Posts By Author » John Stossel
Sublet My People Go
22 May 2013 12:05 am
My kids moved out! I have two empty rooms in my apartment. Maybe I can rent them? A tourist visiting New York City could have a different experience, and save hotel money. I’d make money. Wouldn’t it be great?
No, says the government of my state.
New York recently passed a law making it very difficult for people to offer short-term rentals via popular websites like Airbnb and Roomorama, which connect room-owners and room-renters. I could be fined $25,000 if I rent to tourists through those services.
New York State Sen. Liz Krueger …
15 May 2013 12:05 am
Are you a real man (or woman)? Do you have “grit”?
Compare yourself to the man on the $20 bill: Andrew Jackson, our seventh president.
During the Revolutionary War, Jackson volunteered to fight. He was just 13 years old at the time. The British captured him and made him a servant for British officers. When one ordered Jackson to clean his boots, Jackson refused, and the officer slashed Jackson’s hand with a sword. When Jackson became president, he showed off the scar.
Jackson had grit.
Do your kids have that much grit today? I …
Live Free or Move
8 May 2013 12:05 am
Forty-three million Americans moved from one state to another between 1995 and 2010 — about one-seventh of Americans.
It’s good that we can move! Moving provides one of the few limits on the megalomania of state bureaucrats.
Americans have moved away from high-taxed, heavily regulated states to lower-taxed, less-regulated states. Most don’t think of it as a political decision. They just go where opportunities are, and that usually means where there’s less government.
They’re leaving my state, New York, in droves. California, despite its great weather, also lost people, and wealth. Other biggest …
Train Wreck Ahead
1 May 2013 12:05 am
Most Americans — even those who are legislators — know very little about the details of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, so-called Obamacare. Next year, when it goes into effect, we will learn the hard way.
Many people lazily assume that the law will do roughly what it promises: give insurance to the uninsured and lower the cost of health care by limiting spending on dubious procedures.
Don’t count on it.
Consider just the complexity: The act itself is more than 906 pages long, and again and again in those 906 pages are …
The Education Blob’s Revenge
24 Apr 2013 12:05 am
I wrote recently how teachers unions, parent-teacher associations and school bureaucrats form an education “Blob” that makes it hard to improve schools. They also take revenge on those who work around the Blob.
Here’s one more sad example:
Ben Chavis, founder and principal of the American Indian Public Charter Schools, got permission to compete with the Blob in Oakland, Calif. Chavis vowed, “We’ll outperform the other schools in five years.” He did. Kids at the three schools he runs now have some of the highest test scores in California.
His schools excel even …
A Post-Post Office World
17 Apr 2013 12:05 am
Even parts of government that look like a business never get run with the efficiency of a business. Just look at the post office.
They buy commercials and tout their services the way private businesses do. They offer a service that customers want.
But a real business can’t get away with losing billions every year. (I guess in the era of bailouts, I should say shouldn’t get away with it.) The post office lost $16 billion last year, despite having all sorts of advantages that most private businesses don’t have.
They have a near …
Government Plays Favorites
10 Apr 2013 12:05 am
People say government must “help the little guy, promote equality, level the playing field.”
People often go into government to do that. But even when people mean well, it’s natural for them to help out their cronies.
David Stockman, who ran the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, was criticized for saying the government’s budget numbers didn’t add up. But he was right.
Now, in his book “The Great Deformation,” he says both major political parties failed ordinary Americans when the housing bubble burst, and they rushed to bail out cronies …
3 Apr 2013 12:20 am
Environmental activists and politicians would like you to think that we must love their regulations — or hate trees and animals.
I love trees and animals.
But you can love nature and still hate the tyranny that environmental regulations bring.
The Environmental Protection Agency just announced it will boost gas prices (“only” a penny, although industry says 6 to 9 cents) to make another minuscule improvement to air quality.
In New York City, my mayor wants to ban Styrofoam cups, saying, “I think it’s something we can do without.”
Congress already dictates the design of …
27 Mar 2013 12:05 am
The Senate did something this past weekend it hasn’t done in four years: passed a budget. The law requires the Senate to pass a budget, but Congress often ignores its own laws. For most of Barack Obama’s presidency, a series of continuing resolutions kept the money — your money — flowing. Now the Senate wants to add a trillion dollars of new taxes, even more than President Obama seeks. Despite our growing debt, the Senate wants to fund things like the Senate barbershop, which loses a third of a million …
The Blob That Ate Children
20 Mar 2013 12:05 am
Shortly after I did my first TV special on education, “Stupid in America,” hundreds of union teachers showed up outside my office to yell at me. They were angry because I said union rules were a big reason American kids don’t learn.
The union (SET ITAL) is (END ITAL) a big reason kids don’t like school and learn less. Union contracts limit flexibility, limit promotion of good teachers, waste money and make it hard for principals to fire even terrible teachers.
But I was wrong to imply that the union is the …
Frack to the Future
13 Mar 2013 12:05 am
Celebrities are now upset about fracking, the injection of chemicals into the ground to crack rocks to release oil and gas. With everyone saying they want alternatives to foreign oil, I’d think celebrities would love fracking.
