Progressive Policies Keep Failing

It’s time for more capitalism.


I laughed when I saw The Washington Post headline: "Minneapolis had progressive policies, but its economy still left black families behind."

The media are so clueless. Instead of "but," the headline should have said, "therefore," or "so, obviously."

Of course, progressive policies failed! They almost always do.

"If you wanted a poster child for the progressive movement, it would be Minneapolis," says Republican Minnesota Senate candidate Jason Lewis in my new video. "This is the same city council that voted to abolish the police department."

The council, which has no Republicans, spends taxpayer money on most every progressive idea.

They brag that they recycle most everything. They have a plan to stop climate change. They tell landlords to whom they must rent. They will force employers to pay every worker $15 an hour. They even tell supermarkets what cereal they must sell.

Despite such policies, meant to improve life for minorities and the poor, the Minneapolis income gap between whites and blacks is the second highest in the country.

While that surprises the media, it's no surprise to Lewis, who points out, "When you take away the incentive for work and savings and investment, you get less of it!"

Exactly. When government sends checks to people who don't work, more people don't work. Guarantees like a high minimum wage raise the cost of potential workers, so some never get hired. High taxes to fund progressives' programs make it difficult for businesses to open in the first place.

Lewis says; " I've been touring businesses that were burned. They did not mention global warming, recycling, or the environment one single time. You know what they say? Give me low taxes and give me public order."

Lewis says Minnesota is now a "command and control economy….They're not even shy about it. (Congresswoman) Ilhan Omar said we need to abolish capitalism!"

Not exactly. But Omar did call for "dismantling the whole system of oppression," including America's economic systems that, "prioritize profit."

Lewis says she wants to create "equal poverty for everybody."

No, I push back, "She thinks her ideas will lift everybody up."

"Show us, Ilhan," he responds. "Where has it worked? Everything that you're proposing hasn't worked!"

He's right.

But Cam Gordon, a current Minneapolis councilman, tells me the city's economic "disparities were caused by a long trail of historic racism."

He tweeted: "Time to end capitalism as we know it."

He says that would be good because "we could have more democratic control of our resources." Cam Gordon is the kind of guy who gets elected in Minneapolis.

"Every alternative to capitalism brings stagnation and poverty," I say to him.

Gordon answers, "I think we can take care of each other better."

Lewis points out that before COVID-19, "the people gaining the most were at the bottom end of the wage scale. Women, Hispanics, African Americans were gaining the most. A rising tide truly lifts all boats."

He's right again. In the past 50 years, while progressives attacked profits, capitalism—the pursuit of profit—lifted more than a billion people out of extreme poverty.

When I point that out to Gordon, he simply ignores my point about fabulous progress around the world and says: "The problem with capitalism as we know it is this idea that we have to have constant growth….Capitalism got us the housing crisis right now and…climate change. It's actually going to destroy the planet."


His Green Party's "community-based economics" would give the community control over private property. Seems to me like community-based economics is just another way to say socialism. That's brought poverty and tyranny every time it's been tried.

"When socialism fails," says Lewis, "the apologists always say, 'We just didn't do it enough, just didn't do it the right way.' (But) it's always failed."

Sadly, today in America, the progressives are winning.


NEXT: Trump Deploys Lawlessness Against Lawlessness

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    1. You must live in Minnesota, instead of Wisconsin, then.
      As Wisconsin’s and Minnesota’s lawmakers took divergent paths, so did their economies

      Since 2010, Minnesota’s economy has performed far better for working families than Wisconsin’s . . .

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    1. Because who doesn’t like a heaping serving of bull shit.
      Latest data show Minnesota economy crushing it vs. Wisconsin . . .

  4. Capitalists have captured the first four posts! Winning!!

    1. Just wait until the Green Socialists take over–no more spam! (And no more Spam.)

      1. Jo Jorgensen can hardly wait… that is her party, isn’t it?

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      2. Well of course not. Have you seen the uptimes for electricity in Venezuela?

        1. No, their website won’t load. Seems to be offline.


    2. lol

  5. He says that would be good because “we could have more democratic control of our resources.”

    Democratic control of economic resources is another name for socialism.

    1. The idiot doesn’t understand how it would lead to shortages. Products don’t get shipped to areas that have price controls, new housing doesn’t get built where rentals are price controlled and property isn’t maintained.

