Gary Johnson will end the IRS

Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson released a new web ad advocating his position on taxation and the IRS. See the video below.

Gary Johnson is a entrepreneur and former Governor of New Mexico. He ran for President as a Republican, but dropped out to join the Libertarian Party, and became their nominee in May.

30 thoughts on “Gary Johnson will end the IRS

  1. wolfefan

    Without debating the merits of the “Fair Tax”, how would it’s implementation eliminate the IRS, or a similar bureaucracy that performs essentially the same functions? The Fair Tax is pretty complicated under the hood – different things are taxed in different ways depending on what their purpose was at the time of purchase and whether or not the item purchased was used as intended at the time of purchase. Someone is going to have to monitor that, and check to see if the business that said they were purchasing something to do A with ended up doing B with 35% of it and C with 65% of it. Also a lot of the state income taxes are designed to work within the framework of the Federal form and rely on Federal enforcement to validate their figures. If the feds no longer perform this role, the states will have to hire additional folks and create larger bureaucracies to administer their own tax schemes, won’t they? I’m not arguing the merits of the idea – just wondering about the practicalites of implementation beyond “eliminate the IRS” soundbites.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    This one’s a setback for me. I’ve been giving the series an A, but this one is a B-. If the idea is for GJ to be in a bunker, don’t put him in a well-lit office. He looks almost asleep here, which disconnects from his read, which is still quite powerful. The script here is fine, but the stock footage feels forced to me.

    I could not read the subliminal message this time, either.

  3. Oranje Mike

    The Fair Tax is Johnson’s pitfall. It’s not fair, it’s complicated and it’s my understanding that many people would actually pay more taxes under such a system. It’s very messy and will leave us with no less bureaucracy.

  4. Tom Blanton

    Maybe Mistah Johnson will replace the IRS and its evil agents with The Happy Fair Tax Bureau staffed with friendly Fair Tax Compliance Specialists to help citizens correctly apply for their monthly prebates and help small businesses report wages and collect taxes.

    Unlike evil IRS agents, Happy Fair Tax Bureau Compliance Specialists would not carry pistols. They would only have non-lethal weapons like tasers and flash-bang grenades for when they come calling.

    It will be a big improvement when we pay huge amounts of money to the government at McDonalds and Wal-Mart instead of having it withheld from wages paid by companies like K-Mart and Burger King.

    When Mistah Johnson gets to be President, happy daze will be here again!

  5. Andy

    Yes, Gary Johnson wants to end the income tax, which is a good thing, but he wants to replace it with something that is just as bad – if not worse – than the income tax in the so called “Fair” Tax.

    This is one of the main reasons that a long time (16 years) member of the Libertarian Party such as myself has a hard time working up any enthusiasm for the Gary Johnson for President campaign. Sure, the Johnson campaign has put out some good stuff too, but then they ruin it with garbage like this.

  6. Be Rational

    Actually, since the Ad itself doesn’t mention the Fair Tax at all, it’s an improvement.

    A flat consumption tax with No Prebate coupled with Johnson’s planned 43% reduction in Federal spending would be better than the income tax and the IRS.

  7. Andy

    “Be Rational // Jul 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Actually, since the Ad itself doesnโ€™t mention the Fair Tax at all, itโ€™s an improvement.”

    The problem is that the Fair Tax is promoted on Gary Johson’s campaign website, as well as in many of his media interviews and campaign speeches.

    The bottom line is that he wants to end something that’s bad, and replace it with something that is just as bad – or even worse.

    Not something that excites this long time Libertarian Party member.

  8. Ad Hoc

    @11 Goode also favors the unFair tax.

    Looking forward to the next ad being better…


    Taxation is Theft, and should be abolished.
    In part, the LP was founded to provide roadmaps showing how America could get from where it is to where libertarians believe it should be. Where’s the sensible plan that average, thoughtful citizens can
    look at and see the progression towards “no taxes, no IRS?” Would it be better to say, “Let’s cut spending 43% and lower current tax rates by 10%, and when we see how the economy booms, decide what the next steps are to further reduce the tax burden on the American people.”?

  10. Andy

    “So will Virgil Goode”

    Virgil Goode, like Gary Johnson, has made statements that are supportive of the “Fair” Tax plan, and this is not a good thing (pun intended).

  11. Andy

    The problem with the Fair Tax is that it is NOT an incremental step towards more freedom. It is at best just as bad as the present system, and it may in fact be worse than the present system.

    I’m not opposed to incremental steps towards freedom, but the fact of the matter is that the Fair Tax does not fit the criteria of being an incremental step towards more freedom.

  12. Stuart Simms

    re 16 sorry, my mistake, “we the poeple are back” is not the subliminal message. Can’t make it out.

  13. Ralph Swanson

    Libertarians were pushing flat taxes /slashed tax rates as an intermediate measure in high tax rate countries which the US no longer is.

    Libertarians are working on tax abolition on moral grounds across the US and getting parts of both political wings to work with them. The same is happening in other countries. Many work outside the LP because of this nonsense.

