Gary Johnson Party Switching Statement, plus reactions at LP.org and Wall Street Journal

Text of former NM Governor Gary Johnson’s announcement that he is switching from the Republican presidential nomination race to the Libertarian one:

December 28, 2011, Santa Fe, NM – At a morning news conference in the Rotunda of the New Mexico State Capitol, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson today announced that he is seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for president.

Governor Johnson’s announcement statement:

“Today I am announcing that I will seek the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States. The Libertarian Party nominee will be on the ballot in all 50 states – as they were in 2008, and will offer a principled alternative to the Republican and the Democrat.

“This was both a difficult decision – and an easy one. It was difficult because I have a lot of Republican history, and a lot of Republican supporters. But in the final analysis, as many, many commentators have said after examining how I governed in New Mexico, I am a Libertarian — that is, someone who is fiscally very conservative but holds freedom-based positions on the issues that govern our personal behavior.

“Frankly, I have been deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process. I had hoped to lay out a real libertarian message on all the issues in the Republican contest. The process was not fair and open.

“This election is about issues larger than party or personal ambition.The future of our country is at stake. “

I believe this election needs a true libertarian voice. While Ron Paul is a good man and a libertarian who I proudly endorsed for president in 2008, there is no guarantee that he will be the Republican nominee.

“My Agenda for America, a libertarian agenda, is clear. It is not at an agenda you will hear from any other candidate or party.

– I want to end deficit spending and cut federal spending by 43%. – I want to enact the Fair Tax to stimulate real economic growth and job creation.

– I want to end the manipulation of our money by the Federal Reserve. – I support the Second Amendment and oppose gun control.

– I oppose expensive foreign wars in places like Libya and Afghanistan where our national interest is not clear. -I want to cut the over-regulation of our families, our businesses and our lives.

– I support a woman’s right to choose.

– I support marriage equality for gay Americans, as required by the Constitution.

– I support the legalization of marijuana, which will save us billions and do no harm.

– I demand a government free of special interest influence, crony capitalism and corruption.

– I support returning strict adherence to Constitutional principles to our government.

“I am confident this agenda will resonate with the American people because it actually reflects the true beliefs of a clear majority of Americans.

“Sadly, neither the Republicans nor Democrats will offer this agenda to the American people. The Republicans talk about cutting spending and taxes but insist on government regulating our personal lives. The Democrats support more liberal social policies but they will tax and spend and borrow us into bankruptcy. America needs a third way.

“I know first-hand that my governing philosophy works because of my experience as a successful two-term governor, elected and reelected as a Republican in a Democrat state. I know how to create jobs because I have created jobs. My record on job creation is superior to Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or any other candidate. I successfully governed as a Libertarian in everything but the name, and I am running for president as a Libertarian.

“If I earn the Libertarian Party nomination, I will be on the ballot in all 50 states. I will not be held hostage to a system rigged for the wealthiest and best-known candidates in a handful of states who happen to have early primaries. And most important, we will offer a political “home” for millions of Americans who are not finding one in the current political establishment or its candidates.

“I am excited by this challenge. I am liberated. And I am committed to shaking up the system as it has never been shaken up before. The tired old two-party system has failed America.

“America is ready for a President who will restore common sense to our fiscal and foreign policies and get government out of the boardroom and the bedroom. I believe the American people will see that a credible Libertarian candidate for president is the real path to liberty, economic growth, opportunity, and a government that is put into its proper and limited role.

“In a recent national poll 63% of Americans said they wished there was a third choice for 2012. There is another choice, and I intend to educate the voters about what we offer America. Together I am convinced we can make history and restore America to greatness.”

Press release on the occasion from the national Libertarian Party HQ:

Libertarians Welcome Governor Gary Johnson to Party, Presidential Race

Today at 10:00 am MST, Governor Gary Johnson is expected to announce his candidacy and to join the Libertarian Party with Mark Hinkle, Chair at a press conference at the State Capitol in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The event will be live streamed at the Gary Johnson for President web site.

The Libertarian Party welcomes Governor Gary Johnson to the race for the Libertarian nomination for president. Governor Johnson has an outstanding record for vetoing legislation as former governor of New Mexico. He vetoed more bills than all other governors in the country combined, stopping the expansion of Big Government.

Governor Johnson has also proposed a substantial reduction in federal spending. Libertarians look forward to learning the specifics and the time frame of that reduction. Governor Johnson appeals to fiscal conservatives -rank-and-file Republicans, libertarians, independents and even many Democrats – who see most Republican candidates as agents of Big Government and high taxes.

Governor Johnson also appeals to non-interventionists of all political stripes who are disappointed with President Obama’s surge in Afghanistan and his involvement in Libya.

Free market advocates understand that third parties provide essential competition for the entrenched two parties. Without the Libertarian Party, Republicans typically nominate a Big Government, high tax candidate such as Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich — which results in guaranteed further expansion of Big Government.

The Libertarian Party will be on the ballot in nearly all, if not all, 50 states – including Virginia. At least 99% of the population of voters in the United States will have the opportunity to vote Libertarian.

The party’s nominating convention will be held in Las Vegas May 4th and 5th.

Regarding the charge that the Libertarian Party could “spoil” the election for the Republican nominee, Carla Howell, Executive Director said, “You can make that case only if Ron Paul is the Republican nominee. If any other remaining contender in the GOP primary were to win, then the Republicans will offer a choice for more Big Government and higher taxes. You can’t spoil tainted meat.”

“All of the Republican Party presidential candidates ” except for Ron Paul ” have a track record of voting for higher levels of government spending. Many have raised taxes, supported bailouts, and/or voted to expand Big Government.

Mitt Romney went one better in Massachusetts when he championed ObamaCare Part I,”said Howell.

“Should one of the non-Paul candidates prevail, then the Libertarian Party will be our only means to restore fiscal sanity, to create a friendly business environment and to create desperately-needed new jobs,” said Howell.

Wall Street Journal via LP Executive Director Carla Howell’s blog at LP.org:

More Roads Lead to Possible Third-Party Bid

“The prospects for a significant third-party presidential bid in 2012 are gathering steam, potentially complicating things for the eventual Republican nominee.

“The Libertarian Party could have a candidate with some name recognition, with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson expected to announce Wednesday he will leave the GOP and seek the Libertarian nominatio…

“Both Republican and Democratic pollsters have suggested that an electorate buffeted by the prolonged economic downturn and angry with both parties could be open to the appeal of a third-party candidate, much as Ross Perot caught the imagination of voters in the 1990s…

“Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party, said Mr. Johnson would compete with about half a dozen other candidates at the nominating convention. While the party issued a statement welcoming Mr. Johnson, Ms. Howell said Mr. Paul is a ‘good friend’ of the party.

“Ms. Howell brushed off the prospect of a Libertarian candidate siphoning votes from the GOP nominee. ‘You can make the case (only if Ron Paul is not the nominee) that there’s no such thing as spoiling tainted meat,’ she said, referring to candidates of both major parties.

88 thoughts on “Gary Johnson Party Switching Statement, plus reactions at LP.org and Wall Street Journal

  1. Kleptocracy And You

    I LOVE IT !!!

    Regarding the charge that the Libertarian Party could “spoil” the election for the Republican nominee, Carla Howell, Executive Director said, “You can make that case only if Ron Paul is the Republican nominee. If any other remaining contender in the GOP primary were to win, then the Republicans will offer a choice for more Big Government and higher taxes. You can’t spoil tainted meat.”

    Ms.Howell earned her first weeks salary. BRAVO !!!

  2. Robert Capozzi

    “A” for Johnson, Hinkle and Howell. Extremely well messaged!

    My one disappointment is there’s no sign that GJ will walk back, at least some, from the FAIR Tax. Interesting, he cites its stimulative effects, nothing about reducing the current system’s inequity.

    Of course, when looked at with his spending cuts, I’m OK with this positioning.

    All are handling the matter of RP masterfully.

