Libertarian vice presidential candidate visits USM

Posted on September 24, 2012 in News
By Kirsten Sylvain

Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate, Jim Gray, and Libertarian Maine senate candidate, Ian Dodge, spoke about their party’s platforms at the Wishcamper Center last Friday.
Gray is the running mate of Libertarian presidential candidate and two-time Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. Gray is a Navy veteran, a former federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles and an Orange County Superior Court judge.
Gray and Johnson are “running to win,” as the candidates for the U.S.’s third largest political party. Gray, who described Maine as a one-party state, as almost “third-world” in that regard, outlined what he called “a revolution in the making.” He even compared the state of the U.S. to the Roman Empire before it collapsed.
“Rome was over extended and it collapsed. We are Greece. We want to balance the budget for 2013.”
For Gray and Johnson, the primary idea behind their strategy is cutting government programs and a laissez-faire attitude towards business. They want to infuse the economy with competition. Planning to audit the federal government like any other private corporation and dismantle the departments of Education, Energy and Commerce, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the IRS,they would also attempt  to repeal the 16th amendment, which gives the government the right to tax income.  Instead, Gray proposed a consumption tax.  They would also, in effect, cut most forms of government funded financial aid for college students, expecting students to fund their education through private loans.
“If a student has no credit by the time they’re in college, then they’ve probably done something wrong,” Gray said in a private interview with the Free Press. He maintains that if all students’ loans were privatized, tuition rates and loan interest rates would go down significantly, taking some of the pressure off students. Students would safely be able to obtain private loans in order to fund their own educations, according to Gray.
Gray’s answer for Afghanistan is to bring troops home immediately, and in the future, keep troops at home until absolutely necessary. He and Johnson would also bring most military personnel stationed abroad home, closing many of the 900 to 1,000 bases overseas.
Gray also proposed completely halting government funding for Planned Parenthood and a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The health care act would be replaced with a system of government-funded clinics for those who cannot afford to take care of themselves, and for everyone else, he suggested a catastrophic insurance plan with a $4,000 deductible.
Dodge started off the event with plans for his potential senate position, talking about voter laws. For him such laws are the active disenfranchisement of an entire group of voters who are unable to comply with the strict regulations of the laws.
“We have Charlie Summers who pushed ending same day voting. He claims he wants to spread liberty, but when he come to Maine, he’s disenfranchising people.”
He moved on quickly to discuss the legalization of marijuana in Maine.
“If we’re not allowed to self-medicate what the hell is the point of living,” Dodge said in one memorable last remark. Gray, when asked if he vouched for the legalization of marijuana answered “no,” but explained that he supported the strict regulation of marijuana as a substance available to the public of legal age.