2019-11-13 05:30:00

Governments create problems. Then they complain about them.

“A public health crisis exists,” says Kentucky’s government, citing a report that found “a shortage of ambulance providers.”

Local TV stations report on “people waiting hours for medical transportation.”

“Six-year-old Kyler Truesdell fell off his motorcycle,” reported Channel 12 news. “The local hospital told (his mother) he should be transported to Cincinnati Children’s to check for internal injuries.” But there was no ambulance available. Kyler had to wait two hours.

Yet Kyler’s cousin, Hannah Howe, runs an ambulance service in Ohio, just a few minutes away. “We would’ve (taken him) for free,” she says in my new video. “But it would’ve been illegal.”

It would be illegal because of something called certificate of need (CON) laws.

Kentucky and three other states require businesses to get a CON certificate before they are allowed to run an ambulance service. Certificates go only to businesses that bureaucrats deem “necessary.”

CON laws are supposed to prevent “oversupply” of essential services like, well, ambulances. If there are “too many” ambulance companies, some might cut corners or go out of business. Then patients would suffer, say the bureaucrats.

Of course, Kentucky patients already suffer, waiting.

It raises the question: If there’s demand, then who are politicians to say that a business is unnecessary?

Phillip Truesdell, Hannah’s father, often takes patients to hospitals in Kentucky, “I drop them off (but) I can’t go back and get them!” he told me. “Who gives the big man the right to say, ‘You can’t work here’?!”

Government.

Phillip and Hannah applied for a CON certificate and waited 11 months for a response. Then they learned that their application was being protested by existing ambulance providers.

Of course it was. Businesses don’t like competition.

“We go to court, these three ambulance services showed up,” recounts Howe.

“They hammered her, treated her like she was a criminal,” says Truesdell. “Do you know what you’re going to do to this company?!…To this town?!”

“It wasn’t anything to do with us being physically able to do it. (They) just came through like the big dog not trying to let anybody else on the porch,” says Howe.

Three other ambulance companies also applied for permission to operate in Kentucky. They were rejected, too.

Truesdell and Howe were lucky to find the Pacific Legal Foundation, a law firm that fights for Americans’ right to earn a living.

Pacific Legal lawyer Anastasia Boden explains: “Traditionally we allow consumers to decide what’s necessary. Existing operators are never going to say more businesses are necessary.”

One Kentucky ambulance provider who opposed the new applications sent me a statement that says “saturating a community with more EMS agencies than it can…support (leads) all agencies to become watered down.”

Boden replies: “That’s just absurd. We now recognize that competition leads to efficient outcomes.”

It’s not just ambulance companies and people waiting for ambulances who are hurt by CON laws. Thirty-five states demand that businesses such as medical imaging companies, hospitals, and even moving companies get CON certificates before they are allowed to open.

Boden warns: “Once you get these laws on the books, it’s very hard to get them off. Monopolies like their monopoly. This started back in the ’70s with the federal government.”

But the feds, amazingly, wised up and repealed the mandate in 1987, saying things like, “CON laws raise considerable competitive concerns (and) consumers benefit from lower prices when provider markets are more competitive.”

Unfortunately, politicians in Kentucky and many other states haven’t wised up.

When Virginia tried to abolish its CON law, local hospitals spent $200,000 on ads claiming competition will force hospitals to close. Somehow, hospitals operate just fine in states without CON laws. But the Virginia scare campaign worked. The state still has a CON law.

In health care, and all fields, it’s better to see what competition can do rather than letting the government and its cronies decide what to allow.

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2019-11-12 14:45:54

Want to start a business? Imagine having to get your competitors’ permission first.

John Stossel points out that in 35 states, laws block new businesses from operating unless they get their competitors’ permission. One such law prevents Phillip Truesdell from operating ambulances in Kentucky.

“You’re going to tell me that I’m not fit to work in your town?” he asks.

He and his daughter Hannah Howe run Legacy Medical Transport, an ambulance service, in Ohio.

When they tried to expand into Kentucky, which is just a few minutes away from them, they learned it would be illegal.

