Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ron Paul (and Gary Johnson) for President

Some time ago, I endorsed Gary Johnson for President. Johnson is no longer seeking the Republican nomination for President and is now seeking the Libertarian nomination for President. I hope Johnson is able to win the Libertarian Party nomination.

As for the Republican nomination, I now support my second choice--Ron Paul. My former third choice, Jon Huntsman, now moves to the number 2 position. The South Carolina primary is coming up fast!

While Ron Paul's foreign policy views are more dovish than my own, unlike most of the other Republican candidates this year, he is pointing in the right direction. The U.S. should have withdrawn from Afghanistan (and Iraq) years ago, and war with Iran would be an expensive mistake.

Paul is calling for cuts in the level of federal government spending. I agree that the U.S. government spends way too much. While I don't think $1 trillion cuts in one year are realistic, the rapid increase in government spending and deficits in the Bush and Obama administrations makes these heavy cuts consistent with my usual rule of thumb. Cutting net federal outlays to what they were at the beginning of the Obama administration (2008,) is a $600 billion cut. Ron Paul's $1 trillion returns spending to where it was in 2006, and still leaves a $300 billion deficit (given 2011 receipts.)

For the most part, I agree with Paul's views on personal liberties issues. For example, like Paul, I think Drug Prohibition is a mistake, for much the same reasons that Alcohol Prohibition was a mistake.

Why was Gary Johnson my first choice? I think his political resume as two-term governor is better than Paul's political resume as U.S. Congress back-bencher. On a more personal note, I think Johnson's resume as entrepreneur and mountain climber is great, but in a very different way, so is Paul's background as a medical doctor and family man.

Like Gary Johnson, I describe myself as "pro-choice" on abortion. In truth, I think government should not restrict early term abortions but that it should restrict late term abortions. Paul is strongly pro-life and favors having government outlaw all abortions. Worse, he emphasizes that issue and has sent glossy brochures to my house (and I presume to thousands of other South Carolinians who have voted in past Republican primaries) emphasizing his opposition to all abortions. It is clearly very important to him. Paul, however, does believe that any government suppression of abortion should take place at the state level. So, he opposes having the Federal government outlaw abortions in states that allow the practice.

Like Gary Johnson, I believe that the U.S. should allow more foreigners to come work in the U.S. (I even liked Gringrich's statement in opposition to deporting illegal immigrants who have been in the U.S. for years.) I think Ron Paul agrees. Like Ron Paul, I don't think the U.S. taxpayers should be forced to provide social services to immigrants. I even oppose "birth right citizenship." In 2008, I was a contributor and volunteer for Ron Paul. Like other South Carolina voters, I received glossy brochures on the immigration issue in the weeks leading up to the election. I didn't like what I saw. Ron Paul did get my vote.

What about monetary policy? As far as I can tell, neither Johnson nor Paul (nor any other Republican candidate nor Obama) have much to offer. I support Paul's proposal to audit the Fed. I support Paul's effort to protect the right of citizens to use alternative monies. (This is the core Hayekian monetary reform.) I even support ending the Fed. However, given our current level of economic knowledge, I would favor replacing it with a monetary authority that I suspect Paul would consider no better than the status quo. Still, I think the Federal Reserve, as an institution, just struck out. Strike one--Great Depression. Strike two--Great Inflation. And now, strike three--Great Recession.

Paul has been able to raise lots of money. He nearly won the Iowa straw poll and has a good chance at the Iowa caucuses. He is doing great! While I like Johnson better, most voters apparently disagree. I have met Ron Paul and he is a good guy. I hope that other South Carolinians will join me in voting for him on January 21st.

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