With a week to go before election day, many have already sent in their absentee ballots or voted early at their county registrar of voters’ office. However, there are a substantial number of undecided voters who will wait until November 6 to cast their ballot. Here is a helpful guide for friends of liberty in California who have yet to vote:
President / Vice President of the United States
Gary Johnson / James P. Gray (Libertarian)
Governor Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray are the most qualified ticket for the White House. With more executive experience than Obama and Romney combined, Gary Johnson has proven that libertarian government is good government. The only fiscal conservative in the race, Johnson vetoed over 750 bills as governor of New Mexico – more than the other 49 governors combined – to leave his state with a $1 billion surplus. He also understands that regulating personal moral decisions is no job for the government and should be left to individuals. With a plan to cut the military budget by 43%, Johnson is the only candidate who will bring our troops home now and end our militaristic foreign policy.
While Johnson will not be victorious this election, 5% of the popular vote gives the Libertarian Party major party status and matching funds for future elections. As Johnson has signaled that he plans to run for president again in 2016, a vote for the Libertarian ticket in 2012 sets the stage for the overhaul of the broken two-party system.
United States Senate
DO NOT VOTE
Having been in Washington since 1992, Dianne Feinstein is the definition of “entrenched incumbent.” Sen. Feinstein has always acted as a rubber stamp for the Democratic Party and has refused to stand up against reckless spending or infringements upon civil liberties. Sen. Feinstein has consistently supported massive deficits and military interventionism, and recently sponsored the Cybersecurtiy Act of 2012, a bill that would have greatly expanded the government’s role in regulating the Internet. To propose such legislation after the outcry during the proposal of SOPA and PIPA shows that Sen. Feinstein is completely out of touch.
However, Feinstein’s opponent is not exactly a friend of liberty. Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken’s website provides no real substance other than typical GOP talking points. She provides no real plan to cut spending, and refuses to address the bloated military budget. Additionally, her plan for “tax reform” consists of nothing but cutting the inherently redundant corporate tax and empty promises to somehow eliminate loopholes; Ms. Emken is also hostile to the idea of a national sales tax as a replacement for the IRS. If elected, Ms. Emken would simply be another rank-and-file neoconservative Republican, which are certainly not in short supply.
Thanks to the “top-two” system implemented in California in 2010, there are no third party candidates for this race and write-in votes will not be counted. Don’t legitimize the duopoly that disenfranchises independent-minded voters – do not vote for either of these proponents of big government.
Proposition 30 – Jerry Brown’s sales and income tax increase initiative
Those who continually support new taxes in the state of California are doing nothing short of enabling the spending-addicted politicians in Sacramento. After raiding the education budget to spend more on prisons and the failed war on drugs, Sacramento politicians have engaged in a fear campaign to ensure they will receive their fix of additional tax dollars. Their Chicken Little sky-is-falling claim that massive cuts will have to be made to K-12 and university/community college budgets is laughable at best. If Prop 30’s proponents are so concerned with funding for education, why are they not addressing the bloated prison budget or getting real pension reform done? If they are truly concerned with providing education to those of every socioeconomic background, why are they attempting to implement a sales tax increase that disproportionately affects lower income families?
Things will not change in California until people begin to demand more from their assembly members and senators. Continuing to re-elect the same politicians who refuse to address real budgetary reform is completely counter-intuitive, and it would behoove all of us for more individuals to get involved in the primary process (after all, most seats in California are safe seats and one primary winner is typically tantamount to election.) Tell Sacramento to put down the crack pipe – vote no on 30 and refuse them their latest fix.
Proposition 31 – Establish a two-year budget cycle
The budgetary process every year in Sacramento is nothing short of a circus. Even after the recent ballot initiative that eliminates legislators’ pay after the budgetary deadline until a budget is passed, the legislature is still unable to make significant cuts or balance a budget without using accounting gimmicks. Not only does the initiative create a two-year budget cycle, it also prohibits the legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified. Additionally, it permits the governor to cut the budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if the legislature fails to act and allows local governments to take a more autonomous role in managing state-funded programs. While many would argue it does not go far enough, Proposition 31 is a step in the right direction.
Proposition 32 – Ban mandatory automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics
Libertarians typically do not support attempts at so-called campaign finance reform, as restricting how an individual spends their money is not within the scope of the role of government. However, libertarians are also against theft and the initiation of force. Proposition 32 is simple – it prohibits automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and governments of employees’ wages to be used for political activity. Corporations and unions are free to engage in campaign activity, but it should not be done with money taken from their employees – vote yes to end the domination of California politics by unions and other special interests.
Proposition 33 – Allow insurers to offer discounts to new customers who can prove they were continuously covered by any licensed auto insurance company over the previous five years
In a free market, there is no reason that insurance companies should not be allowed to set their prices as they see fit. After all, insurance is based on risk, and some customers are riskier to insure than others. Insurance companies should be able to reward those who consistently hold auto insurance, and charge more of those who refuse to purchase it and pose a larger risk.
Proposition 34 – Repeal the death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole
The death penalty is intrinsically wrong, and it is dangerous for the state to have the ability to take the life of its citizens. Moral reasons aside, the death penalty is extremely costly to the state of California and has not been shown to deter crime. Additionally, there is always the risk of executing an innocent individual. The costs and risks involved are not worth any of the supposed benefits of the death penalty that proponents continually push.
Proposition 35 – “Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act”
This unsuitably named initiative does nothing to reduce human trafficking, and in fact places a financial burden on local law enforcement departments. Furthermore, anyone (such as a family member) receiving money from a sex worker earned through erotic services could be prosecuted as a human trafficker and required to register as a sex offender. If we are serious about eliminating human trafficking, the only practical solution is to eliminate the black market, which can be achieved by legalizing prostitution among consenting adults. It is ridiculous to prohibit a mutually voluntary transaction simply because of moral reasons.
Proposition 36 – Revise the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent”
Many victims of the arbitrary “three strikes” law are simply petty drug offenders. Eliminating life sentences for these non-violent “criminals” – or, more appropriately, victims of the failed war on drugs – would save the state $100 million every year.
Proposition 37 – Mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food
This initiative is simply a deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme that would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, create new frivolous lawsuits, and increase food costs by billions – without providing any health or safety benefits.
Proposition 38 – Molly Munger’s state income tax increase to support public education
This initiative is flawed for the same reasons as Propostion 30, however it would be even more harmful to taxpayers. Proposition 38 levies an income tax increase across the board, not just for the so called “1%.”
Proposition 39 – Income tax increase for multi-state businesses
Proposition 39 is yet another ballot measure claiming to close another loophole. In reality, it simply increases the already sky high cost of doing business in California. If passed, it would institute a massive $1 billion tax increase on California job creators that will result in the loss of thousands of middle class jobs. California’s unemployment rate is already third worst in the country at nearly 11% – this does absolutely nothing to create a business-friendly environment.
Proposition 40 – Referendum on the state senate redistricting plan
This initiative would maintain the districts drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Opponents have withdrawn their call for a no vote.