Johnson’s personal business success, coupled with his libertarian outlook, has given him a definite interpretation on the relationship between businesses and governments. Aside from the often quoted libertarian mantra of entrepreneurship and small government, Johnson also opines that governments should be run as a business, with clear evaluation of the cost and benefits of every decision, instead of the grand voters and special interests inducing gestures that the country has grown accustomed to.
He is also a believer in the economic benefits of immigrant workforce, dismissing the notion that it would take away jobs from the average Americans.
In a recent interview, Johnson has stated his desire to start loosening the country’s child labor laws, which, while continuing to protect minors, will also prevent the curtailing of the spirit of entrepreneurship among our youths.
Scott Keyes: Do you think it’s overreach or do you think it’s fair game to say, for instance, Mike Lee said that child labor laws are probably unconstitutional?
Gary Johnson: Back to unconstitutional. I think there are a lot of kids today, let’s say 13 year-olds, 10 year-olds, that have better knowledge of computers than a 70 year-old. And because of our child labor laws, you can’t pay one of those 10 year-olds, 13 year-olds for a few dollars an hour to help out the 70 year-old with their computer, their computer problems, which might exist if we didn’t have child labor laws.
Scott Keyes: So it might be better to rein in some of those child labor laws, if I’m hearing you correctly?
Gary Johnson: Well, by rein in, the unintended consequence of child labor laws is that we don’t have the entrepreneurial sense with our kids that perhaps existed when I was a 13 year-old, pitching papers and mowing lawns. If there weren’t any child labor laws and you could pay, I use the example of the kid fixing your computer for a couple dollars an hour, is that taking advantage of a child or is that giving a child a real motivation and an understanding of earning money and providing a good or a service? And then on the other side of that, besides child labor laws, there’s the whole notion of you retire and you can’t go back to work for the 75 year-old or the 80 year-old who still has contributions to make.
Scott Keyes: And bills to pay, certainly.
Gary Johnson: And bills to pay. But if all these labor laws were loosened up, you’d have that phenomenon that exists, in a good way.