  3. Jeremy C. Young

    Johnson’s position is that he doesn’t have to walk back anything in order to become a Libertarian — he’s going to be exactly the same candidate he was as a Republican, only in a different party.

    In a way, that bothers me, because I believe a third-party presidential candidate’s job is to separate his deviations from the official party line when making public statements, in order to promote the brand accurately. However, in another way I kind of like it. Barr’s complete shifts on issues like the drug war smacked of craven opportunism; Johnson is telling you what you see is what you get, and then letting you decide what to do about it.

    Given the choice between a candidate whose positions conveniently change to fit the platform when he runs for office, and a candidate who sticks to his principles even when they deviate from the platform, I’ll go with the principled candidate every time. That’s why I would rather have seen the LP nominate Gravel than Barr in 2008. Going with Gravel’s apostasies might have been a mistake, but going with Barr’s dissembling was a betrayal of the “party of principle.”

  4. Robert Capozzi

    4 jcy, right. In this case, “walking back” need not mean renouncing or reversing his position. Off the top, if he started talking about simplifying and lowering taxes, removing the incentives to work, save and invest.

    My guess is that GJ is not a FAIR Tax zealot. His judgment might be that the FAIR Tax moves things in the right direction, but is not the “only” path to take.

    To be “principled” can take a lot of forms. I know some Ls who’ve changed their view on things like, say, capital punishment…formerly supporters, now opposers. As one who opposes capital punishment, I appreciate that some Ls have moved in my direction…I don’t consider this a flip flop per se, but rather an evolving mind!

    I’m curious: What was Barr dissembling about in 08? How do you know he was?

  5. ATBAFT

    Also like #4, I’d like to know what Barr said on the campaign trail to contradict and/or embarrass the LP platform? Maybe we “insiders” knew of his previous stands, but what did the public know? Maybe hiring an “actor” to read lines advancing our principles is not a bad thing when hardly anyone pays attention in any case?

  6. Be Rational

    A Libertarian candidate must support repeal and constitutional prohibition of all taxes on income.

    More importantly, a Libertarian candidate must support the repeal and constitutional prohibition of all taxes on property – especially land taxes – as these are the most harmful and dangerous of all taxes.

    The land tax, causes more economic distortion and resource misallocation than any other tax. Fortunately, it has only been applied locally. Expanding it beyond that level would be catastrophic – worse than the Federal Reserve. All taxes on land must be repealed.

    With no land tax, and no other property taxes, an individual can choose to live tax free and be free, legally. With a tax on land this option is impossible.

    The only remaining tax, the one that causes the least harm to the economy, the least economic distortion and the least infringement on individual liberty is some kind of consumption tax on the sale of new products. Yes, even this is a violation of the principles of liberty, but it serves well as a stepping stone to a tax free, libertarian society.

    The LP should take a stand for a single tax on sales, at all levels of government, to be capped constitutionally at 10%. All other taxes should be repealed and constitutionally prohibited.

    A national/state/local sales tax capped at a combined level of 10%.

    No other taxes allowed.

    Dear Gary Johnson, here is a plan for a national sales tax that could be acceptable. You can call it similar to the Fair tax, but more fair, with more impact on reducing and limiting the size, scope and power of government and without the problematic and misguided attempt to include socialist redistribution within a tax system.

    Welcome back to the Libertarian Party.

  7. Rob Banks

    Pure sales taxes would be slammed for being regressive. He is trying to appeal to OWS, so I guess he thinks that the prebate makes it more “fair” to the poor, although I think getting everyone used to getting a government check (and most likely hiding the tax in the price of the goods) may be a formula for long term massive government growth — some people already think they get something for nothing just by getting their income tax refund every year.

    A national/state/local sales tax capped at 10% would not fund the level of government Johnson proposes. He wants a 43% reduction in spending at the federal level, and that would require additional funds, or a massive increase in debt (if that could even be secured).

  8. Be Rational

    Property taxes, social security taxes, these are regressive. The income tax harms the economy in ways that make it regressive in effect, and it encourages consumption, waste of resources and is the primary cause of the growth of giant corporations.

    (Property taxes are always worse, of course, in generating the same amount of revenue. Especially land taxes, because they cause resource misallocation at a fundamental level that can leave a legacy of bad infrastructure and land development with deleterious effects lasting for hundreds and even thousands of years.)

    A sales tax – consumption tax – capped at 10% for all levels of government would put everyone on the same playing field and encourage savings, investment and economic growth. It would mean that everyone would have 100% of his pre-consumption income treated like a super IRA – tax free until you consume it. This tax free status is how the rich get rich – invest in a business and hold the stock tax free for life – as your wealth grows they pay no tax. We can make that same option available for all.

    So, the income tax is and must always be, massively regressive.

    Because of the income tax, these rich investors would rather hold their stock forever in successful, growing corporations – tax free until they sell. So, corporations grow far beyond the most efficient size. With no income tax, the investment can be shifted, tax free, to more productive investments.

    Again, the income tax is regressive.

    So, a national sales tax capped at 10%, since it targets only those who consume, is less regressive than the current “prgressive” income tax.

    The LP should support this as the alternative intermediate step to a tax free society in our platform.

    We can then work to reduce the capped 10% single tax toward zero. With all individuals facing the same single tax rate, all can be on the same side. Especially with no transfer payment provisions.

    Gary Johnson can then support the LP platform, wink at the Fair Tax idea as an interesting proposal that is similar to what we propose, and bring many of the Fair Tax supporters to the LP.

    Yes, we would need to cut the government by more than 43%, to get to a balanced budget with only a 10% capped sales tax. But this is only a problem if GJ wins, his much reduced budget passes, and we now have to implement a tax policy. Let’s hope we face this problem soon.

    Those who want socialistic redistribution so much that they will only support the fair tax because of its socialistic welfare redistribution will likely not come our way in any case.

  9. Joe

    I drove down from Park City for the announcement and reception yesterday. I’ve never felt better about being a Libertarian.

    I am anti-force (and thus anti-tax), and yet realize there is $16,000,000,000,000+ that has to be either repudiated or repaid. I suppose the (so called) fair tax may be the best way to manage that. My impression is Gary Johnson would advocate transition to voluntary revenue generation for government, and that there has to be a transition to that from the mess we’re in.

    I’ll work for that, but frankly, I don’t see a lot of hope for real change. I see a 2016 and 2020 with $30 trillion or more in debt, and a federal police force evolving out of the TSA to ensure the military/industrial/transnational corporate empire expands unabated.

  10. AnthonyD.

    Last night, I watched 90% of the GJohnson press conference and I came away thinking what I thought before watching it: its too bad the LP cannot put GJ’s resume and positions together with RPaul’s fire for liberty into one super candidate.

  11. Humongous Fungus

    Property taxes, social security taxes, these are regressive. The income tax harms the economy in ways that make it regressive in effect, and it encourages consumption, waste of resources and is the primary cause of the growth of giant corporations.

    All true. However, perceptions matter in politics, not just reality. Sales taxes are seen as more regressive than a progressive income tax.

    It would mean that everyone would have 100% of his pre-consumption income treated like a super IRA – tax free until you consume it.

    Poor people have to consume everything they make, or a much larger portion of it, than those who can afford to save more.

    So, a national sales tax capped at 10%, since it targets only those who consume, is less regressive than the current “progressive” income tax.

    The LP should support this as the alternative intermediate step to a tax free society in our platform.

    It’s a lot easier to create a new tax than to get rid of an old one. Regardless of the LP’s intentions, it may end up lending its support (along with others) to passing a new tax and fail at removing the old one.

    Simply getting rid of the federal income tax and replacing it with nothing leaves many other federal taxes in place and reduces federal revenues to a level where they were only a very few years ago. Ron Paul is a major presidential contender and he favors replacing the federal income tax with nothing, so it shouldn’t be too radical for the LP.

