Presidential candidates Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party agreed during Monday night's alternative candidates debate that liberty in America is endangered by a growing police state. They were united in their opposition to the Patriot Act and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. They agreed that military interventions have resulted in more, rather than fewer, enemies of the United States in the Middle East. They agreed that the federal war on drugs has been a disaster and that marijuana should be legalized. They even agreed on mandated labeling of genetically modified foods. But they differed sharply on enough issues to prevent an excess of harmony from ruining a good debate.
"I just think that's absolute baloney," Johnson said after Stein reiterated a list of things she believes government should be doing in a 'Green New Deal" to "jump start the green economy." They include employing millions of people in weatherization and conservation programs, providing subsidies for green startup companies, providing universal health care through "Medicare for all," improving public transportation, forgiveness of student loans and free higher education for everyone.
"Between a healthy transportation system and a healthy food system and pollution prevention, we can create the jobs we need, we can put a halt to climate change, and we don't need to go down that desperation road of austerity," Stein said.
"In our own lives, we can't spend more money that we take in," Johnson protested. The former Republican governor warned repeatedly that the continued borrowing of 43 cents out of every dollar the government spends will lead to a monetary collapse.He proposes to balance the budget in one year, cutting federal spending by a whopping $1.4 trillion.
"Nothing is free," Johnson said. "There isn't free health care, there isn't free education, it comes at a cost. That cost is here and now and I think Americans recognize that we can't bury our heads in the sand, that there needs to be mutual sacrifice on the part of all of us or we're going to find ourselves with a collapsed government."
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Photos of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson: AP Image