Tuesday, January 22, 2008


by the Sandwichman,

This doofus, Ben Stein, assures his readers that recessions aren't all bad. With the random clarity of an infinite number of monkeys typing at an infinite number of keyboards, he manages to come pretty close to accidentally explaining the collective behavioral cause of recessions in prescribing his individualistic "cure" for them.

"There is some good news in here."

"Even in a recession, more than 90 percent of workers who want to work will be employed. Even in a recession, most businesses will make a profit. Even in a recession in this era, more than 10 million men and women will need cars and trucks. Many millions will need new homes. Tens of millions will need retirement investment products and life insurance. In the United States, even in a recession, there are plenty of people with money to spend.

"Those who tend to their work, who get to the office or showroom or shop early, stay late, work hard, stay on the phones dialing for deals (as my pal, Barron Thomas, puts it), will make money. Those who stay sharp and make a point of befriending their clients will make money. Yes, some extra effort will be needed, but it'll pay off. There's still money to be made, even when the economy itself has slowed down.

"It's the guy or gal who puts in extra effort who stays ahead and even prospers when the economy is in a slowdown. The easygoing, laid-back time-servers get tossed overboard.

"Stay Hungry (Not Literally)

"There's another key truth about recessions: They always end, and the economy always goes on to a new plateau. It may take a while, but the stock market always moves on to a new high.

"So stay hungry. Work harder. Dig deeper. Keep investing in broad indexes. You'll come out all right on the other side."

That's right, sucker, run faster on your hamster wheel and you'll get to where you're going sooner.


ProGrowthLiberal said...

Calling Ben Stein a doofus is actually a compliment given that this doofus is lecturing Ben Bernanke on the conduct of monetary policy!

Anonymous said...

I consigned anything Ben Stein said to the circular file the day I heard him on CNBC proclaiming "Everybody knows the stock market is nothing but a random walk...." Nope, no such thing as fundamentals, no such thing as technical indicators, no such thing as economic impact.

Ok, everybody who proclaims that "everybody knows" is probably a doofus.

Anonymous said...

"Even in a recession, more than 90 percent of workers who want to work will be employed."
This statement right here condemns BS to the idiot file. The difference between "being employed" and "having a decent job, making a living wage, providing for your family & future,etc." is so vast it shouldn't need to be pointed out, but it must be shoved in the face of intellectually dishonest scumbags like this.

Anonymous said...

In addition to which it leaves some where near to ten percent UNemployed.
What's so good about that?

Scissors MacGillicutty said...

Stein was a speechwriter for the Nixon White House whose father was a fellow for the American Enterprise Institute. Perhaps his sole positive contribution to society was a minor role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and even that's questionable since it's a John Hughes movie.

Nothing to see here, just another lying media whore. Move along, folks.

Anonymous said...

Is there any significance in Ben's initials being BS? Is that some kind of cosmic warning?

Anonymous said...

He's almost as good an economist as he is a game show host. And he's a crappy game show host.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I have to tell a story here, which I heard from someone who was on the CEA staff for awhile and heard it from the most senior staff employee of the CEA, who had worked there into the 1990s since it was established in the 1940s.

Ben Stein's dad was Chair of the CEA (Council of Economic Advisers) under Nixon for a period of time.
One evening this employee (a female) went into the office at the CEA and overheard two people loudly cursing at each other. This staffer was going to go and admonish these individuals along the lines of "boys, boys, now behave yourselves" (I gather this staffer was rather "maternal" in general approach to the world, although she claimed that JFK was definitely the sexiest of all the presidents she met from Truman to Clinton). Anyway, when she got into the back part of the office where these two obstreperous individuals were carrying on she discovered that it was Stein (pere) and Nixon. She did not admonish them and left them to their own cursing devices...


Anonymous said...

"although she claimed that JFK was definitely the sexiest of all the presidents she met from Truman to Clinton."

Not much competition amongst that group. Reagan in his early life may have had an effect on the ladies, but as President he was some what prunish of look and a bit addled. By the time Clinton reached the White House the presidency had already taken on something of a cultish character. So its difficult to judge his personal effect. Though he didn't seem to have too much difficulty charming the pants off some. If Ike hadn't been so dower he'd have cut quite a dapper look in his bemedaled uniform.

This is a topic of far greater import than the likes of Ben Stein
who is rather nerdish himself.

YouNotSneaky! said...

While we're on this, admittedly trivial topic, anyone notice how much better looking the Democratic candidates are than the Republican ones?

Anonymous said...

Well YNS, here's something that we can certainly agree on. The Republican crew certainly is a motley group. I suppose that Mitt could be seen as "nice" looking, but in a smarmy way. Among the Democrats both Edwards and Obama would probably get some female attention, though Edwards has a little of that smarmy quality that Mitt exudes. Hillary is not a bad looking woman given that she's getting on a bit. Are these characterizations any basis for voting decisions? Frankly, for maturity with style and glamor, I'm casting my vote for Sonya Braga in spite of her Brazilian nationality.
They don't start wars. For thorough and to the point effectiveness Robespierre still strikes me as an excellent write-in choice if only to make a point to guys like Stein and Griffin(from the other thread).

YouNotSneaky! said...

Well of course I wouldn't base a voting decision on looks, but man, Huckabee, come on. The guy's ugly. In that creepy Nixon kind of way.

And yeah, I think Hillary looks good given her age.

Anonymous said...

If this link works:
it will take you to a great review of an idiotic interview on MSNBC. If the link doesn't work, you'll find the review on CJR entitled, OMG, MSNBC! The journal does an excellent, IMO, job of critiquing the news media. The interview being reviewed is one more example of the craven lunacy that we call the MSM. This fool Shapiro contradicts himself repeatedly during a discussion of the primary importance of a candidate's image. Worse yet, the interviewer from MSNBC doesn't once call Shapiro on the absurdity of his basic concept, nor his self contradictions. One of the best statements of all come from Contessa Brewer, the interviewer, commenting on Hillary, "I was watching the debate the other night, looking at her beautiful skin, wondering if she's had any work done because I know that Botox and chemical peels and laser work and a little nip-tuck can make a world of difference." You have to pinch yourself to wake up and remember that the two of them are talking about presidential candidates. Our news media at its best.