Darren Richardson

Dec. 10, 2011

Imagine a world where elected officials put solving problems ahead of playing politics. If that’s too hard to picture, just tune into the real world and start paying attention to the presidential campaign of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

“When I was governor of New Mexico, there was nothing I wanted outside of good government,” Johnson said Friday in Santa Clara, Calif. “Good government is not difficult, it’s easy. Work hard and innovate and you will have success. Issues first, politics last.”

Johnson, a long shot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination who has been all but shut out of the party’s nominating process, was in California's Silicon Valley Friday to discuss taxation issues with Dr. Fred Foldvary in a lively forum in the Arts & Sciences Building at Santa Clara University.

About 50 voters turned out to hear Foldvary and Johnson exchange ideas on alternative approaches to the current tax structure. The pair also fielded questions from the enthusiastic audience. Foldvary, a professor of economics at Santa Clara University and author of The Ultimate Tax Reform, discussed the merits of a land value tax, which he said would end recurring boom-and-bust cycles in the American economy.

Johnson reiterated his support for the Fair Tax and directed people in the audience to www.fairtax.org to learn more. Johnson promised that as president, he would advocate for a complete scrapping of the current U.S. tax code, going so far as eliminating the IRS and ending payroll withholdings. In place of today’s tax system would be a 23 percent consumption tax – dubbed the “Fair Tax” by its supporters -- on all new goods and services.

The consumption tax would be offset by what Johnson terms “prebates,” monthly $200 checks for every American. The annual sum of $2,400 would offset the cost of the consumption tax up to the poverty level, currently calculated at $10,800 for an individual and $22,350 for a family of four.

The former governor also promised that if he was elected president in 2012, he would submit a balanced budget to Congress in 2013.

Johnson and Foldvary took questions from the audience on a variety of issues, including the possibility of Texas Rep. Ron Paul winning the Republican nomination and asking Johnson to serve as his vice presidential running mate.

Johnson said he would consider it, but that Paul had signed the Susan B. Anthony Pledge which affirms the candidate’s commitment to “advance pro-life legislation,” according to the language of the pledge.

“I believe in a woman’s right to choose,” Johnson said, adding that he didn’t think he would qualify under the terms of the pledge.

Earlier in the day, Johnson participated in a national online town hall hosted by yowie.com. In response to one questioner, Johnson said that “the fastest-growing segment of the Republican Party are those who are libertarian-leaning.”

Johnson, who has been excluded from 14 of the 16 Republican debates by what can only be described as “Catch-22” logic, has been the subject of recent speculation that he might end his GOP bid and seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Johnson added that by shutting out its libertarian voices, “The Republican Party is abandoning a lot of the electorate. The Libertarian Party is more in tune with the American electorate than any other party at the moment.”

Shut out of yet another debate on Saturday, Johnson will not be traveling to Iowa for the ABC News/ Des Moines Register debate at Drake University. Instead, Johnson will be speaking on medical marijuana policy at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies conference in Oakland during the day and blogging live on Patch.com during the GOP presidential debate, which begins at 6 p.m. PDT.

To learn more and/or donate to the Johnson campaign, visit garyjohnson2012.com


Original reporting & photographs

2011 Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines

Wikipedia entry on land value tax

Gary Johnson schedules appearance in West Palm Beach Hosted by South Florida Tea Party, Broward Palm Beach New Times, Dec. 9, 2011

Gary Johnson to visit San Francisco/Oakland/Santa Clara, Dec. 8, 2011, www.garyjohnson2012.com