Home / Robert Farley / Vote Gary Johnson!

Vote Gary Johnson!

Comments
/
/
/
49 Views

I would like to point out that voting for Gary Johnson is a sign of deep moral seriousness:

Johnson advocates severe near-term fiscal and monetary policy austerity. When we talked at (or rather, outside of) the Republican National Convention, he told me he would cut Medicare spending by 43 percent in the short term. He repeatedly insists that “we are in the midst of a monetary collapse” and says he favors returning the United States to a (deflationary) metallic currency standard. He says he would have opposed TARP and allowed systemically important banks to fail.

In other words, if Johnson had been president in 2008, he would have allowed the U.S. financial system to collapse and the country to fall into depression. And if he became president now, he would do his best to strangle the tepid recovery we are enjoying and turn it into another severe recession.

But when you’re as morally serious as Conor Friedersdorf, the deaths caused by a depression and by the collapse of the US health care system don’t count.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Knights who say Ni!

    So is Bobo getting all excited?

  • Malaclypse

    Actually, since Johnson is almost certainly siphoning off Romney voters, I would like to point out the many Reaganeque qualities possessed by this fine, outstanding conservative.

    • As a liberal, the idea of conservatives refusing to sell out to my fellow Massachusetts liberal Mitt Romney, and instead voting for true conservative Gary Johnson, makes me very, very angry.

      • In general, by letting Obama win steal the election by getting stealing more votes, conservatives would hasten the day that the country realizes the demosocialist scam and usher in the happy day of permanent three branch Republican control.

        And if they really want to stick it to us, they’ll give up the House!

        • NonyNony

          No, that kind of logic only works if you’re talking to certain liberals and hardcore libertarians. Conservatives don’t think you can win by losing, nor do they seem to think that if it “just gets bad enough” people will see that their beliefs are “obviously right” and rebuild the world according to their personal ideology.

          They do, however, believe that “pissing off liberals” is a worthwhile end unto itself. So they have their own share of political delusions.

        • Halloween Jack

          I can’t laugh about this because it’s that sort of logic that led to the Oklahoma City bombing and other crimes.

      • NonyNony

        Yes. As a liberal who believes in everything that conservatives hate, nothing would piss me off more than people voting for Gary Johnson. In droves. The more votes he gets, the more it’s going to piss me off.

    • tt

      There may be a strategic argument for voting for Johnson in non-battleground states to increase division among the right.

    • rbcoover

      I think he has the potential for a significant following among young, contrarian, not-terribly-bright liberals. I have no evidence aside from people I’ve met and anonymous Internet posters. Also, stoners (a group that significantly but not entirely overlaps with the former group).

      • DrDick

        Or, in other words, he polls well among stupid people.

        • Cody

          So he is definitely siphoning off Romney’s votes then?

  • scott

    Outside the Church, um, Democratic Party, there is no salvation. Also, Nader, Johnson, and Stein blow goats. Go Team!

    • Wow, that is really clever.

      What the hell does it mean?

      • parrot

        i believe it means we should play tee ball on gawds softball team…

      • Stag Party Palin

        It means you are unaware of at least one internet tradition. But I’m here to help. To teh Google!

        mickey kaus goats

      • thusbloggedanderson

        Pancakes?

        • Oh, yeah.

        • DrDick

          I am voting for waffles!

          • Woodrowfan

            French Toast! and NOT “Freedom Toast” either!

          • Warren Terra

            Splitter.

        • parrot

          bread and marmalade … it’s the Godwin lifestyle choice

          • Malaclypse

            Jam > marmalade.

        • CD

          walruses

      • Halloween Jack

        Voting for Obama is the same as voting for Hitlerburning witches at the stake. Nobody expects the Kenyan Inquisition!

        • Our three, THREE, chief weapons are surprise, fear, an unwillingness to release our pre-school macaroni drawings, and fist bumps – damn, let me start over!

          • mark f

            You forgot Greek columns. And arugula.

            • ScottRS

              Mustard, also. Too.

    • Do you really want an Administration in which Mickey Kaus is Secretary of Agriculture?

      There is no place for Kaus in a Barr/Sheehan Administration.

    • Murc

      What have you got against Stein?

      She seems pretty okay.

      Wouldn’t vote for her if I lived in a swing state, but she seems like the kind of person we need more of. I’d have definitely considered voting for her in the local/statewide races she ran if, depending on the numbers.

      • mark f

        I think he’s being sarcastic.

      • saucyturtles

        How many elections has she won previously?
        I wish the Greens would get serious.

        • I wish Stein herself would get serious, and run for the Democratic nomination for a statewide office or for a state senate seat.

          She, personally, is terrific.

          • Another Halocene Human

            She ought to go into journalism. Would be better suited to her skillset and she might actually do some good, about the opposite of what I feel she’s up to now.

  • I love this:

    The Reason staffers are more unanimous than usual

    Brilliant!

    • parrot
    • DrDick

      That is the kind of endorsement I can endorse!

    • spencer

      How, exactly, can a group be just a little bit unanimous?

      • I think it’s like a little bit of rape can only cause a little bit pf pregnancy.

