Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Speech and Introduction of the Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Gary Johnson

I had the privilege today of giving a speech that introduced the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States at a well-attended rally at U.C. Berkeley.

While I ad-libbed the talk, here's a slightly longer version of what I said.

I am moved to be here, not just because Sproul Plaza is one of America's launchpads of social change but because I've spent years here at Cal getting my PhD. 

And you can't spend years at Cal without hearing so much rhetoric that makes you resonate with President Obama's core beliefs in bigger government, which is symbolized by his focus-group tested words, "Change" and now, "Forward." After all, who would want to go backward?

And indeed, part of me is sympathetic to the idea of having government provide for society's have nots, here and around the world. But I've become convinced that big government actually is a net negative and encouraging America's decline and fall. Can anyone honestly believe that a $16 trillion debt now growing at $3 billion a DAY is good?

To pay even our interest, we have to keep printing more dollars, a form of which the Democrats hide by calling it "Quantitative Easing." That means that each of our dollars will buy ever less. And because so much of our debt is to foreign countries, if we're unable to pay our debt, our government, our nation, our future, especially that of our children and grandchildren, is in true jeopardy.

What we need now is not a leader who's like a kid in the candy store, who wants his parents (that is, the taxpayer) to buy everything that looks good without regard to whether it bankrupts his parents. What we need is a president who will pull on ropes of restraint and be the responsible adult who will lead us to live within our means. Governor Gary Johnson is that responsible adult.

President Obama claims to have, with $60 billion of our taxpayer dollars, "saved" GM, a company notorious for making cars far inferior to Japanese ones. In fact,you and I were forced to buy that $60 billion in stock at 34. President Obama assured us we'd at least break even, which would be at $53. It's now $23. You and I lost $16 billion trying to save an inferior car company. A President Gary Johnson would not have bailed GM out. He is the responsible adult.

Gary Johnson is calling for an immediate end to the War in Afghanistan. America's military adventurism in the Middle East has been a failure: Iraq, Afghanistan, IranLibya, Syria. It has not only been a wildly profligate waste of billions of taxpayer dollars, not to mention death, mayhem, the mass murder of innocents, destroying lives, families, and neighborhoods. The Democrats and Republicans military adventurism shows a hubristic ignoring of history. From Alexander the Great who met his downfall in Persia, through Churchill's time. Churchill was one of the great military leaders and politicians yet when he took the allies into the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Middle East, the Allies lost a terrible defeat: 140,000 men killed. And now our recent string of Middle East boondoggles that mainly has made us millions of Muslim enemies. Throughout history, Western efforts to change the Middle East have failed. A President Gary Johnson would not have demonstrated such hubris. Gary Johnson is the responsible adult.

Gary Johnson is also the responsible adult regarding our freedoms. Unlike Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson realizes that a woman, not the government, should determine when she wants to have a child. Unlike Mitt Romney, a president Gary Johnson would not prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying. Unlike Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, a President Gary Johnson would not prohibit a person in irreversible severe pain from choosing to end his suffering. Gary Johnson is the Responsible Adult.

Governor Johnson is the responsible adult on education. I've been a consultant to 15 college presidents and that helped me realize the boondoggle of increasing financial aid. You think that benefits you the students? Hardly. Every time the government takes more of your and your parents' tax dollars to increase financial aid, behind those Ivy-covered walls, college administrators are saying, "Good. Now students have more money so we can raise tuition more." So that increase in financial aid doesn't mainly help you; it mainly lines the pockets of college administrators or allows them to replace old but functional buildings with  opulent ones, monuments to themselves. The increase in taxpayer-funded student aid is a reason colleges have increased what they charge you well beyond the inflation rate. Gary Johnson would not fall for that. He's the responsible adult.

Governor Johnson is the responsible adult when it comes to jobs. You students work so hard, spend so much, borrow so much, and reasonably would expect a decent  job--And Gary Johnson is the most likely candidate to build the three-legged stool that's the foundation of creating jobs: lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a pet idea of mine: more entrepreneurship education. Our taxpayer-funded education seems to emphasize everything but entrepreneurship. And as a career counselor, I can't tell you how many people say they couldn't start businesses or went out of business at least in part because of the truly onerous burdens on business: There's the paperwork, especially and ironically if a business wants to hire someone. And then there are the financial disincentives for businesses to create jobs--everything from the much abused Workers Comp to the much abused Paid Family Leave and now ObamaCare. And that's not counting business taxes!  Nor does it count the regulations. Let me give you just one example of how over-regulation can kill jobs: A client of mine wanted to open a wine bar and she felt it could only make an acceptable profit if it also served paninis--sandwiches made on a simple little grill, like a George Foreman griller. Alas, to make those paninis in her wine bar, the government is requiring her to have a full commercial grill, two sinks, and the ceiling which had a beautiful 1/8" raised pattern had to be replaced with a completely flat ceiling because the pattern theoretically might attract dust and if it wasn't dusted every few weeks and a dust mote might conceivably drop into someone's food  And she's been waiting six months now for the government's Alcohol and Beverage Commission to grant her a permit. The cost of regulations are so onerous that she's now unsure she can open her wine bar. Many jobs would be lost and she'll stay unemployed. Gary Johnson would take a hard look at the cost-benefit of regulations. After all, he's the responsible adult. 

I want to tell you the story that made me, instead of someone likely to be a liberal--a Jewish child of immigrants and who went to Berkeley--someone who leans libertarian. My father, like countless other Holocaust survivors who immigrated to America, never took a penny of government money. He arrived in New York City without a penny to his name, with no English, no family, no money, no education, only the scars of the Holocaust tortures. But he felt no job was beneath him, so he sewed shirts in a factory in Harlem for a few dollars an hour, 10 hours a day. And on Saturdays he bought the shirts he had sewn for $1 and sold them for $1.50 out of a cardboard box on the streets of Harlem. And what did he do with the money? He saved up for the first and last month's rent on the only store he could afford--the worst imaginable location: 105 Moore St in Brooklyn. That enabled my dad to make enough money to move my mom, my sister and I from the Bronx tenement we lived for my first five years, with the elevated train roaring 24/7, to the bottom half of the  duplex in blue-collar Flushing Queens where I grew up. The punch line of this story is that my father was not unusual. I got to know dozens of Holocaust survivors and not one took a dime of government money and every one of them made a living on their own. Indeed, I believe that they would have been worse off if they had been on government programs--it would have been disempowering, creating a sense of dependency, the well-documented welfare mentality. And their children wouldn't have had the can-do role models that helped them become today's doctors, lawyers, teachers, and businesspeople

So it is my great pleasure to give you the presidential candidate who would make possible the most success stories like my dad, the Responsible Adult, the person I believe most likely to truly move America forward, the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States, Governor, Gary Johnson. 

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