john: we had to free our minds to get these concepts. but on to tonight's topic. is the united states about to fall as rome did? it is a barbarian city. is this our future? first we hear from a conservative, a historian, and a libertarian. we have some libertarians leading. this historian, carl richard, and matt kibbe fights the government. matt, are we becoming rome? >> i think that we are. i think that the parallels are quite ominous. the expansion of foreign policy, the arrogance of executive power
taking over our country. but i do think we have a chance to stop it. >> i believe that their similarities with the fall of rome and the republic they are in engagement of polical leaders and so on. i see some of that. john: corruption, etc.? >> it is sort of under the table corruption. but it doesn't bother me as much as the over things. for instance, the roman constitution had a to permit limited to one year and people just kept voting for this unconstitutional leader. john: now we have congress passing laws that haven't read. >> that's right, we had presidents of both parties saying that i am not for certain
about these laws. taking property, selling it to someone else, and yet you can always find parallels. but the fact that we are meeting come i think it shows the antidote is coming about. we, the people, we have not gone the way that the romans did and they were not passive. and they may try to feed the us to the lions, but we believe in free enterprise. we are going to face the lions. [cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] john: that is a happy thought. i wish that i were as optimistic
as you are. but i fear that we are rome. how many of you think that we are going down the tube how many think that we are in deep trouble? and how many think that we will turn it around? they can't both be true. but again, you are not in the audience. because your libertarians, right? [laughter] john: so walking around here people investing in gold, as a this and that, patronizing dead austrian communists.
[laughter] john: you have to understand why we get a reputation as wrong and different. is this unfair? is this fair? >> no. john: come on, isn't is mostly badly dressed men? [laughter] john: it's people who care about numbers, less about how they look the epitome of it. is this unfair? that they look like geeks? >> well, you're sounding like my opponents. >> you could describe our forefathers in the same way and
you of all people should know which should look at the substance. [cheers] [applause] john: this is the optimism that makes america possible. when i look at your sideburns, and i think people would say that this is not a normal guy. [laughter] >> definitely guilty as charged. >> we are different because we have the looks. [laughter] [cheers] [applause] [laughter] [cheers] [applause]
>> that but social awkwardness is not a sin in defense of liberty. john: i am socially awkward as well. i overcome it if i have to. but what is it about many of the people who like to analyze the opposite? is a personality type? >> economists would argue that everything we do when we fight for freedom and show up at rallies, when we care about the future of our country, economists will say that is irrational. the we happen to think it is the best thing to do because we care not only about our country, but her future, our kids future, that is not normal in this country. that is what we have to face. >> it is part of our culture and part of our entrepreneurs.
john: welcome back to freedom fest. now, the welfare state. i didn't know that, but i came to this and the two people who educated me include charles murray, an author about the destructiveness of welfare. and there he i reread from the foundation for economic education. larry, i learned from you that this begin about halfway through the roman empire. >> the government gave away the subsidized treatment half-price. but the problem is they couldn't stop it there and later there was a man who ran for the office of the tribunal for the masses.
and it was downhill from there. they gradually give stuff away with a steady increase. >> including with other staples of the roman diet. john: people would show up in this way? >> yes, they had a test and they got away with it so that anyone could fill up and get this free stuff. >> and they decided that you had to be edited by the state. >> well, not everybody, but they started public schools? >> well, it was much later. largely with homeschooling. in the first public had was about 250 bc and they were not funded by the government. john: and the greeks actually
mocked him for being backwards about that? >> yes, of course they did last anywhere near as long. >> you have educated us about welfare and the handouts. do you see parallels with rome? >> yes, if you take a look at roman society that started to dictate, it is not just because of theewelfare state and the people on the bottom, it is also because the people on the top who isolated lives from the rest. i find parallels in the united states versus rome very interesting. >> 's. john: we have a lot of unintended consequences. we just get rid of it? you're pretty hard-core, i assume. should america get rid of all handouts?
