opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
John Stossel
John Stossel
3 Feb 2016
Political Arrogance

After the Iowa caucus results, it looks like Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio in November! They lead the … Read More.

27 Jan 2016
Running on Empty

Cars run on fuel. Politicians run on votes, and they'll do almost anything to get them. That includes … Read More.

20 Jan 2016
Economic Myths

Hillary Clinton: "Of course we want to raise the minimum wage!" Donald Trump: If we trade with China, "they … Read More.

What I Ask of Romney and Obama


The Republican Convention ended on the theme "Believe in America." That sounded nice, but it was just another platitude. Mitt Romney's speech was filled with platitudes: "We will honor America's democratic ideals. ... We're united to preserve liberty."


Liberals and conservatives have real differences. We should state them.

America is going broke, and tough decisions must be made. To save our future, we must slow the growth of entitlements and military spending. Mitt Romney was silent about that.

Sure, "Believing in America" means individuals get to decide how to run the businesses we create. But it should also mean that we get to run the rest of our lives, too: whom we marry, what we do for recreation, what substances we ingest, how big our soft drinks are. Mitt Romney said nothing about that.

I want to believe that if Romney is elected, he will finally impose some fiscal discipline and fight to put America on a sustainable course — but his Tampa speech gave me no confidence that he would.

Instead, he pandered, saying, "As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials. ..."

So what? What does that have to do with America's problems? Was that supposed to persuade people that Republicans don't wage "war on women"? It won't.

If conventions are mere infomercials, Republicans should at least do them well.

It's offensive that politicians force taxpayers to pay $18.3 million to subsidize these pep rallies. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., tried to end the subsidies, saying, "There is no justification for spending public funds on booze, balloons and confetti." He's right. But Congress ignored him.

The Republicans did some good things in Tampa, like showing two debt clocks and allowing speakers like Ted Cruz to say, "Rights are secure only when government power is restrained." But then Mitt Romney spoke. He said nothing of significance.

"Believing in America" means objecting when politicians claim they solve our problems. Romney said he has a "plan to create 12 million jobs." Huh? Why not 13 million? Why not 50? Promising 12 million is an absurd conceit.

When politicians say, "Yes, we can," we should say: No, they can't! Government fails, but individuals succeed.

The Dems are worse. What do they stand for? They say they believe in a progressive, liberal society, but to them that means a giant government that pretends to solve problems, causes new ones and then spends even more to appear to solve those problems.

I say "appear" because they never actually do it.

President Obama came in full of promises. What's he accomplished? He expanded George W. Bush's dangerous debt. Government spending sets peacetime records. He proposed nothing serious to bring Medicare under control. He didn't curtail our role as world policeman — on the contrary, the administration routinely bombs several populations by remote control. Military spending continues to grow.

Here's what I wish Obama would say this week:

"I was wrong to expand government the way I have. I overreached. Modern liberalism put us on an unsustainable course. I will save America by restoring limited government that keeps the peace but then leaves free people alone."

Hey, I can hope.

Mr. President, like you, I believe in social justice. But I believe in Thomas Jefferson's idea of social justice: a free society where people are unimpeded by bureaucrats and politicians; where people freely trade goods and services — that is, cooperate — without anyone telling us what to do.

It means that the government won't engage in what Frederic Bastiat called "legal plunder"— taking resources from some (mostly working people) to bestow them on others.

That's genuine liberalism — original liberalism. You, Mr. President, have bought into the upside-down distortion of liberalism, where government runs things (much of it on behalf of cronies — the well-heeled and well-connected) and the rest of us follow directions.

That's not liberalism. Let's call it what it is: corporatism, state socialism, crony capitalism. Liberalism is about liberty: individual freedom and free markets.