    Yes, we would need to cut the government by more than 43%, to get to a balanced budget with only a 10% capped sales tax. But this is only a problem if GJ wins, his much reduced budget passes, and we now have to implement a tax policy. Let’s hope we face this problem soon.

    It’s a problem way before that. He has to sound intelligent and informed in any interview, debate or Q&A that he participates in. If he proposes a 10% capped sales tax he needs to be able to explain how that would pay for the level of government he proposes.

  12. Humongous Fungus

    Removing a tax is change.

    Passing new taxes and enacting new regulation or spending programs are not the only form of change.

    Getting rid of old ones is also change.

  13. Humongous Fungus

    But since you asked, how about this plan:

    Leave the income tax in place, but with a fairly large exemption, say 50k to start and inflation adjusted after that. Get rid of the payroll tax. Leave excise taxes at current levels, and leave corporate taxes in place — consider them a user fee for the government-granted advantages of the corporate organizational form.

    A standard objection is that a large personal exemption creates a class of people who can benefit from government services without paying for them, thus giving them incentive to vote for expanding government. So, how about this…

    Get rid of the secret ballot and revert to open voting with every person’s vote publicly recorded. Anyone who votes for additional increased spending thereby waives their income tax exemption. If they have zero income, they waive their future income tax exemption for a year (or several years) for every vote in favor of higher spending.

    Anyone agree with this plan, or have a good reason why it’s not a good plan?

  14. paulie Post author

    I am anti-force (and thus anti-tax), and yet realize there is $16,000,000,000,000+ that has to be either repudiated or repaid. I suppose the (so called) fair tax may be the best way to manage that.

    Actually I think it is a really, really bad way to manage that. I’ve explained why in past discussions but don’t have a link ready, nor time to do a search or explain it from scratch, but I’ll try to do that later if I find time.

    I don’t see a lot of hope for real change.

    I do.

    The ideas of liberty are spreading fast, along with the communication means that bypass top-down control hierarchies and their preference for stasis.

    There is promising technology on the horizon, and the future could be very good.

    The dinosaur world order may kill many of us on its way down, but not necessarily.

    The Soviet empire fell apart with a whimper, not a bang, and remarkably little bloodshed. So there may be hope for us as to have a peaceful pro-liberty revolution as well.

  15. Brian Holtz

    A land value tax has long been recognized by classical liberals as the least bad tax — from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman to LP founder David Nolan.

    Economists recognize that a land value tax has no deadweight loss, unlike taxes on income, production, consumption, transactions, or material wealth. When you tax land you don’t get less of it.

    LVT is the least intrusive tax, with no need to audit anyone and or to police black markets. As David Nolan proposed, landholders would decide “their own valuation; you’d state the price at which you’d be willing to sell your land, and pay taxes on that amount. Anyone (including the tax collector) who wanted to buy it at that price could do so. This is simple, fair, and minimizes government snooping into our lives and business.”

    Land value taxes need not even be strictly mandatory. If you don’t think the benefits of public goods near your parcel are worth the LVT on your parcel, then you should be free to opt out. We would simply disconnect you from our wires and pipes, and while you’re in arrears we would publish your name, address, and photo as someone whose property and person are excluded from the protections of our LVT-financed police and courts.

    Libertarians should oppose all taxes on things that aren’t aggression, such as:

    • income (wages, interest, dividends, profits, gifts, and inheritance)
    • production (including value added)
    • consensual transactions (e.g. the sale, import, or export of goods and services)
    • fairly-acquired wealth (e.g. real estate improvements, capital, or other produced assets)

    Libertarians should tolerate taxes/fines only on aggression — e.g. polluting, depleting, congesting, or monopolizing the Earth’s natural resources.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH@16,

    One of the problems with a Land Value Tax is the middle word.

    “Value” is subjective.

    If you’re going to advocate for a land tax, better a flat tax per some objective unit of measure (square foot, acre, whatever).

    If it’s a dollar an acre, it’s a dollar on an acre of farmland, a dollar on an acre that someone claims ownership of and chooses to leave as pristine forest for his enjoyment, and a dollar on an acre that serves as the footprint of a 40-story office complex.

  17. Be Rational

    The land tax is the most evil of all forms of taxation. It has caused trillions of dollars of economic malinvestment so far, that will take hundreds or thousands of years to overcome. It causes the greatest loss of liberty of all forms of taxation.

    It isn’t a matter of opting out – since you would still be mandating the fascist socialist monopolization of services that should be provided in a free market, and you would still be causing the greatest possible loss through resource misallocation of any form of taxation.

    The land tax is evil, wrongheaded, and a deal breaker – no matter what uninformed individuals you may think supported it and who, being dead, cannot learn the truth and refute you.

    The land tax, even with your pretend opt out, is the most unlibertarian, the greatest violation of liberty and the worst economic form of government revenue collection possible.

  18. Jeremy C. Young

    @4, @5: Okay, I’ll walk that one back. On the campaign trail itself, I don’t think Barr violated the party’s platform. However, I think the fact that he was using the party opportunistically rather than ideologically contributed to his poor campaigning and his unwillingness to help build the party after the election (most significantly by his shameful refusal to turn over his donor database to the LNC without compensation). And I think his attempt to get back into a GOP congressional race this cycle was an attempt to fold back into the GOP establishment, since the guy he was running against was plenty libertarian by GOP standards.

    I don’t have any problem with Johnson’s positions evolving if he truly changes his mind. However, it’s my sense that it takes people a while to change their minds; I’m not sure I’d believe it if Johnson magically did so in the next four months.

    Maybe hiring an “actor” to read lines advancing our principles is not a bad thing when hardly anyone pays attention in any case?

    It seemed to work pretty well for the Republicans in 1980!

  19. Q2Q

    I personally hope Gary Johnson’s Libertarian bid for the Presidency will hurt Obama. He’s campaigning on many of the same issues Obama ran on in 2008 (opposition to war, pro-marijuana, transparent government, pro-abortion). Hopefully, Johnson will pave the way for a Republican White House in 2012.

  20. Be Rational

    The land tax is advocated by socialists who are unwilling to give up the government programs they love. True, they recognize that libertarians are actually correct, but they love government too much to let go, so they resort to a land tax. Then they cook up some illogical, foolish justification for some kind of revenue in an attempt to fund the socialism they love. They fall into the fallacy that land is somehow different from other assets and proceed from there, all in an attempt to hang on to as much socialism as they can justify.

    There is no need for goverment provision of your city services. These are easily transfered to and provided in a free market. And the economic distortions caused by the land tax inflicts a cost hundreds of times the cost of the services.

  21. Be Rational

    Let’s try a different LVT – the life value tax. You state the value at which you are willing to give up your life and let someone kill you, and then you can pay taxes based on that amount.

    Same system. Just as fair. Just as stupid.

    A tax on land is evil. It’s supporters are evil.

  22. Brian Holtz

    Tom @17, land value is indeed subjective, and that’s why I agree with David Nolan that landholders should assess their own values. Each community would set its own LVT rate, but that rate wouldn’t be per-acre. It would be a percentage of the parcel’s landholder-assessed value. Then for a given parcel either 1) the market will push it towards its highest-valued use, or 2) the landholder will take the land off the grid and occupy it forager-style.

    BR @18 includes a lot of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_by_assertion

    For a long list of living Libertarians and Nobel-prize-winning economists who defend LVT, see http://earthfreedom.net/lvt-advocates.

    There’s no “mandatory monopoly services” built into LVT. If you don’t like the pipes or wires that the community is willing to connect at the edge of the parcel you hold, you’re free to make other arrangements — as long as you don’t trespass or commit any other form of aggression.

    You’re apparently confusing land value taxes with property taxes, which are indeed evil and indeed have caused massive injustice and malinvestment. You should read We Don’t Need Any Stinking Taxes, by Libertarian economist Fred Foldvary. If you have more time, read his policy study here comparing LVT to all other government revenue options.

