I am Gov. Gary Johnnson. I am the founder and Honorary Chairman of Our America Initiative. I was the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States in 2012, and the two-term Governor of New Mexico from 1995 - 2003.

Here is proof that this is me: https://twitter.com/GovGaryJohnson I've been referred to as the 'most fiscally conservative Governor' in the country, and vetoed so many bills that I earned the nickname "Governor Veto." I bring a distinctly business-like mentality to governing, and believe that individual freedom and liberty should be preserved, not diminished, by government. I'm also an avid skier, adventurer, and bicyclist. I have currently reached the highest peaks on six of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Please visit my organization's website: http://OurAmericaInitiative.com/. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr. You can also follow Our America Initiative on Facebook Google + and Twitter

Comments: 925 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

Miss-Suzumiya442 karma

Why do you want to privatize the prison system? I'm a libertarian and I voted for you last election, but that's always been something that has bothered me about you. What reason is there to privatize the prison system, how would that benefit anyone? Surely you could change your position on this?

A question from the last AMA I would love to see an answer on. I'm a Libertarian as well, and it's important for me to understand why you hold this opinion.

GovGaryJohnson-19 karma

On an apples to apples, oranges to oranges comparison, private prisons -- same goods, same services -- cost 75 cents on the dollar. I'll do that every day of the week.

PurpleGlitter79 karma

Hi Governor! As a Texas woman, I'm interested in your thoughts on the abortion battle raging here in Texas.

GovGaryJohnson271 karma

I fully support your right, as a woman, to make such a difficult decision.

GovGaryJohnson51 karma

Thank you, thank you. See you next Reddit!

poopthrash36 karma

How do you feel the U.S. tax code should consider gains earned on Bitcoin? For those of us who want to play by the rules, this is rather difficult. Some people claim that we should treat it as a capital gain and pay the flat tax of 15%, while others think it should be treated as a foreign currency. What are your thoughts on this, given the recent Senate hearings?

Edit: Spelling

GovGaryJohnson59 karma

Don't know about the Bitcoin gains, but I support abolishing the income tax, capital gains taxes, etc., and replacing all with a simple consumption tax. That would remove the issue altogether.

playpianoking36 karma

Hi Gary, thanks for joining us again to answer our questions. My question is: Why do you support the notion that government should mandate food companies to label their food as GMO if it fits the FDA's definition? Isn't this against what libertarianism is all about?

GovGaryJohnson136 karma

I have celiac disease, and if food isn't labeled, I end up poisoning myself because so much food contains flour. I am not alone when it comes to food allergies, and government requiring labeling -- not banning -- is in the category of protecting us.

Skyg4zer26 karma


GovGaryJohnson3 karma

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and Tolstoy's Resurrection.

aMANescape16 karma

Oh I see... so you have time for Tolstoy, but not my little baby children's book :(

GovGaryJohnson38 karma

Ok, you got me feeling bad. I'll take a look.

xxhamudxx26 karma

Hello Governor, I'll make this short: what would you have done distinctly from the Obama administration's response to the 08' mortgage crisis and resulting crash?

GovGaryJohnson141 karma

It wasn't Obama's response; it was a continuation of Bush's response. We would have been better off to have allowed the big "fail", rather than the attempted bailouts.

tylerm72825 karma

With the recent ENDA that has passed Senate, what do you think about the bill? Do you think it is a fair protection for the LGBT community, or just more regulation for business? I am a supporter of free markets and LGBT rights respectively so I am not sure where Libertarians stand on this bill.

GovGaryJohnson105 karma

I am a strong supporter of marriage equality, but I need to better understand ENDA before giving you a firm answer.

PillyVanilly24 karma

Hello, Governor Johnson. I've seen you speak a number of times, mostly during the last election, and I am a supporter of libertarianism, though more on an ideological level as my own sense of pragmatism and practicality tends to guide me more toward the political center (a trait I see and admire in you as well), and as such, here is my question:

If asked, would you be willing to serve as a cabinet member in the Obama Administration?

GovGaryJohnson65 karma

I pride myself on being reality-based, and one thing I know is that I will NEVER be asked to serve in the Obama Administration.

Favre9922 karma

What did you think about Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor of Virginia?

GovGaryJohnson39 karma

Robert Sarvis is terrific.

downwardcat19 karma

Gov. Johnson - Could you update us on the status of the CPD lawsuit? Do you expect a third party candidate to participate in the '16 debates?

GovGaryJohnson32 karma

If a third party candidate can raise or has $50 million, such as Bloomberg, to jump start a campaign, yes he or she will be in the debates.

GovGaryJohnson9 karma

No change in the status. Case is still pending.

Wrestlingisgood13 karma

Are you considering another run for president?

Also how would you fix the student debt crisis?

Lastly, what do you think of "Bitcoins"?