    2. The clown doesn’t realize people vote with their money.

      1. And people vote with their feet.
        In the 2010 Census every state that lost a representative in Congress was a Blue state. I expect the 2020 Census to continue the trend.

        1. One wonders why the Ds wanted non-citizens to be counted in the census…

    3. Yes. And in that “democratic” utopia, the community will vote on where you get to live, what you get to eat, and who does what work. Sounds like all those fabulously successful and growing communes we see all over the US.

      One question: does the community also vote on who you get to fuck?

      1. Funny you should mention that, comrade; you DO understand that when we say everything is socialized, we mean EVERYTHING, right?

        1. The UK already tried to prevent people from seeing each other during the shutdown if they didn’t live in the same house.

    4. “we could have more democratic control of our resources.”

      This simply grants politicians control over who gets the resources. The term “democratic” here has the same vacuous
      meaning it does when used in a nations’ name. The US is a republic (not a democracy) because democracies require full participation of every citizen; no time to get the work of producing food, shelter, education, etc., done.

  6. I always like Stossel. I wish there were more writers like him at Reason.

    1. It is good that they have at least one actual Libertarian.

      1. How long before the other Reason staff claim that Stossel’s pieces are harmful and make them sad?

        1. A bunch of people at WSJ have done as much there…they’re mad that the Opinion page has, well, opinions.

        2. The mustache is reassuring and calming. I think they will be fine.

          And I don’t think any of them, for all their problems, disagree with the proposition that capitalism is really the only thing that has ever pulled lots of people out of absolute poverty and that socialism always fails.

        3. It’s not too hard to imagine Welchie Boy sitting there reading material like this from Stossel, as more and more spittle slowly starts to fly out of his mouth, his stupid-looking Howdy Doody face turning deeper and deeper shades of purple with rage… until eventually a little smile crosses his face as he begins to fantasize about killing Stossel with a crossbow at the “Red Wedding 2” party.

          1. I agree that Welch isn’t much of a libertarian, but what in this piece do you think he’d object to? I’ve never heard him take any kind of anti-capitalist or pro-socialist stance.

  7. “The problem with capitalism as we know it is this idea that we have to have constant growth”

    As if people having babies and demanding guaranteed high standards of living doesn’t require constant growth?

    1. Yeah, that whole white privilege thing about increasing living standards. Perhaps we should emulate our dark-skinned ancestors on the mother continent and live like people did 2000 years ago. Many modern Africans are showing us the way!

      1. 2000 years ago we were in the iron age, not the stone age.

    2. Capitalism’s problem is not the need for constant growth but rather for high growth than can be reasonably expected. Higher growth rates require the exploitations of some factor of the economy. When that factor runs out we end with a recession. Examples are the 1990’s DotCom boom and the 2000’s housing boom. Both fueled higher than realistic growth rates that ended in recessions. President Obama was criticized for a low measured growth rate out of the 2008 Great Recession but he brought a continuous recovery until his successor crashed the economy. To have a successful economy under capitalism we must accept the growth rate defined by economic conditions.

      1. Bubbles always happen when people are afraid of missing out on the next big thing. But they self-correct quickly if the government gets out of the way. Many of the economic bubbles started due to ill-advised federal laws or Federal Reserve actions.

      2. Except it really doesn’t require constant growth. It just requires that people want things, and people have the ability to produce them. If we ever reach a point where every one’s wants are met, or the only wants are not economical (friendship, love, respect etc), then sure capitalism will stop doing much for us. But It’s a bit like complaining that you were able to retire and have to come up with your own uses for your time.

        It seems our current problem with capitalism is that we push capital into the system at economically bad spots because they are politically convenient. Which causes an over-investment in that behavior, which then draws more real resources to that sector, even though there are more useful uses of those resources.

      3. “Capitalism’s problem is not the need for constant growth but rather for high growth than can be reasonably expected.”

        You .

    3. Growth is not a consequence of population increase. It results directly from higher productivity, which comes from higher efficiency, which comes from innovation, which comes from freedom.

      Someone discovers a better way to make steel. You get more steel from fewer workers and less energy. That energy and those workers are now available for other uses.

      That’s where capitalism grows.

