What is fundamentally wrong with government today? Since 2001, despite low inflation, federal spending has increased by a massive 28.8%, creating the largest deficits in U.S. history and the highest rate of government growth since the "guns-and-butter" presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. At the same time, federal agencies have been given new powers to secretly search anyone's property and intercept phone, Internet, and other communications, as well as inspect health and financial records. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, economist and historian Robert Higgs alone predicted this explosion of government power, as politicians have again taken full advantage of a frightened American public.
At this special Independent Policy Forum based on his new book, Against Leviathan, Dr. Higgs will present an unflinchingly critical analysis of the abuse of government power, including pork, the welfare state, protectionism, trampling on the Bill of Rights, and governmental responses to a continuing stream of "crises," including foreign wars, both hot and cold. Dr. Higgs combines an economist's analytical scrutiny, an historian's respect for the facts, and a refusal to accept the standard excuses and cruelties of government officialdom.
Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy
Author, Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society
When pioneering television journalist John Stossel joined ABC-TV's "20/20" in 1981, his peers and an admiring public hailed him as a crusading consumer reporter. His hard-hitting, in-your-face exposes of con artists and corporate liars and crooks won him 19 Emmys and an avid following. But, could the use of government power and the Nanny State be the biggest scam of all?
In his new book, Give Me a Break, Stossel takes on a herd of sacred cows and examines how in the name of the "public interest," ambitious politicians and bureaucrats, intellectually lazy and opportunistic reporters, scaremongers, and predatory lawyers make life worse, especially for those most disadvantaged.
In this event John Stossel explained how his investigations of government waste, fraud and abuse; welfare for the rich; victimless crimes; self-serving interest groups; and sensationalist-media hyping (while ignoring real risks) reveal the crucial need to protect the civil and economic liberties of all people.
John Stossel, author of Give Me a Break. is co-anchor of ABC's "20/20." He also hosts ABC's "John Stossel Specials" for ABC television and radio, and ABCNews.com. In addition to having received 19 Emmy Awards, he has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Among his other awards are the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.
David J. Theroux is Founder and President of the Independent Institute.
To outsiders, its initials once stood for No Such Agency. To its employees, they stood for Never Say Anything. Today the public knows that the ultra-secret National Security Agency manages the nations spy satellites, but few know exactly why the NSA is the most powerful U.S. intelligence agencyor its roles in the Cold War, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and Echelon, the worldwide NSA spying operation that, many charge, is illegally monitoring innocent citizens. No outsider knows more about the NSA than investigative journalist James Bamford, who began to research it before most members of Congress had even heard of it. In this talk, Mr. Bamford explained why he believes the NSA is a dangerous, two-edged sword.
Many Americans consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president in history. His legend as the Great Emancipator has grown to mythic proportions as hundreds of books and a monument in Washington, D.C., extol his heroism and martyrdom. Is Lincolns reputation deserved? Lincoln defender Harry V. Jaffa (author of the new book, A New Birth of Freedom) will argue that Lincoln was a model statesman who stuck by high-minded principles as he fought to promote liberty. Lincoln critic Thomas DiLorenzo (author of the new book, The Real Lincoln) will argue that Lincoln was a calculating politician who waged the bloodiest war in American history not to free the slaves, but in order to build an empire that rivaled Great Britains. Was Lincoln a great hero or a villain? Did he honor the promise of Americaor betray it?
With the words, Give me liberty, or give me death, Patrick Henry sounded the keynote of the American Revolution. After the Revolution, Henry and his supporters blocked the Constitutions ratification until it bore the amendments known as the Bill of Rights. Mindful of these principles, the first generation of Americans reinvented themselves and their society. But how exactly did their values transform politics, economics, and culture in the new republic? Celebrated historians Joyce Appleby and Hans Eicholz discussed the passions and lives of these bold people and the legacy they bequeathed to future generations.
The great question of Pearl Harbor: what did U.S. government officials know and when did they know it? Ithas been argued for years. After decades of Freedom of Information Act requests, Robert Stinnett was finally able to examine the long-hidden evidence, shattering every shibboleth of Pearl Harbor. He finds that not only was the attack expected, it was deliberately provoked through an eight-step program devised by the Navy for President Franklin Roosevelt. Could Pearl Harbor have neither been an "accident" nor a mere "failure" of U.S. intelligence nor a "brilliant" Japanese military coup? Could the tragedy at Pearl Harbor have been a carefully orchestrated design, initiated at the highest government levels in order to galvanize a peace-loving American public to go to war? Robert Stinnett will discuss this startling issue in detail.
Robert B. Stinnett
Former Journalist, Oakland Tribune and BBC.
Author of the books, George Bush: His World War II Years and Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor.
The Civil War was a great turning point in American history. It abolished the evil of slavery, established federal power over the states, andparadoxicallycreated precedents that restrict individual freedom today. The ideas and personalities of the Civil War are forever etched in our memory, but they are not merely of historic interest. Based on their acclaimed books, Henry Mayer and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel will discuss the abolitionists, political and business interests, war mobilization and conduct, etc.and how they continue to shape American society.
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
Professor of Economics, Golden Gate University
Henry E. Mayer
National Book Award Finalist
Author, All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery