On November 10th, Fordham’s College Republicans invited Fox News Anchor John Stossel to campus for a lecture on capitalism and government regulation. Before the lecture, I had a chance to sit down with Mr. Stossel in an exclusive interview only for the Fordham Gazette on the hot-button issues facing students today.
My first question to Mr. Stossel was in regards to the Occupy movements, which seem to be mainly comprised of disatisfied college students, and what they can tell us about this generation of Americans. While Mr. Stossel disagreed with the idea that this movement represented college students as a whole, he gave the protestors credit for being “very serious and concerned” about the direction the nation is headed, but they are “simple-minded” with little or no knowledge of how the economy works. He also comments on how it is “instinct” to attack capitalism, rather than the government that is the actual cause for this nation’s economic ills, and how it is wrong to think the government will provide a solution to the economy’s problems that they started.
My next question was in response to a quote from one of the recent debates, where a member of Fordham’s College Democrats claimed the American Dream was “dead,” a comment that Mr. Stossel disagrees with, noting that 50% of families that are in the bottom 25% of the economic ladder move up within a decade. He also mentioned that, despite massive government regulations, which he calls the “saddest part” about the economy, there is “still dynamism” enough for people to move up in their lives. Mr. Stossel tied this bit of information back to unemployment, and how it is stuck at around 9% three years later after it peaked, commenting that in 1982, unemployment hit 10.8% before falling to 7% in just two years, which was a good sign that the economy could recover itself if the government could step out of the way.
I then asked him about the issue of welfare, given that Fordham is situated in the poorest congressional district in the country, and as a result, welfare plays a significant role in the lives of many citizens. Mr. Stossel, sticking to his libertarian roots, called on the government on New York City to relax government regulations on business start-ups so that people can earn their way to prosperity by launching their own businesses like taxi cabs and food vendors. He also praised private charities, like numerous Jesuit charities, that comfort the helpless and determine who needs aid more than others. This led into a discussion on a free-market solution to fixing the public schools, which Mr. Stossel calls “government schools” because they are run and operated by local governments. His solution would be to give vouchers to families to allow them to pick schools for their children that are significantly better. Since the average cost of a child’s education in a public school is nearly $11,000, it would make more sense to “attach” that money to the child and have the family pick a school that the kid could concievably go to.
Mr. Stossel also commented on how he was “scared” of how President Obama was considered a Messiah after his ascent to the White House, although he did give him credit for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and how he is “charming and likeable,” but he is an “arrogant and ignorant” President who more than doubled the size of government during his three years in office. He also criticized Keynesian economists for thinking the economy is like “a car” that can be jump started by government spending by taking money from the economy and unecessarily repurposing it, or “vomiting” money all over the place. He hopes that economists will stop trying to have the government start up the economy and let it occur organically after a vigourous deregulation regiment and the freeing of the free market.Published in