It’s illegal due to Certificate of Need laws, also called “CON” laws. In Kentucky and three other states, you have to get a Certificate of Need to run an ambulance service.

Truesdell doesn’t think this is right.

He tells Stossel, “Anybody that draws breath ought to be allowed to work. Who gives the big man the right to say, ‘You can’t work here?'”

“The government. The law,” Stossel responds.

Then “Kentucky ought to change that law,” says Truesdell.

To do that, he and his daughter are working with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed a lawsuit with the goal of getting CON laws declared unconstitutional.

Kentucky authorities and established companies resist. One ambulance provider told us, “When saturating a community with more [Emergency Medical Services] than it can financially support, all agencies become watered down.”

Truesdell’s attorney, Anastasia Boden, calls that “absurd.” She tells Stossel, “It is an abuse of government power to restrict somebody’s right to earn a living. [It’s] just as a handout to the other businesses.”

“It’s not a handout. It’s protecting a vital service,” Stossel pushes back.

“It’s protecting a vital service for the current operators only,” she responds.

Boden says we need competition, “because competition has been the driving force of innovation, lower prices, and better services.”

Stossel agrees: “Competition works! CON laws are a bad deal for both consumers and entrepreneurs. No one should have to ask permission to compete.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-11-06 05:30:05

House members summoned Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Washington, D.C., and grilled him—harshly—about his plan to create a new currency, Libra.

“Why should we trust you?!” asked Rep. Mike Doyle (D–Pa.).

I liked it when Zuckerberg said, “I actually don’t know if Libra’s going to work, but I believe that it’s important to try new things.”

He was right. That’s very important.

The Libra would make it easier to transfer money anywhere in the world. It also promises stability. Its value would be based on a basket of currencies from different countries, which would protect Libra owners from inflation in any one country.

It’s an idea that deserves a try.

But it may never be tried because the clueless politicians’ threats of punitive regulation scared off many of its supporters.

Politicians want to crack down on Libra “because they’re threatened by it,” says tech reporter Naomi Brockwell in my new video. “This is going to be competition for the U.S. dollar. Government doesn’t like competition.”

Governments also like to control any money that we might use.

“Want to send money to Russia to a family member; it’s going to be censored. You want to send money to a relief effort in Venezuela; it’s going to be censored,” says Brockwell. But if you use a cryptocurrency like Libra or Bitcoin, “your money will get through. That’s an incredibly powerful tool that gives people the freedom to spend their money where they want to spend it.”

Bitcoin is harder to stop than a currency like Libra would be because Bitcoin doesn’t emanate from one company or government mint. There’s no one owner of Bitcoin or most other cryptocurrencies.

“It is the first currency that is decentralized,” Brockwell points out. “That’s why it’s still around, because they haven’t been able to have these hearings, haven’t been able to call the CEO of Bitcoin and say, ‘cease and desist!’ There is no server to unplug, no company to shut down, no CEO to throw in jail, so it persists! That’s really exciting.”

Digital currencies “live” on thousands of individuals’ computers, so no government can stop them by pressuring any one company.

That’s a reason they’re valuable.

When Bitcoin started, it was worth virtually nothing. But two years ago, the price of one bitcoin reached $19,891. Then it crashed to $3,192. As I write, the price is $9,390.

That volatility deters many people from using Bitcoin as money, but to those of us who don’t trust governments, Brockwell points out: “It is the only suitable money for free people.”

Of course, many disagree.

“I think it’s a gigantic classic pump and dump scheme,” says investor Peter Schiff. “There’s nothing to give Bitcoin value.”

It’s “a bubble,” vulnerable to attacks from governments. “They can get banks and financial institutions to make it very difficult for Americans to use it.”

Schiff doesn’t claim we should count on dollar bills because he doesn’t trust politicians either. He suggests people buy gold to hedge against politicians’ irresponsibility.

“Gold has worked for thousands of years,” says Schiff. Unlike Bitcoin, “gold has actual value. A huge industry needs gold: jewelry…consumer electronics, aerospace, and medicine.”

