Dale Ogden, 2010 California gubernatorial candidate, talks with Wikinews

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Photo of Dale Ogden
Image: Dale Ogden.

Dale Ogden, a 2010 California gubernatorial candidate, talks with Wikinews reporter Mike Morales about his platform.

Ogden is a member of the United States' Libertarian Party.


Logo of the Libertarian Party.
Image: Libertarian Party.

((Mike Morales)) How would you define libertarianism?

((Dale Ogden)) Libertarianism is a political philosophy of minimum government espoused by the founders of our nation. People should be free to enjoy the fruits of their labor and government should be limited to protecting the life, liberty and property of its citizens. That includes such things as national defense, a court system to resolve disputes, and the enforcement mechanisms to enforce contracts between consenting adults and legal entities. A key characteristic of the Libertarian Party is that we do not believe that coercion should be used to effect change. When joining the LP, we take the following oath: "I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals."

((MM)) On one of California's major issues today, how do you propose to fix our failing economy?

((DO)) We need to roll-back spending to the level of 1998, adjusted for inflation and population (does anyone think we didn't have enough government in 1998?); lower taxes significantly (especially income and sales taxes); eliminate harmful, useless, and duplicate regulatory agencies; significantly reduce the number of employees at most state agencies; and permanently limit future spending increases based on population and inflation and limited to the tax receipts available (no more deficit spending).

We need to roll-back excessive salaries and pensions for state employees and increase the retirement age for both current and future state employees to 65 to 70 (from the current 50 or 55). We need to end collusion between politicians, bureaucrats and government employee unions. No elected or appointed official should ever get a pension or post-employment benefits.

The friendly business and low tax environment in California will attract tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs to California and, eventually, tax receipts will soar. However, any excess revenue should be used to retire debt or returned to the taxpayers.

((MM)) What is your stance on gay marriage?

((DO)) Why not just get government out of people’s personal lives? Let people choose how to live their lives, choose with whom they share it, and decide for themselves what arrangements (marriage or otherwise) should be made for all of life’s situations. Treat every individual equally. Do not discriminate in favor of or against married couples (or groups). Let them decide what promises to make to one another and embed those promises in contracts. The state can then enforce the contracts, as it should enforce all contracts between consenting adults. If religions want to put their “stamp of approval” on a wedding, let them; let the people involved decide what to do.

((MM)) Do you believe in the legalization of marijuana and why?

((DO)) Yes. I believe in the legalization of marijuana. The government does not have either the right nor the moral authority to prohibit what substances people put into their bodies for either medicinal or recreational or other purposes. Practically, the war on drugs has been a dismal failure. Just like prohibitions on alcohol, gambling, prostitution, etc., they do not work. They push the activity underground and create opportunities for the criminal element and, likewise, opportunities for the corruption of police and other public officials. Generally, such laws are enforced inconsistently and to the detriment of the most vulnerable individuals in society.

((MM)) Explain how you think California's immigration laws should work.

((DO)) Philosophically, I believe in open borders. People should be able to come and go as they please. However, the government should not take money from one group of individuals (taxpayers) and give it to others. We should not subsidize nor penalize immigrants. If people want to come to the United States and California to work and take care of their families, they should be allowed to do so. However, those who commit crimes against persons or property should be either imprisoned (for serious offenses) or deported. In that regard, the United States government needs to monitor and control its borders.

((MM)) Why should California "permanently roll-back spending to or below the level of 1998... and absolutely limit future spending increases?"

((DO)) Over the past 20-30 years, the state of California has continuously increased the share of the economy that it confiscates through taxes and spends, mostly, on unionized government employees and social welfare. It has reduced the amount of money that benefits the general populace in infrastructure. I chose 1998 because that pre-dates the pension scam perpetrated by Gray Davis, the Democrats in the state legislature, and the government employee unions, in which retirement ages were reduced to absurd levels and benefits were increased by about 50%. Were we to roll back spending to 1998 levels, we could both eliminate the state income tax and have a budget surplus. In my opinion, that process was a fraud perpetrated on the taxpayers of California and should be prosecuted criminally. The politicians took bribes in the form of campaign contributions and support and the leaders of the government employee unions paid bribes.

((MM)) Why is it necessary to repeal the global warming laws?

((DO)) There is no global warming crisis. The alleged warming trends do not exist and there has actually been a cooling trend over the last ten or so years. The "scientists" who raise the alarm on global warming trends have been discredited as having manipulated their data and destroying data that does not support their beliefs (if they even believe them). Billions of dollars of taxpayer money has been diverted to politically correct scientists and scammers like Al Gore who have gotten rich from this falsehood and who propose to use global warming as an excuse to control mankind's behavior (their real intent). Even if there is some minor global warming (which there has been in some earlier periods in history), there is no reason to believe that it would be harmful to the climate as a whole. Some areas may benefit and some may lose, but that would be true if we had global cooling, too. As an intellectual exercise, ask yourself these questions (originally posed by Vaclav Klaus)

"Is global warming a reality?
"If it is a reality, is it man-made?
"If it is a reality, is it a problem? Will the people in the world, and now I have to say "globally" be better-off or worse-off due to small increases of global temperature?
"If it is a reality, and if it is a problem, can men prevent it or stop it? Can any reasonable cost-benefit analysis justify anything within the range of current proposals to be done just now?"

Even if we can say yes, with some degree of probability, to the first question, the answers to the remaining questions clearly is no.

((MM)) Why should the state remove itself from the education of children? Would you also cut funds for the University of California?

((DO)) Like everything the government does, it does a miserable job of educating children and spends way too much doing so. Private competitive schools, perhaps funded by vouchers, would be better. Public school systems have way too many administrators and lack accountability. Teacher unions have the same adverse effect on education that government employee unions have on other government "services." Let's give parents choices by eliminating the monopolistic, union-controlled schools. Competition works and freedom works.

As far as the UC [University of California] system, it is a massive overfunded boondoggle. Higher education has been protected from price competition for many decades. The more government subsidizes education, the higher the price charged for that education with the result that the students and their parents end up paying as much as before. The cost of education has increased far faster than inflation over the past several decades. From what I've seen and read, most university professors are grossly underworked. They need to spend more time teaching; there needs to be more innovation in teaching to keep the cost down (like online education, but certainly not limited to that). Many of the services provided to students at our universities are more baby-sitting than education. We need real competition in education and we need to privatize our public universities. Let people keep their tax money and use it to decide where to go to school. I propose we sell the UC system to private owners and let it compete.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.