  23. Joe

    paulie@15 —

    Thanks. I can search for your past arguments. And I agree there is some cause for hope (Ray Kurzweil and his Singularity for example, likely drop in costs for solar, etc).

    That said, it seems there is a dark, transnational agenda (best explicated, IMO, in Foster Gamble’s Thrive documentary).

    The process of running for the LP nomination may well cause Governor Johnson to reevaluate his Fair Tax defense. I certainly found him to be interested in listening to other ideas yesterday.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    19 jcy, I’ve seen no evidence that BB used the LP opportunistically. As I recall, he and other LNCers were trying to get RP to bolt in early 08. When that failed, he was encouraged to throw his hat in the ring.

    I have no reason to believe that BB was planning to jump back to the GOP 4 years later, do you?

    It’s fairly standard to retain prez lists until the campaign debt’s been retired.

  25. Brian Holtz

    BR @23, if you don’t understand the difference between owning yourself and owning something that is neither you nor created by you, then you simply don’t understand libertarianism.

    MW @22, LVT revenues could of course be spent the same way that other libertarians say they’d spend the revenues from their preferred tax scheme — such as Be Rational’s evil slavery-like 10% sales tax.

    In economic terms, my personal view is that the purpose of government is to police aggression (including to protect common goods i.e. natural resources) and to provide the public and club goods that the local community demands. (Public/club/common goods are economic terms; for definitions see http://libertarianmajority.net/public-and-private-goods.)

  26. Robert Capozzi

    24 bh, yes, yes BR does. Indeed, he sez we geoists are “evil.” So, no matter what we say, BR apparently will dismiss it. OTOH, since I don’t recognize his authority as judge and jury, it’s easy to dismiss his sanctimonious pronouncements as baseless emotional outbursts.

  27. Brian Holtz

    To be clear, geoism is the belief that

    • All persons have an equal right of access to the natural commons of the Earth, which is air, water, land, minerals, wildlife, spectrum — everything that is not created by persons.
    • When you deplete, pollute, congest, or monopolize the natural commons, you must compensate those persons whose access to it you have impaired.

    Not unlike the stages of grief, there is a typical progression of response for libertarians who encounter geoism.

    1. Name-calling dismissal
    2. Angry denunciation
    3. Disagreement with strawman misconstruals
    4. Denial of political/practical viability
    5. Acceptance

    It took me years to get out of stage 3, so we should cut BR some slack if he’s temporarily stuck in stage 2.

  28. Be Rational

    I understand the difference between owning yourself and owning something else. However, when it comes to taxation, you do not see that your LTV is the same as my LTV. It’s because, in your heart, you are still a socialist.

    As to the 10% sales tax, I not only admit, but I exclaim that it is a form of evil, albeit a temporary expedient to get from where we are to a taxless, libertarian society. It makes things better. It repeals all other forms of taxation and lets individuals be free in large areas of their lives.

    A tax on land makes things worse – worse than they are today – much worse. The only way that a tax on land can exist, and be better than things are today, is if the tax on land is lower than it is today. That’s like a little less war, or fewer murders, obviously …

    You want to install a permanent system of evil, one that is worse than gun control, worse than the drug laws – it is a permanent police state where no one can live free. A party that advocates taxing land is not a party of liberty. Period. It is an absolute deal breaker.

    With no land tax, anyone can own his or her land free and clear and pay no one. They can live their lives, pass their property on to their heirs in perpetuity – free from state control.

    If there is an income tax, they can still live tax free and earn no cash income.

    If there is no income tax, only a sales tax, they can even work, invest and earn an income and only pay when they consume.

    But, with a tax on land, no one is ever free.
    The Life Value Tax – LTV –
    The Land Value Tax – LTV –
    The Liberty Value Tax – LTV –

    Yes, all the most evil forms of fascist-socialist sophistry.

  29. Be Rational

    Not unlike the stages of grief, there is a typical progression of response for socialists who believe in geoism.

    Name-calling dismissal
    Angry denunciation
    Disagreement with strawman misconstruals
    Denial of political/practical viabiliy
    Acceptance

    BH seems to believe like a religious zealot, so he cannot see beyond his geoist bible – still at stage zero… he has not yet, and may never be able, to abandon his need for socialist government.

    There are no natural commons and no need for communistically provided services.

  30. Brian Holtz

    A libertarian LVT would be 100% voluntary: you’re free to labor and transact as you please, you just can’t use LVT-financed services.

    Having a sales tax that is only 10% is like being a little bit pregnant. If you give government a taxing power with the dial set to 10%, we all know which direction the dial will turn. By contrast, LVT imposes a built-in ceiling on government revenue. Critics of land value taxation claim it wouldn’t raise enough revenue because ground rent is allegedly only a small fraction of GDP. That sounds like a good thing to me. If government revenue is restricted by definition to ground rent and fees for polluting/congesting/depleting the commons, then government cannot be nearly as big as when it is allowed to tax labor or production or exchanges.

    Land value taxes are naturally local, and so encourage Tiebout Sorting. If the the local mix of government services is too high (or too low) for your taste, or if they aren’t a good value for the LVT rate financing them, then you can vote with your feet. By contrast, income and sales taxes tend to get centralized at the state or even national level, because (unlike land) income and sales can flee to lower-tax jurisdictions. (New Hampshire is among the most free states, and gets the highest percentage of government revenue from property taxes. California finances its high government spending with high centralized state income taxes that rose after Prop 13 restricted local property taxes in 1978.)

  31. Don Wills

    I’m having deja vue. This discussion is so typical of Libertarians. Taxation or not. Sales tax vs. income tax. What one dead philosopher advocated vs. another. The debating society continues.

    You’re all missing the point. Politics is about winning power. Then, and only then, do you get to change policy. The discussion should be how to help GJ win New Mexico, which might send the presidential election to the US House, which would really shake up the power elite. Such a scenario is realistic. Any other scenario/objective is pure fantasy. If, BIG IF, GJ wins New Mexico, then maybe in 2016, a third party can convince Rand Paul or someone of like mind to give it a go against Mitt or Hillary. I recognize the idiocy of this comment to this audience, but I’ll say it anyway –

    BE REALISTIC!

  32. Be Rational

    BH, are you really so foolish.

    If you have only a land tax, it will have to fund much more than local activities. It will fund all of your national common services – and the effects will be devastating.

    You want a permanent tax system, you like the land tax and it will grow and destroy the economy, if not the human race.

    British property taxes are considered one of the major causes of the spread of the plague in London, for example.

    A tax system must be a temporary transition to no taxation.

    A tax system must leave the greatest number free from compliance duties.

    A tax system must leave the greatest number of individuals the chance to opt out with no penalties.

    The resource misallocations caused by land taxation is far beyond anything you have imagined.

    The cost in terms of lost liberty is even greater.

    Life, Liberty and Property as the founders orignially intended meant land not paper clips.

  33. Be Rational

    yes, DW, politics is about winning power and then changing policy.

    But, there must be certain fundamental principles that bind a party together.

    Taxation of land, at any amount is a deal breaker.

    There are many areas where disagreement is possible and a coalition can be maintained.

    For a Party of Liberty, certain minimums must be present:

    The right to life, liberty and property is a good place to start.

    Support for freedom of speech, press and religion.

    The right to bear arms.

    Repeal of all taxes on income and property – especially land.

    Taxing land is worse than socialized medicine, government education, the department of energy.

    Taxing land is an absoulte deal breaker.

    Not only is taxing land an evil infringement on a basic human right, but the repeal of all taxes on property is an issue that the LP can use to win the hearts, minds and votes of the people.

    The repeal of all taxes on property should be one of our primary goals and issues for building a winning coalition for liberty.

  34. Don Wills

    BR – the federal government, the president and the US Congress have NOTHING to do with property taxes. That is a state responsibility. So why are you discussing property taxes in a thread about Gary Johnson?

    My main point isn’t power vs. philosophy. My main point is BE REALISTIC! and stop debating the number of angels on the head of a pin. Less taxes, less spending, more freedom. That’s it – end of discussion on philosophy.

