Gary Johnson

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Gary Johnson in 2009

Gary Johnson (born January 1, 1953) is an American entrepreneur and the 29th Governor of New Mexico. Gary Johnson was the Libertarian nominee for President of the United States in 2012 and 2016.



  • When you recognize that half of everything we're spending on law enforcement, the courts, and the prisons is drug related. What are we getting for that? Well, we're arresting one point eight million people a year in this country and we now have two point three million people behind bars in this country. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world and isn't this America; liberty, personal freedom, and responsibility that goes along with that? I think that when it comes to drug policy, we've thrown that notion out the window.
  • I don't drink, Stephen, I've smoked marijuana, I choose not to smoke marijuana, but when I smoked it the first time, you know what I thought when I smoked it the first time? I thought, "the government lied." I just think that the government should tell the truth when it comes to these drugs. Look, marijuana is safer than alcohol, and don't trust me on this but the City of Denver, five years ago, voted on the decriminalization of marijuana on a campaign based on marijuana being safer than alcohol.
  • I support a woman's right to choose up until viability of the fetus. As Governor of New Mexico, I would have signed a bill banning late-term abortion. I've always favored parental notification, I've always favored counseling, and I've always favored the notion that public funds should not be used for abortion.
  • The threats to privacy in America – from our own government – seem to never end. Does Congress really think they can just stick an ‘oh-by-the-way’ provision in an obscure piece of legislation directing the FAA to clear the way for 30,000 drones to fly over our neighborhoods, and have no one notice?
  • Ultimately, taxes are being paid for by your and my freedom because we have to spend more time to make the money to pay for those taxes. The current reality is that with a deficit that is going to double in the next eight years is that taxes, currently, as it stands right now, taxes are going up, unless there becomes a real movement to understand that we should be reducing taxes and not allowing taxes to increase.
  • Yeah just so back to being Governor of New Mexico . I vetoed a bill that I think the label of the bill was Bringing Competition to the Telecommunications Industry of New Mexico... I vetoed it because the reality was that was the title but the reality was just the opposite. It was gonna actually make the environment less competitive. It was going to empower Quest communications to have more of a monopoly they it all ready had. That wasn’t the label of the bill. So net neutrality the notion is that it’s going to create a freer environment when the reality is .. is there really an issue now? And if you get government involved in getting its nose in the tent isn’t this ultimately gonna make things a lot worse and cost us a lot more than just doing nothing? So all of my free market friends, all of my computer savvy people that are advising me, say that net neutrality is anything but. All of what’s it supposed to accomplish that actually by supporting it you’re creating the opposite.
  • It [America] was founded and I hope that it resurges the notion of liberty, the notion of freedom, the notion of a system that treats everyone equally. I think we move further and further away from that not closer and closer and that if we could all focus on that that would be the focus and we could actually accomplish that. And that’s what I talk about all the time. As governor of New Mexico I like to think that on a daily basis it was about a system that was gonna treat everybody equally as opposed to politics which you know is hit and miss and it’s politics it’s who you know as opposed to a system that provides that equality.


  • I really do think that the two-party system is broken. I don’t think Democrats are able to balance a checkbook these days. That’s it’s all about bigger government and higher taxes. And then Republicans with, I think, the social agenda. Look, whatever your social inclinations are just don’t force it on me. And I think the Republican Party has gotten really extreme in that category.
  • And what is Aleppo?
  • I think that the only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end. But when we’ve aligned ourselves with — when we’ve supported the opposition of the Free Syrian Army — the Free Syrian Army is also coupled with the Islamists. And then the fact that we’re also supporting the Kurds and this is — it’s just — it’s just a mess. And that this is the result of regime change that we end up supporting. And, inevitably, these regime changes have led a less-safe world. ... That has to be the solution, is joining hands with Russia to bring — to bring this civil war to an end.
  • BRAC, in the mid-90s suggested that 20 percent more U.S. bases, in fact, could be cut. That hasn’t taken place because the political will hasn’t been there to accomplish that. We would bring that to the table, a 20 percent reduction in military spending.

