Last weeks episode of Stossel was a very packed episode with several topics covered very quickly.
The first topic was “energy independence”. He had T. Boone Pickens on and it was not too friendly of a conversation, Stossel tried to be cordial, but members of the audience keep yelling out insults. The real problem with Pickens is that he seems like a guy who has just accepted the way things are and so tries to capitalize on the current environment for personal gain. He has no moral qualms about having the government steal money from average citizens and then funnel that money to him because he feels like that the money would be stolen from you anyways so why not get in on the action? He pretty much said as much because he kept telling Stossel that “you won't be paying any more in taxes if my plan goes through” and “what I am asking for is just a drop in the bucket”. However at the end he was cut short by time and left looking a little bit silly because his final statement was that he would not risk his own money on his schemes because they are a bad deal, but he has no qualms having tax payers “invest” in his schemes that he admits are economically unsound.
Then the subject moved onto trains. Trains may be a good investment for private industry but not for government. They brought Randal O'Toole on. I met him once when he was in Denver educating us on talking points against the light rail expansion that was being proposed. The fact is that if a city wants to encourage public transit, they should focus on buses and passenger vans. They are cheaper and more flexible and they you can add and subtract routes easily as demand dictates. The reality is that government should not be involved in public transportation but if they are going to force the issue at the very least those of us footing the bill should be getting the best possible value for our tax dollars, instead the government seems determined to find the most expensive, least practical option available.
Other topics mixed in to the show were the broken window fallacy, the X prize, and fungible commodities. It was a fast paced show. Even though Stossel may not have got people to fully understand the broken window fallacy just the mention of it on TV may entice people to look it up.
Another good show.