Krugman Ignores and Mischaracterizes Johnson’s Positions
By: Elias J. Atienza
Paul Krugman, the resident Keynesian at The New York Times, recently wrote an opinion editorial asking why millennials are not voting for Hillary Clinton. Krugman essentially laminates the old tired argument that a vote for a Gary Johnson is a vote for Donald Trump.
Krugman fears that young people are not taking this election seriously. He wants our vote to matter and pleads that we vote for Clinton. Because if you don’t, you’re basically voting for Trump. Where have I heard that argument before? From Trump supporters who say a vote for Johnson is a vote for Clinton. So who’s right in this regard? None of them.
And he insults millennials by assuming they have no idea of what libertarians believe. He suspects millennials are voting for Johnson because it’s the cool thing to do. As Robby Soave at Reason puts it:
According to Krugman, Johnson’s young supporters are probably clueless idiots who don’t know that all libertarians want to return society to the age of robber-barons. And if their goal is register a protest vote again[st] Clinton, they are acting immaturely by helping to elect Donald Trump.
Johnson does call for the abolition of the income tax, which Krugman laments is disastrous. But Johnson doesn’t have the power to unilaterally (or as Johnson puts it, use a magic wand in order to) reduce taxes. He would sign any tax cut. Should we end the income tax? That’s a debate that libertarians themselves will be having for a long time.
Johnson also calls for school choice like he did when he was governor of New Mexico. School choice and eliminating the Department of Education would go a long way toward improving education. He does not call for the complete abolition of government role in education, but merely a reduced one. Charter schools have gone a long way in helping minority students become better students than their peers in public schools.
As Thomas Sowell writes in National Review:
If black success were considered half as newsworthy as black failures, such facts would be headline news — and people who have the real interests of black and other minority students at heart would be asking, “Wow! How can we get more kids into these charter schools?
And once more, Krugman does not represent Johnson’s position on environmental regulations. On Johnson’s website, it shows his stance.
“We need to stand firm to protect our environment for our future generations, especially those designated areas of protection like our National Parks,” the website says. “Consistent with that responsibility, the proper role of government is to enforce reasonable environmental protections. Governor Johnson did that as Governor, and would do so as President.”
So Krugman strawmans Johnson’s positions and ignores the other ones: his non-interventionist foreign policy; his stance on the War on Drugs and criminal justice reform; his stance on privacy and crony capitalism. And to say that Johnson has not faced up to “media scrutiny” is false. Why else is “What is Aleppo” is out there?
Krugman then insults millennials by saying that nobody cares if you vote for a third party to make “a statement.”
If that were true then Clinton wouldn’t be panicking about Johnson and she would be ignoring him. Instead, her Super PAC wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars on trying to convince us that a vote for Johnson is a vote for Trump. She also wouldn’t be giving speeches at Temple University pleading with young people to vote for her.
Krugman needs to stop believing that age-old lie that a vote for one candidate is a vote for the opposite candidate. A vote for Johnson is a vote for Johnson.
Millennials don’t owe Hillary Clinton their vote. We are not a mindless mob of people who will be convinced by your pleading because the Democratic Party decided to nominate someone as horrible as her. Krugman believes that millennials are stupid.
No, we are not.