Gary Johnson, triathlete, business owner, self-professed handyman and two-term governor of New Mexico doesn't mince words when talking about his candidacy for U.S. president.
"Gut it," the Libertarian Party candidate told Citydesk. "Gut the whole federal tax code."
Johnson insists that eliminating every conceivable federal tax would be the biggest job-creating engine the nation would ever see.
"We need to immediately strip down to a consumption tax," said Johnson, pointing a tall latte at a BODO coffee shop Monday night.
"For instance, take that cup of coffee. Whatever you paid for it, well that price is bundled with all kinds of taxes on the ingredients and services that made up the price tag," said Johnson. "So, eliminate all those taxes and that instantly brings down the price of practically everything. Then you let the people who are consuming pay for the goods they buy. And all of this would be budget neutral."
Simply put, that means wholesale cuts to federal services, departments and agencies. And yes, that includes the biggest, such as the Pentagon.
"You bet, I would cut the Pentagon's budget by 40 percent in my first year of office," said Johnson.
But when pressed, he hedged on veterans' benefits.
"No, I wouldn't cut veterans benefits. That's a promise that we made that we have to keep," said Johnson.
The candidate, who abandoned his Republican Party roots to seek and secure the Libertarian nomination, begins most weekdays at 6 a.m., usually flying to a city to spread his message. Johnson spent Monday evening courting votes and donations in downtown Boise. But he was back on a plane at the Boise airport this morning at 6.