        JzB

  • mark f

    At least the Gary Johnson people have figured out that there’s a Libertarian candidate on the ballot, so they’re a step ahead of the Ron Paul writer-innerers.

    • JKTHs

      BUT RON PAUL’S BETTER!!!!!!!!!

    • parrot

      Ron Paul wins … the committed bumper sticker contest (at least in my neck-o-da-woods)

      • DrDick

        Mine, too, and Montana is serious Libertarian country.

        • parrot

          i’m entombed in the heart of the gaia complex that is known as western north carolina … lot’s of r.p. support … and yepper, i’m throwin’ down early for ‘bama … sux on that g.j.! church … yo

          • DrDick

            Did that last week. Yay open absentee voting!

        • rea

          serious Libertarian

          Oxymoron Alert!

          • That’s unfair. Have you ever heard of Kevin Carson? Or Julian Sanchez?

            • It’s clear none of you believe in the great work of Dr. Paul. My butt is hurt. From his work on legalization mandatory use of herb, to the epic slapfight of 1953 when he and Greenspan fought over the hand of Ayn Rand, inspiring L. Ron Hubbard to create his lesser known religion, Hey-I-Have-A-Yacht-ology, he ranks with many of the founders, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Galt, John Wayne Gacy, Jean Claude Von Whupass. I demand you retract everything you’ve ever said, except for that one thing at that party that one time.

              • CD

                That’s pretty much the all-purpose comment.

            • rea
  • bradp

    1. You are taking a Barro’s opinion on this?

    2. Where has Gary Johnson advocated a return to the gold standard? Everything I have seen from the hardcore libertarians say he is an economic lightweight who doesn’t get behind the more radical libertarian ideas.

    • djw

      Brad, the Barro post has a newfangled thing called “embedded links”. There’s one that leads to Gary Johnson reading a question–do you support a return to a gold or silver standard, and answering that question with by saying “yes I do”. Now perhaps he’s squishy on this issue, saying different things at different times to different audiences. But your second question is straightforwardly answered in the links provided.

      • bradp

        He’s less than squishy. He thinks a gold standard is impractical. He supports the idea of competing currencies that could be commodity backed.

        Fast forward to about 2:30 if you don’t want to listen to him talk about civil liberties:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM5DfXVBiT8

        • mark f

          Yes, but he’s very squishy about that too. And unless I’m missing something he pretty much contradicts himself when he explains that bartering chainsaws for clothes is terrible. How is that different than “competing commodity-backed currencies”?

          Plus he says that we need 43% cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, because “we go way over the line with the notion of who is in need,” and advocates that the states run managed care programs at their own discretion. Which would be awesome for poor people in Mississippi! So it seems Rob’s main point — that Johnson’s policies would result in much more suffering and many more deaths than are caused by drones — is not even in dispute.

          • Rhino

            But, you DO go way over the line in Medicare and Medicaid, and in social security as well.

            For example, by not means testing, and therefore subsidizing many of the wealthiest Americans for no good reason.

            Oh, you say he meant something else? Never mind.

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        For those of use who are ignorant on monetary policy, is there any place you recommend for a quick primer on the logic behind the gold-standard obsession?

      • rea

        The true liberal position is the silver standard–we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

        • elm

          That’s the true Progressive position. I’m not so sure it’s the true Liberal position, though.

          • RedSquareBear

            Populism, surely?

            • elm

              D’oh! I blame expansive readings of the commerce clause for a really dumb brain freeze.

  • G. Angeletti

    It’s Farley vs. Friedersdorf! And Farley’s just raised the snark-ante!! What a match!!!

    • Robert Farley

      Actually it’s not; it’s Farley vs. the dumbfucks who think that progressives should take Conor Friedersdorf’s views about the election seriously. Conor is more than welcome to engage in a set of value tradeoffs that leave him voting for Gary Johnson.

      • firefall

        Is there anyone who takes his views seriously? I mean, at all? I can well imagine his editor giggling at the thought of publishing such pablum

        • “Is there anyone who takes his views seriously?”

          Glenn Greenwald, among others

          • mark f

            Both sides do it!

            Conor Friedersdorf ‏@conor64

            Pretending to be outraged by binders and optimality must get exhausting. But at least it isn’t pointless. Oh, wait, it actually is.

            But not us Very Serious principled civil libertarians!

            Glenn Greenwald Verified ‏@ggreenwald 18 Oct

            @conor64 It’s also so unnecessary – you can ardently advocate for a candidate if you want without latching onto every BS theme of the day

            These two must be the most tedious people online.

            • thusbloggedanderson

              These two must be the most tedious people online.

              Y’know … you’re not wrong.

              • Dilettante

                But clearly not right…

            • sharculese

              I am not generally in favor of playing off people’s names this way, but in his case Friedersdork is both so obvious and so apt.

            • Malaclypse

              These two must be the most tedious people online.

              Clearly, you are unfamiliar with the oeuvre of Manju regarding Robert Byrd and DW-Nominate.

              • DrDick

                +infinity

              • Rhino

                Does manju/Byrd qualify as an Internet tradition yet? I rather think the committee should consider inclusion.

