01/12/2017

What A Skating Rink Can Tell Us About Life (And Government)

John Stossel, Fox News

My last Fox Business Network TV show airs Friday.

That news pleases some people, like internet trolls who write that they are happy to be "rid of that noted LIAR and falsifier of news" who produces "hit pieces." Another wrote, "Hopefully the cancer came back to finish him off."

To be clear, I'm not ending "Stossel" because I have cancer. I don't have cancer. I had a small tumor removed, and, best we can tell, it's gone. I didn't even have chemo or radiation.

I'm moving on because I want to create a new libertarian internet-based platform with Reason TV and become an educator with the Charles Koch Institute's new Media and Journalism Fellowship program. I will still make appearances on Fox News.

I had a good time hosting my own show for seven years, trying to find new ways to simplify economics and demonstrate the benefits of free markets.

Unfortunately, economic freedom can be hard to demonstrate. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is, well, invisible. How do I explain it on TV? Friedrich Hayek's phrase "spontaneous order" is clearer but still hard to show.

I was stumped until I read "Rinkonomics: A Window on Spontaneous Order" by George Mason University's Dan Klein. That inspired me to rent a skating rink.

Why? Well, imagine you've never seen a rink, and you are the government regulator who approves new businesses.

I tell you: I will flood that arena, freeze the water and then charge people money to strap sharp blades onto their feet and zip around on the ice. I will have few rules. Anyone can skate: young and old, skilled and unskilled.

Most any regulator would resist my bizarre skating idea. Hillary Clinton might say that for my rink to be approved it must have stoplights, skating police and barriers between skilled and unskilled skaters, adults and children. I must have someone with a megaphone direct the skaters to make sure they don't smash into each other.

So, I actually tried that. I rented a rink and bossed people around: "You, turn left, you slow down." Of course, the skaters hated that. And it didn't make skating safer. Some people, responding to my instructions, lost their balance and fell.

There is spontaneous order on a normal skating rink. Skaters make their own decisions. No regulator knows the wishes, skills and immediate intentions of individual skaters better than skaters themselves.

Read full article



You May Also Like:

Tax Reform And IRS Resistance Kimberley A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal

The Awful Republican Budget Is A Reminder That Federal Revenues Are Way Too High John Tamny, Forbes.com

Robert Mueller’s Alarming, Reassuring Indictment David French, National Review

The Mueller Dogs Bark, But The Caravan Moves On Clarice Feldman, American Thinker

Is The Mueller Indictment A Joke? Francis Menton, Manhattan Contrarian

We Can’t Have A Debate About Guns If Liberals Keep Lying About Them David Harsanyi, The Federalist

Teacher Pens FB Post About Florida School Shooting. It’s Gone Mega-Viral For All The Right Reasons. Chris Enloe, TheBlaze

What Do We Do About The Biased And Incompetent FBI? Roger L. Simon, PJ Media

America’s Missing Money Terrence Leveck, City Journal

Justice Department Official Hid Wife’s Payments By Anti-Trump Researcher Luke Rosiak, Daily Signal

Women’s March Organizers Plan ‘National School Walkout’ For Gun Control Michele Blood, LifeZette

Foreign Meddling Won't Undermine Tyranny, But This Will Matt Daniels and Doug Bandow, Foundation for Economic Education

How Can Companies Best Help Society? Make More Money. Sally Pipes, Fortune

De Blasio Can’t Get Away With Giving Taxpayer Money To Donor New York Post

DePaul U Permitted Fundraiser For Terrorist Rasmea Odeh On Campus, But Won’t Let Steven Crowder Speak Mike LaChance, Legal Insurrection

Judicial Watch Sues State Dep't For Samantha Power's Unmasking Documents Michael W. Chapman, CNSNews

How Medicaid Funds And Fuels The Opioid Epidemic Joe Jarvis, Daily Bell

For More go to the Home Page >>>

Join Our Email List



section

Bookshelf

FreeMarket Central

Some titles recent, all recommended -

Special Video Feature

FreeMarket Central

Voices From The 2017 International Students For Liberty Conference

section

In Search Of History

The Reagan Tax Cuts Worked

Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

-- Daniel J. Mitchell,

Shadow Stats Snapshot


FreeMarket Central

ShadowStats alternate economic indicators are based on the methodology of noted economist John Williams, specialist in government economic reporting.

  • Unemployment:
    FreeMarket Central BLS: 4.15%
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 21.8%
  • Inflation:
    FreeMarket Central January Year-to-Year: 2.11% (CPI-U*)
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 9.9%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]

section