Stossel is the author of a just released book titled, “No They Can’t: Why the Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed,” which tackles everything from tax breaks, free trade and health insurance to public education, food and gun control.
“I think people should be able to do anything that is peaceful,” said Stossel.
In the book, he explains why he believes government often makes the problems it intends to solve worse because individuals do a better job at determining how they want to live, rather than politicians.
“What made me rethink what is intuitively logical to me, which is that more government will protect us, is to say, ‘No. The Founders were pretty smart and they came up with this idea of limited government, and it was pretty limited, and this is the Constitution and Declaration of Independence,’” Stossel told students.
Stossel, who is on a national book tour that began in Atlanta, was invited to speak to Hillgrove students in business instructor William Wilkins’ entrepreneurial ventures class, along with three other social studies classes. He later signed books and posed for photos.
He is perhaps best known for his career at ABC as a co-host of “20/20” and consumer reporter on “Good Morning America.” He says his controversial libertarian views led him to depart the network. He now hosts “Stossel,” his own weekly, one-hour show on the Fox Business Network. He has won 19 Emmy awards and written two other books.
A nonprofit, Stossel in the Classroom, gives free DVD copies of his show, along with study guides, to teachers to introduce students to the free market.
After a brief presentation, he answered questions from students who asked a range of questions concerning the economy, drugs, social security, energy, immigration, oil prices, taxes and the environment.
In his answers, he said he believed the federal government should increase the retirement age for Social Security benefits, legalize all drugs, lower the drinking age, reduce environmental regulations, and that gasoline prices are cheap given the expensive oil production process.
“Government is force. There’s only two ways to do something in life: by force or voluntarily,” said Stossel. “The best of life is the voluntary part and that’s how we get all of the good stuff of life.”
Abby Carlson, a 16-year-old sophomore, said she agreed with Stossel about lowering the drinking age. She thinks it should be changed from 21 to 18 years old.
“I agree with the same thing he said, if we’re allowed to die for our country, we should be allowed to lower the drinking age,” she said. “I love John Stossel. We’ve been watching him in class for a really long time. I just think he’s a really cool person, and I agree with a lot of the things he says.”