GovGaryJohnson63 karma

I cannot say whether I am running for President, but there is no other potential candidate saying what I am saying. Re student debt, I am open to suggestion, but regrettably the debts incurred are, in fact, debts. As far as Bitcoins, I know one thing: I don't want the government to screw it up.

EdReagan33 karma

Gary, speaking of paying debts incurred. When will your 2012 campaign committee pay its debts? Specifically the monies owed to the legal team that fought to keep you on the ballot in Pennsylvania. To quote you in your reply above, "regrettably the debts incurred are, in fact, debts."

GovGaryJohnson5 karma

In good faith, we believe we are due to receive matching funds, and those monies were obligated based on that belief.

jrbraves2613 karma

Hi Gov, what could the GOP or DNC do to attract you to their party?

GovGaryJohnson38 karma

I think the GOP has baggage when it comes to social issues. The DNC has issues when it comes to spending, i.e. reforming entitlements.

KaleighMae12 karma

Hi Gary, I'm currently a political science major at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and am doing my research paper on the Libertarian party. I was wondering if you have plans to run for president in 2016 (you definitely should) and how probable you think it is that you will achieve 5% of the vote. Thanks so much

Ps. Please come speak at kutztown

GovGaryJohnson30 karma

I have no intention of running for President unless I believe there is a realistic possibility of winning.

Blizzjunkie9 karma

Hi Gary,

While recent polls show a growing majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obamacare, less than 4 in 10 Americans favor outright repealing the law. It's easy to guess why: no one has offered any answers as to what to do with people with pre-existing conditions. It makes absolutely no sense for insurance companies to cover them (that's not how insurance works), but because of other bad government policies, paying out-of-pocket to treat these conditions is prohibitively expensive.

Here's a market-based compromise that I've pitched to some of my liberty-movement (G.O.P.) friends with success. I'd like to know if you'd support it:

  • Provide a government funded healthcare plan that is only offered to people with pre-existing conditions, and only pays for care related to these conditions.

  • Mandate that insurance companies offer exception coverage. i.e. plans that provide care for conditions that are unrelated to pre-existing conditions. No more outright denying all coverage because of issues like acne.

These two suggestions alone will eliminate the need for the public mandate, because we no longer have to force insurance companies to pay for pre-existing conditions. The costs of this plan can be managed in various ways. (Americans that can afford to should have higher deductibles for this plan, perhaps we leave it to each individual state to implement this plan in a way that makes most sense for their situations, etc etc). This would be a way to repeal the ACA in a manner the general public would absolutely support.

Blizzjunkie75 karma

Aside from the problem with pre-existing conditions, healthcare in general is more expensive than it needs to be. Here are a bunch of market-based reforms we can make to the healthcare system to lower the cost of healthcare for everyone:

  • Cash doctors have much lower operating costs than other providers, and would be a great solution to the country's emergency room problem. We should consult with these doctors to see what regulatory/policy hurdles are in place that prevent more practices like these from opening. Check out this video about Dr. Forrest's practice.

  • Aside from the problem of the uninsured resorting to emergency rooms, there's also the issue of people that normally have access to healthcare who are forced to use emergency rooms after hours. Encouraging the expansion of urgent care facilities, as suggested in this article, would help

  • Phase out Employer-based insurance. It has made America the only country in the industrialized world where a family, already down on its luck over a job loss, also suffer the loss of its health insurance. It has also distorted the market, making it harder for cash doctors to find customers, as most employers give their employees expensive healthcare plans that have extremely low co-pays. See this article for more info.

  • Businesses are given a tax break for providing healthcare. We should also provide that tax break to private citizens buying their own healthcare.

  • Pass a law that requires insurance companies only raise their rates based on actuarial math. Right now, if someone in your company gets sick, the insurance company will raise the rates on everyone else in the company, even though their odds of getting sick haven't increased, at all. That's not how insurance is supposed to work.

  • Require hospitals to publicly advertise the costs of their procedures. When these prices are out in the open and people can shop around, health care costs get much lower.

  • Allow citizens to purchase insurance from insurance companies in other states, maybe even other countries.

  • Allow citizens to purchase medicines from outside the country

  • Abolish or severely restrict "intellectual property" laws, which allow government protected oligarchies to charge an artificially high price for crucial medicines. More information about this can be found in this fantastic book: Against Intellectual Monopoly See Chapter 9: The Pharmaceutical Industry. For a quick overview, check out the Mises live blog reading of the book that raves about it

  • Reform requirements for medical licensure that are far more strict than they have to be. Overly strict requirements limits the amount of doctors that enter the field and increase the debt levels they take on in school, forcing them to charge more for their services. Check out this great link on the subject, and on how cheap free-market healthcare was years ago.

GovGaryJohnson39 karma

No way to disagree with your proposals.

Vandaran9 karma

Where do you see the United States of America in the next ten or twenty years? Do you think that the cycle of government creating more debt will continue?