      1. Err, well, I should have said, growth does not require population increase. Oops!

        1. Yes, and prosperity leads to lower reproduction rates.

    4. The correct response to that is to point out that ‘constant growth’ means constant improvement. Ask them — do you want goods and services to keep getting better and more valuable (safer, higher-quality, more efficient) year after year? Or do you want a system of ‘democratic’ socialist stagnation?

  8. Exactly. When government sends checks to people who don’t work, more people don’t work.

    Is Stossel saying that The Trump Welfare and Handout Virus Panic Act of 2020 was a complete waste of money?

    Just say it Stossel. Republicans need to hear it. Trump wants another couple of trillion to hand out.

    1. Obviously this is just from my personal world but most of the folks from my work spanning left and right political spectrums felt the handout was a waste of our money.

      1. Not here. Most of them thought the cash handouts to people should have been bigger, with less going to the filthy capitalists.

    2. You mean the “handouts” that was 80% the Democrats idea/pitch? Yes; it wasn’t just a complete waste of money it was down-right fraud… As is all socialist legislation.

      “Republicans need to hear it” — Not really; The Republican platform ALREADY states it. RINO’S in D.C. need to hear it as well as every-single Democrat since their entire platform supports it.

    3. *DNC congress passes out trillions like it’s Monopoly money and Trump has to remove half of their promises*
      *meanwhile, at Nuttplugs*
      “The Trump Welfare and Handout Virus Panic Act of 2020”

      1. Nuttplugs
        You misspelled “turd”; it’s what he is.

    4. You say that as if the democrats weren’t also foaming at the mouth to hand out money. And there is 1 key difference. The government is the one that prevented many of those people from being able to work. While it would have been to allow them to continue working, if they are going to force you to not work, they should compensate you for it.

  9. Forced equality is the lowest common denominator.

  10. “But…but…no! They’re not failing! We just aren’t progging hard enough! Give us more money and we’ll show you!”

    1. Give us more money = Re-enact Slavery.

    2. From “The Human Future: A Problem in Design” [Daniel Quinn]:

      In general (it can be said with reasonable justification) natural selection works on this principle, “If it doesn’t work, do it LESS.” Any gene that works against reproductive success tends to be eliminated from the gene pool–is found less and less in the gene pool until it finally disappears. Doing less of what doesn’t work is a principle that is practically instinctive to the human designer. But when it comes to our social organizations, the people of our culture follow a very different principle: If it doesn’t work, do it MORE.

      I almost always get a laugh with this statement. I’m not sure whether it’s the shock of recognition or if people just think I’m kidding. I’m certainly not kidding. The principle is best seen at work in the institutions dedicated to maintaining the stability of our structures and systems. It’s an anti-evolutionary principle, a principle that keeps anything new from happening. Here are some examples.

      If spending a billion dollars doesn’t win the war on drugs, spend two billion. If spending two billion doesn’t work, spend four. Sound familiar?

      If hiring a thousand cops doesn’t stop crime in your city, hire 2000. If hiring 2000 doesn’t work, hire 4000.

      If sentencing criminals to 10 years doesn’t work, sentence them to 20 years. If 20 years doesn’t work, sentence them to 50–to 500, a thousand!

      If building a thousand prisons doesn’t work, build 2000. If building 2000 doesn’t work, build 4000.

      If assigning two hours of homework doesn’t work, assign three. If assigning three doesn’t work, assign four.

      I became aware of this principle when I was the head of the mathematics department at the Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation. Someone gave me a white paper that had been put together by the National Association of Teachers of English examining the state of teaching and objectives for the future. In spite of all the themes we give them to write, they said, kids aren’t learning to how to write. So what we have to do is–guess what?–give them MORE THEMES to write. Writing 20 themes a year doesn’t work, so give them 30. And if 30 doesn’t work, give them 40.

      If you’re taxpayers, you’ve seen your tax bills for education escalate steadily, year after year, decade after decade, as every year the schools struggle to do more of what doesn’t work. Everyone connected to the system is completely convinced that if spending nine trillion doesn’t work, then you just need to spend ten.

      1. So if 500 calories doesn’t work, let’s try 1000. If that doesn’t work let’s try 2,000. Hmmm, that seems to do the trick.

        I get your point, but the same logic can fuel both sides of the argument. It’s all relative to your starting point.