I’d be wrong. Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and their group, Artists Against Fracking, don’t feel the love. Yoko sang, “Don’t frack me!” on TV.
Stopping fracking is the latest cause of the silly people. They succeeded in getting scientifically ignorant politicians to ban fracking in New York, Maryland and Vermont.
Hollywood gave an Oscar to “Gasland,” a …
Sequester: Not Even a Cut
6 Mar 2013 12:05 am
If you’re reading this, you’ve survived the “sequester” cuts!
That may surprise you, since President Obama likened the sequester to taking a “meat cleaver” to government, causing FBI agents to be furloughed, prosecutors to let criminals escape and medical research to grind to a halt!
The media hyped it, too. The NBC Nightly News said, “The sequester could cripple air travel, force firefighter layoffs — even kick preschoolers out of child care!”
The truth is that the terrifying sequester cuts weren’t even cuts. They were merely a small reduction in government’s planned increase in spending. …
Libertarians’ Awkward Bedfellows
27 Feb 2013 12:05 am
Last week, Conservative pundit Ann Coulter told me and a thousand young libertarians that we libertarians are puss- — well, she used slang for a female body part.
We were in Washington, D.C., at the Students for Liberty conference, taping my TV show, and she didn’t like my questions about her opposition to gay marriage and drug legalization.
“We’re living in a country that is 70 percent socialist,” she says. “The government takes 60 percent of your money. They take care of your health care, your pensions … who you can hire …
To Government, Every Penny Is Sacred
20 Feb 2013 12:05 am
President Obama has new priorities. That means new spending.
In his State of the Union, he said, “The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem.” But then he went on to list how, under his guidance, government will solve a thousand problems, including some (like climate change and a loss of manufacturing jobs) that are probably not even problems.
The president bragged about creating “our first manufacturing innovation institute” in Ohio and says that he will create 15 more. Politicians claim actions like this are needed to solve the “decline …
A Real State of the Union
13 Feb 2013 12:03 am
We’ve heard another State of the Union speech, and my president said grand things like:
“Think about … a future where we’re in control of our own energy … I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China … I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning …”
Actually, he said that in 2012. I write before this year’s speech, but he says basically the same thing every year: With more spending, government can fix everything.
But I have this dream — one where my …
Ban This! Ban That! Ban This and That!
6 Feb 2013 12:05 am
I like to bet on sports. Having a stake in the game, even if it’s just five bucks, makes it more exciting. I also like playing poker. “Unacceptable!” say politicians in much of America. “Gambling sometimes leads to ‘addiction,’ destitute families!”
Well, it can.
So politicians ban it. It’s why we no longer see a poker game in the back of bars. Half the states even ban poker between friends — though they rarely enforce that.
After banning things, politicians’ second favorite activity is granting special privileges to a few people who do …
Obama Is Not King
30 Jan 2013 12:05 am
Watching President Obama’s inaugural, I was confused. It looked like a new king was being crowned. Thousands cheered, like subjects worshipping nobility. At a time when America faces unsustainable debt and terrible economic troubles, why such pomp?
Maybe it’s because so many people tell themselves presidents can solve any problem, like fairy-tale kings — or gods.
Before America’s first inauguration, John Adams suggested George Washington be called “His Most Benign Highness.” Fortunately, Congress insisted on the more modest title, “President.”
At his inaugural, President Obama himself said, “The patriots of 1776 did not …
Shopping Around for a Better Life
23 Jan 2013 12:05 am
Thanks, California! Thanks for your monstrous spending and absurd regulatory overreach! America needs you. We need Connecticut and Illinois, too! We need you the way we needed the Soviet Union, as models of failure, to warn us what happens if we believe those who say, “Government can.”
Moving to California was once the dream for many Americans. Its population grew at almost triple the national average — until 1990. Then big government, in the form of endless regulation and taxes, killed much of the dream. In the last decade, 2 million …
A Man’s Home Is His Subsidy
9 Jan 2013 12:05 am
The Obama administration now proposes to spend millions more on handouts, despite ample evidence of their perverse effects.
Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, says, “The single most important thing HUD does is provide rental assistance to America’s most vulnerable families — and the Obama administration is proposing bold steps to meet their needs.” They always propose “bold steps.”
In this case, HUD wants to spend millions more to renew Section 8 housing vouchers that help poor people pay rent.
The Section 8 program ballooned during the ’90s …
No Regulation? No Problem
2 Jan 2013 12:04 am
In the short time since President Obama was re-elected, government has issued hundreds of new regulations. The bureaucrats never stop. There are now more than 170,000 pages of federal regulations.
President Obama wants still more rules. Cheering on increased financial regulation, he said, “We’ve got to keep moving forward.” To the president, and probably most Americans, “forward” means passing more laws.
It is scary to think about a world without regulation. Intuition leads us to think that without government we’d be victims of fraud, as I explain in my latest book, “No, …