Austin Petersen, Running for the Libertarian Party’s Nomination to be their Candidate for President in 2016, Releases Campaign Video Re: His Tax and Spending Plan

42 thoughts on “Austin Petersen, Running for the Libertarian Party’s Nomination to be their Candidate for President in 2016, Releases Campaign Video Re: His Tax and Spending Plan

  1. jim

    Hey, Austin! Please don’t waste our time! Take a bit of time, and prepare a transcript for your speech, and post both the video and the speech. Most of us out here can read text in the English language far, far faster than you can speak understandably. If it is important enough for you to show us your video, it is important enough for you or somebody to post the transcript too.

  2. Fun K. Chicken

    Austin is not the one wasting our time. I for one appreciate the videos, with or without a transcript. Wasting time is all Jim does here, with very, very rare exceptions.

  3. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Notice that the text at the opening says only “Austin Petersen, Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate “, although his spoken words make it clear he’s still a candidate for the nomination.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    B

    This vid has a Mr Rogers vibe. I’m so down with being non-threatening, but this may go too far even for my Taoist blood.

    …won’t you be my neighbor…

  5. Robert Capozzi

    oh, the substance was A-.

    It seems to assume that viewers assume that being a L candidate is just another choice. This is just not so in any meaningful sense. A case should be made to vote L vs the Rs or Ds because ______.

  6. NewFederalist

    I can just visualize Mr. Capozzi in a cardigan and sneakers! 😉 Speedy delivery!!

  7. paulie

    Haven’t seen this video yet but I’m glad we have a campaign that’s doing videos.

    Note to the other campaigns if you are reading this: Please start doing some if you aren’t yet, or let us know about them if you already are.

  8. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Dr. Feldman made a couple videos at the beginning of his candidacy. I liked them. I wonder why he stopped?

  9. Jed Ziggler

    I’m old school, I prefer printed releases. Saves on data usage.

    His proposal for a 15% flat tax is worrisome. Libertarians should be advocating for no tax, rather than punish the working class by stealing 15% of their income. Also, why only cutting a penny on the dollar? His proposals are weak tea at best.

  10. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Thanks for the info, Dr. Feldman. I’ll try to post some over the weekend, unless someone gets to it first.

  11. Robert Capozzi

    jz: Also, why only cutting a penny on the dollar?

    me: I take it to be 1% for 5 years, cumulatively something like 6-7%. It would be MUCH larger on a percentage basis if entitlements are excluded.

    Great idea from a L-edge-positioning perspective.

  12. paulie

    I would like to see campaigns put out plenty of both video and printed commentary. While it may be ideal to also have transcripts for the videos, I certainly would not want the lack of transcripts – which is actually a lot more work than just putting out videos – discourage any campaigns from making and putting out as many videos as possible.

  13. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Austin certainly has a lot of good qualities. I said so to him, and I don’t give lying flattering. The bad points outweigh them. But it won’t be the Zombie apocalypse.

    Here are some additional concerns. He pays lip service now to be all anti-neocon and not Republican but just a few months before he announced for the LP, he was grinning and hand-pumping at Rand Paul events (I believe it was several, it was at least one) and taking exuberant selfies in front of Republic headquarters. He didn’t even join as a dues-paying member of the National Party until AFTER he announced (i.e. his concern for actually supporting the Libertarian Party was little until it benefited him personally). AFTER he announced his candidacy, he was still supporting Rand Paul and has been posting mournful posts about Rand since. He has indicated that he has connections with a Rand Paul donor base.

    For some people, this is absolutely no problem. For those of us concerned with keeping the Republican Party hands out of the Libertarian Party, it is a problem.

  14. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie, in Kerbel’s last appearance he said he is working on videos. I have encouraged that very much.

  15. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Austin sang Christmas carols live, apparently to raise money for his campaign.

    He has a bright green sweater on with a red tie.

