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Free Minds & Free Markets

'We Have a Lot of Work to Do'

ABC's John Stossel on defending the market from within the liberal media

John Stossel is the best-known libertarian in the news media. As the co-anchor of the long-running and immensely popular ABC News program 20/20, auteur of a continuing series of specials on topics ranging from corporate welfare to educational waste to laws criminalizing consensual adult behavior, and author of best-selling books such as Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, Stossel brings a consistent message of liberty to millions of viewers on a weekly basis.

It wasn’t always this way. Born in 1947, Stossel started out as a standard-issue consumer reporter, working in Oregon and New York before joining the staff of Good Morning America and, later, 20/20. He did scare stories about everything from pharmaceutical rip-offs to exploding coffee pots. Then, in the 1980s, he encountered reason, which radically changed his thinking about the benefits of laissez faire in economics and personal lifestyles.

“It was a revelation,” he writes in his 2004 memoir, Give Me a Break. “Here were writers who analyzed the benefits of free markets that I witnessed as a reporter. They called themselves libertarians, and their slogan was ‘Free Minds and Free Markets.’ I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but what they wrote sure made sense.”

reason caught up with Stossel in January in Los Angeles, where he was filming a special episode of 20/20 based on six reason.tv documentaries featuring Drew Carey. Among the topics: the desirability of open borders, the need to reform the nation’s drug laws, and the case against universal preschool. Ted Balaker, a reason.tv producer, talked with Stossel about bailouts, his hopes for the Obama years, and his attempt to educate a generation of school kids with a video series called Stossel in the Classroom.

Audio and video of the interview is available online at reason.tv/stossel.

reason: What do you think of the bailout mania that’s sweeping the country?

John Stossel: I think it’s disgusting. They keep saying everybody agrees that we have to bail these people out and the feds have to spend trillions of your tax dollars guaranteeing this and that. It’s just so irresponsible. We’ve got a $35 trillion Medicare liability already that they’re not facing. Now they’re going to throw more trillions of dollars to stop this recession, like we’re not allowed to experience any pain in America. There are recessions. There are booms and busts. Bubbles have to pop.

In this case, there are smart people, like [former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs chief] Hank Paulson, making the argument that this is different: You’ve got the credit lock; the whole system is at stake. That is possible, but what I’ve learned over 30 years of consumer reporting is that the people closest to the problem panic. And when they panic, that is an invitation for government to get bigger. It’s not only war that is the friend of the state. Any crisis is the friend of the state.

The mad cow disease doctors were convinced we were all going to have holes in our brains and anybody who ate meat was at risk of these horrible diseases. The Y2K technicians were convinced all the planes were going to crash. Now it’s the Wall Street investment bankers, who unfortunately are allowed to spend trillions of our dollars in their panic.

reason: Let’s take a quick look back at the Bush years. Spending has exploded to historic proportions. Regulations exploded too. Yet people look back on the Bush years and say it’s a failure of free market policies. What do you say to that?

Stossel: I say bullshit. There was no deregulation under Bush. People don’t know that, yet everybody says, “See, your libertarian ideas, they’re wrong and this proves it.” First of all, there was no real deregulation. [The repeal of the Depression-era banking regulation] Glass-Steagall was done under Clinton, and he rightly defends that. Banks that had more options after Glass-Steagall were not the ones that got into trouble. Under Bush, the regulators have added more pages of rules than any administration ever. The cost of regulation has gone up more under Bush than any president before. And yet, because of the bad media coverage and assumptions about Republicans, people think it as
laissez-faire.

I’m sure there are some people at regulatory agencies—at least I hope there were—who said, “You know, a lot of these rules are bad and we’re going to be less aggressive about them under Bush.” But that’s not what caused this bubble. The bubble was the government saying: “Lend more, lend more. You’re discriminating against poor people; you’re racist. Lend to more people.” That’s not deregulation.

reason: What are your hopes and fears for the Obama years?

Stossel: My fear is that they’ll spend us all into bankruptcy and we’ll be like the people in the Weimar Republic, running around with wheelbarrows full of cash because inflation is so bad. We’re trillions of dollars in the hole for just Social Security and Medicare. They won’t have the guts to raise taxes. Well, maybe they will, but they won’t be able to raise taxes enough to pay for Social Security and Medicare because you’d have to take just about all people make, and that would totally destroy the economy. They won’t cut the programs because we older people want the best of medical care, and we’re going to demand it, and the politicians can’t say no to anybody.

reason: And your hope?

