Government is incompetent when it comes to managing societal functions from airport security to health care, Fox Business host and investigative journalist John Stossel said Wednesday during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation promoting his new book “No They Can’t: Why Governments Fail – But Individuals Succeed”.
The left always suggests new government regulations, agencies or programs whenever a crisis like 9/11 hits, but these solutions inevitably make matters worse in Stossel’s opinion.
The only solution is free-market capitalism where the people decide what gets produced more efficiently and cheaply than government and not a centrally planned economy.
“That works for a tribe of maybe 300 people or a family of six, but in a country of 300 million or a country of 7 billion it doesn’t work,” Stossel said. “What does work is Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ of impersonal market forces.
“Businesses pursuing their own self-interests could benefit us,” Stossel continued.
Take the Transportation Security Administration for starters. It was supposed to have made airports more secure in the wake of the most devastating terrorist attacks in the nation’s history by supplanting private-sector companies, but countless investigations have shown its screeners have been inept.
“[Former Senate Majority Leader] Tom Daschle said you can’t professionalize if you don’t federalize, and the Senate voted 100-0 to create the TSA,” Stossel said. “Yeah, people know about the TSA[‘s problems], but I bet they would do it again with a new sphere.
“They know that the TSA now spends more than the private screeners did than the private screeners, and they were minimum-wage jobs often. But did you know that the TSA spends 10 times what they spent?”
A handful of airports around the country such as San Francisco’s have opted out of TSA screening, and the TSA’s own internal auditors have found these private screeners do a better job for less cost than the TSA screeners do. Stossel argues that the profit motives of these private security companies encourage them to do a better job than the government because they weed out inefficiencies.
“People say that when we have problems with health care that government has to step in,” Stossel said.
Stossel mocked Obama’s credentials for managing the economy insinuating that the president’s backers believe he is well-situated to manage the economy because he want to Harvard and managed the law review there.
Smart people in government can no more run the health care system than the old East German state could innovate a car that worked, namely the Trabant, which Time Magazine called the one of the 50 worst cars ever made.
“When you have a free market, you don’t need to be an expert on cars,” Stossel said. “You only need one or two people who are – 1 or 2 percent who read the car magazines – the car buffs, and through word of mouth the good news spreads and the bad news spreads.
“The good companies grow and the bad ones atrophy,” Stossel continued. “It’s the same thing with health care too.”
Stossel contends that good hospitals and health care providers would prosper while those with poor reputations would flounder were the free market to be applied to health care.
“Markets take care of these problems, but that’s not intuitive.” Stossel said. “I have learned in over 40 years of reporting that government can’t; it almost never can.
“Unless you study economics you don’t get that central planning doesn’t work.”
Younger Americans have been trending in a leftward direction on issues related to economic freedom, but Stossel told Red Alert Politics that he has taken a personal interest in educating young Americans.
His “Stossel in the Classroom” program for high schoolers has exposed more young people to his views about economics and liberty than he has through his appearances on Fox, Stossel said.
“I was taught socialism in Princeton by my professors who said that government was going to fix poverty, and it took me years of reporting and watching government to see the folly of that,” Stossel said. “So it’s not new. It’s a constant problem.”