John Stossel: Regulations strangle the life out of America
I'm not so cynical that I think politicians pass laws just to control us. Someone always thinks: "This law is needed. This will protect people."
Yet lawyers like George Washington Law professor John Banzhaf want more rules.
Banzhaf requires his law students to sue people, just for practice.
They do. But his legal "victories" hardly benefit the public.
He and his students have sued Washington, D.C., hairdressers and dry cleaners for "discrimination" because they charge women more.
So the poor defendants have to spend thousands on legal fees, while law students get their "practice." A Korean dry cleaners association "went through three or four high-powered law firms" defending itself, Banzhaf says with pride.
Tibor Machan, professor of business ethics at Chapman University, told me we should object to Banzhaf on principle. "Is it right to manipulate people all the time, to treat them like they're little children? The next step from the nanny state is the petty tyrannical state. And a dictatorial state."
The conceit of politicians and lawyers is that they think they can manage life through rules. So they keep adding more.
Critics of lawsuit abuse focus on the cost of litigation, but the bigger harm is that fear of lawsuits itself deprives us of good things.
• Drug companies invented a vaccine against Lyme disease, but they won't sell it, because they're scared of lawyers.
• Monsanto developed a substitute for asbestos, a fire-resistant insulation that might save thousands of lives, but decided not to sell it because the company feared it might be sued.
I don't suggest that we should be at the mercy of rip-off artists. Some lawsuits are useful — if businesses commit theft or fraud, they should be sued. But American law encourages suits. In other countries, if you sue and lose, you and your lawyer must pay the court bills of the people you dragged into court.
The free market does a better job protecting consumers. Competition protects us.
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."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- College Notebook: NH athletes receive fall accolades - 0
- MMA 'Throwdown at The Rock' to feature Nate LaMottee - 0
- Soccer kings' dominance unparalleled - 0
- (No heading) - 0
- UPDATED: Hopkinton High lacrosse coach Doug Maynard dies - 0
- Windham field hockey prevails in overtime - 0
- Allen Lessels UNH Notebook: And now, no room for error - 0
- High School Roundup - 0
- Ian Clark's Corner Kicks: Hanover boys are on a roll - 0
READER COMMENTS: 6
- UPDATE: Portsmouth woman, 60, identified after her body is found in creek - 0
- N.Y. man charged with reckless conduct after accidental shooting in Nashua - 0
- Cases against Keene 'Robin Hooders' dismissed by judge - 0
- Task force arrests man in Nottingham for Candia burglary - 0
- Police: Salem man used car keys to stab officer in hand - 0
- Manchester muffler shop burglarized - 0
- Boy, 12, struck in Newton remains hospitalized - 0
- State revenue under projections for November - 0
- Armed man arrested after Manchester convenience store robbery - 0
UPDATE: Could be 'months' before deciding on charges in crash involving Dover city councilor
What Congress? Obama's 'easy way out'
Boy wounded by bullet was to be released