Former NM Gov. Johnson, featured at Illinois Policy Institute event

March 25, 2011

As a conservative Republican, I found many of Gary Johnson’s solutions out-of-line with his Libertarian views:

I had the opportunity to hear Gary Johnson speak as the featured guest at an Illinois Policy Institute event held on Wednesday evening, March 23.  Johnson served as governor of New Mexico from 1994 to 2003.

Gary Johnson was introduced by John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, following opening remarks by Tillman.

Tillman related how Democrats, after Republicans experienced a checkered success in the 2010 November elections, are feeling some pressure (Mike Madigan and John Cullington) in that they are adopting some of the same language promoted by Illinois Policy Institute budget proposals which are now resonating here in Illinois:  1) Pension reform for current employees going forward; 2) spending caps (inflation plus population); and 3) responsible spending.

John Tillman presented Gary Johnson as governor “No” because of his veto record — 750 during his time in office, more than all other governors combined.  Johnson was the first two-term governor of New Mexico in a state where Democrats held a 2-1 edge over Republicans, with the same advantage in the state legislature.

As explained by Gary Johnson, his desire to speak out to groups first started about eighteen months ago when realizing this country was bankrupt and that things couldn’t continue in the same direction.  Johnson does supports the repeal of Obamacare, but at the same time feels that Republicans should offer to repeal their expensive prescription benefit program.

Johnson spoke about the $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities and suggested that the federal budget must be balanced TOMORROW, not with the billions being proposed by Republicans, but by a $1.6 trillion reduction.

Gary Johnson then went on to describe his forage into politics. Having never run for office before, Johnson went to the New Mexico Republican organization to get their blessing and was told that he could never get elected in a state that was so lopsided in party registration.  But win he did!

As a businessman, Governor Gary Johnson was determined to run New Mexico like a business using cost benefit analysis, putting issues first and politics last.   Johnson vetoed not only Democrats bills, but also those crafted by Republicans, finding that Republicans also wanted to grow government.

When elected to a second term by even a bigger margin than the first time around, proving to Governor Johnson that good stewardship was appreciated, Johnson gained the reputation of being more outspoken than any other governor, putting a number of issues on his front burner.

Front burner items during Johnson’s second term included:

1.  Pro-choice in education for charter and private schools.

2. Consideration of the drug problem as the #1 health problem.  Johnson spoke of 2.3 million people who are behind bars in the U.S., the highest in the world, and how 90% of the incarcerations are drug-related.  In 2001 Governor Gary Johnson called for the legalization of marijuana, stating that responsible marijuana smokers must not be arrested, and that the war on drugs is a miserable failure.

Gary Johnson’s solutions to issues this nation faces today:

1.  Cuts in Medicaid and Medicare by 43%, with money given back to states as block grants with no strings attached to create “laboratories of innovation.”

2.   Deal with Social Security which Johnson described as a small problem when compared to Medicare. Social Security must take in more money than it pays out.  Suggested were raising the retirement age, means testing, and reducing benefits.

3.   Pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  The U.S. has 5% of the population, yet spends more on defense than all other countries combined.  Spoke of confusion in Libya as initially creating a no-fly zone to prevent genocide, but now there is a question of who the U.S. is supporting?   Is it a Civil War or are we supporting an insurgency?

Rationale for getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan:  “What good are we to any country in the world if we are bankrupt?”  We are building roads, hospitals, and schools in other countries, when we are in need of the same in this country.  As such we pick up the tab for the rest of the world giving them the where-with-all to invest in high speed rail, etc.

4.   Abolish the Department of Education and give education back to the states.

5.   Government should get out of health care and allow the free market to operate.  What is being established is an insurance entitlement far removed from the free market. Suggested were advertising pricing and creating real competition in the health care field.

6.   Immigration must be about work and not welfare.  Spoke of educating foreign students and then sending them back to their own countries to benefit other countries with their know how.  Johnson spoke of immigration as being good.  Work visas should be easy to obtain with a background check and a SS number.  Eleven million illegals must be given a grace period to get a legal work permit.  Does not mean a green card or amnesty.  Notion of a fence or the National Guard on the southern border is a waste of money.

7.   Legalization of marijuana under the assumption that border violence would disappear if money were taken out of drugs.

8.   Eliminate corporate taxes which amounts to double taxation.

9.   No limit should exist on giving to candidates, with the condition that there is 100% transparency.

10. Tort reform.  A loser-pays-all system would take care of much of the abuse with frivolous lawsuit filings.

11.  Pensions amount to Ponzi schemes.

12.  Term limits are a good thing.

13.  Good stewardship of taxpayer money works in winning elections.

Gary Johnson’s stated his mission as one to relate ideas to Republicans upon which to grow the Republican Party, believing that only the Republican Party can fix what is wrong with this nation today.


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