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US libertarian presidential candidate ‘open’ to basic income

With the US libertarian presidential candidate pushing double-digits in the polls for the first time in history, many are starting to take former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s policy ideas seriously. While signing books at the libertarian Freedom Fest conference, Johnson said he was “open” to the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Like many libertarians, Johnson said he liked the idea of the UBI because of its potential to save money in bureaucratic costs, freeing up more money to give people directly. During the exchange, we discussed how directly giving a basic income would increase the value of each dollar spent for the recipient, as opposed to in-kind services, such as food stamps, which restrict purchases.

At the same time, I asked Johnson about his position on the carbon tax and using these funds to fund the basic income. He once again said he was “open” to the idea.

“There are a lot of smart libertarians that support the carbon tax, so I don’t discount the idea,” Johnson said.

Johnson was attending Freedom Fest in Las Vegas to discuss term limits and answer questions about his candidacy with his running mate, former Massachusetts governor William Weld. He is currently polling around 13 percent against Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Hillary Clinton.

Photo source: Instagram

About Tyler Prochazka

Tyler Prochazka has written 85 articles.

Tyler Prochazka is a PhD candidate in Asia Pacific Studies at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He is the features editor of Basic Income News and the chairman of UBI Taiwan. Support my work with UBI Taiwan: @typro

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • Andy Kashen

    As long as Libertarians like Johnson advocate Austrian economics and the Gold Standard the UBI can never be more than a zero-sum game that restricts growth and begs for politically damaging levels of income redistribution. Proponents of the UBI need to be supporting alternate economic theories such as Modern Monetary Theory for which Bernie Sanders’ main economic advisor, Prof. Stephanie Kelton, is a major proponent.

    • James Sirman

      UBI is just another income redistribution scene. I’m surprised that a Libertarian can’t see through this. These egg heads keep messing around with economic systems that have failed when we have one that works and has been working for thousands of years. Free Market.

    • Dan

      Johnson does not support the gold standard, or Austrian economics.

  • Paul Bleeker

    How is UBI any different than minimum wage? Do you get UBI even if you don’t work?

  • russ morris

    just ask the question, “where do you plan to get your money to do anything from? the private banking system
    or government issued currency as the NEED act spells out.

  • That’s a good question. What would the rules and regulations be? Would such a program promote people having more children? Especially when we don’t need to increase our population? Would these monies be in addition to what one is paid for work or would everyone receive the same amt each month whether or not they chose to work? Ooooor would everyone over a certain age be required to work? And what about the physically and mentally disabled?

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