From The Market Ticker
At last Gary Johnson is included in presidential polling.
It’s a major win for the Libertarian candidate who served two terms as Governor of New Mexico.
A Rasmussen poll reports of 1,000 likely American voters finds 16 percent have a favorable opinion of Johnson, while 20 percent view him unfavorably.
His biggest problem? 63 percent don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.
Wow, that’s excellent! 16% favorables and 20% unfavorable!
In a horse race the poll shows President Barack Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney neck and neck with 48 percent apiece, with Johnson far behind with 1 percent and 3 percent undecided.
Look, it’s not hard to figure out why. Gary, for all the reasons he thinks people should vote for him (including people like me who are Libertarian) simply won’t talk about the issues that people find the most-important in this race, and when he does he can’t sell what he’s peddling.
I have long argued, since Florida’s convention this last winter in fact when I spoke with him in person, that this was not a difficult sell for him. His 43% spending reduction for the Federal Government and no more deficits has the potential to sell.
But it doesn’t sell to the real voter for one simple reason: He has no answer for who’s going to eat the $ 1 trillion crap sandwich, and thus the people presume it’s going to be them — and why not? They’ve eaten all of those sandwiches so far!
You can’t win an election that way.
Here’s the reality behind the budget — when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, which is where the biggest single issue resides, someone has to eat a $ 400 billion a year crap sandwich.
The bad news is that this is about 3% of GDP, and no matter who eats it that GDP will disappear.
The good news is that there is an answer available as to “who eats it” other than Grandma.
That’s Pharmaceutical and Medical firms.
How? What I’ve advocated since this debate over health reform began. Ending monopoly protections, demanding that level-price billing irrespective of how one pays be enforced, bringing back charity care, prosecution of entities using “CON” laws to restrain trade, prosecution of Hospitals buying up private practices and then quadrupling charges as unlawful restraint of trade, repeal of EMTALA and ending cross-border subsidies that effectively force Americans to pay for the development costs of drugs and devices that the rest of the world then threatens to either steal or gets at cost-of-reproduction, for starters.
This would return the cost of having a baby to the inflation-adjusted cost from 1964, which is about $ 1,000 including four days in the hospital, instead of the 8-10x as much which is charged today for 18 hours (if you’re lucky.)
This would bring the cost of medical care down so dramatically that most people would be able to write a check for all but the most-catastrophic occurrences, and for those you could buy catastrophic insurance. It would render Obamacare, Romneycare and whateverelsecare proposed an absolute non-starter and unnecessary.
It not only would win fiscally it could be sold, if you have a modicum of skill as a politician and public speaker. I would be all over the airwaves, highways and byways promoting such a plan along with the politician who offered it, and so would hundreds if not thousands of others.
But Gary Johnson has not offered such a plan; he speaks of “competition” and “block grants” but nowhere does he speak of putting a stop to the monopoly practices that have caused costs to skyrocket in the first place.
Incidentally this would not just be a $ 400 billion crap sandwich that the medical industry would eat; that would only be the government part. The other part would be at least as large and translate directly into hiring as labor costs would decrease by that much or more in the private sector.
Now it’s true that there would be a lot of health insurance companies that would go under or fire a lot of people, and it’s also true that there would be other attrition within the industry — in pharmaceuticals, for instance. But that would be balanced by firms able to hire people to make things instead of transfer money from one person to another in providing “health care” at a grossly-inflated price. In other words, we’d manufacture instead of poking and prodding people.
The short-term realignment from these policy shifts would be very significant — we would undergo an immediate, deep and serious recession. But we would unleash entrepreneurship, hiring and production as the economy shifted away from overpriced medical care to productive output, and freed from that $ 800 billion (half private, half government, all of it falling on you via taxation and debasement of the money) a year in unproductive spending employment opportunity would soon soar.
In short, Grandma wouldn’t get shoved down the stairs — an industry that has looted the American people for 30 years would instead. That’s not only good fiscal policy, it’s good policy on all levels — politically, fiscally and socially.
But Gary Johnson has refused to adopt it and thus he can’t sell this part of his program.
That’s not my opinion, that’s the poll numbers.
Now let’s look at “foreign entanglements”, or “endless wars” if you prefer.
Most Americans are against that, just as they are against endless debt.
But they also want to go to the gas station and fill their tanks without spending $ 20/gallon for gasoline. And they’re not stupid — they understand that we are addicted to Arab Oil Sheiks’ spigots and that if their part of the world dissolves into civil war (or worse) that spigot will get cut off and oil prices will skyrocket.
They also understand that America spends a lot of its military money projecting power in a “don’t even think about it” sort of posture. If we’re going to stop that (and we should) we have to have a viable means of telling those very same Arabs to take their oil spigot and shove it up their own ass, as we don’t need it any more.
We have no such plan at present. Fracking and drilling won’t do it. Neither will “renewables”, codeword for wind and solar. Solyndra anyone?