    Now to what actually matters – what are the steps necessary to get GJ a plurality in NM?

  35. Be Rational

    DW – it is being discussed because there is a group within the LP that would like to replace all taxes with a property tax – on land, but of course that means a draconian Federal tax on all property in the end.

    As Tip O’Neal wisely observed, “All politicas is local.” And we need to build a winning coalition from the local level through to the national level.

    At the local level we should propose the repeal of all taxes on property (and income taxes in those jurisdictions with local income taxes).

    At the state level we should propose the repeal of all taxes on income and property, since every state has one or the other.

    At the Federal level we should support repeal of the income tax, and all taxes on income – and we sure don’t want to substitute a tax on land – imagine the IRS coming to tax your land. Holtz and Capozzi might want the IRS to tax our land, but the American people do not.

    Yes, we should focus on getting Gary Johnson on 50 ballots and a good showing, a win if at all possible, in NM.

    But, we have these crazy ideas of a tax on land bringing into question the very reason for the existence of the LP.

    the LP is not supposed to be the reincarnation of the failed, fallacious, fascist-socialism of Henry George.

  36. Ayn R. Key

    I’ll grant every single criticism of Gary Johnson so far offered in this thread and say one good thing about him anyway – he’s still more libertarian than either member of our 2008 presidential ticket.

  37. richard winger

    Don Wills, it is good for people on this thread, and all people, to carry out a polite and well-informed discussion about tax policy. That is one of the great things about small political parties: they get people into thinking through what they really desire for public policy, and then they further refine their thoughts as they discuss it with each other. Also IPR is performing a real service by hosting this discussion.

  38. ralph swanson

    @33 “Politics is about winning power. Then, and only then, do you get to change policy…”

    It’s difficult for me to imagine a more viciously anti-American statement. I recall soldiering in a war to defeat fascist punks that talked like that. In non-political life that’s the philosophy of a crook. I would say Libertarianism is about eliminating that attitude for good. We’re doing it issue by issue.

    Politics is about representing justice, and public office is about doing that to the best of your and your constituent’s understanding. We inform the public accurately on our basic views so they can better express their needs…and bit by bit things change as they exercise the power of We, the People.

    Get lost, traitor.

  39. Don Wills

    RW – but where’s the discussion about the reality of a GJ campaign, its tactics, etc? This, after all, The Independent POLITICAL Report, not the Independent Libertarian Debating Society forum.

  40. Don Wills

    RS – wow, you have no idea what you’re talking about, either about me or the reality of politics. I’ve read lots of naive rantings here at IPR, but yours tops them all.

    I don’t like the way politics works in the USA much either, but it’s a REALITY. You’re welcome to live in your own fantasy world where polite discussion results in optimum justice and freedom. The only problem is that such a world does not exist.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    37 br: Holtz and Capozzi might want the IRS to tax our land, but the American people do not.

    me: I, and I suspect Holtz, want no such thing. I want the LP to field credible, articulate candidates like GJ who advocate ripe ideas that help to advance liberty by attracting a LOT more voters and liberty sympathizers.

    I don’t happen to think LVT is ripe, at least on a national level. I support experimenting with it at the state level to help ripen the concept. In truth, I’m more of an in-theory-Geoist-sympathizer, and I’m a bit more interested in taxing pollution than collecting ground rents.

    I’m open to a number of fiscal approaches to public finance that are ripe, but I’d say GJ’s 47% cut/Fair Tax communicates is a (semi) plausible path toward liberty. He’s probably the best actor we can hire for the role, unless Paul wants to bolt and come over, preferably with a better explanation of NewsletterGate. In that case, I’d hope GJ would play understudy.

    I do recommend that open-minded Ls read up on Geoism, right after they read the first L, Lao Tzu. BR, you seem to display the mentality that I feel holds the LM back from making serious inroads in advancing liberty in the public square, branding me as “evil,” fer chrissakes! A true radical would be open, at least, to the possibility that there are alternative paths to liberty, not just the atomistic, deontological absolutism that one sees far too often in L circles.

    Do you have an open mind, BR, or do you lob these attacks just fer jollies?

  42. Be Rational

    RC I have an open mind to alternate paths that could lead to liberty. However there are some paths that I do not need to consider or be open to: genocide, racism and geoism for example.

    Being expert enough in economics to know that land taxation is the worst of all forms of taxation, being able to recognize that a land tax is also the worst violation of individual liberty of all forms of taxation, and finally the fact that geoism is not a path to liberty but an end in itself, meaning that the goal of the geoist is not liberty means we can reject geoism outright.

    There is a difference between an open mind and an empty mind that accepts any idea no matter how faulty or foolish. Geoism is not an idea that a rational supporter of liberty should be open to.

  43. Tom Blanton

    I think I should be king of the world and tax only people I don’t like so much who have plenty of dough so that I can live high on the hog. I’ll also need plenty of cash to pay thugs to kick ass to keep people in line if they don’t fork over their cash.

    This is the essence of good government.

    Good for me anyway. But as long as rubes insist on being ruled, why not me?

  44. Kevin Knedler

    Hello Don Wills !
    I hope Don would agree with me as I read the latest comments. “You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”.

  45. Kevin Knedler

    Don, don’t lump Ohio LP into your comments. LOL. We are building the LPO team, expanding our base, reaching out to potential like-minded groups, building future leadership (I am getting old). We are trying to get people elected and be more professional in the eyes of the establishment that is in power now. We are learning how they play the “game”. We are still winning Federal Court battles for party ballot access. Agree, there are plenty of small-L books in the library.

  46. Brian Holtz

    Don, that Libertarians debate each other too much about optimal libertarian policy is only the second biggest problem Libertarians have. The biggest problem Libertarian activists have is that they spend too much effort trying to convince each other about what’s the best use of Libertarian activist effort.

    “Winning power” is an important thing, but it’s not the only thing. Libertarians can walk and chew gum at the same time. I’ve served on the LP Platform Committee for the last six years, but I’ve also served in elective office on my town’s water board for the last three years. I was instrumental in the 2008 rewrite of the LP Platform, and I led the effort to make sure our town avoided 20 pages of bureaucratic water-conservation mandates from Sacramento. I’m all about Getting It Done.

    The biggest practical question around a Gary Johnson LP nomination is: who to run for VP? I’d love to get David Friedman, Jim Gray, or Mary Ruwart. Outside the LP, John Stossel would be great for either P or VP.

    BR brought up land value taxes @6, probably in response to my discussion in another Gary Johnson thread. In that thread, I said that the Fair Tax prebate will be GJ’s weak spot in seeking the LP nomination, and that a better position would be to have the 50 states be the only federal taxpayers. It was only as an aside that I mentioned that the Articles of Confederation apportioned such a tax by land value, and that prompted this “BR” person to start ranting and calling me names.

    BR, it’s an standard result in the economics literature that a tax on an inelastically-supplied good like land has no allocative inefficiency — i.e. no deadweight loss. You can call me all the names you want, but it won’t change the state of economic science.

    The ethics of land value taxation is an open question in the libertarian movement, because different libertarians have different theories about the various kinds of property — especially “intellectual property” and spatial property. However, one doesn’t have to endorse geolibertarian ethics to defend LVT as the least bad kind of tax. Part IV of Professor Foldvary’s paper lays out the five ways in which LVT is not as bad as the alternatives. Can you answer his arguments, or not?

    BR) “The LP should take a stand for a single tax on sales, at all levels of government, to be capped constitutionally at 10%.” (BR

    No, the LP should not say that Libertarians want to create a national sales tax. Individual Libertarian candidates can chart their own course to the Platform’s goals of repealing income taxes and banishing force and fraud from human relationships. My advice is for candidates to say that it’s never acceptable to tax peaceful consensual behavior (like sales) — whether it’s at 10%, 1% or 100%. My advice is that candidates instead say that any government taxes should fall only on aggression.

