A Man of Reason: Nick Gillespie, Editor-in-Chief of Reason.com and ReasonTV and Author, with Matt Welch, of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America, Talks the Future and Allure of Small “L” Libertarianism, the State of the Nation and What America Needs to do to Get on the Right Track
For those who believe the Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan presidential tickets are far left and far right, the question to be asked is, “What do you do if you’re an independent, libertarian or someone who is simply dissatisfied with these two choices?”
There are lots of independent voters who probably will hold their noses this election cycle, when they choose either President Barack Obama or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to fill the position of national CEO. But some of those individuals might decide to vote for a third option in this presidential cycle, namely Libertarian party candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.
To discuss the state of American electoral politics, libertarianism and other compelling topics, CYInterview welcomes Nick Gillespie, the editor-in-chief of Reason.com and ReasonTV and one of the most respected voices in independent media today. Mr. Gillespie is an individual with a strong voice and keen intellect who speaks, not surprisingly, from a vantage point of reason and logic rather than the passion and mindless fury so often found on today’s political scene.
Nick has appeared on shows such as Real Time with Bill Maher. Along with CYInterview featured columnist Jay Bildsten, we enjoyed an in depth conversation about the role of independent and libertarian voters – as well as all those individuals whose beliefs are not aligned with the today’s Democrats or Republicans.
You can read the highlights and listen to the entire CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Nick Gillespie CYInterview:
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To those who think the Democrats and Republicans differ significantly on fiscal issues, Mr. Gillespie explains how they simply do not, particularly when it comes to government spending and the ever mounting debt that both parties are incurring and plan to continue incurring. Nick made mention of this on Melissa Harris’s Perry’s MSNBC show a few months back and elaborates further with us. You might recall Melissa visited with CYInterview last year [see here].
“What I was talking about were the two budget proposals that Barack Obama had laid out earlier this year. We’re currently spending about 3.8 trillion dollars annually for the federal government. In 10 years according to his budget plan we’d be spending 5.9 trillion dollars a year if he got everything he wanted. The Republican plan which is supposedly the austerity plan, of course, by Paul Ryan and passed by the House of Representatives, they would take us from 3.8 trillion dollars now to about 4.9 trillion dollars in 10 years.
So that’s what we’re talking about, but it’s the same point is what you’re making is that each party, both parties envision a federal government that is going to be spending vastly more money in a decade if they get their dream scenario. So this I think is a serious problem especially when you look back 10 years and you realize or 12 years or so when you look at the last budget that Bill Clinton passed it was under 2 trillion dollars. So we have been on a spending bender for all of the 21st century and both parties are now committing to spending even more going forward.
I think it’s a problem because first off it shows they’re very similar, they’re more similar than they’re different and we already know the spending is unsustainable. There is no way under any possible scenario that we can raise tax revenues reliably to pay for that new spending and we’re already in a situation where we’re borrowing about forty cents on the dollar. This is no way to run a country.”
When it comes to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s campaign as an alternative choice for President of the United States in 2012, Nick says there are already Democrats and Republicans in Congress who share many of the former New Mexico Governor’s positions. See Gary Johnson’s CYInterview [here].
“His [Gary Johnson’s] views are represented by a number of people in, you know, in Congress right now. Particularly people like Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky. To a certain degree somebody like Senator Mike Lee of Utah. Certainly Ron Paul, Rand Paul’s father and the second place runner up I guess in the Republican Party presidential campaign. He’s retiring at the end of this congressional session. And on the Democratic side you actually have some people who are interested in fiscal responsibility, there’s people in the Senate like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Going back when you look at people like Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton is an interesting guy who you know the Democratic Party doesn’t really resemble what he was doing in office. He actually reduced spending or reduced the weight of growth of spending more than any other recent president. He did usher in an era of balanced budgets and you know there’s a lot there that we can learn from him. But what I’m trying to say though is the ideas that Johnson is talking about are gaining traction in the actual parties as they exist.”
As far as those who want a smaller government in Washington D.C., Mr. Gillespie says the first thing people need to do is stop voting for any political party who is not for true limited government.
“Nothing will change among the plurality or majority of Americans who consistently say they want a government that spends less and does less, nothing will make that happen if your vote is constantly being taken for granted by the Republican Party or by conservatives. Libertarians and actual small government people are constantly told that you know what? Your ideas are great, we agree with them wholeheartedly. Now is not the time to do this for X, Y or Z reason…I think what small government has to do is stand up to the parties they believe in, that they belong to and say, ‘You know what? The future starts yesterday and if you do not sign on to a limited government and a limited government spending plan, we’re done. You’re not getting our vote.’ And that’s the first and most important thing we can do.”
Nick Gillespie is the author of the book The Declaration of Independence: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America. He explains why Libertarianism is on the rise:
“Libertarian ideology, the idea of a consistent principled approach to governance is on the rise because after the, you know, just the disaster of George Bush and compassionate conservatism and big government conservatism and then that segueing into Barack Obama’s resurgence big government Liberalism and more and more people recognizing the essential continuity between Bush and Obama when you look at things like foreign affairs and diplomacy and absolute disinterest in civil liberties, an unwillingness to go to the mat for all sorts of body sovereignty issues whether we’re talking about the drug war or about gay marriage.
I mean Obama’s recent conversion not withstanding, he has done nothing to advance a gay or lesbian and I don’t even want to say gay or lesbian agenda, but an actual agenda of true individual equality before the law. You know more and more people are seeing this and their recognizing ok, these two sides are played out, they are not offering anything for the way the world works. They start looking around for Libertarianism and I think that’s why people like Ron Paul.”
Mr. Gillespie believes more people are coming to the realization that the American federal government is essentially broke and, consequently, significant change will have to occur going forward:
“The other way that people are starting to look around for new ideas is because we are broke and I think people are unfortunately only in the early stages of fully kind of grokking what that means to be broke and being broke doesn’t mean that ten years from now we can be spending 33 percent or 50 percent more than we’re spending now. Being broke means that next year we have to spend less money out of government revenue than we’re taking in and people are starting to get there and social change comes because of ideology and it also comes because of material conditions and right now we’re not gonna be able to spend the way that we have been. It is impossible. It is unsustainable and as a result people, government is going to have to change what it does and I think libertarians have a lot of answers that more people, more and more people, are taking a listen to.”
When it comes to reforming entitlement programs, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are a large segment of the budget, Nick believes the problem is not with America’s truly impoverished receiving government benefits, but people in the middle and upper middle class who are receiving a lot of government benefits, who do not necessarily need them:
“The vast overwhelming amount of entitlement spending in America does not go to poor people and it doesn’t go to unproductive people and this makes it much more difficult to reform. It goes to middle and upper middle class people and it goes to old people who are generally of a class wealthier than the other parts of American society and it goes there through things like Social Security, like Medicare including the Medicare prescription drug plan which gives free and reduced cost drugs to people for being old, not because they need money but because they’re old. When you, Social Security, at currently now, if you’ve retired, if you were an average income earner and you retired in 2010 or any time since 2010 going into the future, you will be getting less out of Social Security than you put into it, but you’re gonna be getting a lot of it…
This is an even more difficult situation where it’s people who are producers who could get by without these government payouts are the ones who are getting so many of them and then it becomes very, very difficult to say to these people who have paid a lot of taxes, ‘You know what? You’re gonna get less.’ And part of the problem is that politicians haven’t been honest and said, ‘Look, we need to get to a place where the government spends less money and it taxes you less. It brings in less money and it spends less money and there are a bunch of things we’ve just gotta get rid of.’”
In focusing on Jay’s three point plan – a plan which he has introduced to a variety of political personalities – calling for the president, vice president and Congress to take a 50 percent pay cut, having a lifetime embargo on lobbying and term limits on members of Congress, Nick would like to see Jay’s proposals put into motion:
“I think these are ideas that need a wide discussion and you know I say that because I think it’s important to you know foreground the problems. People like Tom Daschle, I was thinking about when you were talking, about losers who go onto make millions of dollars, Tom Daschle is you know the senate minority leader and I guess majority leader for a while at some point. His loss, he lost in an upset election and he ends up becoming a lobbyist who you know does better than he ever was gonna do as a senator. There’s something wrong about that you know I think. Barack Obama who promised that he wouldn’t have you know lobbyists hired and what not is one of the worst malefactors…I would love to see it aired more fully and I’d love to see it implemented. Let’s run trial experiments with this stuff.”
You can find Nick Gillespie’s work on Reason at Reason.com and Reason.TV
You can purchase a copy of Nick Gillespie’s book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America here.
You can follow Nick Gillespie on Twitter here.
You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com Chris is available for interviews to comment on anything featured on CYInterview.
You can follow Chris Yandek on Twitter here.
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