27 Aug 2016

More Griping About Gary Johnson

Libertarianism 44 Comments

Both in recognition of my (perhaps disproportionate) annoyance, and to avoid alienating potential future Murphy book buyers, I am really trying to contain my social media criticism of Gary Johnson. But let me gripe about him here.

This recent Reason interview is astonishing. First of all look at this:

NICK GILLESPIE: Earlier this week, you suggested you were in favor of a carbon tax or fee. Yesterday, at a rally in New Hampshire (video here), you said you were against it. What is your position on carbon taxes?

GARY JOHNSON: [A carbon tax] sounds good in theory, but it wouldn’t work in practice. I never called it a tax. I called it a fee. As it was presented to me, this was the way to reduce carbon and actually reduce costs to reduce carbon. Under that premise—lower costs, better outcomes—you can always count on me to support that [sort of] notion. In theory it sounds good, but the reality is that it’s really complex and it won’t really accomplish that. So, no support for a carbon fee. I never raised one penny of tax as governor of New Mexico, not one cent in any area. Taxes to me are like a death plague.

Yeah, it’s glad that he switched, but his emphasis on his word choice is absurd.


Anyway let’s move on. Look at this:

GILLESPIE: Let’s talk about vaccines. There are no federal laws mandating vaccines, and that’s how it should be, as far as you’re concerned.


GILLESPIE: Various states treat vaccines differently, and you’re not wild about the range of individual choice and opt-out provisions, but you do believe it’s a state-level decision—or certainly that it’s not a federal-level decision.


GILLESPIE: There are people who say vaccines cause autism [and other problems] or that vaccines don’t work. Are you in that camp?

JOHNSON: No, I chose to have my children vaccinated. I understand all the concerns that some people have, but for me personally, I made a decision to have my children vaccinated. I want people to make decisions and I believe in [opt-outs]. With the exception of a few states, everyone has an opt-out. But I also want to say that, as president of the United States, if I am confronted with a zombie apocalypse that will happen unless the total herd is totally immunized, I will support [mandatory vaccinations].

Now, in fairness, is Johnson just cracking a joke at the end there? I mean, of course he’s being funny with the zombie thing, but what I mean is this: Is Johnson actually trying to say, “If there were a genuine public health emergency, and reputable doctors convinced me it would save many lives, then I would impose a federal mandatory vaccine”? Because if so, then yet again he announces a principle of liberty and then flushes it down the toilet if it has dire consequences. It’s like saying, “I’m in favor of the right to bear arms, unless a lot of people started getting shot.” Or, “I’m in favor of freedom of the press, unless too many people started buying Nazi books.”

But it gets worse. Look at this:

GILLESPIE: What do you think of [Trump’s] recent appeals to black voters? He’s been saying to African Americans that the Democratic Party hasn’t really helped them much. That everything in their lives has gotten worse under Barack Obama and that Hillary Clinton is not their champion. Do you agree with Trump that Democratic Party policies haven’t really benefited the black community?

JOHNSON: I do. Both parties are engaged in pandering. The libertarian approach—equal opportunity—isn’t that what you really want? But I’d argue that equal opportunity currently does not exist.

GILLESPIE: How does it not exist, and what policies would you enact to make it a reality? Is it a question of ending a drug war that disproportionately impacts blacks, promoting school choice so they can escape chronically bad schools, and ending minimum-wage laws that price low-skilled workers out of getting their first jobs?

JOHNSON: All of what you just mentioned. Let me offer up a story. I was on Fox News’ The Five a couple of days ago with Eric Bolling. I made the statement that “black lives matter” and Eric chimed in to say, “All lives matter.” It’s not a criticism of him, it’s just indicative of the conversation [about race and politics]. I said, “Yes, all lives do matter, but blacks are getting shot at the rate of six times that whites are. If you’re of color and you’re arrested, there’s a four times greater likelihood that you’ll go to jail than if you’re white. Eric said, “Blacks commit eight times the crime.” My answer was little muddied, but I think I got to my point. Yes, blacks are being arrested, they are being charged, and they are being convicted at eight times the rate of whites. If that same scrutiny were applied to you and I as whites, we would have those same results. That’s the awareness [of unequal treatment] that doesn’t currently exist.

