The following is a transcript of Governor Gary Johnson’s evening address to FreedomFest 15 July 2016. He was introduced by current LNC Chair, Nicholas Sarwark. Video ($10) and/or audio-only ($5) of this speech can be purchased from FreedomFest HERE.
SARWARK: My name is Nicholas Sarwark, I am chairman of the Libertarian National Committee. Over the Memorial Day weekend in Orlando Florida we had the biggest Libertarian national convention in party history. At that convention we nominated the most qualified candidate for President for the United States; we nominated a former two-term governor of the state of New Mexico. A man who was elected as a republican in a heavily democratic state, and reelected after successfully vetoing more bills than all of the other governors combined.
To top it, in case two years (sic) in executive experience wasn’t enough to have the most-qualified ticket, we added a vice-presidential nominee, Governor Bill Weld of Massachusetts, who also was reelected as a republican in a heavily democratic state and managed to turn that state’s economy around and get reelected.
Our candidate is one of the most thoughtful, trustworthy, honest, good people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Tonight at 7:00PM in Koi, we will be having an intimate fund-raiser with Governors Johnson and Weld. Tickets are available; there is a limited number at the Libertarian Party booth. So come over there and see if you would like to have a chance to meet Governors Johnson and Weld.
But now, without further ado, I would like to present the next President of the United States, Governor Gary Johnson.
JOHNSON: So is this the craziest political presidential election of all time? And how crazy is it? I might be the next President of the United States.
I am the Libertarian nominee for President and beyond my wildest dreams, Bill Weld is my running mate. Bill Weld being a political role-model for me; and I can’t say more about it.
Libertarians? I don’t know; I’ve used the broad brush stroke of, “Fiscally conservative and socially we do not care as long as you don’t force it on us.”
Free markets? That is how we will rule the world. Let’s stop with our military interventions that are having the unintended consequence of making things worse, not better. And, make no mistake, if we are attacked, we are going to attack back.
Fiscally conservative? Well, let’s start with the fact that nobody is talking about entrepreneurs. Nobody is talking about the fact that you can create your own job; that you can create jobs for others. And government can play a role in all of that, reducing the barriers to entry. It is difficult to be an entrepreneur. Government can play a role when it comes to equal opportunity, allowing everybody a real shot at getting into business. I think the model of the future is AIRBNB; it’s Uber. It is Uber everything ,in my opinion; eliminating the middleman. Allowing for the direct . . . for you offering the goods and services, for you to offer that directly to the consumer, eliminating the middleman, that’s the model.
And AIRBNB? Golly! I was talking to a young lady the other day in Baltimore, 26 years old, a doctorate in science. “I’ve got these horrible student debts,” she says, “but I figured out how to pay them back. AIRBNB. I started renting out my place. I was on a pathway to pay back my student loans and guess what? Baltimore is banning AIRBNB.” The same thing is happening in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We have a great pad, Kate and myself. We could be renting that thing out and going up to Taos to spend the other time, but Santa Fe has said, “No AIRBNB.” Now come on; that’s government; that’s crony-capitalism; that is government getting in the way of free enterprise and free markets. And that is money that could be in Kate’s and my pockets, spending money in Santa Fe, enjoying the things that we like to do. Anyway, the difference between crony-capitalism and opportunity, free markets.
I do think that crony-capitalism and free markets get confused. That free market really is a solution and that crony capitalism simply defined is whenever government gets involved in the economy. Whenever government gets involved in the equation, there is going to be a winner and a looser. Free trade? Everybody equally competing.
I think that government spends too much; it tries to accomplish too much; it taxes too much. When it taxes too much, it takes money away, out of my pocket that I could be spending on my life as opposed to government knowing best.
I think that we need to balance the federal budget. To balance the federal budget, we have got to address the entitlements. Everybody is digging their head in the sand over the entitlements; nobody is talking about the entitlements. Look, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare; this is a fiscal cliff. This is a fiscal disaster and it has got to be addressed. And if we address it, we will have them around; we will have them available, but they are not going to be in their present forms.
Social Security? Very simply, raising the retirement age. You could have a very fair means testing when it comes to Social Security. These are things that have to get done. Medicaid and Medicare, I think, need to devolve to the states. In my heart-of-hearts, as the Governor of New Mexico, if the federal government would have given New Mexico a fixed amount of money and said, “You need to deliver health care to the poor and those over 65,” in my heart-of-hearts, I could have accomplished that. It would have involved drawing new lines of eligibility, but if the federal government will give that function up to the states, fifty laboratories of innovation and best-practice, that is exactly what will happen. We will have some terrific innovation that will get emulated by the other states; we will also have horrible failure that will get avoided.
Taxes? Tax policy? I am looking to get elected President of the United States; Bill Weld, vice-president. Count on us. . . . We are not getting elected King; we are not getting elected Dictator; we are getting elected President and Vice-President, so whatever comes out of Congress, count on us to sign on to whatever legislation that is going to reduce taxes.
Count on us to sign legislation that is going to make taxes simpler. Now if I were the Dictator; if I could wave a magic wand at all of this, I would like to eliminate income tax; I would like to eliminate corporate tax; I would like to abolish the IRS.
I would replace all of it with one federal consumption tax. You can look at the Fair Tax as a way to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on how to accomplish one federal consumption tax. If we had zero corporate tax in this country, would there not be tens of millions of jobs created in this country from no other reason than zero corporate tax? Why would you start up a business anywhere in the world other than the United States? And if we had zero corporate tax, if we had no income tax, if we had no IRS, would we not issue pink-slips to eighty percent of Washington lobbyists? Because they are there to garner tax favors. That’s why they are there.
I think that we should embrace immigration. We are a country of immigrants. The notion of deporting 11 million undocumented workers really has a basis in misinformation. And I am speaking as a border governor. I think that they are not taking jobs that United States citizens want. That they are very, very hard working and that they are of value to the economy. And if we had zero corporate tax in this country, we would need tens of millions of immigrants to fill the jobs that would exist in the United States and nowhere else.
Let me give you an example; you hear this all the time, right? Affordable housing? You hear this in your communities all of the time, “Affordable housing, what we do about it?” Just think about affordable housing for a second if the government were not involved at all in housing. If as a community, you took architects and engineers and said, “Design for me affordable housing without any regard . . . of course safety will be the regard . . . but without regard to any zoning; without regard to any laws.” Can you imagine the home that’s going to be 600 square feet, as you see in IKEA, with a toilet and a shower, a place to cook, a place to sleep, and a desk? That is the kind of affordable housing that you would see that would be affordable. Unbelievably affordable. But it is not possible when you have government involvement in affordable housing because first and foremost zoning comes into play.
So, so many of the solutions that are out there rely on free markets; rely on getting government out of the way.
Free market for health care? Look, I reject the notion . . . . What is needed when it comes to health care reform is a free market approach to health care. And by the way, we have a health care system as far removed from a free market as it possibly can be. We would not have insurance to cover ourselves for ongoing medical need; we would have insurance to cover ourselves for catastrophic injury and illness. We would pay-as-you-go in a system that I am going to guess would cost one fifth of what it currently costs. We would have “Stitches-R-Us;” we would have “Gall-Bladders-R-Us.” Surgeries at thousands of dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars. We would have “X-Rays-R-Us.” There is no telling what the free market could do. But the free market would start with advertised pricing. Right now we go to the doctor and we have no idea what it is going to cost. We have no idea what the outcome is going to be. And when we get the bill, we know that nobody is going to actually going to pay that bill; it is not going to be the amount specified. In a free market approach to health care, there would be advertised pricing; there would be advertised outcomes, and the cost would be incredibly inexpensive to the point that we would just pay-as-you-go.
Internet? Is there anything more innovative in our lifetimes than the Internet? There is nothing as President of the United States that I want to fix when it comes to the Internet.
I do believe that Term Limits is a silver bullet.
We have a twenty trillion dollar debt. I think the twenty trillion dollar debt has everything to do with Congressmen and women, Senators wanting to get reelected. Reelection is all about bringing home the bacon and that is why we have a twenty trillion dollar debt. Term Limits? I think people would do the right thing as opposed to whatever it takes to get reelected and right now whatever it takes to get reelected is spending money in Washington.
Looking at individual choice; individual freedom; individual liberty. Shouldn’t we all come down on the side of choice when it comes to everything? As long as those choices do not adversely affect others. When those choices adversely affect others, that is when government has a role; protecting us against individuals, groups, corporations, foreign governments that would do us harm. So marriage equality, something that we should all embrace.
Is there a more difficult issue that a woman could face than having an abortion? I don’t think so. And that is a choice that I believe lies with the woman. Period.
Legalizing marijuana? Let’s legalize marijuana in this country.
There are tens of millions of convicted felons in this country today that, but for our Drug Laws, would otherwise be tax-paying, law-abiding citizens.