  47. Don Wills

    Hello Kevin, yep you’re doing good. Brian, yes the question of who would be a good VP with GJ is a useful *political* question.

    Assuming GJ gets the LP nomination for P,

    Q. Does GJ get any say in who the VP is? Of most importance, does GJ know the answer to that question now?

    Q. Will the LP convention delegates attempt to force changes in GJ’s positions? For example, wrt taxation? Will the platform committee even consider GJ’s positions? And does GJ know the answers to those questions now?

    Surprises are a bad thing. It would be ashamed to have GJ get upset and leave because things weren’t as he expected.

    Inquiring minds would like to know!

  48. Pingback: Gary Johnson Party Switching Statement, plus reactions at LP.org and Wall Street Journal | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

  49. Jeremy C. Young

    Robert @26, the evidence is circumstantial. For one thing, I don’t think a man who championed the drug war and enacted anti-drug policy should be running for president against the same issues just a few years later. An honest shift of that magnitude requires a heaping dose of humility; I never heard Barr say he was ashamed of crusading for the drug war. Also, a candidate who hired Richard Viguerie as his campaign manager is by definition not a libertarian (a conservative, yes, but not a libertarian). Also, Barr NEVER turned over that donor list until he was paid hefty sums for it by the LNC. Things like that.

    Beyond that, I think all candidates who enter a party and immediately or quickly seek office through it are being opportunistic. Johnson is being opportunistic, too, but it’s a different kind of opportunism. He’s proposing a marriage of convenience: he’ll use the LP to further his ambitions, and in return he’ll promote the LP’s message. Because it’s open and honest (and not based on fabricating what he really believes in), I think it’s a pretty good deal. If Johnson added organizational assistance such as ballot access and fundraising help for the LP, it would be a VERY good deal. And of course if Johnson made it into the debates, the LP would be fools to pass it up.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    to several: One consideration is to sell the VP slot (within bounds) to the person who will fund the Johnson/X to the max. Mark Cuban or Peter Thiel come to mind.

    44 br, I have a hard time imagining that you put geoism in the camp with profoundly dysfunctional thought systems, but everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and I’m sure you agree that opinions can be neither right nor wrong.

    Like Holtz, there was a time not too many years ago when I found geoism to be wrong-headed, too. I moved over to the Geoist symp camp when I thought through the concept of “ground rents.” Who owns inelastic natural resources? Is the first claimant a sufficient standard, and who’s to say that it IS a sufficient standard? Why is one construct “better” than another, and who’s to say that?

    So, in your mind, Holtz, Foldvary, and other geoLs and symps are not “rational.” I get that.

    I s’pose I could say anyone who’s not read The Tao (the first L manifesto) and/or displays no comprehension of it is not “rational.” I choose not to…

  51. Be Rational

    Yes, RC, supporters of the Henry GEOrge lunacy are not rational. They have sought an excuse to tax individuals … and that is all.

    The fact is that the economic distortion caused by misallocation of resources through wrongheaded development of land is in the tens of trillions of dollars in the US alone. Property taxes, especially land taxes, are a primary reason.

    Government land use regulations including taxaation of land cause us to build the wrong things in the wrong places. This is made worse when the govenment builds, owns, subsidizes, plans, directs or decides in any way the decision as to what to build or where to build it. As a result, we have built the wrong infrastructure in the wrong places throughout America and throughout the world. The deleterious effects from the entire misdeveloped mess we live in includes the unnecessary waste of over half of all energy resources used daily, massive air pollution, the waste of millions of lifetimes in wasted commuting time, lack of exercise, hostility and frustration among commuters, massive waste in transport of goods, inconvenient wasteful location of employment, shopping, recreational, educational, cultural … opportunities.

    A Free Market would not have built the inefficient, wasteful infrastructure, housing, business etc structures we have today.

    Government involvement in these areas must be reduced to zero. Roads, sewer systems, water systems among others have the greatest waste because they are not left in the free market.
    Air and water are polluted because they are not privately owned and left in the free market. The costs inflicted on humanity by socializing these goods is beyond measure.

    Shifting everything to a land tax, especially since the Geoists want to continue the government monopoly in provision of many goods and services, would actually make things worse.

    The most important part of the answer as to “who owns” any resource is that it must not be the government nor any socialistic body. First claimant or lottery is not as important as the privatization.

    GEOism is just another form of fascist-socialism and that is what we need to escape from.

    If you must collect coercive revenues for a collectivist state on a permanent basis, you should get back to pollution taxes and sin taxes, since these at least are hard to defend.

    And please do not try to provide any more of the infrastructure or so called common services through the govenment – the economic waste caused by government taxation and provision of these services exceeds the value of what they provide. The government must do nothing.

  52. Robert Capozzi

    55 br: They have sought an excuse to tax individuals … and that is all….

    me: This really shouldn’t be here on this thread, but: Do you believe you KNOW this? Has a geoist told you this? Or are you guessing? Not the case for me, certainly.

    br: The most important part of the answer as to “who owns” any resource is that it must not be the government nor any socialistic body. First claimant or lottery is not as important as the privatization….

    me: Interesting. I guess you’ll need to figure out a way to allocate the air and the earth’s core. Good luck!

    br: If you must collect coercive revenues for a collectivist state on a permanent basis, you should get back to pollution taxes and sin taxes, since these at least are hard to defend.

    me: I’m very down with shifting toward pollution taxes. Sin taxes…not so much.

  53. Humongous Fungus

    Does GJ get any say in who the VP is? Of most importance, does GJ know the answer to that question now?

    The delegates pick the VP separately, the presidential candidate does not choose his/her running mate. If the P candidate asks the delegates to choose a person of his or her choosing for VP, it may happen…or it may not.

    I suspect Johnson has people in his corner who have, or will soon, explain all the ins and outs of how this works. Whether he has a VP candidate in mind, I have no idea.


    Q. Will the LP convention delegates attempt to force changes in GJ’s positions? For example, wrt taxation?

    I don’t see how that’s possible. He may have to downplay or adjust some positions to win, but probably not. And if he does make some tactical adjustments (my gut tells me he won’t), the delegates will have to decide whether they believe those changes are genuine and permanent or just an attempt to win the nomination and will revert to prior positions with the nomination in hand.

    Will the platform committee even consider GJ’s positions? And does GJ know the answers to those questions now?

    The delegates may or may not adopt whatever comes out of the platform committee, or make amendments from the floor. The national LP platforms is not necessarily the same as the campaign platform.

    Surprises are a bad thing. It would be ashamed to have GJ get upset and leave because things weren’t as he expected.

    I would be very surprised if any of the process surprises him by the time of the convention.

  54. Humongous Fungus

    Also, a candidate who hired Richard Viguerie as his campaign manager is by definition not a libertarian

    Viguerie was not Barr’s campaign manager, and not in the campaign at all. In fact I have been told he never even endorsed Barr. He did give a keynote speech at the convention that nominated Barr. Barr’s campaign manager was Russell Verney, who previously managed Perot’s campaign.

  55. Humongous Fungus

    And of course if Johnson made it into the debates, the LP would be fools to pass it up.

    How would Johnson get in the debates? That takes an average of 15% in national polls.

  56. Humongous Fungus

    Also, Barr NEVER turned over that donor list until he was paid hefty sums for it by the LNC.

    As I understand it he never turned it over at all.

    If the LNC actually paid the extortion, that was monumentally foolish.

  57. Brian Holtz

    Don, any pressure on GJ’s positions will come via debating his nomination opponents at state conventions. LP presidential candidates have very little influence on the LP Platform, a living document that is usually not changed very much at any given convention. I see zero chance of the requisite 2/3 majority of delegates adding to the Platform anything like a Fair Tax or consumption tax or even a pollution tax. At our recent PlatCom meeting, we rejected by 5-7 some language advocating the 50 states be the only federal taxpayers. I love the idea but wouldn’t want to impose it on all our candidates, so I voted against it.