[cheers] [applause] john: what would happen the first time somebody did this? they say charity. charles murray, what is your answer? >> well, i think in fact if we got rid of the entire welfare state, that the ability of the wealthy society to deal with the problems would work. i don't think it is within the realm of possibility for an advanced society with as much wealth to ever do that politically. i think that libertarians will have to strike a grand compromise. in affecting the we will give you a big spending if you will
give us freedom from interference. i would say use of guaranteed basic income for everyone under 21 years old and known bank account, and let people take their lives back into their own hands. they will have the wherewithal that they can deal with this and if they do not do it, they will have to talk with friends and area neighbors and churches and in the community and they want to make their case. i think that is the better way to go. john: you wrote a book about this. it is called "in our hands." his better book is "in pursuit
of happiness and better government." so you're telling me that the social workers, "the new york times" reporter will go on and say that you're going to let this woman's children starve? it's not their fault and we have a whole new program. >> here's what you're going to have. you're going to have someone who spends it up in the first two weeks and then they'd are going to say that gee, we don't have any money. you know, he has to go to the people the people and say that i really need help and then saying that there and let you down. we will introduce once again the kinds of human connections that are the only way to this. >> united's defense never let people die on the streets.
now we have bureaucrats that cannot make the distinction between someone who needs a kick in the pants and someone who needs a pat on the back. we will put these in the back of human relationships, whereby you can apply this stigma come all the rest which can make the problems solvable. john: there were these mutual aid societies everywhere. >> it is not the business of the government.
>> this was the case in most of roman history, everybody could line up to these things which contributed to the ultimate bankruptcy. john: look at how the poverty line drops but then the wine was just as sharp. people were lifting themselves out of poverty. government kept improving and then stopped. >> the great untold stories ttat there was a miracle at the end of world war ii in the early 1960s. it has kept them about 40% below the poverty line to about 20%. it continues to go down for a couple of years and it flattens
john: welcome back to this special edition of stossel. we are in las vegas for "freedom fest." most people here are libertarians and we want to shrink government. we don't like taxes. we need national defense and pollution control rules. there are some things that most of us say government must do. i see why. it is tough. our taxes always seem to go up. grover norquist, who is head of americans for tax reform persuaded politicians never raise taxes.
and steve moore is with us from "the wall street journal." so rome had high tax rates? >> not always. efforts were about 400 years they had no real direct internal taxes. because they looted their neighbors. john: we are not advocating that. [laughter] >> even that wasn't enough. so they had dramatically higher taxes. taxes started with tariffs. constantine had the first one. property taxes, people were actually abandoning their property.
things got towards the end, very rough and it's a part of why things did not work. >> one penalty of being sold and slavery. >> or killed. >> that is what they do and the modern-day irs. the only way they would get it was to sell into slavery to get currency. john: by 1% was the highest income tax. >> over is exactly right. they kept collecting more and more money in the outlying areas and there wassa massive revolt. >> that is happening in america today. people are sick and tired of seeing their tax dollars in
washington. that is one of the reasons that is the great thing about america. the federal government did not create this with the state. >> reaction that they had to collecting the taxes was tax farmers. it was so bad that in one revolt -- john: we do not advocate this on the show. >> it was a 40 year war. but it was clearly a serious tax revolt. >> to your point, when you asked me what 1% was, when we created the federal income tax back in 1915, the top income tax rate
went to 7%. within 10 years they went from 7% to 70% that is why i have always believed that steve forbes had it right. we ought to go back with all the deductions and loopholes and make it as simple as possible. but don't create all of these special interest groups. >> the people most opposed to the flat tax, it is people who are against it and probably from washington. the bricks in london were paying 20%. it is expensive. i like to percent rather than 18%. [applause] john: to be clear, we are at 40%
for state and local. >> that is right, we function fairly well beyond that. the reason the british attacks in 20% is because they are running an empire the one coming up, when government can't raise taxes anymore. they find other ways, like devaluing the currency. but it didn't work out so well for rome. that is coming up next ñ@ç@çpçp
are made mad by libertarians. politicians have found sneaky ways to do spending. roman emperors molests over and coins, and that cost money. a bushel of wheat that cost the roman dollars cost $120,000. then powell and jeffrey tucker join the currency debate thing that we better be ccreful that the american dollar is already going down. what do you think? >> i fear that inflation ii low. >> are you kidding me? grandmothers are rolling over in their graves right now. any young person has heard someone say i remember when not cost a nickel.
the currency has lost its value. it takes $23 to buy today what 1 dollar could back in 1913. john: and had to go all the way back, paul krugman would tell you that inflation is 2%. but this isn't a big mystery. they started paying interest on the extra reserves. if that actually gets went out, then we will see higher prices. >> it is a serious issue. you can get a return on your money anymore for savings. that is precisely what we are discouraging. john: let's go back to the rome parallel. they traded and they prospered
and they did what most politicians do. >> he empire kept expanding and eventually run 180 day ahead the maximum extent of the empire so over time this was the downfall of rome. a big government destroying rome. the barbarians came as the government was collapsing over its own weight. john: with the next emperor, this is 85% and all the way down >> it ended up being 15 thousands.
