By Bob Gaetjens | Gateway News Editor
“Gary, Gary, Gary,” shouted a crowd of about 720 attending a Streetsboro campaign rally for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president.
Johnson, who has promoted a goal of gaining 5 percent of the popular vote in Tuesday’s election, said reaching that goal would “open up doors” for the party that have been closed in the past.
Despite his status as a “third party candidate,” the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico said his name will appear on ballots in 49 of the 50 states, including Ohio. In Michigan, he’s a write-in candidate.
Oklahoma is the only state where he said his name won’t appear on the ballot.
“Oklahoma should wear a necklace of shame for that,” he said.
His speech of more than an hour in length advocated less government intervention in citizens’ personal lives, staying “out of the bedroom,” legalizing marijuana and more. The American Civil Liberties Union ranked him highest among presidential candidates on protection of civil liberties, he said.
He also advocates a less interventionist foreign policy, keeping the military out of other countries unless they attack the United States and promising to bring a speedy end to the nation’s presence in Afghanistan.
The nation’s biggest domestic challenge, he said, is tackling its ballooning deficit, which wouldn’t be accomplished by either President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
The two are arguing over whether to increase the federal budget by 2 percent or 4 percent when he said the discussion needs to be how to cut spending by 43 percent.
“Forty-three cents of every dollar spent is borrowed,” he said, predicting a financial collapse brought on by the nation’s debt. “The only way we avert this is balancing the federal budget right now.”
He promised a balanced federal budget in 2013.
To make that happen, he said spending would need to be cut 43 percent, including the military.
“That takes us back to 2003 (military) spending levels,” he said.
He also would eliminate the income tax and corporate tax and replace them with a consumption tax, which he referred to in his speech as a “Fair Tax” that would only be on purchased goods and services.
“If, in a zero corporate tax environment, the private sector doesn’t create tens of millions of jobs, then nothing we do will create any jobs whatsoever,” Johnson said. “Manufacturing jobs will flock back to us given a zero corporate tax environment.”
Johnson also addressed the idea that a vote for him is a “wasted vote” because he doesn’t have a realistic chance to win the presidency.
“Wasting your vote is voting for somebody you don’t believe in,” he told the crowd. “Vote for the person you believe in; that’s how we change things in this country.”
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