But there are solutions. No, they’re not refined, polished, ready to go today. That’s because we have intentionally neglected them for the last 30 years. We better cut that crap out, and we better cut it out now.
I have put forward one such plan. It’s not the only possible way forward, but it’s one that doesn’t break any laws of thermodynamics and for which the base technologies all constitute things we know how to do. At worst it puts a hard ceiling on energy costs, which is necessary for a stable economy, because behind every unit of GDP is one unit of energy.
Gary Johnson espouses the words of Liberty but lays no path on the table for how to achieve real energy independence and thus empower our ability to retract our military claws.
And while I cringe at the idea of government being involved in energy production the fact of the matter is that government has been involved in screwing this up for the last 30 years. It is utterly ridiculous to believe that government can now just walk away and wash its hands, especially when the obvious and clear thermodynamic winner is found in the power of the atom. I like the idea very much of a “crash program” to get these systems put into “cookie-cutter” form, streamlining regulatory processes and shutting off the outrageous lawsuit parade that inevitably follows attempts to move forward in this regard and then once the design is developed and the first running units are up and running IPOing them out to the public so they’re owned by private industry.
Blaze the trail and then get the hell out of the way.
Gary Johnson simply has no vision in this regard, and as a result he has nothing to offer — and again votes disappear from his column and go somewhere else.
The other, and perhaps one of the most-critical places where Gary Johnson has utterly failed is found in his policies toward trade. In his “energy and environmental” policy he says this:
There are bad actors who would pollute our water supplies and our air if allowed to do so, and we must have laws and regulations to protect innocent Americans from the harm those bad actors would do.
So why does he say this about “free trade”?
Eliminate needless barriers to free trade and make it easier for would-be legal immigrants to apply for work visas.
Is pollution of air and water supplies only actionable if it’s done here, but if done “there” to obtain a cheaper cost of production and in the process it destroys millions of American jobs is that all ok in the name of “free trade”?
According to Gary Johnson, the answer is “Yes.”
According to the electorate, the answer is that this sort of outsourcing destroys jobs and thus their answer is no damnit!
Fair Trade is not free trade. Fair trade happens when people voluntarily enter into commerce on reasonably-equal terms and conditions, where all parties are free not to enter into commerce because they have other alternatives, where labor is consensual, where it does not come with the poisoning of air, water and land by the very employer that “pays” you and where governments do not coerce participation by enabling the bulldozing of your family farm and destruction of the environment that would otherwise provide you an alternative — and that’s for openers.
But that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world where governments and private businesses (in cooperation with governments) do all of that and more. Where people, land, water and air are abused on a daily basis. Where governments “disappear” or even shoot dissenters. Where there is no freedom in fact and people are treated as disposable robots after their former way of life is intentionally destroyed so as to create a cheap labor pool. Where those same governments then manipulate markets along with their currency and credit so as to effectively provide the people with two choices — go work in that shiny new factory for a nickel a day or starve.
Then, when the people finally get pissed off enough to revolt even if threatened with being shot the company packs up and leaves for another new land with another bunch of ignorant people ruled by depots where they can do it again.
Some Americans don’t understand all of this or simply don’t care to look. But nearly all Americans care very much when they can’t find a job and have no income because their former factory has been closed and shipped overseas to that slave labor camp where the air burns your eyes, the land is poisoned and thus is unsafe to plant crops upon and the water is filled with industrial sludge that kills man, woman and child alike.
Once again, Gary Johnson has no vision and for that matter neither does the Libertarian Party, which has repeatedly and outrageously parroted the “free trade” mantra even though the party’s own oath, and Johnson’s own claimed positions, state that such pollution here is wrong and must be opposed and punished.
The rank and blatant racism found in the refusal to apply that same standard when the victim of these abuses has slanty eyes is appalling — and again, costs many votes.
Gary Johnson’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t “have a podium” or that “he needs $ 1 million in donations for ads on TeeVee”, as he asserts.
It’s that he hasn’t managed to resonate with the American people, he doesn’t have a damned clue how to sell what he wants to present and on matters of Liberty where he could make a real difference — in the budget, in medical costs, in defense, in energy and above all in jobs he simply cannot tie it all together and make the sale because he either doesn’t get it or doesn’t give a shit.
And this, my friends, is coming from a Libertarian who has consistently tried to reach through to him and point out not only the mathematics, but the politics. The two are inescapably intertwined in a world where 2 + 2 = 4 whether you like it or not, and where intentional refusal to face reality has led to millions of lost jobs, serial bubbles, the destruction of the middle class and a looting-based society that, if we do not change course, will eventually collapse.
Until Gary Johnson’s policies and platform change and the ”whole package” can be sold to the American public as self-consistent and not founded on happy Unicorn dreams the votes simply will not come.
There is no evidence he will change those policies at any time before November 6th.
And on the 7th, we will once again as Libertarians be talking about “our” 1% candidate because we, the Libertarian voter and party member, utterly refused to stand and demand consistent policies and a forward-looking vision for those who carry our flag.
So says Rasmussen.