        • spencer

          Is there anyone who takes his views seriously?

          You mean other than Conor Friedersdorf?

          • Warren Terra

            Everyone has a mother.

  • parrot

    (deflationary) metallic currency standard

    metallica, it should be metallica … now, the currency reset makes perfect sense … lars ulrich as The Fed demolition specialist

    • NonyNony

      If we’re going to go to a metallic currency standard, I propose we switch to a mercury standard. There will be a strong incentive to get the toxic money out of our pockets, so consumer spending should increase. And instead of shipping our toxic mercury waste over to China for disposal, we can lock it up in bank vaults where it can appreciate in value.

      We could also try for a lithium standard, but I think we’d be better served reserving our important lithium supply for things like batteries and drugs.

      • Murc

        If we’re going to go to a metallic currency standard, I propose we switch to a mercury standard.

        Please.

        OBVIOUSLY, the country should be using gold-pressed latinum as its currency.

        • JL

          Win. I hope I’m not the only one who gets the reference.

          • Njorl

            Ninth rule of acquisition, never explain a joke.

            • Woodrowfan

              1. Once you have their money, you never give it back.

          • Hob

            What, Star Trek is supposed to be obscure now? Bah. If you really want to confuse people, make a “truffle skins” reference.

            • NonyNony

              Yeah – I was trying to figure out what reference I was missing.

              I was trying to figure out if there was some link between mercury and Star Trek and feeling like my geek cred was dwindling…

            • Halloween Jack

              DS9 is sort of an intra-Trekkian cult of its own. The very acknowledgement of a currency-based economy is enough to make the vengeful spirit of Gene Roddenberry transform into an energy being that steals folks’ red blood cells, or salt, or makes them fight with swords for eternity, or something.

              • Murc

                Except for those times he mentions money and investments in the original series, of course.

                • Cody

                  I’ve spent many-a-night trying to figure out exactly how the Star Trek economy works. It seems to be currency free on Earth, but not in all of the Federation?

                  I admit, my research is usually drunk. So it may not be top-notch.

                • Another Halocene Human

                  I figured they were just using an all electronic payments system instead of cash.

                  Now, NextGen had this communist thing going on. Picard spent a lot of time explaining that humans had evolved past the need for commercial transactions. It was set 100 years in the future which is really kind of funny when you think about it.

                  DS9 made it clear, however, that even though the Earth-born snobbed out at Ferengis’ reliance on cash, their electronic money system was still in operation.

                  They probably rely a lot on government subsidies. Ben Sisko’s father owned a restaurant which seemed odd in a world where people didn’t seem to pay for shit. Maybe it was some sort of salaried tourism board thing. (They lived in NOLA.)

          • Cody

            You’re not alone.

            Rule #19: Satisfaction is not guaranteed

      • thusbloggedanderson

        I’ve seen a similar proposal for a spent-uranium currency.

        • Colin Day

          Didn’t we try that in Fallujah?

          • thusbloggedanderson

            Those were spent-uranium *rounds*. Very different.

      • Njorl

        If we switched to a mercury standard, we’d never have to worry about a liquidity crisis, unless the temperature dropped to about 40 below (F or C).

    • mark f

      Using those trash can lids Lars used for drums on St Anger as currency would be impractical.

      • parrot

        +1 … this made me make pee on meself

        • Malaclypse

          Wrong kind of “golden.”

    • Warren Terra

      Sodium metal. There’s something symbolic about it in a country that loves salt, and the Texans have got to love a metal that should for safety be coated in oil.

  • Surreal American

    I have to say, it was gratifying to read that some of those Reason glibertarians don’t plan on voting now or ever. Yeah, let’s keep it that way.

    Although I have no doubt some of those glibs hold the view that Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were assholes for trying to register disenfranchised citizens.

    • An Anonymous Poll Worker

      Well, that’s a relief. I hate wiping the Cheeto smears off the touch-screens. Well. I’ve been hoping those were Cheeto smears.

      • JKTHs

        Well I’d assume you wouldn’t be touching the part of the screen where they were

    • laura

      You can see the problem for the Libertarian Party. Half the staffers at their own flagship ideological magazine can’t be bothered to vote for their candidates. Half the ones that do vote Lib apparently can’t remember the name of the Libertarian candidate they supported one cycle ago. Caring is boring people.

      • laura

        also:

        “Reason’s libertarian motto is “Free Minds and Free Markets.” In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream?”

        It doesn’t get much wankier than this.

  • bradp

    http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/281878/defense-establishment-josh-barro

    Josh Barro also wants you to know that serious people supported Herman Cain.

    This post sounds and awful like the calls for seriousness that originated that particular meme amongst liberals and progressives.

    • mark f

      Josh Barro also wants you to know that serious people supported Herman Cain.

      Uhh . . . that article seems to make the opposite case, actually.

      • bradp

        He is counter Fiensdorf on this one too.

        He plainly states that Cain’s reliance on the Washington Establishment is a strength for Cain.

        • mark f

          No, he agreed with Friedersdorf’s contention that a President Cain would be captured by the DC establishment. Where they differed was on whether or not that would make for good policy. Barro said yes, which you can disagree with, but it’s pretty clear that he didn’t think Cain’s actual supporters were themselves serious.

          • bradp

            He didn’t say that Cain’s supporters were serious, but he does seem to think that serious people would support Cain because of his reliance on the establishment.

            This is all really besides the point, as that Barro article is enough whether or not he is supporting Cain.

            • mark f

              So what’s the point in bringing Barro’s positions into the discussion? Barro believes that the economic consensus in Washington is more often than not correct. Therefore he’s critical of Gary Johnson’s economic policies. Has he mischaracterized Johnson’s positions? (Obviously Johnson and those who agree with him would say that Barro mischaracterizes the effects of Johnson’s positions being put into practice, but that’s a different thing.)

              • bradp

                So what’s the point in bringing Barro’s positions into the discussion?

                Just showing the viewpoint of the guy who is claiming Gary Johnson will be responsible for so many deaths.

                • daveNYC

                  So Barro’s positions somehow mean that Johnson wouldn’t cut 43% from Medicare? Because that’s where most of the deaths would be coming from. Not that more austerity or, god forbid, the gold standard would help.

              • sparks

                I get the feeling if anyone says anything at all about Johnson’s policy positions, bradp and all the libertarian rabble will say they were mischaracterized. GJ is the quantum candidate and nobody must open the box.

                • bradp

                  There was one subject that I felt Johnson was mischaracterized, and I admit that I was splitting some hairs.

                • sparks

                  Fair enough.

    • firefall

      Can we organise a writein campaign for Cain for President?

      • Colin Day

        The Giants might need him this week

        Matt Cain

        Or did mean someone else?

        • JKTHs

          I’ll write in the Fister/Bumgarner ticket

  • JKTHs

    I can ignore Johnson’s far right wing domestic views as long as no dronez

    • Rhino

      Greenwald uses sock puppets?

  • Nothing says “freedom” like depriving several million more Americans of the opportunity to make a living.

  • DrDick

    In all fairness, all Libertarian economic policies call for a return to the Dark Ages.

    • JKTHs

      Well more like the (First) Guilded Age but either way

      • JKTHs

        *Gilded

      • Cody

        Bill it as Guilded, Guild Wars 2 shall become real! In a very unpleasing way.

    • Woodrowfan

      they all think they’ll be lords and get to sleep with every bride first on their wedding night*

      *myth

      • Malaclypse

        As is often the case, Scalzi nailed it:

        I really don’t know what you do about the “taxes are theft” crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires. Sorry, guys. I know you all thought you were going to be one of those paying a nickel for your cigarettes in Galt Gulch. That’ll be a fine last thought for you as the starving remnants of the society of takers closes in with their flensing tools.

  • bradp

    I’m not sure you guys take the death prevention far enough.

    • Malaclypse

      I’m not sure you take preventing the deaths that will be caused by cutting Medicare by 43% in the near term seriously enough.

      • DrDick

        Or the rest of his policies.

  • Joe

    It the midst of disagreeing with the Volokh Conspiracy crowd that actual consistent libertarians obviously should favor Republicans, I checked out a Reason account of how important judicial nominations are to choosing a President. A bit strangely, the examples tended to lean conservative (e.g, Citizens United might change, the horror).

    • sharculese

      Reason is the magazine for Republicans whose moms say they’re cool.

      • thusbloggedanderson

        Reason is the magazine for Republicans who still live with their moms.

        • wengler

          Reason is a magazine that shouldn’t be read by anyone anywhere no matter their relationship with their mom.

  • Totally unfair. The entire LGM critique of third parties is that you shouldn’t vote for them because they can’t win so you need to vote for the guy who can.

    But when evaluating third party candidates, suddenly it’s as if they will get elected and get all their policies enacted.

    • IM

      So if the eternal complaint of the third party candidate is for once heeded and his policies valued on the merits – that is unfair too?

      The third party supporter: whining coming and going.

      • It’s fair, but not if you dismiss them ex ante.

    • NonyNony

      Actually, I’m fairly certain that the LGM critique of third party candidates is:

      * Third parties running for president have historically been utterly useless except as spoilers.

      * People voting for third party candidates because they hate the guys running in the two major parties should take a closer look at the candidates they’re claiming would be better, and realize that in fact they do not piss pure gold and poop rainbows.

      This has been consistently true of Scott when it comes to Nader anyway. He focuses more on (1) because liberals need constant lessons on strategic voting and when it’s a good idea and when it is not, but (2) is in fact also part of the critique. And this is an example of (2).

      I don’t even think that’s the entire LGM position on third parties either – since this blog is large and contains multitudes.

    • Murc

      The entire LGM critique of third parties is that you shouldn’t vote for them because they can’t win so you need to vote for the guy who can.

      Completely untrue.

      The LGM critique (which is really mostly Scott’s, as he’s done the heavy lifting here) is that voting third-party in a first-past-the-post system will tend to actually benefit the guy you hate and want to lose and hamstring the guy who actually has a shot at winning.

      This equation, of course, doesn’t really apply if you hate and want to lose everyone who isn’t running under the label of the third party you’re voting for.

      But when evaluating third party candidates, suddenly it’s as if they will get elected and get all their policies enacted.

      I’ll bite on this. How SHOULD we evaluate third-party candidates? Because I don’t know about you, but the way I evaluate candidates is based mostly on their policy positions. Character also plays a role, but a small one.

      • Scott Lemieux

        The correct way to evaluate candidates is that Democrats are totally uncool, man. Third party candidates should be exempt from both tactical criticism and criticism on the merits.

        • They should be criticized on their merits, because they disagree with you and their supporters reject your ideology and have no desire to form a tactical alliance with you.

          • Scott Lemieux

            They reject my ideology of social democracy? I’m sure that’s true in some isolated cases, but the fact is the typical Nader supporter isn’t a communist revolutionary.

            It doesn’t matter anyway. Whether you’re a liberal reformer, social democrat, or communist revolutionary, throwing elections to Republicans does absolutely nothing to advance any goals.

      • We should evaluate their policies, but we should also stop whining about voters who vote for them bec ause they agree with them and being self appointed arbiters of how others use their votes.

        • DrDick

          We are not whining about you, we are making fun of you, because you are idiots.

    • If they do get elected and don’t get their policies enacted = even more awesomeness.

    • Joe

      The reason often provided to vote for third parties is that the candidates — not needing to compromise helps this — more consistently advance one’s ideal policies. The argument against often is that the perfect is the enemy of the good etc.

      But, as Scott in the past noted about Nader, even when actually looking at their policies, some third party candidates leave something to be desired. If we are just going to vote for them too for some larger point, the same can be said for one or the other major party.

      There was a third party debate (moderated by Larry King!) with four candidates. Maybe, someone here can analyze the other three (well one is some conservative sort, so maybe two).

    • wengler

      In the old Gilded Age, third parties were essential in peeling back the power of the rich.

      Gary Johnson believes in quite the opposite.

      • JKTHs

        Indeed. I laugh at people who somehow think that voting Libertarian would really stick it to the rich.

  • bradp

    I got two other statements to make on this:

    1. I’m sure Gary Johnson would accuse opponents to cutting medicare of recklessly endangering lives because of the budgetary issues they are perpetuating.

    2. I know Farley doesn’t think that people who would vote for Johnson because they are upset by Obama’s foreign policy are worried merely about the deaths of those hit by drone strikes.

    • tonycpsu

      Then I’d expect him and the other deficit scolds to show their work, with some indication that our deficit levels are impacting or are likely to impact our future economic prospects. I guess the bond vigilantes are just playing the really long game?

      • Malaclypse

        Don’t you understand that the deficit is a BIG SCARY NUMBER, that is both BIG and SCARY?

        • DrDick

          And fiat currency!
          (What ever the fuck that is supposed to mean, since all money is fiat money whose value is symbolic and derives largely or wholly for the willingness of others to accept it in economic exchanges).

          • Colin Day

            The people complaining about fiat currency would say that people only accept US paper money because the US government demands it, but people would accept gold in any case. So while the value of gold depends on the willingness of people to accept it as payment, that willingness does not depend on government edict (fiat).

            • Murc

              This is actually kinda-sorta true. People didn’t really cotton to greenbacks in a big way until the government… well… confiscated all the gold.

              Paper money had been making significant inroads for centuries prior to that, of course, but within living memory it has not been a fringe view that paper money isn’t “real” money and that gold and other precious metals are the only sort of currency that “counts.” Getting the populace in general to stop thinking that way was a real struggle.

              • Warren Terra

                Um, it’s my vague recollection that until the 1930s paper money was directly convertible to gold, and there had been no government confiscation of gold (gold trafficking was banned for a time in the 1930s in an attempt to deal with worldwide economic chaos when the gold standard was in widespread use). I don’t think people abhorred greenbacks in the 1920s.

                • Murc

                  People didn’t abhor greenbacks in the 20s, but I never said they did.

                  In the 20s and 30s there was still a widespread and prevalent belief, and more importantly one that was considered mainstream, that greenbacks were okay, but that precious metals, especially gold, were the only REAL money.

                  This was reflective of the fact that for centuries, that was more or less true, and paper money on a widespread basis (as opposed to things like letters of credit) was still a relatively new innovation that only caught on slowly over the course of decades.

                  gold trafficking was banned for a time in the 1930s in an attempt to deal with worldwide economic chaos when the gold standard was in widespread use)

                  It wasn’t just gold trafficking that was banned. FDR actually issued an executive order confiscating monetary gold. You had to turn it in and be paid paper currency at a fixed rate. Holding onto your gold was made a criminal offense.

                  This was one of the big steps in breaking the link in peoples minds between ‘gold’ and ‘money.’

            • NonyNony

              Except that what the hell would I do with a lump of gold if you offered it to me? I’d take it and trade it for money so I could go buy something with it, that’s what.

              Gold is only valuable because people think it’s valuable, not because it has any inherent value. Much like any other currency used anywhere in the history of the world.

              • DrDick

                My point exactly. It is the solidity and relative natural scarcity of gold, along with its long history as a medium of exchange, that give it the illusion of having intrinsic value. Also SHINY!.

                • bradP

                  My point exactly. It is the solidity and relative natural scarcity of gold, along with its long history as a medium of exchange, that give it the illusion of having intrinsic value. Also SHINY!.

                  Getting into intrinsic and non-intrinsic value is a good way to start confusing the conversation, as nothing actually has “intrinsic value”.

                  But you are correct. I would expect gold’s value as a token of trade to far outstrip its worth as a metal.

                • Rhino

                  Brad, tell a starving man that a ribeye steak, or the ten dollars to buy that steak has no intrinsic value.

                  Don’t be silly. The word intrinsic in this context simply means spendable, and in a market that simply requires consensus on the value of ANY medium of exchange.

              • bradP

                Except that what the hell would I do with a lump of gold if you offered it to me? I’d take it and trade it for money so I could go buy something with it, that’s what.

                If you had done that five years ago, you would be pretty pissed at yourself, and thats what gold bugs want: to limit the degredation of money.

                • Malaclypse

                  If you had done that five years ago, you would be pretty pissed at yourself, and thats what gold bugs want: to limit the degredation of money.

                  No, gold bugs want to fleece rubes that are unable to recognize a painfully obvious bubble.

                • sharculese

                  gold bugs want to fleece rubes

                  I thought in this scenario the gold bugs are the rubes?

                • bradP

                  Gold bugs predated the gold bubble, Mal.

                • Warren Terra

                  Brad: in the last five years, gold has finally caught up to the price it held when we went off the gold standard. Betting on gold because people fled to it during a worldwide economic collapse is a silly long-term strategy. As world economies recover or as people acclimatize to the new normal, good prices will again erode. Gold is not a good investment except in times of economic uncertainty.

                  And don’t get me started on the blithering idiocy of fixed currencies.

                • bradP

                  Brad: in the last five years, gold has finally caught up to the price it held when we went off the gold standard. Betting on gold because people fled to it during a worldwide economic collapse is a silly long-term strategy. As world economies recover or as people acclimatize to the new normal, good prices will again erode. Gold is not a good investment except in times of economic uncertainty.

                  And don’t get me started on the blithering idiocy of fixed currencies.

                  I agree with everything you said. I was just pointing out why gold-bugs like gold: it isn’t easily degradeable, whereas paper currency is (in more ways than one).

                • Janastas359

                  There are a few big problems with this. First, it is indeed very possible to degrade the value of gold, and gold is easier to degrade by big money private investors messing with the price of gold.

                  Second, the fact is that sometimes it’s a good thing to mess with the value of your currency, and being on gold (or any fixed standard) means throwing away that tool.

                  Third, it seems that “Potential problems with inflation,” is a worthy trade for “The value of your currency can fluctuate wildly depending on gold supplies in the world.

                  Fourth, the fact that the US doesn’t produce a lot of gold means that our currency policy would be dictated to some degree by the countries that DO produce a lot of gold.

                  And that’s only four of the objections!

                • Warren Terra

                  Brad,
                  I had assumed you were defending goldbuggery; I’m glad to see this is not the case.

                  Janastas,
                  Re “potential problems with inflation”: I doubt you’d disagree with what I’m about to say, but I thought I’d add it. In discussing inflation fears, it is important to acknowledge that hyperinflation is of course very destructive, but it hasn’t been a feature of first-world economies. Deflation is a feature of commodity-fixed monetary systems, and is extremely bad for the economy. In general, you want a small amount of inflation, as it provides an incentive for people to invest their money rather than to bury it in the backyard.

                • Murc

                  In general, you want a small amount of inflation

                  Unless you’re the creditor class. I wonder if there’s some sort of correlation between goldbuggery and people who already have a lot of capital!

            • DrDick

              Actually, it originally did (and still does to some extent). Gold as money with a set exchange value depends entirely on the government guaranteeing it. Otherwise it would be no different than me paying the doctor in eggs or chickens.

      • Anonymous

        Then I’d expect him and the other deficit scolds to show their work, with some indication that our deficit levels are impacting or are likely to impact our future economic prospects.

        How could they not?

        • Malaclypse

          Because the trendline for debt as a percentage of (national) income, which is the only sensible way to evaluate debt, is pretty reasonable.

          • bradP

            Baloney.

            By the time my child reaches adulthood, debt as a percentage of GDP will be far higher than what most economists would likely consider healthy.

            Our next major economic mishap will probably happen about that time, at which point we will have no bullets left to fight it with.

            Maybe war.

            • tonycpsu

              If we do nothing, the Bush tax cuts expire, and the deficit begins to shrink faster than healthcare costs are growing. The decision to choose shrinking government over returning tax rates to Clinton-era levels is based in ideology, not economics.

              • bradP

                “If we do nothing”

                Now lets return to the real world. Which president and congress are going to reside over the massive tax hike over the next decade from “doing nothing”.

                • tonycpsu

                  Your definition of “massive tax hike” is going from a 36% to a 39.6% top marginal rate?

                  Grover, is that you?

                • bradP

                  The do nothing scenario requires government revenue to go from 15.7% to 21.4%.

                  That isn’t going to come from a 3.6% hike in marginal tax rates.

