“Myths We Live By”

2 Aug

John Stossel,  a writer and commentator who continues to make uncommon sense, has written a recent column called “Myths We Live By”, which I have excerpted below.  The full column can be found at http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_john_stossel/myths_we_live_by    

 Mr. Stossel has recently published a book called “Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity” which serves to undermine many other common beliefs of Americans that just don’t stand up to scrutiny.

 Excerpt Begins:   [Bolding is mine]

The Olympics have gone smoothly despite — gasp! — America’s team wearing clothing made in China at the opening ceremony.

“I’m so upset,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile, and burn them. … We have people in the textile industry who are desperate for jobs.”

Here, Reid demonstrates economic cluelessness. It seems logical that Americans lose if American clothing is made overseas. But that’s nonsense. First, it’s no surprise the uniforms were made in China. Most clothing is. That’s fine. It saves money. We invest the savings in other things, like the machines that Chinese factories buy and the trucks that ship the Olympic uniforms.

The Cato Institute’s Daniel Ikenson’s adds: “We design clothing here. We brand clothing here. We market and retail clothing. … Chinese athletes arrived in London by U.S.-made aircraft, trained on U.S.-designed and -engineered equipment, wear U.S.-designed and -engineered footwear, having perfected their skills using U.S.-created technology.” That’s free trade. Trade makes us richer.

While making the clothes in America would employ some Americans, the excess cost would mean that the Olympic committee had less to spend on other products — many of which are made in America.  .  .  .

Contrary to protectionists like Sen. Reid, if we insisted that everything be made in America, we’d be poor.

There is so much that we think we know — that is not so.

We’re told that “overpopulation” is why countries are poor. But that’s nonsense, too.

“The problem is not that there are too many people,” Carden said. “The problem is that for the most part they don’t have free markets.” .  .  .

The data make that obvious. Poverty in Nigeria and Pakistan is often blamed on “overpopulation.” Nigeria has 174 people per square mile! Pakistan 225! But so what? Wealthy Holland has 483 people per square mile. Hong Kong, 6,783. Singapore, 7,252. These are among the richest places in the world. They also have clean environments. When there is the rule of law and economic freedom, more people means more inventions, the cross-pollination of ideas — and that creates better lives.  .  .  .

There are so many myths. I wrote my new book when I realized that the most dangerous myth is that solutions to our problems will most likely come from government.  .  .  . 

People freed to pursue their own interests are more likely to solve problems. Government fails, but individuals succeed. Individuals would create prosperity if politicians and bureaucrats got out of the way.  .  .  .

[End of Excerpts]

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