  16. Stewart Flood

    The problem is that the general public (outside of the 1% who are actual libertarians) don’t understand how much better things ran before the income tax was introduced and before the federal reserve system squashed us.

    You have to “cook the frog” slowly. A proposal for a swap isn’t a horrible idea — as a start. If (big if) a libertarian is elected president, he or she will have to deal with two houses of congress that would likely have a few libertarians but a supermajority of the two statist leaning parties. You can’t just say “eliminate” and expect congress to do it. You have to start by simplifying and shrinking.

    It took a hundred years of income tax and the federal reserve to get us where we are, it can’t be fixed in a single term. Saying that we want to eliminate taxes, and we want to start by doing “a, b & c” and then seeing how it succeeds is what I’d have said. (Maybe that’s what he said…I fell asleep trying to watch it)

  17. Wang Tang-Fu

    Under what scenario do you see a Libertarian President being elected without also electing a significant number of Libertarians to Congress at the same time? Given that neither is likely in 2016, to put it mildly, wouldn’t it make more sense to push a “wish list” plan rather than one that could maybe pass a Congress that somehow remains largely unchanged while a Libertarian President is elected?

  18. Stewart Flood

    Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the ballot next November has Clinton and Trump on it. The GOP, again for discussion, has failed to broker a convention to overturn Trump’s delegates, and none of their alternate choices was able to get on the ballot because the convention is in mid-July and the in-fighting over who would run against him took too long. Our convention is over, so they can’t try to hijack us or the other parties, so they’re stuck with “The Don”, possibly with no running mate since there isn’t a republican I can think of who’d run with him. 🙂

    So we’ve got a D, an R, an L, a G, and probably one or two others. Clinton and Trump nuke each other with scandal outages, leaving America so fed up that the Libertarian candidate wins a squeaker! Ok, not likely but…

    Now many house candidates will we be fielding? 20? 30? 50? Ok, let’s say a hundred and four or five senate candidates. Ten percent of them win, since the fight for president doesn’t completely backlash all the way down ticket. Our new president has ten (10) members of the house and maybe one (1) senator.

    Exactly what will he or she do with that? What would a Green Party candidate be able to do if they win the squeaker instead of us?

    But if we’re talking the long road to the presidency, which is far more likely, then it will be years from now. We need to be thinking about local elections, state-wide elections, and THEN putting proven [hopefully non-corruptible] elected libertarians up for congress. Running libertarians for the house or the senate who have no track record to back up their proposals will not win. Never has, never will. Of course we keep doing that, but I digress.

    But the first scenario is what we were discussing, and it is only possible if they pick Clinton and Trump. Which of course is what could happen if Trump and Clinton don’t tank during the primaries.

    Silly scenario, and very unlikely since Clinton would probably win nearly as many states as Nixon did in ’72 if she’s up against Trump.

    Unfortunately, this is a bit of a waste of time discussing things that will not happen. I’m more interested in finding people to run for office in my state. No offense, I’m just more concerned with local elections and don’t want to think about how horrible our presidential candidate may be.

  19. NewFederalist

    If it ends up Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump then we have to go with Jesse Ventura! We would just have to show the nation we can out crazy everybody. 😉

  20. Marc Allan Feldman

    @Steward Flood writes “Exactly what will he or she do with that?”

    The President of the United States is not bound by Congress but by the Constitution.
    The three highest priorities and major initiatives of my administration are required by the Constitution and are within the responsibilities of the President as chief executive.

    1. Cease government borrowing. On day 1, I will submit a balanced budget to Congress for their consideration. At the same time, by executive order, I will put in place monthly spending caps on every government agency, to strictly limit spending to available revenue. The debt clock would stop. There would be no need to raise the debt ceiling again.

    2. Change charitable deductions to tax credits. The Constitution requires acts of Congress to be “necessary and proper.” As chief executive of government agencies, I must abide by the Constitution. It is clearly neither necessary nor proper to take income taxes from Americans for government social programs, when the taxpayer chooses to spend that money on more efficient and effective private social programs. Therefore I would issue an executive order to the IRS to credit the tax liability 100% for charitable donations.

