Fox News' John Stossel: 'No, Government Can't'

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In politics, dreams run big and guarantees are endless.  Voters can easily be led to believe that the federal government is the answer to society's woes. 

But should the federal government write and enforce legislation to promote ethical issues like enforcing traditional marriage, or discourage bad practices like outlawing pot?

Fox Business Host and New York Times bestselling author John Stossel says "No."

A self-described skeptic, Stossel has spent his career in journalism dismantling society's sacred cows with unerring common sense - the biggest being our intuition and belief that government can solve our problems. 

In his newest book, No, They Can't: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed, the 19-time Emmy Award-winner argues that the government is not a neutral arbiter of truth. It never has been. It never will be.

According to Stossel, Americans need to discard the idea of a "perfect" government, left or right, and retrain ourselves to concentrate on the facts. 

"Politicians, and we voters, can dream of guaranteed incomes, world peace, or green energy.  But reality puts limits on our political fantasies," Stossel said.

He says we must rethink our lives as independent individuals, writing that the mature response to cries of 'Yes, we can!' should be 'No, we can't!'  "Not when "we" means government." 

From the myth that government can spend its way out of debt, to what he refers to as the mistaken belief that labor unions protect workers, Stossel provides evidence that disproves politicians' intuitive solutions.  He's found the following:

  • Health care is already dominated by government regulation - more intrusion will only compound the problem.
  • Banning certain foods won't make us healthier.
  • Government schools and teachers' unions have not helped test scores.
  • "Central planners" never create more jobs.
  • Minimum wage laws generate more social and economic confusion.

"It's not about electing the right people," Stossel added. "It's about narrowing responsibilities."  He insists it's the duty of Americans to reclaim their independence and responsibilities back from Washington. 

John Stossel talked about his book and his views on the proper role of government on "The 700 Club," July 26. Click play to watch the interview.

--Originally aired on July 25, 2012

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