  58. Brian Holtz

    There is still no evidence here that “Be Rational” understands the difference between current property taxes and geolibertarian land value taxes. Geolibertarians in fact bitterly criticize the way current government policy subsidizes landholders and encourages inefficient land use.

    Landholders are massively subsidized because the benefits of nearby government projects (roads, rail, bridges, tunnels, air and water ports, parks, schools, flood control, etc.) get capitalized into land values, but are financed mostly through taxes on income and sales.

    By taxing both improvements and land value, property taxes currently push development away from urban centers, where property taxes are highest. A land value tax would only tax land value, and so would encourage density and infill by taxing developed sites the same as sites that are underdeveloped or held for speculation. Sprawl is also encouraged by

    • not charging automobile drivers for the pollution and congestion they cause, or for the full costs of the roads and parking space they use;
    • government lending subsidies that favor single-family suburban dwellings over multi-family urban units; and
    • mortgage interest deductions that favor suburban homeowners over urban renters.

    Communities should decide locally what mix of club goods (highways, bridges, tunnels, pipes, wires, police/fire protection) and public goods (streets, flood control, parks) that government should provide. To the extent that these goods can’t be financed by user fees, then they should be financed by land value taxes that recover the extra value these services create in the free market for land. If these services aren’t worth their cost, then LVT won’t produce enough revenue to finance them. People can also vote with their feet by moving to a locality with their preferred level of government services.

  59. paulie Post author

    One consideration is to sell the VP slot (within bounds) to the person who will fund the Johnson/X to the max. Mark Cuban or Peter Thiel come to mind.

    I don’t know if anyone with any real money is interested in that, and the delegates would still have to approve. I think they would, but we’d have to see, if it comes to that.

  60. Be Rational

    Those fascist-socialist “club goods” are the main problem. The government must not be allowed to provide them nor to raise money through any taxation scheme to finance them. That is the cause of the trillions of dollars in waste we see now. We have far too many roads, highways and bridges built in the wrong places for the wrong reasons because government can never make rational decisions using tax dollars.

    Seems BH has no clue yet about the marketplace or how free market economics really works.

    The government must do nothing – especially at the local level. The government should never be allowed to provide highways, tunnels, pipes, wires, streets, flood control, parks not even fire protection.

    Sorry BH, but you’re still a socialist and that’s the problem with the Geoists – fascist-socialism at the local level is still evil and will still cause trillions of dollars in waste.

    And taxing land will continue all the problems and distortions on the finance side of the ledger while the socialist provision of services will cause distortion on the other.

    You need to give up the socialism, it is incompatable with economic efficency, incompatable with sustainable development, incompatable with a pollution free world and incompatable with a free society.

  61. paulie Post author

    Now to what actually matters – what are the steps necessary to get GJ a plurality in NM?

    Shoe leather, intelligent use of media (old and new, paid and earned), networking with Ron Paul/Campaign for Liberty types.

    I doubt it could be pulled off though, NM is a swing state and if it starts looking plausible down the stretch, the big 2 or 3 will simply overwhelm us with people/organization and money. We don’t have nearly enough to compete with them in either regard.

    Do you have any thoughts you want to share on how to counter it?

  62. paulie Post author

    That said, it seems there is a dark, transnational agenda (best explicated, IMO, in Foster Gamble’s Thrive documentary).

    True….

    The process of running for the LP nomination may well cause Governor Johnson to reevaluate his Fair Tax defense. I certainly found him to be interested in listening to other ideas yesterday.

    I hope so. He does have a lot of positives.

  63. paulie Post author

    Hopefully, Johnson will pave the way for a Republican White House in 2012.

    Why? Did the Republicans do something good the last few times they have had it?

  64. Don Wills

    paulie writes wrt to GJ and NM “Do you have any thoughts you want to share on how to counter it?”

    Nope. Trying to have an impact on the presidential election requires millions of supporters and hundreds of millions of dollars. The LP lacks both of those things by at least two orders of magnitude.

  65. NewFederalist

    I lived in New Mexico for for over a dozen years and it happened to coincide with the 8 years that Gary Johnson was governor. I voted for him both times he ran. I do not believe there is any realistic chance that he can carry NM. While I really loved the climate and the rather easy going lifestyle of NM I can tell you this… it is below Mississippi in the categories you don’t want to be low in. It is dirt poor and government is by far the largest employer. National government (USAF bases, Sandia National Lab and Los Alamos National Lab, White Sands Testing Range, National Forests, multiple Indian Reservations and Pueblos), state government and city and county governments (I already mentioned tribal governments and casinos) employs more people than the private sector. No Libertarian has any chance at all. He was a great governor but without being the nominee of a major party he has no chance to do more than hit double digits. The Democrats will carry the state.

  66. NewFederalist

    Don Wills- Will the Country Party consider placing Johnson’s name on the Wyoming ballot?

  67. Brian Holtz

    BR @64) Those fascist-socialist “club goods” are the main problem. The government must not be allowed to provide them nor to raise money through any taxation scheme to finance them. That is the cause of the trillions of dollars in waste we see now. We have far too many roads, highways and bridges built in the wrong places (BR

    Ah, so the trillions of dollars of government waste is due to roads and bridges having been built in the wrong places. Got it.

    BR) The government must do nothing (BR

    Well, there’s your problem. You’re an anarchist who bleats “fascist-socialist” when confronted with the textbook argument for government provision of club goods and public goods. Here is some remedial economics reading for you:

  68. Thomas L. Knapp

    @72,

    “the textbook argument for government provision of club goods and public goods”

    Well, that settles it. After all, it’s not like there were ever textbook arguments for the validity of phrenology, or the necessity of exterminating the Jews. If there had been, those things would have been right, right?

  69. Brian Holtz

    Tom @73, I didn’t say @72 that the presence in economics textbooks of a standard case for a non-zero-sized government proves that anarchism is wrong. I just said that if “Be Rational” is going to brag @44 about being “expert enough in economics to know …”, then s/he ought not to have a more cogent response to that textbook argument than to just chant “fascist-socialist”. (Note that the argument for under-production of public goods is so overwhelming that, as anarcholibertarian professor Walter Block admits about the resulting justification for state intervention, “virtually all economists accept this argument. There is not a single mainstream text dealing with the subject which demurs from it.”)

    The fact remains that BR has offered no rebuttal to the standard arguments of economists about why a land value tax causes less distortion than BR’s own sales tax.

    For example, here are some quotes from a 1990 open letter to Gorbachev signed by a long list of economists:

    Your economists have learned much from the experience of nations with economies based in varying degrees on free markets. Your plans for freely convertible currency, free trade, and enterprises undertaken and managed by individuals who receive the profit or bear the losses that result from their decisions are all highly commendable. But there is a danger that you will adopt features of our economies that keep us from being as prosperous as we might be. In particular, there is a danger that you may follow us in allowing most of the rent of land to be collected privately. […] While the governments of developed nations with market economies collect some of the rent of land in taxes, they do not collect nearly as much as they could, and they therefore make unnecessarily great use of taxes that impede their economies–taxes on such things as incomes, sales and the value of capital.

  70. Be Rational

    Unfortunately, we have an overproduction of public goods 0r more accurately, overproduction of the wrong public goods. These are subsidized 100% and provided free. Massive taxation of land and property coupled with the free use of these oversupplied public goods crushes nearly all provision of alternative goods and services in these areas. The result is urban sprawl, massive increase in the need for transportation, pollution, overconsumption of energy, too many roads, too many highways, too many of wronghead unneeded infrastructure projects, too much use of inefficient modes of transportation.

    Jitneys, busses, higher prices for fuel – these might seem better, but they are like frosting on a rotted fish.

    We need to throw out the rotten fish.

    The government has no idea what infrastructure we need to build. Neither do the fascist-socialist geowankers. Neither do economists in general who have no knowledge of alternative systems and engineering and do not have any clue about alternative urban development strategies that are prevented today by the fascist-socialist model and would be worse under the geowanker fascist-socialist land tax regime.