    3. Pardon non-violent offenders. I plan to pardon 10,000 non-violent offenders and return them to join and support their families at the very beginning of my administration. I would promote restitution and other alternatives to incarceration.

    The office of the President of the United States has become very powerful. There is a lot a Libertarian President can accomplish to promote liberty with or without the support of Congress.

  21. Andy Craig

    “1. Cease government borrowing. On day 1, I will submit a balanced budget to Congress for their consideration. At the same time, by executive order, I will put in place monthly spending caps on every government agency, to strictly limit spending to available revenue. The debt clock would stop. There would be no need to raise the debt ceiling again.”

    This is possible and legal, but only by statutory authority. If that statutory authority were repealed, it would be more up in the air if the President could do it ex officio as a constitutional matter.

    “2. Change charitable deductions to tax credits. The Constitution requires acts of Congress to be “necessary and proper.” As chief executive of government agencies, I must abide by the Constitution. It is clearly neither necessary nor proper to take income taxes from Americans for government social programs, when the taxpayer chooses to spend that money on more efficient and effective private social programs. Therefore I would issue an executive order to the IRS to credit the tax liability 100% for charitable donations.”

    No way that flies as an executive action. You could try it, but the chances of it not being struck down by the courts are next to nil. It would require a statutory change to enact a new tax credit, or to increase an existing credit, and to authorize the IRS to start reducing liabilities and processing returns on that basis.

    “3. Pardon non-violent offenders. I plan to pardon 10,000 non-violent offenders and return them to join and support their families at the very beginning of my administration. I would promote restitution and other alternatives to incarceration.”

    This could indeed be done regardless of anything Congress or the courts say; the presidential clemency power is absolute and plenary, perhaps even uniquely so. It is limited only by the substantial caveat that it’s for federal offenses only, and can’t reach those in state prisons for state crimes.

  22. Andy Craig

    “The office of the President of the United States has become very powerful. There is a lot a Libertarian President can accomplish to promote liberty with or without the support of Congress.”

    I do agree with that. There are a lot of creative constitutional options for a hypothetical Libertarian President, even aside from the imperial presidency precedents built up on top of that.

  23. Jed Ziggler

    Using Stewart Flood’s (admittedly unlikely) theory, if.there were 10 Libertarian members of the U.S. House, and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans obtain a majority, the 10 men and women become the most powerful people in the House. Think about it. One party or the other will have to make concessions to the LP to achieve a majority government.

  24. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==I do agree with that. There are a lot of creative constitutional options for a hypothetical Libertarian President, even aside from the imperial presidency precedents built up on top of that.==

    Yet we complain when the other parties use “creative” Constitutional options… so not so sure I am comfortable with that statement on one hand. On the other, I am not a Constitutionalist.

  25. Andy

    “Stewart Flood

    December 14, 2015 at 19:32

    Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the ballot next November has Clinton and Trump on it. The GOP, again for discussion, has failed to broker a convention to overturn Trump’s delegates, and none of their alternate choices was able to get on the ballot because the convention is in mid-July and the in-fighting over who would run against him took too long. Our convention is over, so they can’t try to hijack us or the other parties, so they’re stuck with ;The Don’, possibly with no running mate since there isn’t a republican I can think of who’d run with him. 🙂

    So we’ve got a D, an R, an L, a G, and probably one or two others. Clinton and Trump nuke each other with scandal outages, leaving America so fed up that the Libertarian candidate wins a squeaker! Ok, not likely but…”

    Even if this highly unlikely scenario were to happen, you are forgetting about what the likely response would be, and that is election fraud. “They” (as in “the powers that be”) would just rig the election.

  26. Andy Craig

    “Yet we complain when the other parties use “creative” Constitutional options… so not so sure I am comfortable with that statement on one hand. On the other, I am not a Constitutionalist.”

