Libertarian Gary Johnson Would Cut $143 Billion in Spending

June 13, 2016
Demian Brady
Gary Johnson

Preliminary Analysis of Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson's Spending Platform Finds $143 Billion in Cuts

The Libertarian Party held its convention over the Memorial Day weekend. After a wide-ranging debate from five candidates regarding the constitutional role and function of government, Gary Johnson was elected as the Party's presidential nominee.

NTUF's preliminary review of Johnson's spending plans as detailed by the candidate during the debate and on his campaign website finds that he would cut spending by $143 billion per year. Highlights include:

  • Defense: A 20 percent reduction in defense spending would save $117.6 billion.
  • Entitlement Reform: Implementing means-testing in Social Security could save $6.2 billion per year, and increasing the retirement age could save $1.08 billion annually.
  • Education: Johnson would eliminate the Department of Education and "return control to the states." NTUF assumes he would block grant existing funding to the states and wind-down the remaining bureaucracy over four years, saving $2.4 billion per year.
  • Commerce: Johnson called to eliminate the Department of Commerce. NTUF assumes the program would be phased-out over four years, saving up to $2.6 billion annually.
  • Drug Enforcement Administration: This agency would also be eliminated, saving up to $745 million a year as it is phased-out.
  • Fair Tax: Johnson would replace the income tax with a national sales tax and eliminate the Internal Revenue Service. This could save up to $12.6 billion per year in spending for "refundable" credits and tax administration.
  • Self-Directed Social Security: A proposal to allow heirs to receive a portion of Social Security benefits after the recipient has deceased could increase outlays, but a cost estimate is indeterminate.
Demian Brady

Director of Research

Demian Brady is the Director of Research for the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. His responsibilities include producing commentaries and studies on fiscal issues, as well as managing NTUF's BillTally program (which tracks the impact of legislation on the size of the federal budget), State of the Union analysis, and more. Demian's research has been cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times. In addition, he has written on a number of budget-related issues for both NTU and NTUF. Mr. Brady resided and worked in Columbus, Ohio before moving to Washington, DC in 1998. He earned an M.A. in Political Science from American University. He received a B.A. in Russian Area Studies from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. 

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