    Land taxes, and in today’s world, all the other property taxes and use regulations, and the foolish belief in the fairy story of pubic goods are the problem.

    In a properly developed, free market city, for example, we could go from home to work or to school or shopping all day and back without even seeing a road or automobile or bus or jitney, let alone using or riding in one.

    Human beings can live in much denser land use areas that appear to be rural park settings, cheaper and more efficiently, with no roads inside the entire area.

    Competing companies would provided services such as water, sewer, gas and electricity that would allow consumers to choose and switch providers on a moment’s notice based on price and quality factors due to the efficiencies of serving these large parklike developments.

    Individuals would own and profit from developing and owning areas with luxurious quality infrastructure of a type not imagined by the government socialists or economists or geowankers.

    This change to the high end, heretofore unimagined infrastructure of tomorrow can only come about when we end the government monopoly and wrongheaded control of the world’s infrastructure.

    The idea that government should provide infrastructure of any kind leads to the poor cities and towns we see everywhere in the world today. The difference between what we saw in the grocery stores in the USSR vs the US with food provided by the government vs a semi-free market pales in comparison to the beauty and wealth possible in a comparison between the polluted, dirty, hostile, crime-filled, concrete hell-holes the socialists and geowankers give us vs. the privately designed, privately developed, privately owned communities that would evolve in a system of free market infrastructure development.

    Standard economics textbooks were written by clueless socialists who lack the interdisiplinary vision and free market acumen to discuss the topic. They need to go back to school and start over.

  71. Robert Capozzi

    77 br: Land taxes, and in today’s world, all the other property taxes and use regulations, and the foolish belief in the fairy story of pubic goods are the problem.

    [but then]

    Human beings can live in much denser land use areas that appear to be rural park settings, cheaper and more efficiently, with no roads inside the entire area.

    [and then]

    This change to the high end, heretofore unimagined infrastructure of tomorrow can only come about when we end the government monopoly and wrongheaded control of the world’s infrastructure.

    me: In short, BR replaces one fairy tale with another! S/he makes claims about his/her construct with zero evidence of the outcome, since it’s completely unprecedented and thoroughly untested.

    Somehow, BR’s logic goes something like this:

    States (and anything that operates like a State in any way) fail. Therefore statelessness works.

    Anyone else see the flaw in this “reasoning”?

  72. Be Rational

    Capozzi:
    “Sorry Mr. Wright. People can’t fly. No one ever did it before.”

    Oh, yes we can see the flaw in YOUR reasoning.

  73. Be Rational

    However, we also have this:

    Moscow pre 1989 Comrade Capozzi: “If government doesn’t supply food for us to eat, we will all starve.”

    Just don’t look at grocery stores in the west.

  74. Be Rational

    Finally, however, we can look at places like some university campuses, giant shopping malls, and theme parks like Busch Gardens or Disney World. Here there is just a clue as to things that are possible. But, while people prefer to live in places like this, we first have to get the government out so that the thousands of Walt Disneys in the world can create and design such living parks and investors can invest in them and individuals can live in them and own them with pride and profit – property tax free, regulation free, income tax free.

  75. Be Rational

    But, perhaps because the government is in the way, the only option will be for the free market to move offshore and deveop better communities in which to live, where the free market not only will create and invest in the entire infrastructure, they will actually create new land to do it. (Sorry geowankers, but there is not a fixed supply of land.)

    http://mashable.com/2011/08/17/peter-thiel-seasteading-institute/

    It’s a shame though. It would be much more efficient if the fascist-socialists would just give up the looney fairy tale of public goods.

  76. Robert Capozzi

    81 br: we can look at places like some university campuses, giant shopping malls, and theme parks like Busch Gardens or Disney World.

    me: Yes, yes, we can. It looks to me like metamorphic rock, with veins of the State mixed in with private, un-coerced behavior. Those private institutions surely are affected by the State in myriad ways. I happen to believe that the metamorphic rock is strongest when the veins of the State are the smallest.

    I am amused that you think a discrete event like the Wright Bros. is somehow analogous to the entire social order. Thank you. I’ve started my day with a smile! 🙂

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH@75,

    Just for the record, I was not arguing over the relative distorting effects of land taxes versus other taxes.

    If I was arguing against anything, it was the “public goods” construct.

  78. Be Rational

    No, RC, I don’t think the example of the Wright Bros. is analogous to the entire social order, I think it is analogous to your viewpoint – and lack of vision.

  79. Robert Capozzi

    85 br, yes, my vision IS lacking. But I’m not alone…I’ve got 7B colleagues, who also, as Hayek observed, cannot and do not construct societies. Those who try have much in common with Robespierre, Hitler, and Mao, who thankfully failed , too.

  80. George Phillies

    @80 Once upon about 1990 my university department started receiving grad students from Russia. One of teh things we did was to take them to a local supermarket and walk them through ‘buying goods in an American store’ because the scripting — a wonderful word from Noam Chomsky — was entirely different in the USA and the USSR. They were led into the local good, cheap, but relatively small supermarket. The response was ‘we have totally lost the cold war’.

    My parents knew the son of friends who worked a camera team for one news network. You have more or less all seen his work. He did the film of the Chinese student standing off the tank column. He had first spent several months in Moscow, and had then flown to Biejing to cover the Tien an Men event and be in place when it started. However, the team had to go shopping for things like food, before and after. Now, the national capitals are showplaces. But they are both show places, and Moscow to Beijing was night to day. Colors of clothes, children’s toys, selections of food…The Russians had totally lost the cold war to the Chinese, too.

  81. Brian Holtz

    BR) university campuses, giant shopping malls, and theme parks like Busch Gardens or Disney World (BR

    It turns out that Be Rational is already a geolibertarian and just doesn’t know it yet. In fact, he may be a geoanarchist, which is what Prof. Foldvary is. BR should read Foldvary’s Geoanarchism essay at anti-state.com, and also his short paper The Private Provision of Public Goods.

    Bob, one doesn’t need to subscribe to geoanarchist utopitanism to agree with Foldvary’s incrementalist prescription for moving in that direction. Within the current statist context, he advocates:

    • radical decentralization, in which all government revenue and services happen at the community/neighborhood level, and any larger units of government are just federations from which smaller units may secede.
    • a Green Tax Shift, in which community services are financed not by taxes on income or sales or produced wealth but by fines on negative externalities and by ground rents on sites.

    Foldvary explains that land value taxes closely model how consensual private communities tend to govern themselves. Malls, business parks, hotels, condominiums, homeowners associations — all tend to “tax” their tenants not according to profits or revenues or inventory or improvements, but mostly by site value (for which square footage often serves as a proxy).

    I suspect that if these policies were pursued far enough, the difference between local “governments” and private homeowner/condo associations would become blurred, and would hinge on the governance rules adopted as the public-goods assets of current governments get subdivided.

  82. paulie Post author

    Will the Country Party consider placing Johnson’s name on the Wyoming ballot?

    The LP already has ballot access in Wyoming. So it is not necessary.

    Most states don’t allow a presidential candidate on two separate party lines in the same election. Not sure about Wyoming off the top of my head; Don might know, or Richard Winger would for sure.

  83. Robert Capozzi

    88 bh: Bob, one doesn’t need to subscribe to geoanarchist utopitanism to agree with Foldvary’s incrementalist prescription for moving in that direction.

    me: Yes, thank you. Utopian constructs can have usefulness, just as all constructs do. Language and arithmetic are useful constructs, for ex. Ideas about how an “ideal” social order might look like might be useful as a kind of True North, a means to steer incremental change toward.

    Where our Randian/Rothbardian brethren veer off course IMO is to rigidly apply a VERY simple (I’d even say simplistic) construct and “demand” radical steps toward it. But even that I can deal with. Where RR-ism gets pernicious is when their construct and policy prescriptions become litmus tests for all those who call themselves L.

    I ain’t buyin’….

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