(Originally published in the East Tennessee Business Journal July 2004;
View more at Michael Badnarik visits East Tennessee)
By Jayne Andrews, East Tennessee Business Journal
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. On July 1, Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Michael Badnarik, made a five-hour visit here to meet with local supporters and answer questions from the media. He attended a luncheon at the Mandarin House sponsored by the Knox County Libertarian Party. The event attracted Republicans, Democrats, and Green Party members as well as people who said they attended because they had never met a presidential candidate in person before.
Badnarik, a computer programmer from Texas and Constitutional scholar, also teaches Constitution classes. He was nominated at the Libertarian Party's national convention, which was held in Atlanta in late May 2004.
Badnarik's vice presidential running mate is Richard Campagna, a native of New York, now living in Iowa. Campagna is an attorney who has practiced, counseled and taught law for over 25 years. He has led seminars in all 50 states and every continent of the world and has an extensive record of public and community service. Additionally, Badnarik's mother, Elaine Badnarik, is the Libertarian Party's candidate for lieutenant governor in Indiana.
The Libertarian Party is the third-largest political party in the U.S., and well known for their emphasis on smaller government, civil liberties and personal freedom, a commitment to a free market economy and adherence to the Constitution. Libertarians are against gun control and believe that the "War on Drugs" has raised the price on all drugs, making them "profitable enough to kill for." They claim the Department of Education is unconstitutional, and not doing its job. Libertarians also support a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace and free trade, as prescribed by America's founders.
Badnarik answered the following questions from East Tennessee Business Journal and the audience:
Q. Where do you stand on property rights?
A. You have a right to all of your property, but you do not have a right to anyone else's property. When the government takes someone else's property in order to give it to you although you didn't do the stealing the government did it for you, and it is still government theft.
Q. What should we do about Social Security?
A. We have two groups of people who are pitted against each other. The older people who have already paid in to Social Security are expecting some sort of benefits so they can retire when they are too old to work any longer. The young people recognize that this is a sinking ship and they don't want to be forced to continue paying into Social Security. We need to be able to separate the two groups and find a way to take care of our elderly who unfortunately allowed the government to take responsibility for their retirement, which was a bad decision. We need to allow the young people to invest their money for their retirement. The baby boomers are going to cause this problem to really explode when they begin to retire in 2008.
Q. How did you feel when you were nominated as your party's presidential candidate, and how will you campaign?
A. I was a wee bit surprised that I was the one chosen, but am very honored. My first words in my acceptance speech were, "Never in my wildest dreams." I will continue to work very hard to bring the Libertarian message to Americans all the way up to the election. I want to bring as many people as I can into the Libertarian Party, which is strongly unified right now. I have found that people like me and know that I have integrity. Our slogan is "The Party of Principle" and I try very hard to live up to that. The media has taken a great interest in my campaign, and I have interviews booked all day every day. We have three people who do nothing but field phone calls from the media and organize my interviews.
Q. Where does the Libertarian Party stand on gay marriage?
A. Some members of the Libertarian Party are pro-life, some are pro-choice. As libertarians, we respect each other's right to our own beliefs. Personally, I believe that when two people say "If do," the government has no business saying, "Oh no, you don't." Politicians don't get to decide whose baby can be baptized, who can receive Holy Communion or who can get bar mitzvahed and they shouldn't get to decide who gets married either.
Q. Where do you stand on the environment?
A. Libertarians want clean water and air, and we want to protect the environment. I think I'm a wonderful spokesperson for the environment since I was a Boy Scout for 12 years and a Scout Master for 10 years. But having the government take care of environmental matters is probably the worst solution. We all know that any time the government does something, it costs 10 times as much as it normally would, and it doesn't work it creates more problems. The Bureau of Land Management polices forest area so that paper mills can come in and clear cut. Does that sound like protecting the environment? Having more government is not the answer, which we have already seen demonstrated. We can prove that private ownership is the only way. If a paper mill owns the land, they are only going to cut selected trees and will spend a lot of money to reforest that area so they've got resources in the future.
Q. What about deficit spending?
A. Every college student that leaves home learns one simple rule you can't spend more than you bring in. If a college kid leaving home can figure this out, why can't Congress? We have a $700 billion per year deficit that's $700 billion per year they spend that is not in the budget. That's absolutely criminal, and we the people need to hold the people in Congress responsible.
Q. What would you do about economic development in the U.S. if you were elected president?
A. We would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service so people would have more money to invest. We would eliminate the Federal Reserve Bank, to stop inflating our economy and we would eliminate NAFTA and any other free trade agreement the government has come up with which doesn't provide free trade. What it does is provide "managed trade," creating a hostile economic climate for businesses large and small. It puts small businesses out of business, and causes large businesses to move jobs and manufacturing overseas. There is no possible way that American businesses can compete with the yoke of government regulations around their neck. As Libertarians, we believe in the free market and that means we are going to remove regulations and allow businesses to do what they do best provide goods and services.
Q. What would you do to reduce the national debt?
A. I would assign my friend, Bernard von NotHaus, as the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Bernard was the royal mint master of Hawaii for over 20 years, and is the designer of the Liberty Dollar, private silver currency in the U.S. He understands the economy far better than I do. My personal reaction is that the national debt was perpetrated under fraud and could justifiably be repudiated. Bernard says that while that may satisfy my emotional instincts, there are better things we can do to eliminate the debt without causing economic distress.
Q. What would you do to downsize the scope and size of the federal government property ownership?
A. The federal government has no reason to own as much property as it does. I believe the federal government owns at least 90 percent of Nevada. While we may be able to sell off federal property, I don't know how much money it would bring in, and so I don't know how much debt we would be able to pay off. However, I would like to eliminate federal property. Property should either belong to the states or to individuals.
Q. American property owners and business owners are constantly concerned about potential lawsuits and the government shutting businesses down. How would you change this?
A. We would make the justice system actually mean something. One of the first things I would do as president would be to eliminate the idea of sovereign immunity for the government. The 1st Amendment not only protects our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion, but it also protects our right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. That's Founding Fathers' talk for you can sue the government and win. But the federal government has set itself up as bulletproof. Anytime they do something, theoretically you cannot sue them because they are the government and were obviously just doing things in your best interests. That is not true. We the people have rights, and we grant limited privileges to the government. Not only can we take those privileges away from them anytime we want, we can also file a lawsuit against the government and win.
Badnarik said that he has campaign volunteers from all 50 states, and that he believes his background as a technical trainer and computer programmer gives him the ability to communicate his party's message so that all Americans can understand it.
"If I'm talking to a Democrat, that person is usually complaining that I'll steal votes from the Democrats, " he said. "If I'm talking to a Republican, they think I'm stealing votes from the Republicans. I'd like to point out that the candidates don't own the votes. The voters do."
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Posted by Chris F. at 8:10 PM