Only that can bring us the real hope and change that freedom represents.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="" <>></a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




6 Comments | Post Comment
I wish someone would define the "American Dream" once and for all as small business ownership. Small businesses, mom and pop operations, are the surest way to prosperity for the "poor" and on macro level, full employment for our nation. The "American Dream" is the freedom to risk capital, work hard, and reap the rewards or fail, learn from the experience, and start over. the same freedom to succeed is also the freedom to fail. Success and failure are flip sides of the same "freedom coin." The risk of failure is why entrepreneurs get paid so handsomely.
Until we, as a nation, celebrate small business as the engine of our prosperity, we will continue to spiral into oblivion.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Blane Jackson
Wed Sep 5, 2012 8:43 AM
Both Demmies and Repubbies talk,
Blaming each other for their mess,
Spewing hot air crock after crock
Full of (you give it your best guess).
Both parties promise this or that,
Just to get elected, and then,
Republican or Democrat,
Screw We the People more again.
The more gov grows, the more gov spends,
The more and the more gov borrows.
The more-go-round that never ends.
Spend today - hell with tomorrows.

Our children, when they grow up,
Will beg with a borrowed tin cup.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Ima Ryma
Wed Sep 5, 2012 11:41 PM
@ Blane Jackson: I agree about the Mom and Pop businesses, but america just keeps building walmart after walmart, selling cheap chinese crap. People actually think they are "saving money" when they shop at walmart! It's just ridiculous.

Too many people on the government dole right alongside our CONgresspeople. Heck, they wanna give EBT cards to folks who don't even want them, if that makes any sense at all.

There are so many subjects to discuss about what's wrong in america, it would takes reams of paper to do so, but suffice to say unless entitlement programs are gutted and foreign "spending" (read: lending and/or giving) is cut off at the knees, we'll never heal america. Never.
Comment: #3
Posted by: stardust on the sage
Thu Sep 6, 2012 11:21 AM
Re: stardust on the sage But is IS "the American Way" to allow us consumers to *** buy what we want at the LOWEST price.*** If that means businesses go overseas, where !!! wages are lower thanks to NO "minimum wage" laws or/and price inflating unions !!!, to GET products at a lower cost, so be it. Don't blame WalMart for giving consumers what they want.
Comment: #4
Posted by: JD
Sat Sep 8, 2012 9:50 AM
I always enjoy listening to you and most of the time I agree. I must be honest and say that the more I hear the less faith I have in anything a politician has to say! I know personally a few people who have tried to stand with certain politicians and believe in what is right only to find out they are asked to lie when asked about certain items of interest to the public.
I'm more confused about who to vote for now than ever. It's hard to trust a liar! I don't mean you Mr Stossel. I mean the candidates running for office.
When I think about the future it is scary to think of my children and grandchildren and what they will have face. One thing I know for sure is I can trust God almighty and Him only. While I live on this earth tho I want to do my part in whatever way I can to help make things better. WHO DO I VOTE FOR IS THE QUESTION>
Comment: #5
Posted by: Lotus
Sun Sep 9, 2012 6:45 PM
I agree that we cannot blame Walmart...they are actually doing things the way they should be done.
Blame Unions, blame minimum wage, blame healthcare mandates, blame overinflated pensions by companies like GM...but DONT blame Walmart.

When they threw the tea into the harbor, they did it because England tried to make Americans "buy Britian." They trated it as a "patriotic" duty to not look for cheaper goods elsewhere. In reality, they tried to force us into buying English only, and then they taxed the English products to raise revenue.

I say BUY asian cars...bankrupt GM for all I care. Kill the unions...these companies that are "too big to fail" should follow Walmarts lead and stop sucking up to the unions.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Theidealnate
Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:20 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
John Stossel
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Walter Williams
Walter E. WilliamsUpdated 10 Feb 2016
David Limbaugh
David LimbaughUpdated 9 Feb 2016
Froma Harrop
Froma HarropUpdated 9 Feb 2016

13 Feb 2008 Stimulating Nonsense

26 Mar 2008 Law Can't Prevent Underage Sex

19 Aug 2009 Obamacare's Inevitable Logic