Stossel: Follow-up to ‘Freeloaders’


Earlier this year John Stossel had an hour-long special show that focused on freeloaders. The show is now available on the free hulu service by clicking on Stossel: Freeloaders. This week Stossel’s show had some of the people he criticized on the show making appearances to defend themselves.

One of the most notable segments was about Al Pires, an attorney who helped black farmers (and other minorities) receive payments for alleged discrimination at the hands of government loan programs. Stossel and others uncovered evidence that thousands of people who simply said they were farmers got payments, too. Having flowers in pots or fertilizing one’s lawn was enough to count as a farmer. When Stossel brought on Andrew Breitbart to talk about the abuse of the program by Pires, the attorney became agitated, telling Stossel and Bretibart they didn’t know what they were talking about. He attacked Breitbart savagely, calling him a “sad, sad person” and repeatedly advising him to get a job. Video of this segment is available here.

Through his books, columns, lectures (see John Stossel urges reliance on freedom, not government, in Wichita), and television shows, Stossel is the popular voice of limited government and economic freedom in America. Here’s how he closed this week’s show:

“And most unfair is that now government is so big and generous with your money, it’s killing the innovation that makes America great. If you run a company, you can say to yourself ‘How am I going to make money?’ I could invest in researching a new product, or I could hire lobbyists to manipulate Congress and get money from government. Investing in research: That’s tricky and we might not discover anything. And if we do, we’ll be regulated and taxed so much. Lobbyists — they have a high rate of return. And sure enough, this week the Wall Street Journal ran two interesting stories. Look at this one: ‘GM revs up its lobbying.’ Since we bailed GM out, GM doubled spending on lobbying. And then here, on the same page: a story on the company that makes Lipitor. Sadly, it’s going to cut its research spending — cut it from $8.1 billion to $6.5 billion. This is a terrible thing. Lipitor may be what’s keeping me alive. I want drug companies to do more drug research, not less. But I can’t blame Pfizer. If they did discover something, today big government might prevent them from selling. I can’t even blame GM for its freeloading. When government’s very big and investing lots of your money on politically-favored industries, then it’s prudent for companies to invest in lobbying. I blame big government. $3.8 trillion in spending rewards freeloading. Let’s cut government in half. And then, let’s cut it again. Then, there would be much less freeloading, and much more prosperity.


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