There’s blood in the streets…and Ben Stein is manning the barricades

January 29th, 2007 → 10:51 am @ // No Comments

I’ve already come clean about my man love for Ben Stein, especially as it relates to his column in the New York Times‘s Sunday business section. The current state of American capitalism has been depressed ol’ Ben as of late despite the fact that, as he often reminds us, he’s been incredibly lucky in life, love, and business.

His latest masterpiece (punnily titled “A Hard Rain That’s Falling on Capitalism,” and yes, there are Dylan references throughout) has Stein saying he “feels queasy” as the behavior of the country’s CEO’s. “These misdeeds and many, many more are hammer blows at the granite foundation of trust we built in the 1940s and ’50s. How long democratic capitalism can survive these blows before it gives in and gives birth to revolution or to an out-and-out aristocracy, I am not sure,” he writes. “Empires come and go. Economic systems come and go. There is no heavenly guarantee that capitalism will last forever as we know it. It’s built on man’s notion that he can trust his neighbor with his money, and that if the neighbor misbehaves, the law will chase him and catch him, and that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom, that even the nobles get properly handled (Bob Dylan again) once they have been caught. If that trust disappears — if the system is no longer a system for the ordinary citizen but only for the tough guys — how much longer can the miracle last?”

Yeow. Stein thinks that trust is disappearing. And it scares him. “Each day’s newspaper, it seems, brings more tidings of unrestrained selfishness and self-dealing and rafts of powerful people saying it’s good for us to be robbed if only we truly understood the system,” he says towards the end of the piece. “The problem is, we’re getting to understand it all too well. And there is no one in Washington — absolutely no one — to help.”

Let this sink in for a minute. Ben Stein — capitalism stooge, former Nixon speechwriter, longtime insider — is so disgusted as the state of our current economic system he fears for its future. And this is despite the fact that he’s done well enough to reach this epiphany while floating on his back in his Malibu pool.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Post Categories: Ben Stein & New York Times

4 Comments → “There’s blood in the streets…and Ben Stein is manning the barricades”

  1. archie

    17 years ago

    So Ben Stein says the sky is falling. I’ve pretty much had it with Dylan references. Up until about a year ago, they were still pretty cool. Now, every dork in America is using them (including you Seth). There’s even a weekly Dylan “scoop” on Page Six in The Post (“my sister loved Bob Dylan but aborted his child, then she turned to heroin”). Dylan is so mainstream right now that he could probably win American Idol at 65 years old.

    And when eulogizing Trot Nixon — please don’t forget to mention his misjudging Jeter’s routine fly into a double with one out and nobody on in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the ’03 ALCS.


  2. crimsonohsix

    17 years ago

    that was the best episode of scrubs ever.


  3. V06

    17 years ago

    Ben Stein is a modern day Renaissance man. Son of a noted economist, Pulitzer prize winning political speech writer for Trot Nixon’s dad, Richard; Oscar winning actor for his moving performance in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”; not to mention the seven Emmy awards for “Win Ben Stein’s Money” with an up-and-coming Jimmy Kimmel as his Man Friday. And how can you forget the Nobel Prize he won for “The difference is clear…Dry Eyes? Clear Eyes.”?

    This is the only hope we have to save capitalism as we know it.

    “In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone? …the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered? …raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. ‘Voodoo’ economics. “


  4. dbvader

    17 years ago

    Ben Stein isn’t the great free-market economist that the media makes him out to be. He is a lawyer. While as an attorney he worked for the FTC, he has no training in economics. He tends to offer platitudes as economic analysis. He is the same whether he is praising capitalism or attacking it. He doesn’t have the background to be considered a serious critic.

    Also, in the context of economics, working for Nixon is not shorthand for being conservative. Nixon supported price and wage restrictions and a national health care plan.


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