                • tonycpsu

                  That depends on what timeline you’re trying to balance the budget by. Nobody’s saying it has to be balanced in 10 years.

                • bradP

                  That depends on what timeline you’re trying to balance the budget by. Nobody’s saying it has to be balanced in 10 years.

                  Actually, by the baseline scenario, the budget will be nearly balanced from 2015 on.

            • Malaclypse

              These charts and graphs are calling bullshit on your baloney.

              • bradP

                The ones that only go to 2017 and don’t actually cover when entitlement spending starts to explode.

                The alternative baseline the CBO put out projected the debt to GDP % to be around 250% by 2040.

                • Malaclypse

                  The alternative baseline the CBO put out

                  The one that assumes we adopt bad policies not currently provided for by law? Yes, I see you do mean that one.
                  But see on page 6? All we need to do is not deliberately enact stupid new polices, and, once again, your claim of baloney is bullshit.

                  I mean yes, if we cut tax rates to zero while fughting three shiny new wars, bad things happen. That is an argument for not going stupid things that we are not currently doing.

                • bradP

                  Are you referring to the AMT and medicare reimbursement rates?

                • bradP

                  From the CBO’s latest report:

                  Under current laws, federal revenues would also increase, reaching significantly higher percentages of GDP during the next quarter century than have ever been seen in the United States.

                  Which president or congress is going to reside over the tax rates necessary to increase government revenue significantly higher than it has ever been?

                • DrDick

                  All we need to do is not deliberately enact stupid new polices,

                  As a libertarian, Brad is hoping that we enact those policies, hence his endorsement of Johnson.

                • JKTHs

                  CBO’s alternate scenario also assumes that Congress cuts taxes every year to maintain revenue as a percent of GDP even if deficits and debt are exploding to ridiculous levels.

                • bradP

                  CBO’s alternate scenario also assumes that Congress cuts taxes every year to maintain revenue as a percent of GDP even if deficits and debt are exploding to ridiculous levels.

                  Yeah. How absurd.

              • DrDick

                Facts and reality are like kryptonite to libertarians.

            • wengler

              You do know that war costs money, right?

          • JKTHs

            Plus real Treasury yields are not exactly…uh…above zero.

        • tonycpsu

          What Mal and JKTHs said. The future cost of servicing / rolling over debt is unknowable, but the deficit hawks act as if it’s guaranteed to be prohibitively expensive, and hand-wave away the fact that our deficit-financed spending creates jobs, pays to keep people from dying, and other things that are conducive to a functioning society. We can’t act as if deficits don’t matter, but we also can’t act as if they’re the only thing that matters.

          • Janastas359

            This is one of Yglesias’ hobby horses, which is eminently reasonable: Projecting what’s going to happen with the deficit (Or with anything, really) 25 or 30 or 40 years in the future is pretty impossible.

            • JKTHs

              Exactly. CBO basically assumes that health care spending is growing ridiculously so of course they’re gonna have health care spending growing ridiculously. If it slows, we’ll be in infinitely better shape for the long term. But conservatives/libertarians find use in extremely uncertain long term projections to justify tearing down the welfare state.

              • bradP

                But conservatives/libertarians find use in extremely uncertain long term projections to justify tearing down the welfare state.

                First, the trends that are causing long-term debt projections to balloon have a low degree of uncertainty. Shifting demographics are going to be a ton of strain on our entitlement spending, and the US government has maintained a pretty consistent tax revenue level that is far short of what is needed.

                Secondly, if there was a high degree of uncertainty pertaining to future budgetary constraints, wouldn’t that dictate budgetary caution?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  US government has maintained a pretty consistent tax revenue level

                  So, to be clear, your argument is:

                  1)Demographic changes will produce unique challenges, but

                  2)These unique spending challenges cannot possibly be met by raising taxes, because taxes are set an an artificially low, arbitrary level by a Law of Nature. Even though top marginal rates were far higher as recently as 30 years ago. Right.

                • bradP

                  Government revenues have never tracked with tax rates because taxes are more likely to be met by avoidance than by payment.

                  Even when marginal tax rates reached 70% or even 90% government revenue never got higher than 19.0% of GDP. Under best case scenarios, government revenue would have to reach 23-24% of GDP to rectify our debt problem.

                  Historical trends strongly imply that the revenues we need are simply not going to happen.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Historical trends strongly imply that the revenues we need are simply not going to happen.

                  If they don’t happen, that’s because of political choices. As, er, pretty much every other liberal democracy in the world indicates, there’s no administrative limitation that prevents the American state from collecting more tax revenues. The higher marginal rates just show that there’s no reason to assume a priori that it’s impossible, since people care much more about the rates than about arbitrary percentages vs. the GDP.

                • bradp

                  If they don’t happen, that’s because of political choices. As, er, pretty much every other liberal democracy in the world indicates, there’s no administrative limitation that prevents the American state from collecting more tax revenues. The higher marginal rates just show that there’s no reason to assume a priori that it’s impossible, since people care much more about the rates than about arbitrary percentages vs. the GDP.