Interview with CNBC's John Harwood (August 22, 2016)[edit]

Libertarian Gary Johnson on 2016: 'This is the demise of the Republican Party' by CNBC´s John Harwood (August 22, 2016)
  • The fact that I got to be the CEO of a publicly traded company in the marijuana space, that was something that was completely unexpected. But very quickly, marijuana products medicinally compete with legal prescription drugs that statistically kill 100,000 people a year. There's not been one documented death due to marijuana. Then on the recreational side, I've always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to less overall substance abuse because people will find it as such a safer alternative than everything else that's out there, starting with alcohol.
  • Thirty percent of Republicans believe the scourge of the Earth is Mexican immigration. What's the reason for why I don't have a job? Well, make, make Mexican immigration the scapegoat for that. I understand why there's that sentiment. And there's a logic to the fact that they're coming over. They're taking our jobs. They're taking, you know, they're siphoning off our welfare system. When the reality is anything but. They are not taking jobs that U.S. citizens want. They're the cream of the crop when it comes to workers. And they are contributing to the economy.
  • I've been a self-declared Libertarian since 1971. What was the old saying? That if you weren't a Democrat in college, you didn't have a heart. And if you weren't a Republican in later life, you didn't have a brain. Well, I happen to think libertarian kind of encompasses hearts and brains both. And that's what we all are about.
  • Nothing is free.
  • I'm not getting elected dictator or king. But if I could wave a magic wand, I would eliminate income tax. I would eliminate corporate tax. And I would replace it with one federal consumption tax.
  • This is the demise of the Republican Party. This is an opportunity, I think, for the Libertarian Party to become a major party.
  • I do think that climate change is occurring, that it is man-caused. One of the proposals that I think is a very libertarian proposal, and I'm just open to this, is taxing carbon emission that may have the result of being self-regulating. ... The market will take care of it. I mean, when you look at it from the standpoint of better results, and actually less money to achieve those results, that's what is being professed by a carbon tax. ... Coal is a great free market example right now. You and I do not want carbon emission. We don't want it. right now. Natural gas costs less than coal. So there are no new coal plants that are going to be built, given the price of natural gas. And that's something that you and I desire. So it's happening. I'm afraid that coal, from a free market standpoint, has been done in.
  • People don't realize that there is another choice.
  • Politics is momentum. And we have right now straight line momentum.

Sound Government[edit]

  • Everything that I did as Governor, and everything that I think needs to occur right now in the Federal Government, needs to be a cost-benefit analysis. What are we spending our money on, and what are we getting for what we're spending? I am of the belief that we are on the verge of a financial collapse. We can not repay fourteen trillion dollars in debt if we're spending one point six trillion dollars more than we're taking in this year and years to come. That is not sustainable... We landed on the moon, we can balance the federal budget. And that means cutting forty-three cents out of every federal dollar that we're currently spending.
  • I may have vetoed more legislation than the other forty-nine governors in the country combined. And it wasn't just saying, "no," it was really looking at what we were spending our money on and what we were getting for the money we were spending. And I really do believe in smaller government, I really believe that there are consequences of legislation that gets passed and maybe it isn't in our best interest to pass all the legislation that we pass, that it layers bureaucracy on transactions that aren't made any safer by you and I, but that just end up making it so much more cumbersome, so much more burdensome, and ends up adding a lot of money as opposed to the notion of liberty and freedom and the personal responsibility that goes along with that... My entire life I watched government spend more money than what it takes in and I just always thought that there would be a day of reckoning with regard to that spending, and I think that day of reckoning is here, that it's right now, and it needs to be fixed... But what I said then and I'll say now, I think that Republicans would gain a lot of credibility in this argument if Republicans would offer up a repeal of the Prescription Health Care Benefit that they passed when they had control of both houses of Congress and ran up record deficits.
  • Fixing America is not an insurmountable task. It's actually about putting people first rather than politics. I wouldn't be involved in this if I didn't think that we can make a difference, and that it is easy, it's really easy to be principled and put the issues first and politics last.
  • The argument to raise taxes to pay back the debt, that's one thing, but my experience tells me that it's not possible. Government raises taxes, they're gonna spend that money in other places. I'm gonna do a better job at balancing revenues and expenditures... That was a responsibility that we had, but we prioritized what government should or shouldn't be doing and as a result of that, again showed a fiscal discipline that I don't think anyone else can demonstrate.
  • So David outside of gay and lesbian issues, first of all no one should get fired because they are gay or lesbian period. But when you set these laws up my experience with these laws are you create a protected class. And I speak as someone who started a one man handyman business in Albuquerque in 1974 and grew it to over a thousand employees... I’ll tell you because of our laws that we passed on safety issues that this whole notion of whistle blower legislation it sounds great but the reality is... employees that were horrible declared themselves to be whistle blowers in the safety category or they declared themselves an alcoholic because of legislation [feedback] the American for Disabilities Act... I want that person who breaks a window breaks a windshield with a rock prosecuted on the basis that they threw a rock through a windshield not because they were motivated by hate.
  • I think the best thing the Federal Gov. can do when it comes to education K-12 is to abolish the Federal Department of Education. The Federal Department of Education gives each state about 11 cents out of every school dollar that every state spends but it comes with about 16 cents worth of strings attached. So what I think the country … people do not understand is it’s a negative to take federal money... So just get the fed. govt. out of education completely. Leave education to the states. Fifty laboratories of innovation and best practice and in my opinion we would have some fabulous innovation that would get emulated because we are all so competitive.