I’ve hedged against the dollar by buying both gold and Bitcoin. My Bitcoin investment did better. But Schiff says I’m a fool if I don’t sell it now.

I don’t know which way prices will move. But I know that it’s good to have alternatives to government-created currencies. The dollar’s value is only backed by politicians’ promises. I sure won’t trust those.

Even when currency is stable, government can use its power over currency to censor people.

“The government decided that they didn’t want WikiLeaks to receive donations, so they froze transactions,” observes Brockwell. But they couldn’t stop Bitcoin.

She says government has had “a monopoly on the money supply for a very long time, and now consumers finally have a choice. You can send bitcoin peer-to-peer to someone on the other side of the world almost instantly at very low cost, and it can’t be censored. That’s incredibly powerful.”

It is.

Alternatives to government monopolies are very good things.

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2019-11-05 13:15:51

Facebook proposed a new digital currency called “Libra.” It would be backed by several different existing currencies.

The Libra might be better than the dollar, tech reporter Naomi Brockwell and investor Peter Schiff tell John Stossel. It’s easy to send online. If a government currency has a lot of inflation, Libra holders will be largely protected from that.

But politicians oppose Libra. “Why, with all of your problems, should we trust you?” one congressman asked Mark Zuckerberg in a hearing.

“They’re threatened by it,” Brockwell tells Stossel.

Politicians may succeed in killing Libra. Paypal, Mastercard, and other companies were going to work with Facebook on the project, but they’ve bailed because they’re scared of regulation.

That’s why it’s good that Bitcoin exists, says Brockwell. Bitcoin, unlike Libra, can’t be stopped so easily.

“It is the first currency we’ve ever seen that is decentralized,” Brockwell tells Stossel.

“They can’t shut it down,” Stossel responds.

“Exactly. That’s why it’s still around, because they haven’t been able to have these hearings. They haven’t been able to call on the CEO of Bitcoin and say, ‘You’d better cease and desist.’…There is no server to unplug. There is no company to shut down, no CEO to throw in jail, so it persists. That’s really exciting.”

Bitcoin is mostly safe from government because it “lives” on thousands of individuals’ computers, so no government can stop it by pressuring any one company.

But investor Peter Schiff says Bitcoin is a “bubble.” He recommends investing in gold.

“Gold has worked for thousands of years. Bitcoin’s only been around for ten,” Schiff argues. “Gold has actual value. There’s a huge industry that needs gold. Jewelry…you have it in consumer electronics and aerospace and medicine.”

Stossel says: “I don’t presume to know which way prices will move. But I do know that it’s good to have alternatives to dollars.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-10-30 04:01:30

Four years ago, the media were talking about a “Libertarian Moment.”

I had high hopes!

Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) ran for president, promising to “take our country back from special interests.” But his campaign never took off.

He “shouldn’t even be on the stage,” said Donald Trump at a Republican presidential debate.

Paul quit his presidential campaign after doing poorly in Iowa.

In my new video, Paul reflects on that, saying, “Either the people aren’t ready or perhaps the people in the Republican primary aren’t ready.”

But Paul says, “We may be winning the hearts and minds of people who aren’t in Washington.”

Really?

The current deficit is a record $984 billion, and since Trump was elected, federal spending rose half a trillion dollars.

But Paul says progress has been made, in that Trump has introduced some market competition in health care, cut taxes, cut regulations, appointed better judges, and promises to get us out of foreign wars. Paul tweeted that Trump is “the first president to understand what is our national interest.”

“But he hasn’t pulled us out of anywhere,” I said.

“Compare it to George W. Bush, who got us involved everywhere,” answered Paul. “Or President Obama, who sent 100,000 troops to Afghanistan. The rhetoric of President Trump has been a relief.”

The problem, says Paul, is that, “When the president has said anything about it…immediately Republican and the Democrat leaders get together and pass a resolution saying it would be precipitous to leave Afghanistan.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) did recently make a speech about “the danger of a precipitous withdrawal.”

“Really?” replies Paul. “After 19 years? Precipitous?”

