Season 3 - Episode 2 with John Stossel
From consumer reporter to market enthusiast

John Stossel is a long-time journalist, author, and television personality. He left ABC’s 20/20, where he was co-anchor, in 2009 in order to host his own show on Fox Business. In late 2016, he announced his last Fox show, and a new collaboration with Reason TV. He is the author of three books: Give Me a Break (2004), Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (2007), and No, They Can't: Why Government Fails—But Individuals Succeed (2012).

 

The world of journalism is not generally known for its support of markets unfettered by government intervention. Indeed, many believe there is a so-called “liberal bias” in much of the media. As John Stossel reports in this wide-ranging interview, he once shared such anti-market views. He began his career as a consumer reporter out to expose crooked business owners, winning multiple Emmys for his work.

But over time, he began to notice that like many of the faulty products or shifty services he had spent his early career debunking, government regulations and programs often do not function as advertised. “I gradually saw how this regulation all we consumer activists were calling for sounded good, but it made things worse. It didn’t solve the problem… The regulation just made everything cost more.”

When markets are free, however, producers must compete for your business, and cheaters don’t usually prosper for long because word gets around. The best way to get really rich in such a scenario, Stossel argues, is to serve your customers well, and as a result, products and services tend to improve. “We should all thank capitalism when we go to the supermarket: 30,000 products, the aisles are wide, it’s well-lit, it’s open 24/7 unlike anything the government does.” Yet we take such modern marvels for granted.

From rent control hurting poor people, to Uber getting banned by trendy politicians in Austin, Stossel is not shy about expressing his views. He also takes on the EPA, which he says should stand for “Enough Protection Already,” and claims that bureaucrats think they’re not doing their jobs if they’re not constantly writing new regulations. But the world doesn’t fall apart if people are free to pursue their own goals. Instead, it actually gets better.

Links of interest: John Stossel on Fox | Reason TV | No, They Can't: Why Government Fails—But Individuals Succeed

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