Smart Decision 2012: Jonathon Dine, Libertarian for U.S. Senate
Jonathan Dine is the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Missouri. The long-time personal trainer from Kansas City also ran on the Libertarian ticket for U.S. Senate in 2010.
KOMU 8 News sat down with Dine as a part of the Smart Decision 2012 series. KOMU made repeated attempts to get incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Republican Congressman Todd Akin to interview, but neither followed through with the requests.
KOMU: Two years ago you ran on the Libertarian ticket for the Missouri U.S. Senate seat, and now you're running you're running again. Why now?
DINE: Well, like many Americans I'm worried about the direction this country is headed in. I'm worriedI abut the $16 trillion debt. I'm worried about the trillion dollar deficits. I'm worried about the endless wars. I'm worried about the erosion of our freedoms, and civil liberties here at home. And you know, I feel that both politicl parties have a lot of blame to share. And I feel like we really don't have a good representation of the people. I feel our current political class is full of career politicians who have grown secluded in Washington, surrounded by lobbyists and corporate interests, and have forgotten what life is like outside of politics.
KOMU: What specifically is it about you that you think will appeal to voters?
DINE: Well the best thing about being a libertarian is that I am socially accepting as well as fiscally conservative, so I can relate, so I can relate to Democrats on the social issues and I can relate to the Republicans on the fiscal conservative issues. So I think it really helps to cross party lines, and I think a lot of people are just kind of tired of the well-oiled slick-talking politician and they're looking for someone who's more of an ordinary American.
KOMU: In a recent interview with St. Louis Public Radio you said "I think its possible to win this race if a few more Democrats and Republicans would come my way.Can you elaborate on this a little bit?
DINE: Sure, I've spent the majority of my campaign trying to reach out to voters on both sides and in the most recent Public Policy Poll I'm actually at 9 percent of the vote. So I've spent a lot of time on college campuses speaking with young Democratic voters and convincing them to vote Libertarian, as well as at Tea Party events and other rallies across the states speaking to Republicans talking about the fiscal issues that are being ignored by their party leaders. So I think it really is possible to win this race. In a three way race you only need 34 percent of the vote. So that will be my acual plan is to help steer a few in oth directions.
KOMU: What do you think is the biggest problem facing our country right now?
DINE: I defnitely feel it's the $16 trillion debt, you know, I feel that's the greatest threat to our national security, especially given in the next ten years we're going to have over $5 trillion in interests payments alone, you know. It's spiraling ever and ever out of control and unfortunatey the politicians of today are unwilling to address the issues. They have their head in the sand so to speak, and they're just so busy campaigning that they don't want to actually sit down and have an adult discussion about reforming or reigning in some of the spending.So I feel that's definitely the biggest issue.
KOMU: On the question of the economy, what's it going to take to turn things around?
DINE: Well, I think the government is definitely over extending itself, and the best thing it could do to help the private sector would be to get out of the way. You know, the federal government in the past two decades has literally exploded in size. There's no area of your life, your business, or even, especially your wallet that's not free from the meddling of politicians. So I really feel to get the economy moving, we need to allow people to keep more of what they earn so they can invest in new businesses, build new homes, by a new car and fuel real economic growth."
KOMU: Let's turn now to taxes. You've said that you would call for getting rid of the federal income tax as well as abolishing the IRS. Can you explain that a little?
DINE: Sure, prior to 1913 the federal income tax was acutally found unconstitutional twice. The Constitution says clearly that any direct tax must be apportioned evenly throughout the states so the greedy legislatures of 1913 amended the Constitution and added in the 1th amendment. And if you look at the wording of that amendment, it's just very greedy. We can take your money from whatever source, however we want, without regard, and I feel that I'm in the camp that providing basic government services like police, fire, courts, military, defense should cost a fraction of what we now pay in taxes. I just feel that the government for so long has raided the pocketbook of the people under the pretense of taking care of you. You know, a lot of people say if you get rid of the income tax, what are you going to replace it with? And I always reply, if you put out a fire, what do you replace it with? You know, I personally would prefer a stronger local state tax, and I think mostly because the people are closer to the legislators and more responsive to the will of the people they're more likely to get a dollars worth of services.
KOMU: Do you support privatizing elements of social security?
DINE: I think it's something that we do need to look at.Social security is pale in comparison to Medicare and Medicaid. It's on of the more easily solvable problems. If we switch the rate to the rate of inflation as opposed to the price wage index to keep up with the cost of living increase, but I think its something that we do need to have an adult discussion about.. actually repairing and reforming some of these programs if we're going to save them for future generations.
KOMU: Could I get your take on health care, and more specifically the Affordable Care Act?
DINE: Me personally, the reason I don't like the Affordable Care Act is because it does nothing to make it affordable. One of my biggest problems with it is that it does nothing to make it affordable. I don't believe the government should have the ability to tell people what they can buy and who they can purchase it from, regardless of their financial ability. I think its more of a win for the insurance company than it is for the American people. Looking at real health care reform I think would be addressing insurance reform. I think the biggest problem with the rising health care costs is the third party payer system where individuals don't actually pay for their health care services out of pocket and they rely on the insurance companies.You know you can look at elective cosmetic surgeries like Lasik eye surgery or breast augmentation or nose job, and these surgeries will cost you anywhere between $3000-$5000. You can also compare and price shop. Check one doctor with another, and you can actually shop around for the best price and service. You know I'd like to see some of the barriers removed between the individual and the doctor, and I don't want the government in the way of me and my doctor.
KOMU: Women's issues have undoubtedly been a defining issue this year. How can we ensure that women are being paid the same wages as men are?
DINE: Well you know I believe its based on the individual. You know, I think, I spoke with a woman last week actually about this issue, and she was telling me that she doesn't need the goverment to negotiate her wages.She told me that if she wanted better pay she could look for a different job or negotiate it herself. And you know that's where I am on the same page, and I believe individuals should be based on merit. And I think that you know if a man and a woman get the same job they both have the ability to negotiate their own pay. In all fairness, it should be between the employee and the employer and I dont think that the federal government should set standards or tell people how much they should be paid or what they have to pay.
KOMU: So if elected, you would not support legislation requiring equal pay?
DINE: No, I wouldn't support federal legislation because once again I think its based on the individual merit. You know, you have some women who earn more than men. And you have some men that earn more than women. You know its definitely based on the individual. And you look at just a regular entry job, most people are paid the same, so it should be based on the same skills and the wants of the individual employee and that they should go out and negotiate themselves.
KOMU: Let's talk foreign policy. Where do we go next in Libya?
DINE: If I were in charge I would actually decide to remove the troops. I think we should remove the embassy there. What interests do we have in Libya. We just bombed the country a few months ago. And I think there's a lot of negative consequences from the war mongering and political posturing that we're currently engaged in. You think gas prices are high now, wait until we invade Iran.I think there's a lot of negative consequences when you actually look at our foreign policy now.