John Stossel Defends “Stupid in America”

John Stossel recently created a special ABC News report called “Stupid in America” — which can be viewed at one of the links provided here in case you missed it.

Since then, it seems he’s been under fire from almost every left-leaning organization in the country. He’s written his own defense, providing evidence and explanations which refute their innacurate claims. Here’s but one (of many) gems:

MediaMatters, a liberal media watchdog group, claimed we fudged per-pupil spending numbers when we said per-pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, has doubled to “more than $10,000 per pupil per year.” They point to the “most recent” 2003 U.S. Census figure of $8,019 per pupil as a “gotcha.” In fact, the estimates for 2004-05 from the U.S. Department of Education are well over $10,000 per pupil. Even using MediaMatters’ own number, it is irrefutable that per-pupil spending has doubled over the last 30 years.

The National Education Association stooped to personal attacks, which backfired as well:

The NEA also claimed I’m not objective because I make speeches for money. I do, but I donate the money to charities. For example, I give money to Student Sponsor Partners, an organization that pays for poor kids to go to private school. You might say I put my money where my mouth is — unlike the teachers’ organizations, which often put their mouths where the money is.

Keep up the good work, John. We’re rooting for you here at HoT.


Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I am not a big Stossel fan; however, his series on Education hits the nail on the head.

    I am a Libertarian and I am running for my local School Board. That has been quote interesting…

    Mike Sylvester

  2. I’m looking forward to reading Stossel’s next book. Too bad there aren’t more people like him in the media.

  3. John did a very good job with “Stupid in America”. He is the man. I like his responses back to the critics.

    The problem with the demopublicans is that they know that people won’t freely choose what they are pushing. That is why they pass law after law to force us to do what they want even though it isn’t what we want.

    In my state a few gutless legislators decided to stand with the teachers unions/large schools and against the people and push a bill through that will effectively close all of our rural school districts in the state. Though still public, our rural schools were essentially our form of individual choice in our state. In a little over a month we even got enough signatures to put a petition on the ballot. The problem is the law will go into affect prior to the vote. The state supreme court decided against the people as well letting the law go through. The people have no voice anymore. Only gov’t and powerful interest groups do. This stinks!

  4. I’m a public school teacher and a libertarian. I say down with the unions (I am required to join and pay exorbitant dues), bring on the competition (I would love to be paid according to my performance and not the number of years I have taught), and hold parents accountable as well (nothing brings accountability from all parties like having to pay for services rendered)

  5. Andy, it’s nice to know there are some folks like you in the government system who have enough integrity to resist “eating at the trough”.

  6. John Stossel Rocks .. especially his gun myths

    Hey troll (rev.quitter) go to

  7. ok jonny. i’ve had it with this troll bullshit. i’ve seen it plenty of times at assorted blogs. somebody dissents and suddenly the group-think bozos attack.

    i’m a regular visitor to this blog and agree with 90% of the content that they, especially stephen gordon, post. so bite it.

    Stephen, sorry for the mean post.


  8. Yo, Rev —thanks.

    And don’t worry about disagreement (or mean posts), that’s what this place is all about.

    I didn’t see any mean post, tho.

  9. before i go on, i should say.. confess really, that i am not a true libertarian. consider me a libertarian sympathizer. i detest the republican party as led by generallisimo bush and am disgusted by the spineless and convictionless democrats. i don’t expect to convert anyone here to my own brand of left-leaning libertarianism, but these are my thoughts.

    i haven’t watched the clip in question here, but my feelings about stossel are that he is basically a right-wing stooge and corporate apologist who is more than happy to have the government pay him when it’s covenient. not to mention that he seemed to do everything in his power to get bush elected by constanty attacking the dems but giving busho a free ride. i consider mr. stossel to be, at best, a tabloid journalist, and worst..well…corporate shill who hides behind a mask of liberty supporter.

    but that’s just me.

  10. I haven’t seen Stossel’s report but it sounds like his conclusions are overly simplistic. To blame all the problems in the educational system on government sounds like the easy way out. He clearly has an agenda, which is to push privatization or vouchers. I’m a left-libertarian type like the Rev here, so I’m a little skeptical about Stossel’s motives.

    That said, I’ve enjoyed Stossel’s reports in the past, especially when he skewers celebrities, the media, hype and the “culture of fear”.

    My wife is a teacher and I am on my way to becoming a teacher. I’m tired of politicians and pundits using teachers as a punching bag to further their pet causes. My governor (the Terminator) has been doing this lately.

  11. Comandante,

    You mean the proposal that tenure should take five years rather than two? Or was it the one asking that starting in 2007, people hired by state and local gov’t agencies could no longer retire at age 50 with 100% of their pay?