Stossel: Hey, Nixon went to China. Maybe Obama will be financially responsible. And maybe he’ll do the things that reason thinks should be done, like legalizing drugs and prostitution and ending the criminalization of behavior between consenting adults.

Hayek called it a fatal conceit to think you can plan an economy. I think it’s also a fatal conceit to predict what these politicians will do.

reason: Talk about your collaboration with reason.tv and Drew Carey and how it came about.

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  • ||

    So was it the liberals in the media that were cheerleaders for Bush's invasion of Iraq?

    I'm not saying there aren't liberals in the mainstream media, but they really aren't like the old liberal elites of the 70s that actually ran everything.

    If liberals were actually in charge at the NYT do you really think they would have pushed the bogus WMD stories that landed Judith Miller in all of her troubles?

    Do you really think a liberal media would spend the Bush years being lap dogs that ignored every major scandal from the rationale for war, to lying about torture, to the hands off approach to the economy?

    Citing Fox News as a balance to "liberal media" is a laugh, because Fox News is basically a propaganda arm of the Republican party. They don't present things in a balanced manner at all. How is that helpful?

    Of the cable three, you have MSNBC, which is openly going liberal. You have Fox News openly going neo-conservative; And you have CNN which just throws a mix of both extremes (Lou Dobbs for the righties, And I guess Cooper for the lefties).

    The network news networks aren't liberal biased anymore. That line has worn out. Liberal bias wouldn't have pushed for the Iraq war so hard as the networks did. They never questioned authority during the Bush years. To be fair, the networks aren't conservative biased either. They're corporate biased. They only report stories that aren't damaging to their corporate owners. When is the last time you saw a hard hitting story on NBC about what General Electric was up to?

    I don't doubt there are many liberals that work in the the mainstream media, but their corporate owners have been pretty successful in keeping a true liberal viewpoint stifled.

    In the 70s the "Liberal Media" title was deserved. These days it's the Corporate Media, and that pretty much sums it up.

  • ||

    Hey Beelzebud, were you asleep the entire 2008 election?

    The media sucked off BO so much I almost felt embarassed for them. Compare and contrast with their smear campaign against Palin.

    But hey, how does it feel to find out that your messiah is just a Carter Redux?

  • ||

    Beelzebud,

    You are so far left that they don't look biased to your biased eyes.

    Do you know who initiated a policy of regime change in Iraq in 1998? Clinton.

    Gore would have gone to war with Iraq the same as Bush. The media ate that stuff up because the media is stupid, but also because the rest of the world ate that stuff up too (French intelligence parroted many of the WMD claims).

    It's obvious to anyone with half a brain how biased the media is. Thankfully, the internet has changed things and people like Dan Rather get caught in their lies.

  • ||

    Oh and with regards to Iraq the media cheerleaded against the war since around the summer of 2003, predicting the failure of The Surge, how it would be another Vietnam and so on.

    Pull your head out of your ass and take a look at reality.

  • ||

    I was fully awake during the 2008 election, and I seem to remember lots of talk about Obama's preacher, his citizenship, Is he a commie?, his past associations, etc etc etc.

    If you think they were too easy on him, you're the one that was asleep.

    The reason the media was hard on Sara Palin is because she deserved it. That person should never have been given a shot at running this country.

  • ||

    I was fully awake during the 2008 election, and I seem to remember lots of talk about Obama's preacher, his citizenship, Is he a commie?, his past associations, etc etc etc.



    Oh please they didn't even scratch the surface of Rev. Wright. Not to mention there wasn't one mention of his illegal fundraising in the MSM, disabling the address verficiation and on his website for credit card donations and donations from foreigners and so on.

    When Palin said he was a socialist, the media ridiculed it.

    A few months later, Newsweek puts out a cover saying "WE'RE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW".

    The MSM makes me sick.

  • ||

    Palin had more experience than BO, but the MSM didn't like her because she wasn't an inside-the-beltway cocktail party antendee.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, I thought there would be libertarians here to debate with. I didn't realize the only commenters here were Sara Palin groupies.

