Where Do Rocky Anderson & Gary Johnson Really Stand?

Like George Bush, Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party advocate privatization of Social Security. For good reason, Bush’s proposal went nowhere with the public – exactly where Gary Johnson’s proposal should go.

Social Security is a guarantee of relatively minimal support for elderly people – a common “safety net” provided by many nations that provide more to the elderly than in the U.S.. This vital program is sustainable if, as Rocky Anderson proposes, all Americans paid the same percentage of their income (from wages, salaries, and investments), without a cap that presently benefits only the wealthy. If this were accomplished, the poor and the middle class could pay less than they are paying now in payroll taxes.

Gary Johnson advocates raising the age for Social Security beneficiaries to 70 or 72. He also proposes, instead of providing a guaranteed income for the elderly, allowing Social Security funds to be gambled away in the stock market. Imagine if Johnson’s proposal had been in place during the many stock market disasters of the past 25 years! Millions of people would be living in poverty, homeless, and without medical care in their last years, as during the Gilded Age and the cruel years leading up to the New Deal.

“The solution to Medicare is to provide Medicare for everybody.”

“We can make it affordable, we can provide better services, and we can do it for all — you just get the for-profit insurance companies out of the way.”

“The health care system in the U.S. is excessively expensive, ineffective, and unjust. We are spending far too much, our medical outcomes are mediocre, and we are the only nation in the industrialized world that fails to provide millions of people with basic health care. While the U.S. spends more than twice per capita than the average spent by all nations throughout the industrialized world for medical care, it obtains far worse results than most, and is alone in failing to provide essential health care to all of its citizens.”

As our students are falling far behind relative to students in many other nations, the global competitiveness of the United States diminishes. That means fewer jobs, a lower standard of living, and a more poorly educated populace. We need leaders who stand for a renewed commitment to education, not a destructive retreat from a national commitment to excellence in education.

For Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party to advocate an end to federal funding for education may make for good political pandering in some quarters, but is preposterous as a public policy proposal. The federal government spends only about 2% of its budget providing about 9-10% of elementary and secondary school funding.

Rocky Anderson agrees that there should be no federal unfunded mandates for schools and that the emphasis on standardized testing under No Child Left Behind was an unmitigated disaster. However, he fully supports an increased federal commitment to equality of opportunity for students to obtain an excellent K-12 education and an affordable higher education, which will improve the quality of life for millions of American families and make the U.S. far more globally competitive in the future.

Returning to the gold standard would be disastrous – and is among the most loopy ideas of the Libertarian Party. No countries have a gold standard. Zero economists endorsed the idea in a recent poll. A recent Atlantic magazine article recently called returning to the gold standard the “World’s Worst Economic Idea.” A gold standard would prevent the central bank from fighting recessions because monetary policy would be dependent upon how much gold we have. The inflexibility of a gold standard could turn recessions into depressions. Also, there would be enormous instability in inflation under a gold standard. During 1919-1931, when the U.S. had a gold standard, CPI inflation fluctuated wildly, from 25% to -15%.

According to Rocky Anderson, “Anyone who advocates a return to the gold standard either knows nothing about economics or is pandering to voters who know nothing about economics.”

“Big oil and its supporters are lying about the benefits of this project and underestimating the costs. The only ones who will benefit are the big oil companies. One spill from this proposed pipeline could inflict irrevocable damage to drinking water and farmlands in the Midwest. We cannot ignore the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. These tragic events are not only possible, they are inevitable. To approve the Keystone Pipeline is to encourage the transfer and use of dirty fuel from oil sands and sabotages our commitment to a clean energy economy.”

“NAFTA and CAFTA were betrayals to working people and their families and should be repealed or, at the least, re-negotiated so that employers of U.S. workers are placed on a more equal footing with employers of people in other nations. We should do what we can to return to the United States jobs lost to other countries as a result of the globalization of capital and the free trade agreements that benefited primarily the multi-national corporations that have moved many, if not all, of their operations outside of the U.S.”

Not only does Rocky adamantly support a minimum wage, he proposes boosting the minimum wage to no less than $10.00 an hour, with future increases to be tied to the rising cost of living, as a vital step to ensure that low wage earners can better bridge the gap between income and expenses.

To all well-meaning supporters of Libertarian Gary Johnson:

Many people support Gary because, like Rocky Anderson, he supports ending the war in Afghanistan now, ending drone strikes, U.S. empire-building, and civil rights abuses.

However, do you know that Gary Johnson would:

  • Destroy Social Security, turning it into a private system where people’s retirement security could be destroyed by a turn in the stock market?
  • Oppose governmental protections ensuring that food and drug products are safe for our consumption?
  • Refuse to honor the Genocide Convention (ratified by the U.S. Senate) by acting with the international community to stop genocides like the Holocaust?
  • Refuse to provide any aid to any other country, no matter how crucial?
  • Oppose a woman’s right to choose abortion after the first trimester?
  • Oppose governmental action to combat climate change?
  • Scale back U.S. involvement in the United Nations?
  • End federal Medicare and Medicaid assistance to the elderly and others in need, leaving such programs entirely to the states (which could deny assistance altogether)?
  • Oppose any federal healthcare program, including single-payer, leaving healthcare in the hands of the “private sector”?
  • Oppose any federal jobs initiatives such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which put 8.5 million people to work building up the nation’s infrastructure?
  • Oppose not only an increase in the federal minimum wage, but oppose any minimum wage at all?
  • Oppose a requirement that health insurance companies provide birth control?
  • Allow the “free market” to determine whether there should be expanded offshore oil drilling, without federal protections?
  • Leave it to the states to decide which of the U.S. National Parks and Forests should be protected?
  • Kill the Department of Education and undermine public schools by shifting education funding to private schools?
  • Oppose affirmative action?
  • Oppose limits on or prohibitions of Super PACS, on the ground that “any restriction on campaign spending violates the first amendment”?