        1. Agreed. Now if we used some sort of metric to determine if our policies were having the intended consequence, then at least we could attempt to use math and logic to determine if it was remotely worth it. But when you try to bring numbers into the conversation people just complain that you’re being cold-hearted and reducing life to a bunch of numbers… Some days there’s no winning.

  11. Great article
    Progressive policies always make everything worse.
    The best thing to do is to leave people alone.
    Each person working for his/her best interest will result in maximum good for the greatest number.

    1. There’ve been a handful of times when the progressives are correct… But it’s pretty rare. Occasionally they will agree with things like getting government out of the bedroom… Until the go full crazy and insist the government makes sure everyone feels comfortable in their bedroom. *sigh* We worked so hard to get them out of there…

  12. I have often said that the key to stopping socialism is to make sure that capitalism works for all. Interest in socialism rises as people see no future for them in capitalism. Government policies that favor the wealthiest eventually result in wealth inequalities and the impoundment of capital, this in turn undermines capitalism itself. The key to a successful capitalist economy is a large middle class that keeps capital moving through the economy. Government policy has for too long favored the wealthiest and placated the poorest at the expense of the middle class.

    1. The middle class? Those are the filthy bourgeoisie, comrade. Why do you care what happens to THEM?

    2. Well, “Government policy has for too long favored the wealthiest and placated the poorest” — is socialist policy NOT capitalism.

      I must give points to the scam artist who successfully schemed the popularity behind the words “crony capitalism”.. It’s about as idiotic as scheming words like “drought rain” or a “winter of global warming” lol…. since capitalism relies on a limited government and there cannot be “crony” bribery on a powerless government. It has and always will be “crony socialism”.

      The only one’s who, “see no future for them in capitalism” are criminals that want to steal instead of earn a future. And there’s a lot of people who’d rather steal stuff than earn it.

      1. A lot of people particularly young people don’t see a future in capitalism. Why? Well they were told that they need to get a education to get a good job, then they find that they are in so much debt their job may never pay for it all. Or maybe they see a parent who worked for a company for 20 years and then the company decided to close shop. The owners walked away comfortable while their parent struggle. Or they see a new stadium being built at public expense while their school buildings crumble or roads have potholes. Capitalism offers opportunities but does not offer guarantees, that alright. But when those opportunities also go people lose faith.

        1. ” get a education to get a good job”

          Yeah, not a lot of jobs for gender studies grads. Get a real education in an in-demand major and there’s no problem getting a job.

          Before taking on debt, have a look at a chart like

          Also, before whining about crushing debt, realize that the average student loan debt is about $31k (“In 2019 the average student loan debt is $31172 []). That’s about the price of a new mid-range car, which most car loans are structured to pay off in 3-5 years. I bet if people graduated without student loan debt, but ran out an borrowed $35K for a new car, they wouldn’t be crying about how unfair their debt was.

          1. My student loan debt was $25K, thirty years ago. Best money I ever borrowed.

          2. Not to mention, universities often struggle to be economical because they are so far removed from actually competitive forces. We keep pushing for more subsidized tuition, which overall will do little expect to raise the price of tuition. It doesn’t even do much to reduce the out of pocket expenses of those attending.

        2. “A lot of people particularly young people don’t see a future in capitalism. Why? Well they were told that they need to get a education to get a good job, then they find that they are in so much debt their job may never pay for it all.”

          Ya know, you’re right. Capitalism tends to favor those who, when adding 2 and 2 get an answer somewhere close to 4.
          You seem to hope capitalism can somehow be arranged such that those who get the answer of “how should I know?” are equally rewarded.
          But then, you’re pretty stupid that way.

        3. “they find that they are in so much debt” — Socialist Policy (i.e. FAFSA)
          “get a education to get a good job” — Socialist Policy (i.e. Licensing)
          “see a new stadium being built at (!-public expense-!) while their school buildings crumble or roads have potholes” — Socialist Policy.
          “The owners walked away comfortable while their parent struggle.” — And the parent isn’t the “owner” because?

          “when those opportunities also go people lose faith” — Yes. Socialist policy should cause people to loose faith in socialism yet the left will mislead them to blame capitalism for socialism’s problems.