  • ||

    Penn is annoyed. Tsk, tsk.

  • ||

    I'm not a "groupie" of anyone but I know a smear job when I see one, and that's what happend to Palin.

    I'm gonna ask you agian:

    How does it feel to see The Annointed ONE, the Messiah, the Teleprompter of the United States, fail even more epically than Carter?

  • ||

    in his appearance before Congress, Bernanke revealed with a single word who really runs the United States:

    Senator Sanders: "Will you tell the American people to whom you lent $2.2 trillion of their dollars?"

    Bernanke: "No"
    No?

    Indeed, Bernanke and Treasury refuse to provide this information even confidentially and off-the-record to Congress. And the official overseer of the TARP bailout program can't even get the information of where all the bailout money is going. See also this.

    With his single word "no", Bernanke revealed that Congress is impotent and out of the loop. In other words, Congress doesn't really run the country in the core area of business, finance and the economy. The financial giants and their servants at the Fed and Treasury do.

  • ||

    Stossel made his name with sensationalistic scare stories. His problem is that he's still doing the same crappy stories, but from a libertarian point of view. Which isn't much consolation.

  • ||

    Pop in to see what the talk of the town is about.

    Liberal is offended that there is a place on the web that substantially disagrees with him.

    He demands a redress of grievances.

    Libertarian commentators oblige by turning the discussion over to his rabid fixations.

    Topic gets buried.

  • ||

    Also in the news today is this headline:

    Auto suppliers to get $5 billion in aid

    Why bother to hustle to go after customers when all it takes is to give Nancy Pelosi a wink and a nod and little squeeze of the gams. She is not a bad looking broad, I know I would do this for a cool 5 billion.

  • ||

    Damn you Kahn, Lord of Tags!

  • ||

    I feel sorry for anyone who actively seeks out conflict like that. Well, kind of sorry.

    I think Stossel has so many enemies because he does make libertarian ideas presentable to the masses - people who may be street-smart but not necessarily intellectual. He's actually more of a threat to them than Reason in that way.

  • ||

    Sarah Palin? Really? Did Drudge link to this story or something?

  • ||

    I agree Old Bull Lee,

    Ask Stossel's critics who believe he peddles 'sensationalism' if they believe Bill Moyers to be a REAL journalist and nine out ten times, you can count on what that answer will be.

  • ||

    I don't see any libertarians in the comments. Just liberals and GOP apologists.

  • ||

    Libertarians are a kind of right wing conservative, John.

  • ||

    Hey now, I'm neither of those things.

  • ||

    Libertarians are a kind of right wing conservative

    Well, except for disagreeing with right wing conservatives on at least half of their agenda.

  • ||

    "I'm sorry, I thought there would be libertarians here to debate with. I didn't realize the only commenters here were Sara Palin groupies."

    I'm a Libertarian. Step up to the plate.

  • ||

    If right wing means the opposite of the statist left wing, I'm good with that.

  • ||

    "As reason readers know, companies that were racist and homophobic would bid up the price of whites and straights, and a business then that hired only gay men or women would clean their clock because they'd have better workers they could hire more effectively. The market sorts these things out."

    Check out this reasoning. Racists and homophobic employers would get paid more and minorities would get paid less... and that solves the problem. Liberty and Justice for all.

  • ||

    There's no such thing as a "right wing statist".

  • ||

    Libertarians are a kind of right wing conservative

    Now you tell me. I thought they were "classical" liberals. ;-)

  • Rimfax||

    Beelzebud,

    You make some good points, but the media's uncritical approach to the Iraq invasion doesn't really discredit the "liberal" label. As the legacies of President's Clinton, Carter, Johnson, Truman, and Roosevelt show, military adventurism is a strong motivator for the left as well, as long as it bears popular support in their constituencies.

    I don't know that anyone noted that FoxNews's conservative bias served as "balance" in any way, but you are right that that isn't enough to define the rest as liberally biased. However, there is ample subjective and even a smattering of objective contemporary work demonstrating that virtually all of the mainstream media outlets, with the notable exception of FoxNews, carry varying degrees of a liberal bias.

  • ||

    "This hatred of business-I'm not sure what that's about. I used to think it was envy, that the college professor is angry that his slightly stupider roommate is making more money than he is because he's in business."