Economic Policy[edit]

  • I think that repealing or doing away with the corporate income tax is simply getting us back to where we were. We need to understand that the corporate income tax is a double tax, that we all own the corporations and that when income gets distributed to us we pay the tax on that. So we have the highest corporate income tax in the world right now, let's abolish it, let's make it the way that it was to begin with, and that will literally create tens of millions of jobs overnight because this country will be the only place to establish, grow, nurture business. Why won't that happen?
  • I share in their outrage and the outrage is that we don’t have a system that has a level playing field. That the government picks winners and losers and in the case of Wall Street what absolutely outrages me is the fact that these people that made such incredibly bad decisions, and I’m believing that these decisions were not necessarily criminal or I think they would have been prosecuted, but that they were just horrible decisions. That they should have been rewarded with failure. Meaning they should have lost all of their money. But they didn’t loose all of their money did they? We bailed them out at the tune of a trillion bucks. You and I. You and I bailed them out. They continue to receive their bonuses and that is … that is the outrage and I share in that outrage... Government should be a level playing field where all of us have the same advantages and the same threats if you will. Implementing the Fair Tax for example throws out the entire Federal tax system. No income tax, no IRS, no business tax, no corporate tax and isn’t the fact that some people pay tax and others don’t isn’t it it the fact that some corporations pay tax and others don’t that has us outraged. It’s just not fair. Let’s implement something that totally fair and in fact is a system where you make the more you consume the more Fair Tax you’ll pay. In a Fair Tax environment you’ll be incentivised to save money.
  • I am in the camp that believes that we are on the verge of a monetary collapse given the fact that during the last year up to 70% of the money used to pay our ongoing expenditures were moneys printed up by the Federal Reserve I mean literally out of thin air. Monetary Collapse occurs when we are printing 100% of that money going forward and all of the roll over of treasury is that 15 trillion dollars is out there in existing notes when all of those notes also get rolled over with 100% of that money being printed … that's the monetary collapse. And that’s not something that their going to announce is going to happen two weeks from Thursday that’s just gonna happen literally overnight when we have a complete melt down in the bond market. Which I’m predicting is gonna happen unless we actually balance the federal budget so this is what we are entering into is a real mutual sacrifice on the part of all of us. I would argue let’s have that mutual sacrifice as opposed to all of us having nothing which is what happens during a monetary collapse that our money ends up being worth nothing. That happened in Russia part of that was Afghanistan. We’re not immune to this. We can fix it but we need to do it now and that’s the position that I hold.

Foreign Policy[edit]

  • I was opposed to us going to Iraq from the very beginning. I really thought that there was no threat to our national security, I really thought that if we went into Iraq we would find ourselves in a civil war to which there would be no end, and I thought we had the military surveillance capability to see Iraq roll out any weapons of mass destruction and if they had done that we could have gone in and dealt with that. Afghanistan, originally, I was completely supportive of that. We were attacked, we attacked back. That's what our military is for and after about six months I think we had pretty effectively taken care of al Qaeda. But that was ten years ago! We're building roads, schools, bridges, and highways in Iraq and Afghanistan and we're borrowing forty-three cents out of every dollar to do that. In my opinion, this is crazy. And in looking at Libya right now... my opinion is I'm opposed to it A through Z.


  • My next door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.
  • I think the main ingredient that’s needed when it comes to campaign finance reform is simply transparency more than anything. Right now it’s not transparent. You can be Coca Cola. You can donate a million dollars to a … you can donate a million dollars to me via the republican national committee and it will not be reported as coming from Coca Cola. So when it comes to campaign finance reform in my opinion what’s needed very simply is just one hundred percent transparency.

Quotes about Johnson[edit]

  • Johnson represents a clear and coherent economic and political philosophy that conservative and libertarian economists can understand and support if they choose.
  • Johnson makes a major contribution to our national debates, as did Paul before him. The libertarian perspective is valuable, important and deserves to be considered by all voters. It is also fair to note that Johnson, like Paul before him, has won a fair share of support from younger voters who are the future of the nation. If someone had asked me to predict who would emerge as the leading alternative to Clinton in a poll of respected economists, I would never have guessed that the runner-up to Clinton would be Johnson, and not Trump.
  • We know what Johnson believes today, and will believe tomorrow.

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