Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is the second Republican presidential candidate to speak at today’s Strong America Now event in Des Moines.
He pledged to present a balanced budget to congress for 2013. “And that means cutting $1.65 trillion from the federal budget,” Johnson said, getting applause. “We’re on the verge of a financial collapse…This is not a problem for our kids and our grandkids. This is a problem we’ve got right now and it needs to be addressed.”
He got the biggest crowd response of the day (so far) when he laid out his proposals regarding tax policy. ”‘This is what we should be cussing, discussing,” Johnson said, then he told the crowd he’d eliminate the federal income tax and the I.R.S., replacing it with the Fair Tax (a national sales tax).
Johnson talked about foreign policy as well, saying he “initially” thought the U.S. mission in Afghanistan was warranted. “Let’s get out of Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow,” he said, getting a smattering of applause. “…A through Z I’m opposed to what we’re doing in Libya.”
Johnson also got a huge burst of applause for his call to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education and return the responsibility of education to the states. “It’s kind of a no-brainer,” he said, drawing more applause.
Johnson got some applause for his proposal on immigration reform. Work visas would secure the borders, according to Johnson, who added beefing up border security would be a wasted investment. It was a seque to his call for decriminalizing drugs, as he said 90 percent of the nation’s drug problem is “prohibition related.”
Listen to Johnson’s speech:
During the Q&A section, Johnson was quizzed about his call to cut defense spending by 43 percent and pressed hard about his stand on drugs.