    Is he talking about liberals hating businesses or business people? It seems to me conservatives and conservative libertarians confuse businesses with living breathing human beings. Businesses are created to serve people's needs, not the other way around. Making businesses serve people better shouldn't seem as though people hate business - it just that maybe liberals realize businesses don't have feelings that can be hurt.(?)

    "Then you think about the kings and queens of Europe. People didn't hate them for all their wealth, and their wealth proportionately was vastly greater than now, but they hated the bourgeoisie."

    Maybe because they already had the wealth. This preconception maybe because people that are always out for a quick buck, always thinking about money and profit and always trying to sell you something, come off as sleazy and shallow. That will never change.

    "They gave them that nasty name. They hated the very people who sold them the things that they needed to make their lives better. What's that about?"
    Those people didn't necessarily pay well or provide good working conditions or care if they fired you for looking at them funny. They had plenty of liberty to do what they wanted with their businesses - and the people revolted. Imagine that - to bad they didn't have a biased liberal media on there side :)

  • Rimfax||

    asdf,

    Racists and homophobic employers would get paid more and minorities would get paid less.

    Until they strangled their employers to death with their overinflated wages, yes, they would be paid more.

    Of course, if they were members of the historically racist Auto Workers Union, they'd be immune to even that consequence, thanks to bailout checks from their liberal "friends" in Congress.

  • ||

    "However, there is ample subjective and even a smattering of objective contemporary work demonstrating that virtually all of the mainstream media outlets, with the notable exception of FoxNews, carry varying degrees of a liberal bias."

    also anyone ever notice how in academia there is a biased towards intellectual discourse. I've also noticed a bias at NASA for people with science and engineering backgrounds, I mean, come on, only nerds are allowed in space?

  • ||

    "thanks to bailout checks from their liberal "friends" in Congress."

    It's almost as if money corrupts people! Maybe we should give more power to the people whose sole goal it is to make profit than. Yeah, that's the ticket!

  • ||

    But that's not what caused this bubble. The bubble was the government saying: "Lend more, lend more. You're discriminating against poor people; you're racist. Lend to more people." That's not deregulation.

    Mr. Stossel, that's just too damn simplistic. Investment banks leveraging CDO's until their net value was far greater than the GDP of the entire world may have had something to do with it, eh?

    Black and white arguments against market "regulation" are stupid. The real world is far more subtle.

  • ||

    "How does it feel to see The Annointed ONE, the Messiah, the Teleprompter of the United States, fail even more epically than Carter?"

    LOL

    That's really all a comment like that deserves.

    A reasonable person wouldn't be declaring someone a failure when they've only served 2 months out of a 4 year term.

  • ||

    I am educator and his point about education is pitiful. Just hire 4 great teachers with that money he says. Like the teachers are the only thing that goes into education. Infrastructure, support staff, admin staff, counselors. For someone who thinks that people don't understand lib. views because they aren't good television, he sure likes to simplify the education situation in this country. Here is the Stossel formula: If it fits in my ideology, it's complicated and you just don't understand it. If it goes against my ideology, it's simple how to fix it and everyone is just is fooled by the liberal media. Bottom line: everyone is a bunch of scared idiots thanks to liberals and the biased media. Thanks, John.

  • ||

    You know what this website needs? More Stossel.

  • ||

    Face it, Bezzlebud, he's in over his head and rational Dems are already jumping off the sinking ship (Evan Bayh and his group of moderates).

    He can't even chose a competent Treasury Secretary. He's an idiot who got in over his head with the help of a complicit media.

  • ||

    Check out this reasoning. Racists and homophobic employers would get paid more and minorities would get paid less... and that solves the problem. Liberty and Justice for all.

    You missed the point - whoever hired the lower paid minorities would be able to produce with far less cost than the racist competitor, forcing the later into bankruptcy or a lesser chunk of the market. Other competitors would also hire more minorities and other people willing to work for less - thus bidding wages lower for whites as well.

    The competition between companies to hire more minorities, expecting a higher return for the wages spent, would bid the price of minority labor HIGHER, thus meeting at a middle point with the lowering wages for whites.