    I didn’t mean anything like that, I just mean using the existing constitutional powers of the presidency, but outside of the normal political constraints. Such as the pardon power, and the power to hire and fire federal employees and political appointees. commander-in-chief, etc.

  27. Andy Craig

    “Using Stewart Flood’s (admittedly unlikely) theory, if.there were 10 Libertarian members of the U.S. House, and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans obtain a majority, the 10 men and women become the most powerful people in the House. Think about it. One party or the other will have to make concessions to the LP to achieve a majority government.”

    I’ve put some thought into this scenario, and also the broader question of how a Libertarian or other third-party Representative would function in the House.

    I think it would actually work in some ways better than in a parliamentary coalition government, because there wouldn’t be any need to agree on anything more than electing a speaker. And I really wouldn’t mind giving the first-place plurality party their pick on that (assuming it’s something like 216 – 209 – 10), perhaps extracting some procedural and organization concessions to provide for a third party caucus and committee representation, outside the House’s traditional majority/minority division.

    But the upshot, is that there wouldn’t be any obligation to support “the government” on things like passing a budget, or anything at all. A third-party caucus could then vote as it chose on any given issue or legislation– in effect, nothing would be passed without the consent of any two out three parties. (The Republicans and Democrats could of course still pass things together over the Libertarian objection, and in many cases probably would.)

  28. steve m

    I am going with if in the unlikely event the Flood model happens then remember it is the electoral college that picks the President. My bet is the democrats and republicans would pick some one other then Hillary or Donald, Maybe Michel Bloomberg for example and the Libertarians still would end up with the top position. But from that moment the Libertarian Party would be a major party.

  29. Robert Capozzi

    SF’s Trump v Clinton would create an opening for a L prez candidate to make some serious noise. I would say even a Cruz v Clinton could. By serious noise I mean Perot-type noise. Even half of Perot-type noise would be quite the opportunity.

    I don’t think a L could (or would be allowed) to win. And IF a L started gaining traction, expect massive scrutiny of the L candidate, and Ls in general. Rest assured that all the fringy stuff will be exposed to the light of day, and that could hurt the LM badly UNLESS the L candidate is a master communicator and is able to put the fringe stuff to rest.

    It could get appreciably more ugly than NewsletterGate 1 and 2. Think the Cult of the Omnipotent State Strikes Back, to use a Star Wars allusion.

  30. Marc Allan Feldman

    I am under no illusions.
    The chance of the election of a Libertarian President is quite small.
    But not zero.
    I think the greatest chance is not with mainstream Dems or GOP voters, and not with Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders supporters.
    The largest group of Americans today is the group supporting NOTA.
    My goal is to be the NOTA candidate.
    My number one campaign issue is the corruption of our campaigns by big money.
    That may be one Libertarian issue that already resonates with the public, especially those who have not voted in a long time.
    It may also be the only issue that the old parties cannot crush by using big money, because the more they spend to fight, the more they prove the point.

  31. Stewart Flood

    “I don’t think a L could (or would be allowed) to win. And IF a L started gaining traction, expect massive scrutiny of the L candidate, and Ls in general. Rest assured that all the fringy stuff will be exposed to the light of day, and that could hurt the LM badly UNLESS the L candidate is a master communicator and is able to put the fringe stuff to rest.”

    Exactly why we should be always looking for the candidate who is the best communicator and has the least (hopefully zero) “fringy” traits.

    Refusing to take more than $5 in donations, refusing to have a campaign staff, refusing to…all indicators of a “fringy” candidate/campaign.

