Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor who is seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for president, believes high taxes are a form of theft.
In a statement Friday, Johnson advocated for the “fair tax,” arguing that it would remedy high unemployment and economic stagnation.
“When I visited Occupy Wall Street, I felt the frustration of young people who wanted to work but couldn’t get an interview, much less a job,” he said. “What’s even more frustrating is that when I visit business owners and employers, I meet people who want to hire, but can’t.”
“Capitalism requires capital,” said Johnson. “When government robs capital from investors in the form of high taxes, it takes away the money that creates jobs.”
Johnson said federal income and payroll taxes should be abolished and replaced with a personal consumption-based tax.
“When our first great Supreme Court justice, John Marshall, equated the power to tax and the power to destroy, he was predicting what’s happening to our country right now,” he said. “Giant, slow corporations spend their money on lobbying because tax avoidance is where their profit is.”
Addressing a common critique of his preferred tax policy, he said, “Some think the Fair-tax is regressive, but in fact it’s progressive — taxing the wealthy more than the poor.”
The poor would receive a “prebate” providing money to offset their share of the new national sales tax, and illegal immigrants would contribute to the tax base — and not receive prebates because they lack Social Security cards — he said.
Johnson advocates for dramatic cuts in government spending, notably including defense spending.
A Public Policy Polling survey conducted in December found that Johnson would be supported by nine percent of the electorate in a general election contest against President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
On Thursday another well-known figure announced a third-party presidential campaign: Actress and comedienne Roseanne Barr indicated that she would seek the Green Party’s nomination.