No, They Can't

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No, They Can't: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed
Author John Stossel
Country United States
Language English
Genre Politics, economics
Publisher Threshold Editions
Publication date
April 10, 2012
Media type Hardcover
Pages 338
ISBN 1451640943

No, They Can't: Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed is a 2012 book by John Stossel, the American consumer reporter, investigative journalist, author and libertarian columnist. It was published on April 10, 2012, and focuses on what Stossel sees as the failures of government intervention.[1][2]


Stossel argues that "he has dismantled society’s fat cows with unerring common sense. Now he debunks the most sacred of them all: our intuition and belief that government can solve our problems." The term "no, they can't" is a rebuttal to the chant used in Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign ("Yes we can").[3]

The book gives several examples of government intervention: trade barriers, food and medical regulation, the education system, labor unions, gun control, minimum wage laws, the war on drugs, and advocates of universal health care.[1] Stossel heavily criticizes economic egalitarianism, stating that an incentive for innovation is a higher income. Many of the statements in the book were later reiterated in episodes of Stossel.[4]


No, They Can't entered The New York Times Best Seller list at number 17 in the April 29, 2012, issue.[5] Robert VerBruggen of the National Review and The Washington Times said that the book was "a perfect gift for a libertarian to give a friend or family member who has liberal instincts, so long as those instincts are accompanied by an open mind."[6] A television special was created to accompany the book, first shown on April 15, 2012.[7] Stossel went on a twenty-day tour to promote the book; the eighth day of the tour was filmed as an episode of Stossel.[2]


  1. ^ a b Snell, Lisa (April 6, 2012). "New John Stossel Special: No They Can't! Why Government Fails But Individuals Succeed". Reason Foundation. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Stossel, John (April 19, 2012). "Stossel on the Road (3PM Saturday on FNC, 9PM Saturday & Sunday on FBN)". John Stossel's Take. News Corporation. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ John Stossel (February 24, 2012). "Illegal Everything". Stossel. Season 3. Fox Business Network. 
  4. ^ "It's a Can't-Miss Stossel: 'No, They Can't! Why Government Fails But Individuals Succeed'". Fox News Insider. News Corporation. April 6, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Best Sellers". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. April 22, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ VerBruggen, Robert (April 9, 2012). "BOOK REVIEW: 'No, They Can't'". The Washington Times. News World Communications. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ "No They Can't! Why Government Fails But Individuals Succeed". Fox News. News Corporation. April 5, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012.