While President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney occupy most of the media attention, there is more on the ballot than red versus blue.
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson was the former governor of New Mexico, from 1995 to 2003. He founded Big J Enterprises, a construction company, during his college education. His running mate for vice president is James Gray.
“His achievements as New Mexico governor were balancing the budget, creating a surplus and limiting the size of government without anybody losing their jobs,” said John Cruz, Michigan Campaign Director for Gary Johnson.
According to Rachael Fisher, Students for Liberty president and senior biology major, Johnson wants to see sensible reform to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security by shifting the programs to states and to fund it via grants to the states.
He is against and would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” citing that it is a duty for state government, not Federal government.
“He wants a 47 percent decrease in the defense budget and spending cuts all across the board,” Fisher said. “He wants to abolish the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and limit the Federal Reserve.”
As a Libertarian, Johnson is against a large federal government. He believes the power should lie with the state government’s and the federal government should have a limited role.
“[Education] is best handled at the local level,” Cruz said. “He would eliminate or decrease federal departments, and give the money to the states so they can pursue their own interest, education being one. He would either downsize or eliminate the Department of Education.”
Johnson is a non-interventionist, meaning he does not support war as well as overseas bases.
“He believes strongly in humanitarian missions when appropriate, because sometimes intervention is necessary to save or protect lives,” Cruz said. “The day he takes office, he would call for a total withdrawal from Afghanistan immediately. He would close overseas bases, Guantanamo and make the role of the military national defense, without policing the world.”
Johnson supports a laissez-faire economy, having studied job growth as New Mexico governor.
“To grow jobs, the government cannot create jobs but must get out of the way to foster an environment where it can grow,”
Cruz said. “He is an advocate of the Fair Tax, and would replace the IRS with a prebate consumption tax.”
Johnson is also against the War on Drugs, claiming it as detrimental to civil liberties as well as financially for the government.
“Marijuana laws channel funds that police would have otherwise,” Scott Ranger, Students for Liberty member and junior economics major, said. “Johnson related it to Prohibition, where the outlawing of alcohol did nothing but create crime. Just like alcohol and tobacco, he believes it should be legalized and taxed.”
According to Fisher, Johnson believes the duty of the Federal government is to hold property rights, protect freedom and to ensure the ‘pursuit of happiness.’
“The Federal government should not mandate federal laws, as it is not feasible for each state because each state is unique,” Ranger said. “As governor, he had a record for vetoes, striking down legislation that would grow the government.”
Johnson is not on the ballot in Michigan, as he decided to switch from the Republican to the Libertarian ticket, but voters can write him in.
For more information about Johnson, visit www.garyjohnson2012.com.