    This does not happen right now because of 2 things - regulations and unions. Regulations that do not allow "discrimination" makes it difficult for a company to hire people that bid down the wages, i.e. minorities, married women, you name it. Thus, companies prefer to hire people that will not be enticed to waging litigation wars with the employers - which means automatic lower employment for minorities, married women, you name it. Unions tend to bid prices up by force, plus allowing limited membership, which causes lower employment rates as well.

  • ||

    Beelzebud,

    Bullshit. He's been godawful from Day One. And the lies and misdirections should be upsetting people on his side of the aisle, too. But no, y'all are going to say, "Rah, team!" just like the GOP did through the last administration.

  • ||

    He's been in office for 2 months. If he is truly a failure after his term, I'll help vote him out.

    But declaring his presidency a failure after 2 months is ridiculous.

  • ||

    "You missed the point..."

    Nope, I saw the point, and it's ridiculous.

    If that's how you like your justice try this on for size. No one likes child molesters, right? So what we do is pay them twice as much as everyone else, and via the magic of free markets - no more child molesters - or at least out of work ones.

    Hey, that logic fits in all kinds of places. If you have an employeer who sexually harasess women - he would eventually have to pay women more to come work for him - Presto Chango - JUSTICE. No more need for regulations and silly laws where we could just put our faith in abstract economic theory!

  • ||


    But declaring his presidency a failure after 2 months is ridiculous.


    I would not call spending double the last deficit, going back on his promises, and choosing cheaters or crackpots into his cabinet as being a "success".

  • ||

    If that's how you like your justice try this on for size. No one likes child molesters, right? So what we do is pay them twice as much as everyone else, and via the magic of free markets - no more child molesters - or at least out of work ones.

    You will have to explain to me what does one thing (wages for minorities vs. non minorities) have to do with child molesters.


    Hey, that logic fits in all kinds of places. If you have an employeer [sic], who sexually harasess women[sic] - he would eventually have to pay women more to come work for him - Presto Chango - JUSTICE.

    Or maybe he could do it cheaper and stop harassing women. Or he would have to hire more expensive men, once women stopped applying for jobs, putting his company in financial jeopardy.

    No more need for regulations and silly laws where we could just put our faith in abstract economic theory!

    Any theory is abstract. The theory of gravitational attraction is an abstraction, yet I put my faith in it so much I do not jump off a building.

  • ||

    No more need for regulations and silly laws...
    I understand the yen for a good clean simple model. But you can't force it. As Einstein said: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    Of course, he then spent the rest of his life looking for the unified field theory. Sadly, sometimes you wind up with quantum mechanics.

  • ||

    "You will have to explain to me what does one thing (wages for minorities vs. non minorities) have to do with child molesters."

    The fact that we can cure injustice via monetary exchange. It wasn't my idea!

    "Or maybe he could do it cheaper and stop harassing women. Or he would have to hire more expensive men, once women stopped applying for jobs, putting his company in financial jeopardy."
    Maybe...

    "Any theory is abstract. The theory of gravitational attraction is an abstraction, yet I put my faith in it so much I do not jump off a building."
    Thanks to the redundancy police, I now write 10% more efficiently. Thanks.
    There's a small difference between science and dismal economics though, that being you can run control tests against the theory of gravity - or any other scientific theory (that being one of the hallmarks of a scientific theory). If they have somewhere proved that free-market capitalism was the best for society - that place was probably a mental institution.

  • ||

    Mr. Stossel, that's just too damn simplistic. Investment banks leveraging CDO's until their net value was far greater than the GDP of the entire world may have had something to do with it, eh?

    Not possible without the loose money policy of the FED. The point is that the call for more regulation for the banks is disingenuous at best.

  • ||

    "Not possible without the loose money policy of the FED. The point is that the call for more regulation for the banks is disingenuous at best."

    I agree, the FEDs suck so lets just let the banks keep doing what there doing.

    FTG, very persuasive argument, but you lost me in the middle of the second part. I've read it several times through now and every time I glean new nuggets of wisdom. Don't elaborate at all, or it will lose its mystic.

  • ||

    The fact that we can cure injustice via monetary exchange. It wasn't my idea!

    It wasn't mine, either - who said anything about injustice? What's unjust about paying a minority less for a job than a non minority?

    Are you going to tell me a person deserves a higher paying job?