                  My point was that, despite 60+ years of congress under different party control making all sorts of different decisions, tax revenue has been extremely consistent.

                  That means to me that any realistic policy is not going to have much of an effect on government revenues. Government revenues likely depend much more on social and economic factors that congress can’t control.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Well, if these are the assumptions we’re making, then we also have to assume that rising, exorbitant health care expenses are also an unalterable fact of nature, and we can all go home.

  • Major Kong

    “We had to destroy the economy in order to save it”

  • Lit3Bolt

    Conor’s response:

    “I can’t hear your over the sound of how morally awesome I am!!”

  • srm

    So, which policy arena does a president hold more sway: domestic or foreign? If Gary Johnson was elected president, which is more likely to happen: drone attacks ending or Medicare cut by 43%? If Gary Johnson is elected president, which is more likely to happen: troop withdrawals from Afghanistan or a return to the gold standard?

    The fact is that Presidents hold far greater sway over the foreign policy arena than they do the domestic arena and, therefore, can initiate change more quickly in that arena. No way Gary Johnson gets 60 votes in the Senate to cut Medicare by 43% And when it comes to big items like that, I bet the Senate could muster up a veto override of anything he vetoes that affects programs like that.

    • Bruce Baugh

      That’s why Obama was able to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison and transfer the inmates to a super-max facility in the US without interference. And why no president has ever had Congress mandate more defense spending than he asked for.

      Oh, wait, that doesn’t happen. Congress is perfectly capable – and willing – to interfere on matters of war when they think it’s worth their while. They lack collective conscience and guts, not capability.

      • srm

        Gitmo, the base, is not the problem. What goes on there is the problem and by transferring that to U.S. soil does not solve that issue. There’s a reason it was referred to as Gitmo north when they were going to be relocated to a prison in Illinois. None of the policies were going to change, just the geographic location. And the policies are what so many people have an issue with. Also, I might add, since the prisoners were going to be transferred to U.S. soil, Congress can get involved just like they did as it becomes a domestic issue.

        Let’s say Gary Johnson was elected president and immediately ended the drone program and started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Tell me what Congress is going to do to stop that. Pass a law that requires the president to meet a monthly drone strike quota? Or pass another law that refuses to allow troops currently stationed in Afghanistan to come back to the U.S.? Those are serious questions.

    • Xof

      So, a President Gary Johnson will have all his awesome policies enacted, and none of the bad ones, because magic.

      • srm

        Depends on what you define as “awesome policies.” If you’re referring to awesome foreign policy issues, then yes he would hold great sway over that arena to enact his vision. If you’re talking about awesome domestic policy issues, well that most likely won’t happen without a lot of public pressure on the elected representatives of this nation.

        • Scott Lemieux

          You’re ignoring the fact that presidents, you know, enforce laws. Or, in Johnson’s case, fail to enforce environmental regulations, civil rights regulations, etc. etc. etc.

    • Hogan

      In a country where Gary Johnson gets elected president, we would have a very different Congress.

    • JKTHs

      Even if Johnson can’t get any of HIS policies enacted, his being in the presidency dramatically shifts the Overton window and presumably we have the very far right negotiating with the not-quite-as-far right on everything. That doesn’t seem like a sexy outcome to me.

      • srm

        Ending foreign entanglements, ending drone attacks, bringing back a thing called civil liberties are right wing? I thought that was something the left cared about? Or was that only up until Jan. 20th, 2009? It isn’t a black and white issue.

  • Matt

    Shorter Gary Johnson: “HAI GUYZ! I’m Ron Paul, but I’m holding a joint!”

    • Joe

      He does give Ron Paul a shout-out but I think RP has more racist, sectarian and anti-homosexual [he ridiculed Lawrence and supported DOMA] baggage. He actually governed as governor some instead of just being a backbencher in the House.

  • parrot

    looking forward for the 2016 road to nowhere, possible winners: Johnson/Paul pretty cool, Paul/Johnson also cool, Paul/Paul cooler, Paul/Paul even cooler, Paul/Bernanke stellar cool, Bernanke/Paul Bingo!

    • JKTHs

      Akin/Mourdock?

      • parrot

        outstanding suggestion … though it could get a little man-on-man in the oval office … afterall, whatever happens, it’s god’s gift & intention

    • bradP

      Paul/Bernanke stellar cool, Bernanke/Paul Bingo

      Ron Paul routinely rips into Bernanke when the latter appears before congress, and the typical Paul supported would likely feel Bernanke is more deserving of prison than the presidency.

      So I don’t see that alliance happening.

      Obama is more friendly and in-touch with Bernanke and his sort.

      • parrot

        agreed … see Ninth rule of acquisition above

  • Now some might think that the Club for Growth had figured out how to move a political party in the direction one wants. Eli merely notes that vanity campaigns and shooting yourself in the head have much in common, you’re dead and no one cares.

  • bradP
    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, austerity sure is working out well in Europe right now! (Sadly, among many other problems Welch doesn’t seem to understand that cutting spending in good economic times might have different effects than cutting spending in a recession.)

  • Anonymous

    you all are dumb as fuck get over your self gary Johnson is the only one that is good for us

It is main inner container footer text