John Stossel

Because "crisis" justifies making big government bigger.

It's why we now have a global warming "crisis" and in previous years we had "crises" over avian flu, the Y2K threat to computers, imaginary cancer spikes caused by pesticides, killer bees flying up from Mexico, and uncontrolled population growth leading to a "Population Bomb" that will bring "riots and mass starvation" by the year 2000.

This is not to say that lots of homebuyers aren't having a hard time. But the rapid rise and fall in housing values in some parts of the country -- and the rippling consequences at each stage -- do not justify scrapping what we know about economic success and turning to government control. Prosperity and stability come from people being free to innovate and produce -- and yes, fail. Bureaucrats, however well-intentioned, cannot know enough to manage that process. They are unqualified to give the green light to some innovations and the red light to others. Bailouts create irresponsibility.

I expect the silly people to say silly things. Here's Paul Krugman: "[I]t's puzzling that Democrats haven't been more aggressive about making the disaster an issue for the 2008 election. They should be."

Keith Olbermann even seems to find the "crisis" exciting. "You watch, this is going to make Enron look like the failure of a lemonade stand."

But the rest of us should get a grip. The best regulator of economic activity and source of knowledge is free competition.

Of course, government inhibits that in many ways. If we want to avoid disruptions like the current one, let's undertake a wholesale examination of government intervention in the economy. Freedom, not control, is the ticket to success.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate