Johnson/Weld on Spending & Taxes


I admit that I have not paid much attention to Gary Johnson and Bill Weld.
Right off the bat they started with the nazi cake fiasco and the stupid idea that we need two presidents.

How can the Libertarian Party candidate suggest that we should force people to labor for other people?Why would the supposed small government candidate suggest we should double the number of presidents? Are there two first ladies? Two desks in the oval office? How do you address the Constitutional issue?

Clearly, Johnson/Weld is not the candidate that I would have chosen, but I’m sure they are radically better than Trump. And they couldn’t possibly be worse than Clinton.

Are they good candidates with some flaws, or just the lesser of three evils?

I spent some time looking at their positions on the issues, and will present my initial reactions over a series of posts.

I start today with Wasteful Spending & Taxes.

Wasteful Spending

Johnson says he will balance the budget in the first year by eliminating wasteful spending and vetoing anything that leads to a deficit.

This position is clearly better than Trump and Clinton, neither of which are proposing a balanced budget, or even acknowledging that there may be wasteful spending.

Yet, what specific cuts is Johnson going to make to balance the first year budget and eliminate a $5,723,277,000 deficit? He doesn’t talk about that. Is that because he knows its political suicide to announce the cuts? Or is it because he doesn’t know what to cut? How does he get Congress on board? Even if he does balance the current budget, there is still a National Debt of roughly $19,427,165,000, and that doesn’t take into account unfunded liabilities of $103,186,408,000. What does he propose to do about that?

A better Libertarian could take the position that the whole executive branch is wasteful spending and should be eliminated almost entirely, but Gary Johnson is never going to say that.

Taxes

Johnson wants to get rid of the current tax system and replace it with a consumption tax.

Trump is also talking about simplifying and lowering taxes, so Gary Johnson has some competition on this issue, but the way Johnson would go about it is radically different than Trump.

Johnson wants a consumption tax to replace the current system of automatic withholding, deductions, credits, and loopholes.

While it would be nice to have a simple tax that was voluntary rather than confiscatory, I don’t see it happening. First, tax accountants and the IRS are a huge special interest group with roughly 800,000 people employed in the tax preparation business and 90,000 people employed by the IRS. You can’t put all of those people out of work without a fight.  Second, every retailer in the county is going to fight the idea that the price of everything is going up, even after you argue that people will have more to spend overall. Third, the US Congress has no interest in making things simple. They like things to be difficult to understand so they can hand out special favors to people.

You will never get a simple tax code. What you WILL get is the same complicated mess we have now, plus a National Sales Tax.

If you are going to propose a radically different tax system that has no chance of being implemented, why not propose a system of no taxes?

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