Let’s end the Drug War. Let’s recognize drugs as a health issue rather than as a criminal justice issue.
As Governor of New Mexico, there was no one more outspoken in the country than me regarding school choice; bringing competition to public education. And I was saying this earlier, the Department of Education, when it comes to the federal government, needs to be abolished.
It is an example of a dollars and cents issue where each state sends Washington 13 cents, and then it comes back to the state 11 cents. It goes through that bureaucratic was-and-dry cycle that takes away two of those pennies and then they tell you that to get the 11 cents, you need spend another 4 cents. Why not just leave it with the states in the first place? And I think that this is an example of many of the agencies that exist within the federal government.
Death Penalty? I have come to recognize that the death penalty is flawed public policy. When you have government involved there is an error rate. It is estimated that the error rate for the death penalty can be as high as four percent. Do you remember Governor Ryan in Illinois when he ordered a review of everyone on death row? Like 36 inmates on death row, and 20 plus were released because of absolutely being proven innocent because of DNA testing that was available now at the time.
Guns in this country. Look, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
But we should be open to a discussion on how you keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. I have not heard any proposals that would actually do that. And we should be open to a discussion on how we might keep guns out of the hands of would-be terrorists, but when you look at what happened in Florida, where you had the FBI actually interview this individual three times. As President of the United States I would love to understand what transpired between the FBI and the shooter. And the fact that this has actually transpired, we should be open to this debate and this discussion, but right now when you start talking about limiting . . . or, or the no-fly list, and you recognize the error rate; and you recognize that sitting members of Congress are actually on these no-fly lists. . . . That is something that if you as an individual need a gun to defend yourself. . . . And it isn’t to defend yourself. It is the woman who has been beaten and she wants to buy a gun to defend herself; she is not going to use the gun, it is the fact that her abusive spouse knows now that she has a gun. That should be a decision that you and I should make and the government shouldn’t involve itself in that issue and this is the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
Military? Military in this country. I do believe there is an unintended consequence to our military interventions and the unintended consequence is that the world is not more safe, it is less safe. Make no mistake; if we are attacked, we are going to attack back. But when we put boots on the ground, when we drop bombs, when we fly drones that are killing thousands of innocent civilians, that has a negative impact; that has an unintended consequence.
I can’t make this up, but when the current administration. . . . . they did not do this intentionally. But when the current administration and Hillary Clinton says, “We are going to go in and back the opposition in Lybia and Syria,” and the opposition . . . this is not intended but this is what happened . . . the opposition is aligned with ISIS . . . um, you can’t make this up. This is what is happening. This is the unintended consequence of our interventions.
Again, make no mistake; we need to have a strong military. We need to involve Congress; we need a Declaration of War, moving forward. And I think that the biggest threat in the world today is, is North Korea. At some point these intercontinental ballistic missiles are going to work. And you’ve got a nut at the helm. So how about diplomacy to the hilt? How about ruling the world with Free Market, but diplomacy to the hilt when it comes to North Korea is joining hands with China that recognizes this more than anyone else. And maybe there is an opportunity here with joining with China that we could actually get our troops out of South Korea. 40,000 troops. Imagine 40,000 Chinese troops in central America; we would all be going crazy. Well, they are all kinda going crazy in China right now. And there is absolutely no threat of North Korea conventionally invading South Korea . . . There is a nuclear threat, but we have got them covered with our umbrella, but that is the worst threat in the world because that is a potential.
Brexit? I thought at the very onset that Britain getting out of the European Union, I thought that was a move to free market on the part of Britain. I thought when that happened, I thought that what was going to happen was that Britain was going to open up opportunity that currently did not exist. I thought at the time when they did that, and I did this in the face of “Gee, the market is down 600 points today,” my line was, “You know, long term, I have to think that the United States is going to be a safe-haven for world investment as a result of this.” The second day, I think I answered the question the same way. Well gee, now it’s down like 900 points in the last couple of days. Now I think that the United States is going to become a bastion for many years to come, and watch out when it comes to investment in Eurodollars. That is just my own prediction and it is worth exactly what you are paying for it.
That said, what an opportunity to be here. I have been to many FreedomFests; I’ve never been in the position to potentially be elected the next President of the United States. So I think it is really . . .
It really is an incredible opportunity.
I recognize all of you for who you are. You are activists in your communities; you are activists for your friends and your neighbors and your coworkers. They look to you for answers; you have taken the time to find out these answers. And I just applaud each and every one of you and I love you.