You might think, “What’s the big deal Bob? He’s appealing to everybody, unlike Trump.” Au contraire, mon ami, you don’t have my skills. After I point it out, go look again at what just happened in the above excerpt:

(1) Most important: Gary Johnson himself didn’t actually say anything he would do to help black people. Gillespie–I think on purpose, knowing Johnson is a babe in the woods on such matters–had to spoonfeed him the standard libertarian answers on this. Johnson nodded his head, and then went on to do this:

(2) Johnson relates an anecdote (which offers not a single new policy, in addition to the stuff Gillespie spoonfed him) in which he says some non sequitur statistics about the judicial system, Eric Bolling then cites a statistic that shows why Johnson’s numbers by themselves were a non sequitur,* and then Johnson agrees to Bolling’s number (but changes what it applies to–namely arrests versus conviction) and implicitly admits his original stat was off by 10050%. And this anecdote proves (in Johnson’s mind) why Bolling just doesn’t get it when it comes to race in America.

(* I’m not saying blacks are getting a fair shake from law enforcement. What I’m saying is that by itself, saying that “there’s a four times greater likelihood that you’ll go to jail” if you’re black than if you’re white, doesn’t prove anything. It’s like saying, “There’s institutional racism because white mortgage applicants are x% more likely to be approved than black applicants.” Bolling brings up a fact that–if true–would actually indicate that Johnson had just pointed out huge racism against WHITES, and Johnson just absorbs the number (and changes the unit of measurement) as if that were his point all along. Also, I’ve now read this passage from Johnson several times, and it’s possible that he was respecting the distinction between the two stats, but then in that case I think it goes against his original point. You guys can argue it in the comments if you’d like.)

Gillespie’s kid-glove treatment is most obvious here:

GILLESPIE: Let’s talk about Hillary Clinton. In response to being called a bigot and a racist by her, Donald Trump said that she was fundamentally not trustworthy. Do you agree with him on that?

JOHNSON: Yes, I agree with him.

GILLESPIE: So you’re in a weird position, aren’t you? You actually agree with both Hillary and Donald, but you don’t think either should be president.

Now, if Gillespie were doing anything besides giving a platform (and help from the interviewer) for Johnson to get out of the corners into which he’s painted himself, he would’ve said, “So you’re in a weird position, since on CNN in June you said Hillary Clinton was a wonderful public servant. Sooo, did you just learn in the last week that she’s not trustworthy? Was it the same person who set you straight on carbon taxes?”

(OK OK, that last line would be too much. But surely Gillespie should’ve asked Johnson why he recently praised Hillary Clinton and now says she’s untrustworthy.)


GILLESPIE: Let’s talk about your stance on religious-liberty issues, which has angered a lot people on the right and many libertarians. Your position is that you essentially want to extend anti-discrimination protections for race and gender to cover sexual orientation when it comes to businesses that are open to the public. Yet you support an opt-out for vaccinations. Why not support an opt-out for the religious owner of a business who doesn’t want to bake a gay Nazi wedding cake?

JOHNSON: Because it would create a new exemption for discrimination. At the end of the day we’re just going to agree to disagree. But you bring me specific legislation dealing with a cake baker not having to decorate a cake for a Nazi and I’ll sign it.

Now again, in fairness, it’s possible that that last line was a total 100% joke. But at this point, Johnson has given me no reason to believe that. This guy handles hard questions like Thomas Piketty at this point. Johnson fires from the hip on his personal feelings about a situation, someone points out that this position is neither libertarian nor coherent, and then Johnson refines the original statement with an arbitrary exception that neuters that one specific objection.