    There's a small difference between science and dismal economics though, that being you can run control tests against the theory of gravity.

    The difference between physics and economics is that in the former you do NOT know the cause why things happen (unless you are prepared to tell me what gravity IS really), so you have to infer from its EFFECTS, assuming the effects will always present themselves in the same pattern throughout the Universe. In economics, we KNOW the cause of things - human action - so there is no point in inferring things a posteriori, since people do not decide the same things over and over. In economics, one DEDUCES how people make decisions and why, starting from reasoned principles. One can deduce what effect a certain policy will have on people's behavior and decisions.

  • ||

    Not possible without the loose money policy of the FED.
    That doesn't automatically follow. Site please?

    The point is that the call for more regulation for the banks is disingenuous at best.
    Many people's imprecise request for "more" might well be interpreted as "better". ;-)

  • ||

    I agree, the FEDs suck so lets just let the banks keep doing what there doing.

    The Federal Reserve, asdf - that's what I mean by the Fed. Not the Fed's (Federal Government), although the central government sucks eggs even more.

    Saying "let's just let the banks keep doing what they're doing" indicates your utter ignorance of how the banking system works when you have a Central Bank. The banks are already heavily regulated, first, by the FDIC and, second, by the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve. Getting rid of the Fed would make banks compete for limited resources, whereas they can receive almost unlimited backing from the Fed as it is.

  • ||

    "But declaring his presidency a failure after 2 months is ridiculous."

    Not if he's failing. Which he is.

  • ||

    The banks are already heavily regulated, first, by the FDIC and, second, by the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.
    This doesn't apply to the investment banks in nearly the way it applies to savings banks. Right?

  • ||

    Jasa,

    You cannot lend more money than what you have, so saying that, somehow, investment banks could leverage CDO's (or anybody) with more money than what they held in reserve. You cannot do that without the backing of the Federal Reserve, and for that, the Fed has to "get" (i.e. create) more money (since the Fed has no assets itself.)

  • ||

    This doesn't apply to the investment banks in nearly the way it applies to savings banks. Right?

    The Fed's policies affect both types of banks.

  • ||

    You cannot lend more money than what you have, so saying that, somehow, investment banks could leverage CDO's (or anybody) with more money than what they held in reserve.

    This is not exactly true. CDO's are not "lending money". They are better characterized as selling bonds. Their valuation is quite complicated.

    Of course, I should have mentioned CDS's. They really aren't "lending money". They are just speculation, and indeed leverage an investment bank far beyond it's reserve.

  • ||

    The Fed's policies affect both types of banks.
    No. For example, reserve regulations do not apply to CDS leveraging.

    Wait, you said affect, not regulate. Is this a trick? Do you mean affect as in "make them giggle"?

  • ||

    You cannot lend more money than what you have,

    Actually, you can. Its what fractional reserve banking is all about.

  • ||

    Gabe (1:27pm) gets it.

    We live in a banana republic.

    Now shut up and go and pay your taxes, like good little serfs.

  • ||

    Why does a smart interview produce such retarded comments?

    oh yeah, because Americans are stupid. Cant argue with that.

  • ||

    You cannot lend more money than what you have,

    Actually, you can. Its what fractional reserve banking is all about.

    You can, for a while. Then suddenly, you can't.
    It's what fractional reserve banking is all about.


    Things that are currently lent out without actually existing:
    Money (Federal Reserve Notes)
    Shares of stock (shares held in "street name", naked short shares, fails to deliver)
    Real estate equity (underwater mortgages)

    In short, we're all short, that is, we all owe what we can't deliver, because we don't actually own it, because it doesn't exist.

    After the crash hits bottom, when we begin using a commodity of real value as money again, the economy can start to rebuild. Not before.

  • ||

    Both Barrack Obama and Sarah Palin were terrible candidates, the difference was Obama was liberal, and Palin a conservative; and thus the liberal media were cheerleaders for Obama and blasted Palin.

    Unless a society is incredibly prejudiced, racism and sexism are not profitable because those who engage in it turn away valuable customers and employees. There is a decent "ends justify the means" argument to justify things like affirmative action right after the end of Jim Crow, but the further we get from that era and the more tolerant people become the more counter productive these policies become.