America went into Afghanistan to take out the killers behind the Sept. 11 attacks. We succeeded. So why are we still there?

Paul complains, “Intervention after intervention hasn’t had the intended consequence. We’ve got more chaos.”

In Iraq, America took out Saddam Hussein, but that has left a power vacuum and continued violence.

In Libya, we helped get rid of Moammar Gadhafi, but Libya’s “government” is now run by armed gangs that torture civilians.

In Syria, we armed rebels to fight Bashar Assad. But many of our weapons ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda, and Assad is still in power.

“Every time we think we’re going to get more stability or less terrorism,” says Paul, “we end up getting more chaos and more terrorism.”

Recently, Trump moved 50 troops from northern Syria. His action received widespread condemnation from people Paul calls the “war hawk caucus.”

Lindsey Graham said it was “the most screwed-up decision I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress.” That’s saying something; Graham has been in Congress for 24 years and has seen several screwed-up wars and failed domestic programs.

But Graham almost always seems to want more war.

Paul acknowledges that four years ago, he wanted to arm the Kurds who are now in harm’s way and give them their own country. In promoting American withdrawal, hasn’t he betrayed the Kurds?

“When I refer to the Kurds having a homeland, they kind of do. They have a section of Iraq,” responded Paul, saying he never proposed creating a Kurdish country in Syria. In any case, “Fifty or 2,000 American soldiers are nothing more than a target for bad people to kill.”

I don’t know whether Paul is right about Syria, but I’m glad Paul speaks out.

We need a strong military. But we should use it sparingly, only when we know it benefits our defense.

If we go to war, Congress must vote to declare that war. That’s what the Constitution requires. Congress hasn’t done that since 1942. That’s wrong. It allows politicians to hide their deadly mistakes.

“It’s a very complicated war over there,” says Paul. “They’re four or five different countries involved in it. The people who live there know better. We can’t know enough about these problems. And unless you want to put 100,000 troops in there and fight Assad, Russia, Turkey…we ought to rethink whether we should get involved in these wars to begin with.”

In both foreign and domestic policy, government plans usually fail.

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2019-10-29 12:20:22

Just three years ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) ran for president and people talked about a “libertarian moment.” What happened? 

There has been some useful deregulation, but the size of government grew, spending grew sharply, and so did deficits.

John Stossel asks Paul what went wrong. 

Paul explains that neither Republicans nor Democrats were ready. But he points out that there is good news as well.

He cites President Donald Trump’s adoption of some of Paul’s free-market health care reform ideas, tax cuts, regulation cuts, judicial appointments, and progress on ending foreign wars.

“But he hasn’t pulled out of anywhere,” Stossel pushes back.

“Compare it though to George W. Bush…who got us involved everywhere. Or President Obama, who sent 100,000 troops to Afghanistan. The rhetoric of President Trump has been a relief,” Paul says.

Paul adds: “Has it happened yet? No, but I continue to push.”

It’s good, says Stossel, that Sen. Paul reminds Americans that the best plans of those who take us to war often go bad.  

In Iraq, America took out Saddam Hussein, but the people who replaced him (ISIS, for a while) were worse.

In Libya, America got rid of dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, but now torture and slave markets operate in the power vacuum left behind.

In Syria, America armed rebels to fight Assad. But often our weapons ended up in Al Qaeda’s hands. 

Now Trump’s removed some troops from northern Syria. Lindsey Graham calls that “the most screwed up decision I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress.”

Rand defends it: “I promise you—50 soldiers, or 2,000 American soldiers, are nothing more than a target for bad people to kill or maim, which will get us drug into a bigger war.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-10-23 04:30:12

Student loan debt keeps growing.

There is a better solution than the ones politicians offer, which stick the taxpayer or the loan lenders with the whole bill.

It’s called an “income share agreement.”

Investors give money to a college, and the college then gives a free or partially free education to some students. When those students graduate, they pay the college a certain percentage of their future income.

It’s a way “for the school to say to students, ‘You’re only going to pay us if we help you succeed,'” explains Beth Akers, co-author of the book Game of Loans.

