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No, They Can't: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed Audible – Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

The government is not a neutral arbiter of truth. It never has been. It never will be. Doubt everything. John Stossel does. A self-described skeptic, he has dismantled society's sacred cows with unerring common sense. Now he debunks the most sacred of them all: our intuition and belief that government can solve our problems. In No, They Can't, the New York Times best-selling author and Fox News commentator insists that we discard that idea of the "perfect" government - left or right - and retrain our brain to look only at the facts, to rethink our lives as independent individuals -and fast.

With characteristic tenacity, John Stossel outlines and exposes the fallacies and facts of the most pressing issues of today's social and political climate - and shows how our intuitions about them are, frankly, wrong:

  • The unreliable marriage between big business, the media, and unions
  • The myth of tax breaks and the ignorance of their advocates
  • Why "central planners" never create more jobs and how government never really will
  • Why free trade works - without government interference
  • Federal regulations and the trouble they create for consumers
  • The harm caused to the disabled by government protection of the disabled
  • The problems (social and economic) generated by minimum-wage laws
  • The destructive daydreams of "health insurance for everyone"
  • Bad food vs. good food and the government
  • Intrusive, unwelcome nanny sensibilities
  • The dumbing down of public education and teachers' unions
  • How gun control actually increases crime

. . . and more myth-busting realities of why the American people must wrest our lives back from a government stranglehold.

Stossel also reveals how his unyielding desire to educate the public with the truth caused an irreparable rift with ABC (nobody wanted to hear the point-by-point facts of ObamaCare), and why he left his long-running stint for a new, uncensored forum with Fox. He lays out his ideas for education innovation as well and, finally, makes it perfectly clear why government action is the least effective and desirable fantasy to hang on to. As Stossel says, it's not about electing the right people. It's about narrowing responsibilities. No, They Can't is an irrefutable first step toward that goal.

©2012 JFS Productions, Inc. (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 14 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007SRM8ZI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Christine Krukowski on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Stossel has a gift for presenting issues in a clear, forthright manner that is top rate. He uses logic, and thinks things through, and he explains his opinion in ways that appeal to the head as well as the heart. I can't say that I agree with him on every issue, but it's vitally refreshing to read a book of political stances that uses intelligent thinking. The only negative criticism that I can make is that in several chapters he reiterates examples from his previous book that I read (and loved), 'Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity' rather than offering new ones. I would give this new book a 4.5 on that basis, but since that's not possible, I'm rounding it up to a 5. On its own, it definitely rates such.
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139 of 160 people found the following review helpful By Ira E. Stoll VINE VOICE on April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Stossel's book turns out to be quite well done; I learned from it even though I've read lots of other pro-capitalist and pro-free market books. Two of the best pieces of content are charts. One shows the decline in workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers between 1933 and 2005. The chart shows that "before regulation, deaths dropped just as fast." Or, as Mr. Stossel puts it, the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration "made no difference" in workplace fatalities.

The second chart, from the Cato Institute, shows the "inflation-adjusted cost of a complete K-12 education, and percent change in achievement of 17-year-olds, since 1970." Costs have gone way up, while reading and math scores, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, have been essentially flat.

Another eye-opener in the book's chapter on education is about how what Mr. Stossel calls government schools "are now more racially segregated than private schools." He writes, "University of Arkansas education professor Jay Greene examined a national sample of school classrooms and found that public schools were significantly more likely to be almost entirely white or entirely minority. In another study, he looked at who sat with whom in school lunchrooms. At private schools, students of different races were more likely to sit together."

I also appreciated the dose of skepticism from Mr. Stossel about his colleagues in the television news industry: "Emmys are silly awards that the liberal media give to people who confirm their anticapitalist attitudes. I won nineteen Emmys before I moved to Fox. I don't win them anymore."

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67 of 79 people found the following review helpful By D. W. MacKenzie on April 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Anyone who is acquainted with John Stossel's past work will find "No They Can't" familiar. Government intervention does not appear to make workplaces, homes, streets, or the world safer. Government intervention has not made schools, food, health care, or the whole economy work better. Government intervention has not made businesses more honest or life "fair". Government policies often backfire and have unintended consequences. Public officials do not know how to "plan a society", no one can- the world is too complex. Government programs come to us at exceedingly high costs. The costs of government programs are heading towards unbearable "insane" levels. Privatization and competition work in subtle ways that benefit everyone (unequally). Those who persist in advocating a large and active government do so through demagoguery, fear mongering, misinformation...

The facts in this book are generally accurate. Of course, not every argument in this book is strictly factual; there are some value-laden elements. And generally speaking Stossel values individual liberty. Stossel is highly consistent in his defense of individualism/Libertarianism, and this puts him at odds with Conservatives and in sympathy with Welfare State Liberals (on wars-national defense). As such, most potential readers will find something to disagree with here, but this should makes this book a more interesting read. So this book should benefit most anyone interested in economics or public policy. The cost (in terms of money and reading time) is also reasonable.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tyro on May 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
What you should know about this book. It IS different from your typical pro-capitalism book; it is not a conservative rant; it is primarily about economics.

Most of all, Stossel has considerable charm as a writer and knows how to get his point across. The subject of this book is economics from an Austrian point of view, applied to today's economic scene. Stossel knows that free market economics is a hard sell, because its effects are somewhat indirect and not always visible. Every time he introduces a subject, he acknowledges that the tendency to rely on government appeals to common sense, while the viewpoint he is promoting seems like a vote against progress and the redress of social injustices.

Herein lies his skill as a communicator. He is perhaps the most effective spokesperson for the free market view, and this book - to those who actually read it - is very convincing. Unlike angry, hyperbolic conservatives, he always includes the arguments of those whose views are more widely believed - and taught in schools - the progressive, pro-government position. And then he explains the complexities of economics.

Expressed in the briefest possible form; these are the complexities inherent in classical (or Austrian) economics: the fact that every attempt to stack the economic deck in favor of some group or some disadvantaged minority has unseen side effects that hurt us all. That last sentence sounds abstract and theoretical, but that's only because I lack Stossel's ability to use specific examples and explain this law of unintended consequences in a clear, step-by-step manner. Telling personal anecdotes, he comes across as a humble but principled guy - almost like the hero of a Frank Capra movie.
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