  14. Gene Berkman

    Empirically, the best approach to ending the income tax is to lower the rates across the board, and continually increase the deductions so that more and more people are removed from the tax rolls.

    The tax reform of 1986 lowered the rates, with only two rates in effect, and removed tens of millions of lower income workers from the tax rolls. Even Rep Charles Rangell applauded the tax reform for removing millions from the tax rolls.

    This must be accompanied by continuous cuts in government spending, ending programs, and bringing the troops home so that the federal government can live within a much smaller budget, eventually funded without income taxes.

  15. Thomas L. Knapp


    Agreed, although rather than increasing deductions it would be better to increase the personal exemption.

    Deductions (apart from the “standard deduction”) are subject to social engineering — you get the larger deduction if you buy a house or install a solar water heater or have a kid or whatever it is that the politicians want (or have been bribed to want) you to do.

    Raising the personal exemption takes more of your money out of the tax man’s reach regardless of what you spend that money on.

  16. Gene Berkman

    TK @ 20 – actually the personal exemption is what I meant, but I forgot the word, and remembered deductions.

    Increasing the personal exemption is in fact what took tens of millions of lower income workers off the income tax roles.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    Gene @ 22.

    It’s a great idea — Kubby had it as part of his 2008 platform. I’ve always thought that if any really good tax policy can be done “bi-partisan” style, that would be it. Republicans get to tell people they’re cutting taxes, Democrats get to tell people they’re helping the poor.

  18. Ralph Swanson

    True… In addition, simply asking to eliminate the tax works. We’ve seen success at the state and local, and national level in other countries especially when accompanied by endowments.

    That’s what people are doing now, changing the conversation.

    Communist countries were a strange case–high defacto taxes but technically no taxes. Russia is still a mess figuring out its actual tax rate…flat taxes semed a good mid-point then…

  19. Ralph Swanson

    The first Libertarian contested candidates in NY ran on increasing the personal exemption, etc.

    This was denounced as extremist radicalism by party ‘moderates’…

    As I’ve said, Johnson should just ask for zero or a voluntary tax.

  20. Thomas L. Knapp


    Strange that “moderates” would oppose it. It’s very mainstream.

    No complex tinkering with rates, deductions, credits, etc. that raises administrative costs and invites special pleading from this or that lobby.

    EVERYONE who pays taxes gets a tax cut, from Bill Gates to the janitor at the gas station down the street from the Microsoft campus.

    With each increase, a few of the poorest Americans — who paid the least taxes anyway — fall off the rolls, further reducing the costs of tax reporting, collection, etc.

    There are some problems with it, the big one being “democracy” — the people who don’t pay taxes will still demand government programs, and there will eventually be enough of them to outvote the people still getting milked.

    On the other hand, the upper end of the income scale has plenty of lobbying money, etc. — frankly, “democracy” has been mostly notional above the lowest local level in America for decades anyway.

    So it probably balances out.

  21. From Der Sidelines

    The “Fair Tax” is Johnson’s albatross.

    Increasing the personal exemption is probably the more equitable way to cut taxes.

    While other ways such as increasing deductions or personal credits might be more social engineering, I could think of a few that would be most useful across the board:

    1. Drop the minimum percentages on medical deductions from 7.5% of AGI to o% (and include insurance premiums!) and on other expenses from 2.5% to 0%.
    2. Make all SSA/Medicare taxes deductible.
    3. Raise the AMT minimum from the current BizzaroWorld formula to a flat $500K AGI.
    4. Drop the maximum allowed for tax-free gifts and charitable deductions.
    5. In lieu of itemizing deductions, increase the standard deduction to go with #1 and #4, which live on Schedule A.

  22. Starchild

    Hmm. I’m surprised more folks on here don’t like this ad. I like it a lot. Sure there’s always room for improvement, but in this spot Gary Johnson is doing exactly what many of us suggested he do — just talk about ending the IRS without talking about the “‘fair’ tax”, even under the less offensive description of a national consumption tax. I think we ought to give him credit!

    Perhaps his views are becoming more radical due to more exposure to libertarians and libertarian ideas of late.

    Or perhaps he is seeing that public sentiment is more pro-freedom than he thought it would be.

    Perhaps he just realizes that a more radical message makes for stronger, more effective ads, or perhaps there are folks on his campaign team designing these things for him who realize this stuff.

    I would guess that most likely it’s some combination of the above factors. But in any case, I say — Go Gary! Power to the People, not the Government!

    R3VOLution whipped out its Johnson!

  23. starchild

    Gasp! It’s so… big! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (No, I swear, I really didn’t do that on purpose — I’m trying to make the image fit back in the text box like it’s supposed to, but not seeing how to do it!)

  24. Robert Capozzi

    28 sc, I agree. The messaging here is quite good. The production/execution is disappointing for me, mostly because the previous few ads were getting quite good.

    Politics is theater, where a good script can not achieve its full potential if the stagecraft is not strong.

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