          “Capitalism offers opportunities but does not offer guarantees” — Guarantees to what? The ability to take without earning? Is that criminal “guarantee” worth supporting or even logically possible since what is taken somebody has to create. The end-sum is a “guaranteed” slave state.

          VALUE = WEALTH
          POWER = JUSTICE

          1. When POWER=WEALTH, Value and Justice go out the window.

    3. Freedom results in wealth inequality, since more creative, harder working and productive people can acquire more.
      Wealth inequality is a good thing. If you try to stop it, you discourage creativity, hard work, and productivity.
      The more you try to force equality, the worse off everyone gets.

      1. I have no problem with wealth inequality to a point. My concern is when the inequality widen too an unsustainable level. When the wealthiest people use their wealth to only create more wealth. This can also create barrier so people beneath can never get wealthy. The most sustainable capitalist system has a large strong middle class where people can through their efforts or failure moves up or down in that middle class bracket.

        1. “I have no problem with wealth inequality to a point. My concern is when the inequality widen too an unsustainable level.”

          Which is total bullshit.
          Neither you, nor anyone else has any quantitative knowledge of that steaming pile of shit means.
          I’ll tell you what it means:

        2. “This can also create barrier so people beneath can never get wealthy.” — because of socialist policies (GOV) that make competition illegal.

          In a free-market the wealthiest people’s wealth is wholly liable on their value to society. Anyone who can add more value can take that wealth away. That’s the very basis of ‘justice’ as-in the *value* you give is equivalent to the *value* you get.

      2. Inequality is like potential energy. I think the system needs it to incentivize people to innovate and produce.

  13. And the worse part of it is these Nut-Job Minneapolis residents will migrate to “greener pastures” (Red States) and eat them up too just as soon as they destroy their own pastures. Nazi’s (i.e. National Socialists) don’t create, innovate, or grow — they take, steal and destroy one pasture after the next.

  14. I like how you guy like capitalism. . . until you don’t.

    Social Media
    And now this:

    1. Please tell me which libertarians are involved with blocking a legal industry from the banking system (in the case of guns, this started under the Obama administration).

      1. As far as opposing the banking industry from cutting off legal industries, do not know how it is libertarian to side with that.

    2. “I like how you guy like capitalism. . . until you don’t.
      [some list]…”

      WIH are you posting about?

  15. It’s time for more capitalism.


  16. Socialism is in my view worse than Communism. Under the Soviets you were assigned a job and you had to do it or you went to the gulag. Under this form of Socialism, meh, maybe I will get a job or maybe just hang around and smoke pot, play video games, chat on my iPhone 11 and still get paid, get insurance all on the other guys back. That was the one of the biggest causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union, as more liberal policies were introduced people just stopped working or did not care how well they did the job, if you’re getting paid the same why bother. It is why they gave big bonuses to the ones they needed to do a good job, pilots, Cosmonauts, doctors that cared for the Politburo and their families etc.

    1. Someone needs to look up the word liberal. It had real meaning before the race-building policies of Herbert Hoover and Adolf Hitler retasked it as an expletive.

      1. Huh? Hitler sent liberals to the concentration camps. Hoover called himself a “progressive”. It was FDR that misappropriated “liberal” to distinguish himself from Hoover – he had to change the name, because there wasn’t much real difference in their policies.

  17. Isn’t it weird that Minneapolis which has been run by Democrats for 40 years has a police department so full of murderous racists that it has to be completely disbanded and rebuilt from the ground up?

    1. or maybe the problem really isn’t racism, it’s just police brutality in general, and the bad cops being protected from firing by the police unions that fund the local politicians?

      1. No. Racism is the only possible cause. To suggest otherwise is racist.

    2. The big secret about brutal cops, which no one dares utter, is that the city police department is run by city government. The city council hires the police chief. The city council establishes law enforcement priorities. The city council works with the police union.

      If a city council has been promising to “reform” police since the Rodney King riots, and nothing has changed, fire the city council. Otherwise the city will sweep all the Black Lives Matter nonsense back under the rug, right after the election, as it has been for generations.

  18. Concentrate on the areas of the country where capitalism is strong, and let the socialists areas die.

  19. True capitalism helps end racism. Businesses that discriminate in hiring or customer experience don’t do as well as businesses that hire the best people regardless of race, and treat all customers respectfully. It was state governments that enforced Jim Crow laws, because businesses had an incentive to accept business from everyone.