    There is plenty of room to regulate against fraud, and credit default swaps ought to have been regulated like the insurance policies they essentially are, but the point stands that without the loose monetary policy at the fed none of this would have happened. And the government had ample opportunity to regulate their own mortgage lenders, fannie and freddie, (which some republicans did try to do) but failed to do this because those companies were giving out free houses to their voters and donations to their campaigns.

  • ||

    Stossel himself is just one proof of the baloney in the question begged by the phrase liberal media. The media are lazy and sensationalist -- not liberal. I can cite more evidence that the media are conservative than he can that they're liberal, but I don't prattle on that they are in fact conservative: Stossel & his self-admitted agenda, Stossel and his sugar daddy, the so-called liberal NYT allowing Judith Miller to cheerlead the war in Iraq without simple fact checking, the NYT holding the story on W's wiretaps till after he got re-elected, Fox News holding top spot in cable ratings, every other outlet Murdoch owns, every other outlet a megacorporation owns, John King on CNN letting Cheney propagandize without any follow-up questions, two conservative pundits for every liberal, four neoconservative pundits for every liberal, and the list goes on.
    But, no, the media are lazy and sensationalist -- not conservative, and certainly not liberal.

  • ||

    "Sarah Palin has more experience than Barack Obama"?
    At best that's a value judgment with little to back it up. At worst it's an outright numeric falsehood. Compare their resumes side by side sometime.
    Just because she was elected to executive offices before he was doesn't mean she has more experience; it barely means she gained any experience.

    When Obama was in college, he was president of the Harvard Law Review. When Palin was in college, she was looking for a different college that would give her better grades.

    He taught law at U Chicago. She still doesn't know the laws controlling her authority as Governor.

    When Obama was "just" a community organizer, he dealt with more people than Palin did in Wasilla. He then went on to be elected state senator and US Senator.

    The list goes on.

  • ||

    SB-

    If you consider things such as community organizer, professor, and Senator to be experience for being an executive at a company or the federal government, you're deluded.

    Running things and talking about them are not comparable skill sets.

  • ||

    Ok, I am a big John Stossel fan, but I want to correct one oversimplification he made in this interview. He said that the repeal of the Depression-era banking regulation Glass-Steagall "was done under Clinton, and he rightly defends that. Banks that had more options after Glass-Steagall were not the ones that got into trouble." True, it was done under Clinton. But banks DID get into more trouble as a result of its repeal.

    Let me explain: The repeal of the Glass-Steagall act allowed commercial and investment banks to consolidate. For example, Citibank merged with Travelers Group, an insurance company, and in 1998 formed the conglomerate Citigroup, a corporation combining banking and insurance underwriting services. (It is interesting to note that in November 2008 Citigroup receives $25 billion in federal TARP bailout money, which in February 2009 the US government converts into common shares amounting to a 36% equity stake in the company.)

    Economists Robert Ekelund & Mark Thornton have criticized the Act as contributing to the subprime mortgage financial crisis, arguing that while "in a world regulated by a gold standard, 100% reserve banking, and no FDIC deposit insurance" the Financial Services Modernization Act would have made "perfect sense" as a legitimate act of deregulation, under the present fiat monetary system it "amounts to corporate welfare for financial institutions and a moral hazard that will make taxpayers pay dearly".

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    Gametheory (sorry, I'm not going to pretend to be illiterate or elite or whatever):

    If you're defending Palin, then being mayor of a backwater and governor of a state with a tiny population and with state funds richly paid by taxing oil companies is also not experience for being an executive.

    If you're equating company executive with chief executive, then Perot & Forbes should've been able to make their cases better. Bush, however, does support that equivalency: terrible corporate executive --> terrible President. Running a company is different from running a government. Legislating in a large state and at the federal level is different from serving as President. No job is on-the-job preparation for being President. At least Obama has government and Constitutional knowledge -- and the ability to out-campaign a long-time presumptive nominee and a well-liked centrist Republican. But don't try to say Palin, McCain, Bush I or II, Clinton, or Reagan already knew how to be President.

    If you're just bashing Obama, I probably can't say anything to convince you otherwise. The worst of the current problems are far more than two months in the making, and when it comes to running things, Obama has a long list of checkmarks on his things to do. I'm sure you don't like what he's checked off, but he's checking them off.

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