    Maybe it was the one so rank and file union members in the government sector, many of whom have to be in these unions to work in their chosen field, could actually (and not just theoretically) NOT contribute to political causes that they oppose, or which go against their religion. Or perhaps it was cutting down on gerrymadering of political districts that constituted making teachers into a punching bag?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Arnie.

    I’m also wondering what’s taken the Demo-union crowd so long to come out with a recall against him? They could buy some TOTAL RECALL movie posters or cutouts with a picture of Aaah-nold and hook up the petitioners with one of each.

  12. hey paulie. i’m not a teacher, and don’t have kids,but i do pay taxes so of course i care but i take exception to teachers (and nurses and firefighters here in ca) being the scapegoats because it’s easier for politicians and “news” casters like stossel get their simplistic point across. to choose just one of the complicated issues you bring up – the union dues thing – i voted against that because i feel that unions should decide for themselves how to spend their dues, instead of having the government intrude anddetermine policy for them.

    a case can certainly be made that unions create some problems for the rest of us, but i get tired of “management” signing contracts with unions and then bitching about the terms.

  13. See a column today about K-12 reform. The author is a Republican and interested in politically-acceptable solutions, although vouchers previously have been rejected by voters.

    Also, the University of Colorado is in the midst of perhaps the most comprehensive review of tenure in decades. Other coverage is from the official CU faculty and staff newspaper, most recently (a href=””>here.

    Tenure is not necessarily (midway) about academic freedom, but “unilateral disarmament” would probably put us at a faculty recruiting and retention disadvantage.

    But others opine as well.

  14. i take exception to teachers (and nurses and firefighters here in ca) being the scapegoats

    paul) Well, I think they should be allowed to decide
    how to spend their own money. If an anti-abortion Catholic wants to be a firefighter in California, just as an
    example, why should they be forced to contribute
    to a political fund which supports pro-abortion PACs and candidates? And don’t tell me they can opt out, hardly anybody knows about it and it’s often virtually impossible in practice. BTW the dues are deducted from their check even if they go through the near-impossible process of getting and keeping the job without joining the union.

    unions should decide for themselves how to spend their dues, instead of having the government intrude and determine policy for them.

    Ironic when we are talking about public employee unions which live on tax money and are obligatory to join to work in certain professions, (cont)

  15. (cont) and the “policy” is one of taking money directly out of people’s paychecks without their consent OR knowledge to work for causes they may not agree with, or even find deeply offensive (such as anti-abortionists find abortion to be, for example).

    Another thing they do with the money, of course, is use it to lobby for more money for them, which also ultimately comes from all taxpayers. So in essence, they are using tax money to lobby for higher taxes, and to defeat initiatives which will at least make it optional for people working as government employees to not contribute to that process.

  16. And to add insult to injury, they used some of that tax money – which libertarians consider stolen – to send out propaganda notices to teachers and other employees, and have propaganda meetings, often on work time using work resources. Some of these notices were advising these employees to harass and intimidate petitioners from even bringing the issues to the public to allow them to sign to place them on the ballot.

    Other employees were paid with the unions’ funds, which ultimately came from stolen tax money, to go out and harass petitioners. Were any of these employees on the clock? Well, a community college professor (let’s call his union the California Community College Professors, CCCP for short) made it his business to harass me and people I asked to sign at his place of employment during working hours.

    Some of the people I asked to sign were depending on him for grades, job assessments or tenure reviews. And he had the gall to accuse *me* of just being in it for the money

  17. oh, sorry, I’ll be more open minded.

    Go ahead and explain it to those who didn’t work on the campaign.

  18. Just watched the program. It wasn’t over simplistic. And you have to blame the government, they are the operators. All I need to hear is how defensive the teacher’s union is. They refuse to say that there are problems. The Department of Education refuses to look at reform. We think we as American’s are so great, but our kids are getting showed up at every turn of the globe. The education system needs to released from federal control. Allow states to create a system that works for them. Let the people decide where and how their tax money is spent.

  19. Let me take back some of what I said earlier, as I had not watched Stossel’s program at the time. The report was not simplistic. I thought it was well done and very thought provoking. However, it was one-sided report whose main goal was to promote vouchers. I’d like to see the other side on this.

    Dave, I agree that the defensive posturing of teacher’s unions was rather shocking.

    The current system is indeed broken. It is also stacked up against the poor. The wealthy can choose between private school or a good district whereas the poor are stuck with the district in which they live.

  20. Vouchers are not the answer. The regime’s money always comes with strings attached, so it becomes a back door for turning private schools into regime schools. Instead, we should be promoting private schools and especially home schooling.