  20. We should stop calling it capitalism, call it “free market economics”. Millions of people making millions of individual economic choices with millions of other people for their mutual benefit with minimal government intrusion.

    1. I think it should be called Freedom. No one has to do, sell, or buy anything unless they’re willing to, and their counterparty (employer, buyer, seller) is willing also – on the terms they agree between themselves.

    2. True dat. When you adopt the vocabulary of the enemies of freedom, you’ve half-surrendered already.

  21. Ignorance is a renewable resource.

  22. Herbert Hoover’s Republican prohibition asset forfeiture wrecked the economy and upped communist membership by an order of magnitude. The FDR administration was awash in them 86 years ago, when in July 1934 State Troopers with shotguns and fixed bayonets occupied Minneapolis under martial law. Today’s situation looks and quacks like more of the same.

  23. The presence of Republicans on the Minneapolis city council could add to police shooting kids over plant leaves, but nothing else. The lack of a single Libertarian is a tragedy. One dissenter weakens collectivist social pressure to make poor decisions by 16%. This was measured in 1955 and the Solomon Asch experiment has been repeated many times. Republicans, like Democrats, are part of the socialist-fascist mixed economy problem. The capitalism Marx described was monarchic monopolistic slaveholding mercantilism.

  24. There’s something called the asset test, a rule which applies in many means-tested benefits programs. If you have more than a few thousand dollars in the bank you are not eligible for food stamps, subsidized housing or Medicaid in many states. The eligibility process requires your bank statements. Some states have waivers for the food stamps part and the states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA don’t have to check assets for some programs. But as far as I know public housing and section 8 always check.
    It is a significant disincentive to save. If you know that you will essentially be punished for saving by eventually losing benefits and having to move to pay twice or three times your rent. People put their money into cars instead or jewelry.

    The “Poor communities don’t save” stats have reasons. Once you’re in that position assets become a disadvantage in the short term. If the asset test was removed, some, not all, would save money.

    1. Excellent point! SSI recipients to have less than $2,000 in assets, for a single person, and $3,000 for a couple. How absurd is that?!?!

  25. “The problem with capitalism as we know it is this idea that we have to have constant growth…”

    YES. The speculators drive the market and there has to be growth every single quarter until the end of time. No system is inherently bad, humans make every system bad.

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  27. I was just reading a BBC article about the Chicago funeral shooting. The article was written in such a way that a naive reader might think it was just another crazed mass shooting and that Trump supporters were possibly responsible. The article was so jarring in its focus, jumping from Trump sending in federal troops, George Flloyd, Covid19, white supremacism, that the shooting only served as a means to push a narrative rather than convey the facts as known: that it was just another gangland shooting among blacks. If people are not questioning the media, it’s no wonder so many people still support Democrats.

  28. Socialism replaces the old Robber Barons with far worse. A greedy ruling class backed by police force.

  29. If the oligarch would do the right thing, people would not be calling for change.

  30. Progressive economic policies only fail if you measure success by increasing overall standard of living for a society, or by the level of capable adults who aren’t forced to live permanently as wards of the State.

    If you measure by general lack of inequality, and can ignore the fact that there are shortages (so long as they affect almost everyone somewhat “equally”) and everyone is dependent on some central authority figure to provide the basics of subsistence, then progressive economics can be portrayed as a version of “successful”.

  31. You are so spot on! We feel that we need to control and take action, when sometimes the best plan is to take no action at all. The “invisible hand” of economics is difficult to have faith with, and it seems more correct to most people and certainly to politicians to force a solution when the best plan would have been to hang back. Furthermore, we often assume we know the right action to take, and we continue to spend money on bad plans, because “we know we are right“, and just need to push harder, so we double and triple down on flawed plans. Also, when a government funded organization spends money, it is often punished if it does not spend its entire budget, by getting a reduced budget the following year. In fact the best way to go as a government funded entity is to overspend, cry poor, and beg for more money. All of this results in us spending money and the collective will of the people to implement plans that in reality oppose our long term plans and interests. The merit of an idea should be judged by its success or failure when implemented, not by the desires of what we wish to be true.

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  33. Stossel’s videos should be required viewing in all schools, especially those controlled by the government

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