Free Market Heroes, Vol. 4: Dr. John Berthoud

There are many different types of anti-tax warriors.  Some use crafty CPAs to get more deductions using the government’s complex rules against it.  Then, there are tax warriors like Dr. John Berthoud, who use reason, intelligence and a broad coalition of anti-tax organizations to reduce taxes and cut government spending.  And while the limited government movement lost Dr. Berthoud last year, his legacy of free-market advocacy lives on from his work as President of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU). 

"John was the happy warrior of fiscal conservatism," said John Berlau, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in a Washington Times memorial to Berthoud. "He always made sure to take the message of low taxes and limited government beyond the Beltway. … He made networking with state policy groups a priority and influenced others to follow in his footsteps in this area. John will be sorely missed, but his positive influence will be long felt."

There are few organizations that do as much for the fight for lower government and less taxes as NTU.  From policy papers, coalition letters and studies that document critical problems like excessive government waste at the taxpayers’ expense, Berthoud’s work at NTU exposed government corruption and empowered taxpayers. 

"He shaped our entire culture and mission at NTU," said NTU Vice President of Communications Pete Sepp. 

"[Dr. Berthoud] was a tremendous, peaceful warrior for freedom—particularly economic freedom," Libertarian Party National Chairman Bill Redpath said in a Party press release following the passing of Dr. Berthoud.

"John was a friend to the Libertarian Party and went out of his way to provide us with opportunities that would further our common cause," said Shane Cory, the former executive director of the LP. "John’s sincerity and consideration will be missed."

"I had known John for several years in his capacity as President of the National Taxpayers Union," stated Jim Lark, a board member of the Libertarian National Committee. "I considered him a great friend of Liberty, as well as a personal friend.  He was a man of great intelligence, integrity, humor, and kindness who fought hard and well to return the federal government to its proper limited role under our Constitution.  He was a champion of the taxpayer and a strong advocate for individual liberty and personal responsibility.  His passing is a great loss to the Libertarian movement."

One of the best studies done during the 2008 presidential election was one conducted by the NTU on the campaign promises of the presidential candidates and their cost to taxpayers.  While other organizations sometimes overlook the Libertarian Party, the NTU study included Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential candidate.  Because of this, prospective voters saw that the Libertarian Party was the only Party that would save taxpayers money.

Recently the Libertarian Party and some of its state affiliates signed onto an NTU coalition letter to Congress calling for more transparency in the government bailout of struggling financial firms.

For his work with the National Taxpayer’s Union, and his lifelong dedication to fighting taxes and shrinking government, Dr. John Berthoud is a Libertarian Party Free Market Hero. On behalf of the Libertarian National Committee and the Libertarian Party, we sincerely appreciate the work and life of Dr. Berthoud.  His presence on the frontlines of free-market advocacy will be deeply missed.