ABC/John Stossel Program
 

January 25, 2001


Dear friend of liberty,

Congressman Ron Paul, our honorary chairman, will appear in "John
Stossel Goes to Washington."  The program will air Saturday,
January 27 at 10:00 p.m. ET, 9:00 p.m. CT.  An ABC News press
release describing the program is below.

Kent Snyder
The Liberty Committee

**********
ABC News Press Release

Reporter John Stossel looks at big government and talks to everyone from
Bruce Babbitt to government-wary Rep. Ron Paul.

JOHN STOSSEL TAKES A SKEPTICAL LOOK AT GOVERNMENT
IN HIS NEW ABC NEWS SPECIAL

"John Stossel Goes to Washington" airs Saturday, Jan. 27, 10pm Eastern,
9 Central

What happens when a skeptic visits the center of government?  He finds
out how bad the waste, incompetence, and abuse of power can be.

For years, ABC News reporter John Stossel was a consumer reporter,
exposing businesses that ripped off consumers.  In his latest hour-long
special, he does a consumer report on government, exposing
programs that squander money and rules that make no sense.  Some
government officials aren't eager to talk about the problems, as Stossel
discovered when then-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt walked
out of an interview.

For 150 years, America's government guaranteed liberty - and little
else.  But over the past 60 years, under Republicans and Democrats,
government has grown so sharply - that it costs the average American
$10,000 per year in taxes to pay for it.   Philosophy professor Tibor
Machan tells Stossel that's not what the framers of the Constitution
wanted: "The Founders tended to believe that government should be
restricted.  It should be limited to the function of securing our
rights." Instead, government has taken on countless duties, from running
subways to inspecting pickles.

Stossel looks at a typical St. Louis family and their tax burden - about
one out of every three dollars they earn - and talks to tax expert Amity
Shlaes, who notes that "Americans pay more in taxes than we do in food,
clothing and shelter combined."   Government can't even keep track of
much of the money, as Stossel learns when he drops in on D.C. committee
hearings and the General Accounting Office.

Much of what government does do, it does poorly, finds Stossel.  The
Interior Department spent billions to help Native Americans, but Indians
are the poorest people in America.  Billions more have been spent on
centrally-planned public housing, but instead of safe homes, low-income
families often end up with dilapidated buildings where elevators don't
work and security is poor. Charities complain that government rules make
it tougher to help people.   Today "if Jesus Christ.wanted to start
Christianity, he wouldn't be able to do it," says Mimi Silbert, who runs
a mutual aid network in San Francisco, "because there are too many
regulations."

Despite government's failures, Stossel points out that it continually
seeks more power, whether on a local scale-such as seizing homes under
the auspices of urban renewal - or on an international scale,
intervening militarily in over a hundred countries.

What's the alternative?  Stossel finds private organizations taking over
formerly government-run functions and doing the job better.
Competition - sorely lacking in government monopolies - gives these
private companies an incentive to guarantee such necessities as clean
water, and flights that actually arrive on time.  In Jersey City, NJ,
for instance, Mayor Bret Schundler got so disgusted with high-cost,
lousy-tasting water, he put the water contract out for bid. "If they
blow it, we're going to give the contract to somebody else," Schundler
tells ABC News.

"John Stossel Goes To Washington" concludes with Prof. Machan's comment:
"Government was intended to have a few, clearly-defined functions such
as running the courts and the military, and it would do it much better
if it didn't do all this other stuff that it has gotten its nose into."

Deborah Colloton and Mark Golden are the producers of "John Stossel Goes
to Washington."  Martin Phillips is the senior producer.


 

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