>> the had this kind of cartel arrangement and we see the quality diminish over 100 years. john: a lot of people get worked up because they say by and large america is doing pretty well. >> people thought the real estate market are doing pretty well. especially with a government that refuses to fund itself. so as long as the fed is there with its unlimited credit card to always pay for everything, there is no default or.
when inflation comes, then what will the government do? ronin issued wage and price controls. >> the united states government has are redundant. a decade of high inflation in the 1970s and price control under nixon. nixon was kind of a softy compared to the roman emperors. he made it punishable by death. the products not coming together. john: and they would let you change jobs either. constantine said anyone who violates this may be bound with chains and reduced to eight servitude condition.
some people are eager to turn a profit even on blessings from the gods. it urges us to set a limit. >> i hate when people use greed to explain something. it is constant and always there. it doesn't work like that. john: one solution some people say what the government playing with the currency. it didn't really work. >> the problem is for the libertarian audience, how many of you own gold? either actual gold or investment. just about everybody.
>> we wouldn't have the government involved at all. gold has fallen in some of the people lost a lot of money. maybe this is advice to. >> it is two separate things here along with speculation. it doesn't mean that you are recommending this as an investment. >> it entirely depends on what the expectations of the future. everyone else has a standard. john: what about big coins? >> it was one in a long
succession. john: and equates the use those of you that don't know, an internet form of currency that is limiting protection against devaluing dollars. >> it is a currency for the digital age. >> the most plausible things will they allow me to extend of anyone in the world in central africa even if you don't have the ability to exchange the money. no, that won't happen. john: on that note, thank you both. coming up, roman emperors spent
john: welcome back to "freedom fest." the question are we rome? being on the edge of collapse. trying to keep people happy, it offers distractions and bribes. one fellow called it cheerier races or gladiators fighting to the death. now, america doesn't allow that yet. but jc bradbury says that sometimes it takes the form of sports stadiums. >> well, it's like we need people to collect teams together to keep us happy.
but we are all going to be richer. john: and say that they pay for themselves, but they don't. >> time after time they said that they would get revenue and it didn't happen. >> i think the thing that it has been studied so much. john: economist like you have explained it. they have eight home games a year. >> that is not a positive comment. that is saying that they are being placated. >> i think that sports are
popular anything, why don't i go ahead and support this. john: let's go back to the rome parallel. our stadiums paled to what romans did. were they keeping the people pacified because they were getting ticked off? >> it wasn't because they were ticked off, but some form of entertainment was used to distract us. i like football, really going to focus on that. i'm not going to focus on the schools are the other things that may be going on. but it is certainly something that individuals can relate to. it's a positive thing for our community and that is why it is so popular with politicians spew and most gladiators were slaves, prisoners of war. 90% of them survived the fight because it would be expensive to the owner of this wave if they
were killed. >> yes, but you have to pay the owner so it is something that people enjoy and want them to see. so it is sort of a difference in the way that we view this than they were once viewed. john: the arrogance of the emperors and priests. 169 bc. african lions and leopards, elephants were hunted down in a single today show. tigers and crocodiles and drafts and hippopotamuses. the emperor would sometimes kill them himself. only today we have club seats
john: is america wrong? no, thankfully we are not as bad. in a hundred different ways. our taxes are actually higher than most, but we don't have slaves. we also don't kill people for sports. when we go to war, misguided or not, we do not conquer or plunder. when we win, we usually leave. poor people live better than the emperors there. we have flush toilets, longer lives, painkillers, air-conditioning. our presidents actually leave office voluntarily. although our current president
wouldn't do that. [laughter] [applause] so arrogant as our politicians are, they were at least not emperors who like this tell ortiz and executed a senator's wife who didn't show up. but it matters because umpires do crumble. rome lasted the longest of all of them. it lasted less than 600 years than the spanish and as did the british. we lasted less than 300 years. we are doing better than alexander the great. his empire only lasted 300 years. but we have accomplished amazing things. amazing prosperity. we just can't take it for granted because free and prosperous is not the natural state of things and in human history it is rare. we are now starting to look a lot like rome and we ought to
worry about that. that is our show, thank you for coming. we will see you next week. [applause] [cheers] dream. have a great weekend we will see you on monday. gerri: tonight on "the willis report." a new report, much obamacare will cost you and it comes down to your zip code of sales taking a fast track to use security expanding the program and who was up in arms? a new survey of college freshmen period they want to get into harvard you cheat. those stories and more coming up tonight. gerri: all that and m