Thursday, May 05, 2016

Home Stretch Questions for Gary Johnson #5

Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson spe...
Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson speaking at a Campaign for Liberty event at CPAC. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia)

Governor Johnson,

At OnTheIssues.Org, you are quoted to the following effect on federal spending and federal debt:

"I have proposed cutting the federal budget by 43 percent to bring it into balance. It can be done. It requires the will and ability to ignore and even fight the special interests that have a vested interest in more and more government spending." -- Washington Times, 02/02/12

"I'd avoid continually raising the debt ceiling by not incurring more debt!" -- 2011 Republican primary debate on, 07/21/11

"We can quibble over economists' numbers, but it doesn't take an economist to know that continuing to add to the national debt is bankrupting us -- and that debt has doubled on [Barack Obama's] watch, aided and abetted by Congress." -- Libertarian Party response to 2016 State of the Union speech, 01/12/16

How do you square these wonderful policy positions with the facts that:

  • New Mexico's state government spending grew under your governorship -- in fact it grew faster than the rate of inflation, faster than the rate of population growth, and faster than federal spending has grown during the presidency of Barack Obama; and
  • New Mexico's state debt more than doubled under your governorship, just like the US national debt has doubled during the presidency of Barack Obama?

ADDENDUM: In comments below this post, Marc Scribner offers a detailed argument as to why New Mexico's debt under Johnson is materially different -- and more defensible than -- US debt under Obama (or any other president). If I had to summarize that argument, part of it might go something like "New Mexico's debt is like a home mortgage, US national debt is like using a credit card to take a vacation." But there's more to it than that, so hit the comments and read Marc's explanation, please.

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