P.S. I’m adding this the next day: In the above, I suggested that school vouchers are a standard libertarian position. That may be true in terms of numbers (especially if we mean capital-L Libertarian), but a bunch of us actually don’t think school vouchers are libertarian. I mean, if you want to do a non-refundable tax credit for parents who yank their kids out of government schools, OK fine, but that’s not what “school vouchers” means to most people.

44 Responses to “More Griping About Gary Johnson”

  1. Tel says:

    I find these word games neither clever, nor trust enhancing.

    A “fee” is by definition offered in return for a service. So if I want to use the gym there is usually a membership fee.

    A “tax” is an obligation, or perhaps viewed as a special payment in return for protection (monetized monopoly on violence). It is a different category, because it is fundamentally a different thing.

    I think the Tom Woods assessment is correct, Johnson is an intellectual lightweight. Compromise is good, but don’t just be wishy washy on basic principles. Better to first be very clear about what principle you do support (and why) and then if you do get into a situation where compromise is the only way forward, then say, “I’m being forced to compromise by these guys and I expect them to also give me what I ask”, or something like that.

    Point is, Johnson is NOT going to win, so you might want to vote for him as a protest (your vote goes nowhere, but at least it gets counted so the major parties take note).

  2. Keshav Srinivasan says:

    Bob, I think the main issue you’re having with him is that he’s a pragmatic libertarian on utilitarian grounds, whereas you’re a principled libertarian on deontoloical grounds. (Which is not to say that you didn’t rightly nail him on a number of points where’s he’s being weaselly.)

    • Dan says:

      I think the bigger problem is Gary doesn’t even seem to have any idea what the principled libertarian position is. It doesn’t appear that he ever has a clue when he is deviating significantly from standard libertarian theory. He just seems like a guy that has a vague sense of what a libertarian believes, but he has no interest in anything more than surface knowledge.

      • Mark Bahner says:

        “He just seems like a guy that has a vague sense of what a libertarian believes, but he has no interest in anything more than surface knowledge.”

        At least he has an interest in trying to be libertarian. The same certainly can’t be said for any other candidate for President in 2016. That, combined with his 8 years as a governor, makes him by far the best candidate for President in 2016.

        • Dan says:

          But he has zero chance of winning, so it’d be nice to have a libertarian candidate that was actually spreading the libertarian message.

          • Mark Bahner says:

            “But he has zero chance of winning, so it’d be nice to have a libertarian candidate that was actually spreading the libertarian message.”

            Yes, it would be nice to have a former two-term governor who could eloquently express why libertarian ways are best. I’d also like to have a Tesla…without having to pay for it. I think Mick Jagger said it best: “You can’t always get what you want…”

            • Dan says:

              The two-term governor stuff doesn’t impress me. If anything, it makes me more skeptical of his libertarian credentials. I’d simply like to see the LP have a libertarian spreading the message rather than a whatever Johnson may be, miserably failing at trying to become president.

              • Mark Bahner says:

                “The two-term governor stuff doesn’t impress me.”

                Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe any other LP Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate has had *any* Executive Branch experience at any level of government.

                No disrespect intended to any former LP candidates for President or Vice President, but when a guy says, “Hi, I’m Harry B. I’m an investment advisor and I think I’m the best candidate for President”…people simply tend not to pay attention.

                The only reason people paid attention to Ross Perot in 1992 was he could afford to pay for his own *substantial* TV time.

                “I’d simply like to see the LP have a libertarian spreading the message rather than a whatever Johnson may be, miserably failing at trying to become president.”

                So of the LP candidates for President in 2016, who in your opinion was a better candidate than Gary Johnson?

        • Matt M says:

          “At least he has an interest in trying to be libertarian. ”

          Does he though? I think that’s the matter up for dispute here.

