The Libertarian Party on Tuesday dismissed President Barack Obama's State of the Union address as another effort to "make Big Government even bigger."
Arvin Vohra, vice chair of the National Libertarian Committee, said Obama's solutions on education, minimum wage, taxes, Internet privacy and healthcare were all aimed at increasing the size of the federal government. Vohra said those ideas, and even those being advanced by many Republicans, are all about letting the government take more control over people's lives.
"We need to massively downsize and defund the federal government," he said. "But Republican and Democratic politicians only want to make it bigger."
Vohra said Obama's speech, and the GOP reaction to it, show that only Libertarians have any interest in reducing the size of the federal government.
"When you vote for a Democrat or Republican, it tells them, 'Keep doing what you're doing,' " Vohra said. "But when you vote for a Libertarian, it tells them, in no uncertain terms, 'You have neither my approval nor my permission to grow or sustain Big Government. Shrink it now.' "
For example, Obama on Tuesday night formally proposed a federal program to make community college "free," a plan that would cost an estimated $60 billion over ten years. But Vohra said college would be more affordable if government got out of the business of subsidizing it.
"Without subsidies and costly mandates, competition will force colleges to decrease their tuition or go out of business," he said. "Massive student debt would be a thing of the past."
He also said the Department of Education needs to be abolished, along with the Common Core program.
Similarly, he said Obama's effort to raise the minimum wage would only make it harder for younger people to find work and learn skills. "Mr. President, your attempts to raise the minimum wage will destroy one of the most important forms of education in this country," he said.
He said the GOP proposal to let states deal with the minimum wage is a "cop-out," and said these laws should also be abolished at the state level.
Vohra said he agrees with Obama's claim to want an Internet that protects people's privacy, but said Obama's words don't match his actions.
"You have funded and enabled the surveillance state," Vohra said. "To protect privacy, Libertarian candidates have pledged to defund the NSA's mass surveillance program, repeal the Patriot Act, and massively downsize and consolidate redundant spy agencies."
And on healthcare, Vohra said neither Republicans nor Democrats have found the will to repeal Obamacare, and said the Libertarian Party has pledged to repeal that law and make other changes to promote lower costs and higher quality.
"To help people in need, Libertarian candidates will make charitable hospitals legal," he said. "Doctors should not have to leave our borders to be able to offer free care."