Emmy-Award winning journalist John Stossel brought his message of less government to Salina Thursday. The former co-anchor and correspondent for ABC’s “20/20” and current Fox Business News host was the featured speaker in front of about 800 people at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Banquet.
Stossel spoke about his career as a consumer affairs reporter, and how his views evolved over time.
Stossel believes that the best thing for the country, and for the economy, is a smaller government with much less regulation. “Market competition protects us much better than government regulation,” he said. He referred to the “Invisible Hand” theory, a notion that individuals’ efforts to pursue their own interest may frequently benefit society more than if their actions were directly intending to benefit society.
Stossel said that he is a Libertarian. He believes that all drugs should be legal, and that our government should not police the world or police what goes on in our bedrooms.
Stossel said he doesn’t like politics, but has found a good way to predict which candidate will win an election. “Leave it to the gamblers,” he said. He cited an offshore gambling business, Betfair, that allows wagers on multiple things, including election results. He said that it is accurate in predicting a winner, in everything from “American Idol” to elections, nearly every time.
Prior to the event, Stossel met with the media. The session turned into a debate about economics between Stossel and David Silverman of Salina.
Silverman explained that he thinks people are underpaid, saying “people at the top 1 percent are earning more but it hasn’t trickled down to the rest of us.” Stossel said that Silverman sounded like a “Bernie Sanders socialist.” Silverman asked “why would you have to resort to an ad hominem attack?” Stossel replied “is that an attack, I’m just interpreting your question.” Silverman indicated that “Bernie Sanders socialist” was used as a derogatory term. “It is to me,” was Stossel’s reply.
The men civilly debated their views on government, which seemed to be polar opposite, and what role it should play, for about 10 minutes. When it was over they shook hands. Stossel told Silverman “I enjoyed arguing with you, but I think you were totally out to lunch and smug about it, but it makes for a stimulating debate.” Silverman replied “I think you are smug too.”
The Chamber also took care of other business Thursday night:
- Brian Richardson took over as President from Frank Hampton.
- Linnea King was awarded “Ambassador of the Year” for an unprecedented 5th year in a row.
- Tami Keller received the Mace Braxton Volunteer of the Year award.
The chamber has a history of bringing big name speakers for the event. Last year cancer surviving hall of fame figure skater Scott Hamilton spoke. Previous speakers have included presidential candidate former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Former President George Bush, Former British Prime Minister John Major, Bob Costas, and Cal Ripken Jr., among others.