Back in May, Lorence Wenke switched from Republican to Libertarian. He claims that this move was based in principle, not political convenience. So how well do his views line up with libertarianism?
Citing GOP opposition to gay rights, state Senate candidate Lorence Wenke leaves Republican Party
State Senate hopeful Lorence Wenke says he plans to help build Libertarian Party
Libertarian Lorence Wenke talks split from GOP, minimum wage during Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board interview
Election 2014: Libertarian Party looks to make waves in Kalamazoo County after long dormancy
Wenke said he would support expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for LGBT citizens, adding that if no one else introduced the bill, he would do so.
Anti-discrimination laws violate freedom of association, and there is a long libertarian tradition opposing them.
How about the basic free market position of opposing the minimum wage?
Wenke, the owner of Wenke Greenhouses in Comstock Township, said he would have voted yes on the minimum wage increase.
He said the increase will have a significant impact on the payroll businesses, but added that he believes the working poor of the community deserve the raise.
Based on what theory of value?
However, Wenke said he would support indexing minimum wage to half the rate of inflation instead of the full-rate.
“If everything in the country is indexed to inflation, we will have a lot of inflation,” Wenke said.
It’s safe to say Wenke doesn’t understand the causes of inflation, monetary theory, or the federal reserve.
Asked if he believes the argument that raising the minimum wage could lead to businesses being forced to lay off employees, Wenke said he does not.
“I’ve never seen that in the world I’ve lived in,” Wenke said. “It seems to me that employers need someone to work, the difference between a $1/hour is not going to make the difference in the decision.”
Apparently he doesn’t understand supply and demand or marginal change either.
How about that classic libertarian issue of legalizing marijuana?
Wenke said if he had to vote today, he would vote against legalizing marijuana. However, he said there is still a significant amount of research to be done on the issue and he is glad that Colorado and Washington – states that have already legalized marijuana — are taking up that experiment.
At least he opposes raising taxes, right?
Wenke said to improve the roads, the state will have to raise the gas tax up from the current tax of 19 cents per gallon. He said a gradual increase of 6 cents over three years would likely solve most of the funding problems.
Wenke said he would support instituting a sales or use tax on all internet transactions in the state of Michigan that would equal the 6 percent sales tax citizens pay in physical stores. Wenke said he introduced a bill while he was a state Rep. that would have made Michigan one of a handful of states urging the federal government to change a law that currently bans such taxes on internet purchases.
“Those of us who have brick and mortar business that are local, we collect that tax when we sell a product and we’re the people that local people go to for employment, for property taxes, for school taxes for charitable donations,” Wenke said. “We should not have to charge more than somebody outside of our state has to charge for the same product.
People who don’t live in Michigan also don’t receive those services.
Wenke has made as issue out of government debt. How does he propose to address it?
“But now that they’re in it, they should choose reducing benefits, they should choose reducing spending in other areas,” Wenke said. “If they have to raise taxes on their citizens to provide these benefits, they should choose that. Borrowing money to service debt is what gets businesses in trouble … We do not want Kalamazoo to go the way of several cities in Michigan which are essentially bankrupt and can’t pay their bills.
“I think a good argument can be made for more money for K-12 education,” Wenke said. “But I think we need some changes made to it before we provide any more money to K-12 education.”
How about college spending?
Wenke said one way to make higher education more affordable would be for everyone to pay taxes for community colleges, instead of just those who live near those institutions.
That’s four different tax increases, in case you’re counting.
How about opposing government control of the economy through environmental regulations?
Wenke said a large part of this issue is getting the rest of the world, such as China, on board with the fighting climate change.
At least he wants to limit the welfare state, right?
As an alternative, Wenke proposed offering free Portia contraceptive options at all pharmacies that fill prescriptions.
These positions don’t seem all that libertarian. What does the Libertarian Party have to say?
Buzuma also said Wenke’s ideological deviations are a non-issue.
“We try to be a large tent,” Buzuma said. “We understand that not everyone is going to agree 100 percent with the platform and we accept that as long as they’re basically for individual freedom and the human rights and constitutional rights.”
A commenter is not so generous.
With all due respect, Mr. Wenke is a phony Libertarian candidate. Libertarians support liberty, which means voluntary transactions between consenting, free adults; not government-mandated coercion such as telling employers how much they must pay their employees. The government can intervene when employers force people to work for them no matter what the wage, if any. Slavery is illegal, and it should be, but freedom is a two-way street. Nobody is allowed to force somebody to work for them; nor should anybody be forced to hire somebody based on coercive criteria mandated by a dictatorial government. Never mind that such coercion limits employment opportunities and discourages small businesses in favor of the the too-big-to-jail, too-big-to-fail businesses that make huge campaign contributions in order to protect their government-aided competitive advantages, aka crony capitalism. Wenke’s support of a government-mandated wage, as reported in the Oct. 12 Kalamazoo Gazette, disqualifies him as a legitimate Libertarian candidate; rather, it establishes him as a pretender who will say anything and wear any disguise to gain the power of elected office.
Let’s get real. Lorence Wenke was always a moderate Republican. He never helped or associated with the libertarian or Tea Party wings of the Republican party. He never fought for limited government in the legislature. His obsession with two issues that most voters don’t care about and his creepy, off-putting personality finally rubbed so many voters the wrong way that he couldn’t win any more elections. He lost his previous bid for state senate and two bids for school board by landslide margins. He was running for state senate as a Republican until he dropped out on the last possible day. He finally realized he couldn’t win, so he is running a vanity campaign to spite Republicans for not supporting him and buy some attention from a party desperate for money.
Before you vote for a third party candidate, check where he actually stands.