Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson has started to compile some respectable poll numbers, indicating that the longshot contender from the country’s largest “third” party may actually prove to be a factor in the race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. In fact, in a Fox News poll released on Wednesday, Johnson polled at 12 percent, just three points short of the 15 percent required to earn a slot in the upcoming presidential debates.
In a national average of all polls by Pollster, Johnson stands at 8.4 percent, a respectable figure for a candidate from an alternative political party and potentially enough to sway a close election in the fall in favor or either Clinton or Trump.
Why Aren’t Gary Johnson And Jill Stein Doing Better In This Election? : NPR https://t.co/lGKU6WqWw2
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But how many voters, dissatisfied with both major party offerings and turning to Johnson as a possible vote in November, really know what the 63-year-old former two-term governor of New Mexico — who staged a brief presidential run as a Republican in 2012 only to drop out and convert to the Libertarian Party — really believes on key policy issues?
And for those learning of Gary Johnson’s policies for the first time, how many agree with him on his important positions?
In the video that follows, Johnson himself gives a two-minute overview of where he stand on a series of key issues. Below the video comes a rundown of five key Gary Johnson policy positions, some of which may be surprising or more controversial than voters generally believe.
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Gary Johnson Believes That Corporations Should Pay No Tax
The business magazine Fortune calls Johnson “the closest thing the business community has to a candidate,” suggesting that the Libertarian could be “corporate America’s best bet for president.” Why?
Pretty simple. Under a Gary Johnson presidency — assuming he had the support of Congress — corporations, even behemoths such as Walmart, Exxon-Mobil, Goldman-Sachs investment bank and agricultural giant Monsanto, would pay zero tax.
Not only that, Johnson also proposes eliminating the personal income tax altogether, so everyone from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, and the Koch brothers on down to the lowest paid fast food workers would get a 100 percent income tax cut.
Instead, Johnson — who would also abolish the Internal Revenue Service — proposes a nationwide, flat “consumption tax,” basically a national sales tax of 23 percent on most everything consumers buy.
The problem with that, say critics including the pro-business online magazine The Street, is that a consumption tax hits the middle and lower economic classes much harder than the wealthy.
“Lower-income and even middle-income Americans would wind up spending a much larger share of their incomes than those in the upper echelons of the economy,” The Street wrote. To offset the effects on lower income people, the “Fair Tax” supported by Johnson would allow households below the poverty level to buy things without paying the consumption tax.
But as he states in the above videos, Johnson also wants no federal minimum wage at all.
Gary Johnson Opposes All Gun Regulations
The Libertarian candidate largely supports his party’s platform, which as he explains in the video below, opposes gun regulations of all kinds.
While Johnson says he takes a “nuanced” view of the Libertarian position and would be “open to a discussion on keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” he also says that he believes that gun restrictions, including restrictions on assault weapons and ammunition, will only encourage criminals to obtain and use those weapons.
He also believes that unrestricted ownership of assault weapons serves as a guard against government excesses, such as Drug Enforcement Agency raids that sometimes result in the death of innocent people.
“I would just ask the question, if the DEA knew they were raiding someone’s home where they had automatic weapons,” Johnson said in a recent interview. “If that was just a known element of ‘we’re going to raid these people,’ would they have raided them in the first place, just knowing that they had that deterrent?”
Of course, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies frequently conduct raids against traffickers who are known to possess assault rifles, automatic weapons, and other deadly firearms, suggesting that the answer to Johnson’s question is likely, “yes, they would.”
On Immigration, Johnson Is The Opposite Of Donald Trump
While Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep out immigrants, Gary Johnson says that big walls lead only to bigger ladders. In the following video, Johnson explains his Libertarian views on immigration.
Johnson wants to make it “easy” for immigrants to enter the country legally, requiring only a background check.
“Look, we should make it as easy as possible for somebody who wants to come into this country and work to be able to get a work visa,” Johnson has said. “A work visa should entail a background check and a social security card that taxes get paid. They are not murderers and rapists.”
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The Internet Should Be Unregulated, With No “Net Neutrality”
Large internet service providers have recently lobbied in favor of the government allowing them to speed up traffic to sites that pay large fees for the privilege while slowing traffic to smaller, independent sites that can’t afford to pay.
But internet activists and, most recently, President Barack Obama, support a policy of “net neutrality,” in which the federal government passes legislation preventing the broadband industry from treating sites differently based on their ability to pay fees.
Gary Johnson is dead set against “net neutrality,” saying, “There is nothing wrong with the Internet that I want the government to fix.”
“Net neutrality sounds great on paper, but the reality is that it is the start of government control of the Internet,” Johnson said in an interview during his 2012 presidential bid. “As with every act of intervention by the government, this specific example would have unintended consequences. It will end up with the restriction of the Internet.”
When It Comes To Health Care, You’re on Your Own
Gary Johnson favors a fully private health care system and says that in his view, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare, will cause the United States economy to “collapse.” While former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for a government-run, “single payer” health care system and Hillary Clinton also supports strong government measures to ensure universal health care coverage, Johnson takes the exact opposite view.
Only the marketplace and private business should have a hand in providing health care and coverage.
“Government cannot create a system that will reduce costs while increasing access. Only competition and the price transparency that competition will bring can accomplish the imperatives of affordability and availability.”
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In addition to fully private health care, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson also supports private, profit-making prisons and wants the federal government out of the education system as well, promising to abolish the Department of Education. As an avowed user of marijuana himself and former CEO of a marijuana company — though he says he has chosen to abstain during his presidential campaign — he supports full legalization of the drug.
[Photo By Rick Bowmer/AP Images]