Andrew Hoyler was thrilled when Purdue University got him an ISA loan. Now he’s a professional pilot, and he’ll pay Purdue 8 percent of his income for 104 months.

“After that 104-month term ends, if you still owe money, it’s forgiven, forgotten, you don’t owe another penny,” he says in my latest video. “Now, if I find myself in a six-figure job tomorrow, there’s a chance that I’ll pay back far more than I took out.”

Hoyler wouldn’t mind that, he says, because of “the security of knowing that I’ll never (have to) pay back more than I can afford.”

What students pay depends partly on what they study.

On a $10,000 ISA, English majors must pay 4.58 percent of their income for 116 months. Math majors, because they are more likely to get higher-paying jobs, pay just 3.96 percent for 96 months.

“It conveys information to the student about how lucrative a different major’s going to be,” says Akers. “Some think that’s unfair, but really that’s just a way (investors) can recapture the money that they’ve put up.”

“It may also sway students away from majors that don’t have job prospects,” says Hoyler. ISA recipients learn “not only what a career may pay, but how stable it may be, what the future is like.”

“We should invest in students the same way that we invest in startups,” says Akers. “Share equity.”

With one difference: The college picks the student, so investors don’t have a direct relationship with the student.

Purdue ISA recipient Paul Larora told me, “We don’t know who the investor is, but I’d love to give him a hug or buy him a beer!”

“The institutions are saying, ‘If I’m operating as the middleman, I can make sure that no one’s taking advantage of my students,'” explains Akers.

Sadly, many politicians would rather have the government handle student loans and charge all students the same rate.

President Barack Obama signed a student debt relief bill that he claimed would “cut out private middlemen,” meaning banks. He said that “would save taxpayers $68 billion!” It didn’t. Costs to taxpayers increased.

Some politicians are so clueless that they still blame banks.

In one hearing, Rep. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, demanded JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tell her, “What are you guys doing to help us with this student loan debt?”

“We stopped doing all student lending,” responded Dimon, pointing out that “the government took over student lending in 2010.”

Instead of forcing banks out of the loan business, we should get government out of it. Banks are in the business of assessing loan risk.

If actual private lenders, people with skin in the game, made loans, then they’d care about being paid back.

They’d tell students which majors might lead to higher-paying careers and warn them that studying sociology, art history, or gender studies may make it tough to get out of debt.

But with the government charging the same rate to everyone, students don’t have much incentive to think about that.

The Brookings Institution found that 28 percent of students don’t even know they have a loan.

The market would make better judgments and stop students from starting their adult lives under a burden they may never escape.

Yet some people still call ISAs “predatory” because investors hope for profit. They say ISA makes students “indentured servants.”

Larora had a good answer to that, which is also serious advice: “If you don’t have a job, you’re not paying anything! Where’s the servitude in that?”

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2019-10-15 12:40:16

Lately, we’ve been hearing that men and women are biologically the same.

A BBC video claims, “There seems to be no purely male brains versus female brains.”

“Seems like we’re just not that different after all,” echoes HuffPost.

Politically correct corporations act as if that were true. When Google engineer James Damore merely suggested that biological differences might explain why half the people in tech are not women, he was fired.

Professor Gina Rippon recently wrote a book that confirms the popular narrative. “New neuroscience that shatters the myth of the female brain” is the subtitle.

Rippon tells Stossel it’s important to tell people that that men’s and women’s brains are the same, so people don’t mindlessly follow gender stereotypes.

Stossel pushes back, “It’s not natural that in school, more boys want to play football and more girls want to do ballet? I want to run and bang into people.”

Rippon responds: “Well, I think actually girls might want to run and bang into people, but because there’s an image that girls don’t do that, they’re stopped from doing that.”

That’s popular to say, but Stossel has covered research that shows big innate differences. In one experiment, students were blindfolded and then walked through the maze of tunnels. They were then asked which direction they’d moved. Men had a much better sense of that than women.

In another experiment, students were left in a cluttered room to wait. Later, women were much better at remembering all kinds of details about that room. Men were more likely to say: “I dunno, some stuff.”

