August 3, 2016


Possible presidential spoiler Gary Johnson speaks to The Times editorial board about siphoning votes from Hillary Clinton (The Times Editorial Board, 7/29/16, LA Times)

The following is a transcript of Gary Johnson's meeting with the Los Angeles Times editorial board.

Mariel Garza: [...] [W]hat would you bring to a debate that we won't see in a Trump-Clinton debate?

GJ: Well, back to the three legs of the stool, embracing immigration for starters. Immigration is really a good thing. I saw that two days ago in the Wall Street Journal, [where] the Wharton School of business, which Trump graduated from, did an analysis of the economic impact of increasing immigration by 50%, increasing immigration by granting work visas to high-skilled workers, and then actually limiting immigration, and the economic impact of each one of those three alternatives. Well, limiting immigration was actually going to have a negative impact on the economy. Minimal impact by allowing high-skilled workers into the country. And a big benefit for increasing immigration by 50%. So embracing immigration, making it as easy as possible for somebody who wants to come into this country to work and to get a work visa. A work visa should entail a background check and a Social Security card. Don't build a wall across the border, they are not -- and I am speaking as a border state governor -- they are not taking jobs that U.S. citizens want. They're just hard-working people that can't get across the border legally to take the jobs that do exist. And you're also aware that actually this is like the lowest number of illegal crossings in decades right now because jobs don't exist in the United States either. So this is a political bogeyman that really doesn't exist. [...]

I support making taxation easier, simplifying the tax system. I support lower taxes. If I could wave a magic wand -- and I'm not doing this in a vacuum, having had the support of Chapman University, I mean, free market -- if I could wave a magic wand, I would eliminate income tax. I would eliminate corporate tax. Because we would do that and we also could abolish the IRS, and I would replace all of it with one federal consumption tax.

I ask you to look at the "fair tax," which is a proposal that's been before Congress for 10 years. I think 80 congressmen and women sign onto it every year, so it's a known product. But it dots the "I"s and crosses the Ts on how you accomplish one federal consumption tax. I believe with a 0% corporate tax rate in this country, I believe tens of millions of jobs, for no other reason than a 0% corporate tax, simplifying tax to the extent that that would simplify tax ... I mean, imagine our lives without the IRS. And then I do think that pink slips would get issued to 80% of Washington lobbyists because that's why they're there, to garner tax favor.

NG: Very briefly, how does the fair tax work?

GJ: Very briefly, a consumption tax is regressive, for starters, OK? Well, the way that it gets beyond being regressive is that it issues a prebate check to everybody through the Social Security administration to the tune of $200 per month that allows all of us to pay the consumption tax up to the point of the poverty level. A 28% tax on goods and services -- and before you fall out of your chair thinking that's, whoa -- it's actually, in theory, not going to add cost to products. So if you use a can of Coke as an example. A can of Coke today sells for a buck. Well, there's accounting fees and legal fees along with just complying with the IRS, there's Social Security tax that has to be matched, unemployment, Medicare ... all of those, all of what currently comes out of individuals and you and I from our payroll check, that would come out of the proceeds of the consumption tax. So there would no longer be any withholding whatsoever from your payroll check. Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, all coming out of the proceeds of the fair tax. But back to all those taxes -- that currently is contained in that dollar can of Coke. You take all of that out, arguably that can of Coke sells for 72 cents. You apply the 28% consumption tax and you still end up paying for the profit.

JH: Doesn't that smack, though, of tax cuts that pay for themselves, an idea that's been widely discredited?

GJ: When you say tax cuts that pay for themselves ...

JH: Since the dawn of the Laffer curve, there's been this belief that simply by lowering ...

GJ: This is not a tax cut by the way. This is designed to be revenue-neutral.

Posted by at August 3, 2016 5:25 PM