          More and more it’s seeming like he just has the beliefs he has, and sometimes they’re libertarian and that’s cool, and sometimes they aren’t and that’s cool too. He doesn’t seem to particularly care. If it turns out one of his beliefs is un-libertarian, he doesn’t research the issue further to find the philosophical inconsistency and examine it. As Woods says, “total lack of intellectual curiosity.”

          Remember, he first tried to run as a Republican in 2012, but failed spectacularly. He started running as a libertarian because they’re more desperate for someone who has happens to have *some* libertarian positions than Republicans are desperate for someone who happens to have *some* conservative positions.

          But at the end of the day, the one thing he seems to have MOST in common with libertarians is simply “affiliation with the libertarian party,” rather than any explicitly held philosophical position or values.

          • Mark Bahner says:

            I wrote, “At least he (Gary Johnson) has an interest in trying to be libertarian.”

            Matt M. replies, “Does he though? I think that’s the matter up for dispute here.”

            Yes, I worded that wrong. Gary Johnson at least thinks he’s a libertarian, and sometimes even has opinions that are libertarian…or within hailing distance of being libertarian.

            On the planet we’re currently residing, the Republican candidate is Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate is Hillary Clinton. So on this planet in 2016, Gary Johnson is by far the most libertarian candidate for President of the U.S.

            • Matt Miller says:

              I dispute the “by far” part of this. Johnson seems to be intentionally presenting himself as the “sane” candidate by which he means “I support the same non-scary policies they do, but I’m less of a racist and fewer of my close associates end up committing suicide under mysterious circumstances.”

              Johnson may have some fairly libertarian views, but that’s not what he’s leading with. He is intentionally marketing himself as a compromise candidate – someone who takes the best of the two parties and mashes into something “centrist” or something. He has little or nothing to say about actual libertarian philosophy.

              • Mark Bahner says:

                “I dispute the “by far” part of this.”

                Name some policies where you think Clinton and/or Trump are more libertarian than Gary Johnson.

                “Johnson may have some fairly libertarian views, but that’s not what he’s leading with. He is intentionally marketing himself as a compromise candidate…”

                He is repeatedly saying that he’s socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That’s not libertarian, but it’s more libertarian that Clinton (socially liberal…with significant exceptions of free speech and I’m virtually certain the federal war on drugs)…and fiscally liberal (free college for everyone…woohoo!), and Donald Trump who is…well, insane. But certainly deporting 11 million people and banning all persons of a certain religion from entering the country are not socially liberal. And I don’t expect Trump to be fiscally conservative either.

    • Khodge says:

      That’s a lot like saying Bush was a compassionate conservative. Once you throw in a squishy modifier, everything goes.

  3. E. Harding says:

    It’s just as I’ve been saying; Gary Johnson is a dime-store Donald Trump (and Bill Weld is a more popular, far more left-wing Mike Pence).

    • Andrew_FL says:

      I didn’t understand what you meant for a second then I realized that Johnson and Trump agree about Public Accommodation.

      You know at least when the Republicans went down to humiliating defeat in 1964, the candidate actually believed the things-perfectly reasonable things-that people found outrageous.

      • Mark Bahner says:

        “You know at least when the Republicans went down to humiliating defeat in 1964, the candidate actually believed the things-perfectly reasonable things-that people found outrageous.”

        One task of a leader is, when people are wrong, to persuade them they are wrong.

        But far more importantly, the main task of the President–which he/she takes an oath to follow–is to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

        The 1964 Heart of Atlanta v United States ruling was completely bogus. It wouldn’t hurt Gary Johnson if he knew that, and could explain why it was bogus. In fact, it would make him a much better candidate.

  4. Bharat says:

    As Woods says, Johnson’s a lightweight; but he’s realized a fact of politics and human life in general. As long as you keep talking and appear like you’re making a good point, people will eat it up.