GovGaryJohnson27 karma

If in 20 years we continue to rack up as much debt as we have in recent years, we will suffer a monetary collapse.

GonzoLink6 karma

What would be your first priority if you happened to get elected President?

GovGaryJohnson25 karma

Balancing the federal budget.

jackofalltrades1235 karma

What's your favorite movie or movies?

GovGaryJohnson13 karma

Dr. Zhivago

euphoricfedorian4 karma

If you were to choose a dream running mate for 2016, who would it be?

GovGaryJohnson11 karma

I have to give a shout out to my 2012 running mate, Judge Jim Gray. He is terrific.

spivey3783 karma

How would a consumption tax lower the costs for everyone both consumer and producer?

Big fan of yours Gary, love that you're a fellow adventurer too. Headed to Nepal to go on a long trek here soon!

GovGaryJohnson5 karma

A consumption tax would eliminate all the nontransparent federal taxes that are embedded in the cost of all goods and services. Of course, the consumption tax must be accompanied by abolishing all those other federal taxes.

Enado253 karma

Hey Gary. Since the overall population is fixated on a two party system are you in any way thinking of running as a republican nominee for 2016 as Ron Paul did to gain more publicity? Or if not, how are you to make sure to get your libertarianism message across the U.S. next time around?

GovGaryJohnson11 karma

The need to raise $50 million is crucial to start any successful campaign.

unmined3 karma

Mr. Johnson, thank you for the AMA. Have you changed political parties because it was advantageous to do so? Or as a reflection of your beliefs? If you were offered the Republican ticket in the next presidential election, would you take it?

GovGaryJohnson3 karma

I think I speak on behalf of the majority, and I base that in part on the I Side With website, and believe it was too important to not stay in the race.

unknownman193 karma

Hey Gary! Thanks for another AMA!!

What do you think about the recent press revolving around the incredibly expensive Obamacare website and how few people have registered successfully for the healthcare exchange?

Also, could you explain why you are for the /r/FairTax?

GovGaryJohnson6 karma

I think the registration/website is just the tip of the iceberg, and that the cost of the whole program will hit much harder.

aMANescape2 karma

Could you please write an honest, thought provoking review of my children's book 'Animal Friends: Floating Orange Cubes'??

You can download it here for the price of a tweet or facebook share - http://robt.info/animal-story/

I've never had a Library candidate read it before :D

Normally, I wouldn't ask, but every major media publication has told me to get lost and a little help from you your honour would be greatly appreciated XOXOX


GovGaryJohnson18 karma

I'm sorry, but I simply do not have the time to read all the books I am asked to read. I must be honest about that. Best of Luck with it!

NYUlibertarians2 karma

Hi Governor Johnson,

It was a pleasure hosting you at NYU this past year!

Question: Do you believe that there's a case to be made for government subsidy of mental healthcare (as opposed to all healthcare) due to the fact that an individual suffering from a mental condition can't be deemed a rational actor in a free market?

GovGaryJohnson2 karma

Not sure what you mean by the subsidy, but I believe mental health care is integral to overall wellness.

mister_anonymity2 karma

Big fan, particularly of your physical feats. Anyways, will you be running for office (president, congress, etc.) in 2014 (congress) or 2016 (president/congress)? If not, who are some Libertarians (by philosophy) you suggest looking into who are in the major parties (such as the Pauls)?

Separate category now: when did you get involved in your outdoor endeavors? I'm a nursing/outdoor rescue major, so your history really intrigues me. On the subject of outdoors, do you support the privatization of the national parks?

GovGaryJohnson10 karma

Not planning to run for the House or Senate. I love the Libertarian Party; the LP carries the baggage of wanting to abolish Social Security and welfare. Both can be salvaged, but must be reformed.


On your website you suggest the government set a time limit on legal abortion. Why don't you trust women to make their own medical decisions? How can you claim to be Libertarian and want to take away a woman's complete and absolute ownership of her body? Why force any woman to submit to the demands of the state? What next? Forced organ donation?

GovGaryJohnson4 karma

Our position on abortion will be updated soon on the new OurAmericaInitiative.com website. Thanks for pointing this out.

crazy0aces1 karma

The only thing I liked about the obviously failing obamacare law was that it helped people with pre-existing conditions get medical care. The trade off that the insurance companies demanded (it seems) to make it mandatory for everyone in the US purchase hralthcare even if they don't want it.
This is what I don't like about obamacare.
That, and they put what seems to be an artificial "economic floor cost" on all insurance plans if they dont meet certain standards.

My question is, what would you do help those with pre-existing conditions get affordable health care without hurting their fellow neighbor's wallet?

GovGaryJohnson2 karma

It is important to point out, before the current debate, no one was going without healthcare availability. The question was, and is, who pays for it. The system before Obamacare was not broken. It needed a retrofit.