively deliver that. I would apply that same template to Medicare for those over 65. Because if we don’t draw new lines of eligibility, my argument is that we are going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse and there will be no healthcare for anybody. So when you have Romney and Obama arguing over who’s going to spend more money on Medicare, we need to have a raging debate over how we slash spending for Medicare, I’m talking about a 43% reduction. Because it is a benefit that you and I put $30,000 into during our lifetime and we end up receiving $100,000 benefit. So whatever we put into Medicare, we get over three times back. That’s not sustainable in any way shape or form! Providing healthcare to the poor and to those over 65 is a totally attainable goal, but it will take 50 laboratories for innovation because the solution isn’t one size fits all.”

The cost-benefit analysis approach seems straightforward when presented to many Americans, especially those involved in businesses across the country. But, the government is often faced with scenarios when the decision isn’t black and white in terms of dollars and cents. In recent memory the American government has been faced with national economic recession and cross-border natural disasters. We asked Gary Johnson how he would handle these scenarios while balancing a Libertarian viewpoint and the apparent needs of Americans that can be addressed by government intervention:

“I would argue that the federal government should not have intervened in the national recession. If we would not have seen any sort of collapse we would have establish a bottom and wherever those bottoms were established we would now be engaged in real recovery. For natural disasters, ought the national government exist to protect us against foreign countries that seek to do us harm. Natural disasters are in that same category. It ends up being fundamental that we want to help those that are victims of natural disasters whether that be fire or a hurricane.”

Gov. Gary Johnson’s approach is not as draconian or Darwinist as some staunch Libertarians may be looking for, but his approach does have a much broader appeal. In our last segment from our interview with Gary Johnson, we asked him questions regarding running for the presidency as a third party candidate and his future in American politics.

Our first segment from our interview with Gary Johnson answered ‘who is Gary Johnson?’