    When Petersen asked Johnson whether he’d force a Jewish baker to bake a Nazi wedding cake (back in April at the FOX Business debate), Johnson made the mistake of answering the question, directly and truthfully at that. He learned from it and the next time Petersen brought up a hypothetical, Johnson simply refused to answer and kept repeating his same point.

  5. Darien says:

    On the vaccination question, Johnson irrevocably lost me the instant the word “herd” emerged from his mouth. Perhaps he considers himself and his family to be herd animals, but I and mine are not.

    As for the gay cakes, I almost can’t believe he’s still being so dense and weaselly about this. More interesting to me, though, is that he’s generally on-board with the weirdo Marcusian idea of special rights for groups that have been historically discriminated against, and so he’s gung-ho about forcing people to bake cakes for gay weddings, but says straight up that he’s A-OK with discrimination against Nazis.

    So I guess what I don’t get is that, as best I can determine, there simply is not any group in the modern western world that faces such uniform, unremitting discrimination as do Nazis. Nazis are so institutionally discriminated against that even the people promoting anti-discrimination laws want the anti-discrimination laws to have explicit special exceptions discriminating against Nazis. I cannot wrap my head around this. If we’re claiming that certain groups deserve special protection because lots of people say mean stuff about them, how are Nazis not right at the front of the queue?

    • Harold says:

      I think a lot of the dislike of certain discrimination is that it is irrational discrimination. Dislike of Nazi’s is rational. Just as people do not generally dislike discrimination in the job market on the basis of qualifications or experience.

      At the risk of upsetting the anti-definitionists, discrimination has two meanings.

      1 the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

      2. recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another. The ability to judge what is of high quality.

      It is only the former that is a problem in this context.

      • Darien says:

        What makes dislike of Nazis rational and dislike of homosexuals irrational?

        • Harold says:

          Nazi’s want to control what you do in ways that are contrary to the NAP?

          • Darien says:

            What, you mean like by forcing me to make cakes for them?

      • Andrew_FL says:

        Of all the reasons to dislike discrimination, “it’s stupid” has got to be the stupidest.

  6. Josiah says:

    Comparing the religious exemptions for bakers to the vaccine opt-out was a good one, and of course Johnson’s answer was as incoherent as ever.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Yeah, I’m not sure if you were saying this Josiah, but it’s possible I was unfair to Gillespie in my post. Maybe he was trying to be hard-hitting and just didn’t think about the “Hillary Clinton is a wonderful public servant” line.

      • Josiah says:

        I think Gillespie was largely taking a kid gloves approach to Johnson, and that using that analogy was his attempt to gently nudge Johnson towards the right position.

  7. Tom Woods says:

    Astonishing to me is that he believes whites commit murder at the same rate as blacks, but that since our culture is pretty much OK with quite murderers, we just let it go.

    • Tom Woods says:


    • Bob Murphy says:

      Yeah I may do a separate blog post on this, because the issue is really complex if you want to model it somewhat accurately. E.g. you need to posit some initial distribution of criminals in the two populations, then account for Type I and Type II errors on the part of police and then the courts, etc. Somehow I don’t think Johnson was doing all that on the fly when he responded to Bolling.

  8. Max says:

    This is not about Mr. Johnson, but I find it strange that the main reaction among conservatives to Black Lives Matter is No, They Don’t (not those exact words, but…) – instead of what I would consider the more natural reaction: righteous indignation in response to the slanderous accusation that police don’t properly value black lives.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Max wrote:

      This is not about Mr. Johnson, but I find it strange that the main reaction among conservatives to Black Lives Matter is No, They Don’t (not those exact words, but…) –

      I agree that saying “All Lives Matter” is not exactly the same as saying “Black Lives Don’t Matter.”

      FWIW, I definitely agree that the typical person on Fox is going to sound ridiculously patronizing and insincere on this stuff.

      • Max says:

        “I agree that saying “All Lives Matter” is not exactly the same as saying “Black Lives Don’t Matter.””