Of course, the students may already have been molded by a sexist society, Stossel notes. But newborns also show gender differences. Boys tend to look longer at objects, like tractor parts, while infant girls stared more at faces.

Stossel asks Rippon about that, who responds: “If you look very closely at the data, a third of the girls actually seem to respond more to the tractor parts than the boys.”

“A third,” Stossel repeats.

“A third,” Rippon replies.

“But two-thirds didn’t!” Stossel retorts.

Rippon says the study should be redone. “Do it again with a bigger set of newborns [and] a better controlled set of stimuli.”

Evolutionary psychologist Diana Fleischman says there’s overwhelming evidence of biological differences.

“Cultures around the world show very similar differences between men and women,” she points out. “Men are more likely to seek status, women are more likely to take care of children. Women are more likely to stay in the home. Men are more likely to do dangerous, aggressive things like go to war.”

Stossel pushes back: “Because we men have been socialized: ‘Work’s important!’ And you women have been told by your mothers, ‘Take care of the kids.'”

“Why would you see that across every culture in the world?” Fleischman responds.

“Even if you look at nonhuman animals…monkeys…they don’t have culture, yet there’s still these very large differences between males and females,” she adds. In those species, too, males focus on war and status, while females nurture children.

Among scientists, these differences are well-accepted, Stossel notes. The journal Neuroscience cited 70 studies that found differences.

Stossel asked Gina about some of the most obvious mental differences.

“I stutter. Most stutterers are boys. It’s not a brain difference?”

“Yeah, yeah. There are those kinds of brain differences and I’m definitely not a brain difference denier,” Rippon replied.

“It’s kind of how you’ve been presented by much of the media,” Stossel responds.

The journal Nature, for example, ran an uncritical review of her book headlined, “Neurosexism: the myth that men and women have different brains.”

The Guardian summarized her book with: “Are there any significant differences based on sex alone? The answer, she says, is no.”

“Perhaps they haven’t read the book,” Rippon says.

Fleishman argues: “Gina Rippon seems to be a sex difference denier depending on kind of what audience that she’s talking to.”

In her speeches, Rippon does say things like: “They’re thinking there’s differences between men and women. People like me stand up and say ‘actually no, there’s not.'”

“It’s an incredibly alluring message,” Fleischman says. “It’s really sad that it’s not right.”

Rippon worries that talk of sex difference will increase sexism, but Fleischman notes that minimizing sex differences can hurt people, too, by pushing them into fields they’re not naturally suited for. Politicians pass laws to force “equality.”

“Saying that men and women have different aptitudes isn’t sexism. It’s actually a statement about the true nature of the world,” Fleischman says. “If we keep saying that those differences in what men and women choose to do are because of sexism, nobody’s going to end up happy with what they’re doing, and we’re going to keep making laws to remedy what’s actually just the result of freedom.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-10-11 12:15:38

This is John Stossel’s full interview with Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard. To watch an excerpted version, click here.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) will be in the Democratic debate next week. John Stossel says that’s good, because she’s different from the other Democrats. 

One difference is that she served in Iraq, and now pushes for ending wars. “We have to honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice,” Gabbard tells Stossel.

Instead, American interventions are often open-ended. “There’s seldom a discussion that I’ve heard about what is our mission,” Stossel says.

“Exactly! That’s exactly the problem…what is the clear, achievable goal?” Gabbard responds. She says her Afghanistan policy would have been: “Go in. Defeat Al-Qaeda. Get out.”

Gabbard also says: talk with our enemies. She met with Syria’s dictator. The media and other Democratic candidates give her grief for that. 

CNN’s Chris Cuomo lectured her: “You need to acknowledge that Bashar al-Assad is a murderous despot.”

Kamala Harris called Gabbard an “Assad apologist.”

“What’s going on with your party?” Stossel asks Gabbard. “Democrats used to the antiwar party.”

Gabbard responds that both parties are “heavily influenced by the foreign policy establishment…whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo. So much so to the point where when I’m calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they’re saying, ‘well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist.’ As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them, or by putting crippling economic sanctions in place.”

