Monday, July 10, 2006

Ben Stein - Liberal?

Ben "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" Stein, son of economist Herb Stein who was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in the Nixon administration, was himself a speech writer and lawyer for Nixon. His conservative, or should I say Republican credentials, since "conservative" means nothing today (also see here), are rock solid. So it should come as a surprise to Republicans (I'd say "right" but they're not right about much) that Stein is for raising taxes and thinks this country merely gives lip-service to the idea of a "shining city on a hill" when it really may just be an opportunity to loot the "shining city" blind.

A couple of weeks ago, Stein wrote a column with the title: "Note to the New Treasury Secretary: It's time to raise taxes." Stein, alarmed that Treasury Bonds could be junk status by 2025 and that every year we transfer almost "the value of an average of one of our 50 states to foreign investors" through a nearly $1 trillion trade deficit, advocates raising taxes and raising them on the rich. "May I respectfully suggest that in this envorionment, ending the estate tax is not a major sensible priority? May I suggest that having the lowest taxes in 65 years on high-income taxpayers is not really as prudent as it might be if we were not running stupendous deficits, with far worse in the future?" That's not a platform of the Democratic party - that's Nixon speechwriter and lawyer who also happens to have graduated from Columbia with honors in economics and then from Yale Law School as valedictorian of his class by election of his classmates.

This week Stein is back with a column entitled: "A City on a Hill, or a Looting Opportunity" He writes, "Life in America in 2006 for an upper middle-class person like me — who, although overweight, still has decent health — is just paradise..[b]ut still, with all of that, something is seriously wrong." He continues, "When I was a lad, the chief executive of a major public company was paid about 30 or 40 times what a line worker was paid. Now the multiple is about 180. What did they do in the executive suite to become so great? Upon what meat do they feed? Why, as we are being killed by foreign competition, do we need to pay our executives so much?" Sounds more like Moore than Stein. He complains that backdating stock options, "straight-up fraud in [Stein's] book," hasn't resulted in anyone being "charged with any crime, while young black men and women who sell a tiny amount of drugs on a street corner do hard time. How can this be right?" Returning to the tax theme he says, "As I endlessly point out, taxes for the rich are lower than they have ever been in my lifetime. (To be fair, taxes for the nonrich taxes are very low as well.) And this is occurring as we accumulate government liabilities that will kill us in the long run. (And cutting spending will not work. Most federal and state spending is for items that are untouchable, like Medicare, education, the military — and, most cruelly of all, interest on the national debt...)"

I know I'm quoting extensively from his columns but I read them all so you can read snippets. It also shows you that reality-based educated Republicans talk exactly like reality-based educated Democrats.

Just a bit more since it's so good: "We are mortgaging ourselves to foreigners on a scale that would make George Washington cry. Every day — every single day — we borrow a billion dollars from foreigners to buy petroleum from abroad, often from countries that hate us. We are the beggars of the world, financing our lavish lifestyle by selling our family heirlooms and by enslaving our progeny with the need to service the debt."

Again is this Moore, Kennedy or Stein? "Is this America, where far too many of the rich endlessly loot their stockholders and kick the employees in the teeth, the America that our soldiers in Ramadi and Kirkuk and Anbar Province and Afghanistan are fighting for? Is this America, where we will end up so far behind the financial eight ball we won't be able to see because of mismanagement by both parties, the America that our men and women are losing limbs for, coming home in boxes for?"

"Conservative" means nothing anymore. Being a conservative Republican simply means support the Dear Leader and defend the denial of reality, whether it be science, economics or military strategy. They are conservative - just of reality.

3 Comments:

Anonymous The mother lode. said...

Bravo! When I read the Stein piece, I hoped you would pick it up--and you did. Why are not more people commenting on this?

12:20 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

Probably because the post had "too many words" for them and blew past it. Second, they probably have no friggin idea who Ben Stein is. Third, they are too lazy to comment. All of which makes me more cranky than I was before.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben Stein is a mindless blow hard

7:16 PM  

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