        Admittedly it’s more likely a non-sequitur than a statement that Black Lives Don’t Matter. BLM is an attack on the honor of police, but a literal minded person could take it as a demand that the interests of blacks and whites be rebalanced in favor of blacks.

        • Andrew_FL says:

          For the activists themselves, yes, actually, that’s exactly what it is.

  9. Khodge says:

    Relative to the vouchers question: “What policies would you enact” is precisely where a libertarian loses the argument. Politicians get elected and the media immediately starts scoring based on laws passed. Once you wipe out the dept. of education (one law), there really should be no other laws passed related to education.

  10. ciro curbelo says:

    All politicians are flawed, including those of the libertarian and Liberterian variety. Ron ….Rand … Gary.

    All flawed….for different reasons.

    I’d rather have someone is directionally libertarian at 10% than a purist at 0.5%. The 10% is a platform for growth. The 0.5% is just the echo chamber.

    Gary is opening minds to the non aggression principle, to the virtues of liberty and choice and competition, to the virtues of minding your own business. And he is helping people see the Ds and Rs for what they are.

    That’s enough….and it is quite a lot.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Ciro wrote:

      “Gary is opening minds to the non aggression principle…”

      No no no, no he isn’t. That’s not me talking, that’s Gary Johnson himself, literally saying on a platform that he purposely doesn’t use the NAP with American voters because they don’t know what it is. Listen to the opening question of this clip, and then move it to the 30-second mark to hear Gary Johnson say what I just summarized.

      I have to ask: Did you just assume GJ was big on the NAP, or did he say something that made you think that? Because this is actually one of the big beefs that “purist” libertarians have with him. It’s not just on specific policy issues (like wedding cakes or vaccines or carbon tax or whatever), but even on the big principles, where Johnson has no desire to even pretend to appeal to the base of actual libertarians.

    • Bharat says:

      To add to that, Johnson doesn’t even understand the NAP. He thinks “emotional harm” is aggression. It’s no wonder he leans liberal.

  11. Harold says:

    Tax vs fee – very weaselly indeed. His explanation of saying YES then NO suggest he had never considered such a thing until yesterday.

    Vaccines: do you think a person that said they were happy for the whole USA to die because some people refused a vaccination would get elected? I suspect that most peoples libertarian principles only go so far and a successful politician will have to acknowledge that. I may be wrong, maybe sticking to principle would be respected.

    Gay cakes: But you bring me specific legislation dealing with a cake baker not having to decorate a cake for a Nazi and I’ll sign it.
    No need Mr Johnson, if he is suggesting that the decoration would be of a Nazi nature it is already enshrined in the constitution under free speech protections. He again does not seem to be up to speed. You cannot be compelled to decorate a cake with a message against your principles because that is seen as coming under protected speech. Neither can the baker be compelled to decorate a cake for Nazi with Happy Birthday on it because Nazis are not protected.

    Black Lives. The majority of blacks and whites believe that the police treat blacks and whites differently, so he could be pandering to public opinion. There seems to be good evidence that police do not shoot black people more than white people. There is also good evidence that police treat black people worse than white people. From the NY Times:

    A new study confirms that black men and women are treated differently in the hands of law enforcement. They are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police.

    But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

    From the report:
    We argue that the patterns in the data are consistent with a model in which police officers are utility maximizers, a fraction of which have a preference for discrimination, who incur relatively high expected costs of officer-involved shootings.

    But then another report :
    The only thing that was significant in predicting whether someone shot and killed by police was unarmed was whether or not they were black,” said Justin Nix, a criminal-justice researcher at the University of Louisville and one of the report’s authors
    ,“Fatal Shootings By US Police Officers in 2015: A Bird’s Eye View,” was conducted by criminal justice researchers from the University of Louisville and the University of South Carolina

    So maybe.