  32. paulie

    Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the ballot next November has Clinton and Trump on it. The GOP, again for discussion, has failed to broker a convention to overturn Trump’s delegates, and none of their alternate choices was able to get on the ballot because the convention is in mid-July and the in-fighting over who would run against him took too long. Our convention is over, so they can’t try to hijack us or the other parties, so they’re stuck with ;The Don’, possibly with no running mate since there isn’t a republican I can think of who’d run with him. 🙂

    So we’ve got a D, an R, an L, a G, and probably one or two others. Clinton and Trump nuke each other with scandal outages, leaving America so fed up that the Libertarian candidate wins a squeaker! Ok, not likely but…”

    I expect they would have something like Americans Elect as a vehicle in case it’s not sown up well before the convention which they can discard if it gets sown up in the interim. Also, they will have the power to move the deadlines legislatively or have them thrown out in court; ballot access won’t be a barrier to them in the same way it is to us.

  33. Andy Craig

    They could try to put up their own AE-like vehicle, and probably get it on the ballot. But there’s also the time it would take to organize that effort, to figure out ad hoc how they’re going to pick a candidate (not just who, but by what mechanism). It would be possible, but extremely difficult, to throw together by the time it’s clear Trump winning at the RNC is unavoidable.

    If, meanwhile, there is already on 49/50 state ballots a former Republican Governor, who’s relatively acceptable as a not-Trump alternative, and is already running against Trump on all the points they’ll want to hit him on and positioning himself as a fiscally-conservative centrist…. (and who doesn’t have any future in the GOP to worry about for himself)… why not Johnson as that candidate who attracts anti-Trump endorsements from Republican politicos (and voters) wanting to distance themselves from the Trump trainwreck? Will concerns about giving the LP a foot in the door really prevent that, or would ballot labels simply be ignored?

    I’m not saying that’s likely, but I do think Johnson is the only candidate positioning the LP to possibly be in that position in 2016, and more than that he’s the only third/ind. candidate who’s seriously lining up a play for this move at all. There are others- Webb, Ventura, Bloomberg, Romney- one can posit, but I don’t think any of them will do it, or if they do not very successfully, and I also don’t think any of them are actively preparing for it like Johnson has been for a while now.

  34. paulie

    They could try to put up their own AE-like vehicle, and probably get it on the ballot. But there’s also the time it would take to organize that effort, to figure out ad hoc how they’re going to pick a candidate (not just who, but by what mechanism). It would be possible, but extremely difficult, to throw together by the time it’s clear Trump winning at the RNC is unavoidable.

    They don’t need to. AE did not pick a candidate. They can do something similar as an insurance policy. If they do end up locking up the Republican nomination they discard it, and if they don’t they use it. Not very hard when you have that much money.

    why not Johnson as that candidate who attracts anti-Trump endorsements from Republican politicos (and voters) wanting to distance themselves from the Trump trainwreck? Will concerns about giving the LP a foot in the door really prevent that,

    Yes. As 2011-12 made clear the Republican establishment does not find Johnson acceptable. Even as a moderate libertarian he is an extremist to them.

    There are others- Webb, Ventura, Bloomberg, Romney- one can posit, but I don’t think any of them will do it, or if they do not very successfully, and I also don’t think any of them are actively preparing for it like Johnson has been for a while now.

    I disagree. I think one of them will step forward if needed, and that a vehicle will be prepared if the establishment does not feel like they have things wrapped up by March. They have the money to get on the ballot everywhere and the pull to get deadlines changed or thrown out by the courts. They have the proven ability to discard such a vehicle if they feel they no longer need it. Why would they not put one on the ballot… to save 7 figures? That’s one day’s worth of TV ads in October to them, if that. And there’s no shortage of “qualified” candidates they can whip out. The reason they didn’t find one in 2012 for AE was because Romney was already acceptable to them and none of them wanted to be castigated for “spoiling” it for him. But that would not be the case in 2016, as they may feel they actually have the ability to win in a three way race and/or that Trump is actually worse than Clinton.

    Romney was seriously thinking about running again and decided to defer to Bush at the last minute. Now that Bush is tanking, maybe he will reconsider. They have others they could tap; I’ve heard Paul Ryan mentioned. And plenty of others besides that. Not someone they locked out of debates in 2011 and who is suing them over debate access now.

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