Stossel also asks Gabbard about taking down a Democratic front-runner. In the fourth debate, she criticized Kamala Harris for her history of jailing people.

“She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said in the debate.  

That moment changed the race. Harris lead in the betting at ElectionBettingOdds.com, with a 26% chance of winning the nomination. During the debate, she fell seven points. 10 days later, another seven points.  

“You killed her off,” Stossel says.

“I’m for the people, man,” Gabbard replies, laughing. “I was speaking the truth, and speaking for a lot of people.”

Gabbard and Stossel argue, too. Like most democrats, Gabbard would spend billions on expensive new programs. She backs Medicare for All and free college.

“Don’t you think colleges already waste a lot of money?” Stossel asks.

Gabbard agrees, “They do. Absolutely. Why is it costing more and more and more every single year?”

“Look how much more it will cost when it’s free,” says Stossel.

Gabbard responds, “We have to deal with…the root cause of the problem. One of which is…how much administrators of a lot of these colleges are being paid or overpaid.”

Stossel and Gabbard also argue over her proposal for a $15 minimum wage.

“How does that not destroy opportunity for a 17-year-old in his first job who isn’t worth $15 an hour?” Stossel asks.

“I think we’re looking at this as an investment in people,” Gabbard answers. 

In the end, Stossel says, “I’m glad we could have a civil argument about some of these areas where we disagree. Few politicians want to do that anymore.”

She adds: “Look, I love my country. You love our country. Let’s come together as Americans with appreciation for our Constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights, and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-10-09 04:01:11

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) is controversial within her party.

She says the U.S. should talk to its enemies. She was criticized for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

But Democrats were supposed to be the anti-war party, I say to her in my newest video.

“They’re heavily influenced by a foreign policy establishment…whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo,” Gabbard tells me. “So much so, to the point where when I’m calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they’re saying, ‘Well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist?’ As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them.”

Gabbard is a veteran, and now says, “Honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice.”

She enlisted because of the 9/11 attacks. However, there, too, she thought a limited response was necessary but now says that our government has “used that attack on 9/11 to begin to wage a whole series of counterproductive regime-change wars, overthrowing authoritarian dictators in other countries, wars that have proven to be very costly to our servicemembers.”

She blames both parties. “I call out leaders in my own party and leaders in the Republican Party (and all) who are heavily influenced by the military-industrial complex that profits heavily off of us continuing to wage these counterproductive wars.”

She also wants to end our big domestic war, the war on drugs. She’d start by legalizing marijuana.

“I’ve never smoked marijuana,” she says. “I never will. I’ve never drunk alcohol. I’ve chosen not to in my life, but this is about free choice. And if somebody wants to do that, our country should not be making a criminal out of them.”

Even if they use stronger drugs? Heroin? Meth?

“That’s the direction that we need to take,” she says.

Although Gabbard just barely polls well enough to make the Democratic debates, she made a big impact at one debate by basically knocking Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) out of the race.

Gabbard simply pointed out Harris’ hypocrisy in suddenly becoming a criminal justice reformer.

Gabbard said, “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

That debate clash crushed Harris in betting predictions about who the Democratic nominee would be. Harris’ numbers started dropping from that moment, and she quickly fell from first place to, as I write this, seventh.

Good for Gabbard for bringing up the drug war—and for running an ad that at least mentions America’s huge federal debt.

But like most Democrats, Gabbard would spend billions on expensive new programs, funding it with military cuts.

But Bernie Sanders admits that “Medicare for All” alone would cost $3 trillion. The budget for the entire military, by comparison, is $700 billion per year.

“The money that we are going to save by ending these wasteful wars—you’re right, it won’t cover every other thing that we need to accomplish,” Gabbard admits.

At least she’s willing to debate with me. No one else polling over 1 percent has been willing so far.

“Our leaders are increasingly unwilling to sit down with those who may be ‘on the other team,'” she explains. “Look, I love my country. You love our country. Let’s come together as Americans with appreciation for our Constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights, and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together.”

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