    In Missouri for example, black drivers were stopped far more than whites (69% more likely to be stopped) yet the contraband hit rate for blacks is lower than for whites. The argument that of course the contraband rate is lower, they know they are more likely to be stopped does not wash for me. The chances of being stopped on any single trip is very small and unlikely to affect the rate to that extent. This may explain why the rate is lower. but it does not explain why the stop rate is so much higher.

    So there is strong evidence that police do treat blacks and whites differently, but maybe not so much that they shoot them more.

  12. Carrie says:

    Despite GJ’s attempt at folksy joking about mandating vaccines only during a zombie apocalypse, his view does indeed extend to other alleged “public health” crises. In an interview with a Vermont NPR station last week, he said:
    “I’ve come to find out that without mandatory vaccines, the vaccines that would in fact be issued would not be effective. […] It’s dependent that you have mandatory vaccines so that every child is immune. Otherwise, not all children will be immune even though they receive a vaccine. […] In my opinion, this is a local issue. If it ends up to be a federal issue, I would come down on the side of science AND I WOULD PROBABLY REQUIRE THAT VACCINE.”


    Given that Ebola and Zika have been declared national health emergencies in other countries, that the WHO is convening an international panel on Zika, and that a dozen cases of measles at Disneyland sparked panic throughout the USA, I am not at all confident that his zombie apocalypse scenario is far afield.

  13. Adrian Gabriel says:

    Dr Murphy-

    One thing I have been deliberating more than anything is the restructuring of the monetary system in the US. As Trump has been leading the ideology in paying back creditors at a discount, the quibble has arisen in what manner to restructure the federal balance sheet. Indeed this would reduce the debt, yet America would have to be prepared for a bout of inflationary pressures. Thus when looking at the cause and effect of the business cycle, there then would be deflationary pressures which would first arrive in the stock market.

    I believe Trump fault lies in the manner in which he wants to further the course of the Fed, deciding, nor advocating abolishing the system itself altogether. Hence Trump expects to pay down the debt by creating inflation, which would result in a depression, and moving the interest rate parabolically in the manner in which Reagan and Volcker did. This would lead to a recreation of what we know of as the ABCT. This predicament is what Clinton put into practice, it was a method which reduced debt. The idea of paying creditors at a discount is a quasi-default.

    Indeed one may say it is similar to Rothbard’s debt repudiation idea, albeit Trump wants to slowly recede the quantity of debt the US government created. In the process, and according to his own words, he would monetize lots of debt. As we know, this is a higher money stock.

    I am hesitant to believe he knows what he is doing, and would rather do as you suggest, which is not vote. In order for America to lay witness to true monetary reform, America would need to default, or repudiate the debt altogether, and later peg the dollar to a certain weight of Gold as is described by Ron Paul and Rothbard. America would be better off selling off assets and privatizing obligations. Trump would do none of the sort. He is a nationalist. He will debt monetize until excess reserves sky rocket. Maybe he will try to then sell off the bonds to other investors, yet those are deflationary pressures that signal an economic crash. I have to conclude that Trump has no idea what he is doing, and if he tries to peg the dollar to Gold, it will be a meager attempt at the Gold exchange standard. It will not be a reform of the banking system altogether.

    I hope Dr Murphy, you being the more wise economist, you agree with me to a certain degree on this.

  14. Levi Russell says:

    Yeah, Johnson/Weld (because at this point, are they really individual candidates?) did just as horrid in Stossel’s forum a couple of days ago. What cracks me up about all of this is that they really try so hard to pander to the left, but it just isn’t working. They’re getting more press than Libertarian Party candidates ever have and they just can’t seem to pull off decent poll numbers.

    Of course, Johnson really is just another proglodyte. As this comment demonstrates, his main appeal is to progressives who think they are libertarians.

    • Andrew_FL says:

      “Sumnertarian” would be a perfect term for what I’ve come to call Cultural Democrats, if it weren’t for the fact that most people have no clue who Scott Sumner is.

  15. Michael says:

    call them utilitarians. Scott will agree

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