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Ben Stein Talks Seriously about this Matter

"(Ben) Stein is also getting good reviews for his recent recommendations of community and sacrifice for the common good in a land where greed, celebrity diets and low taxes are the mantra.

Stein talked about why it’s great to be an American over the last 62 years - his life span. Today, a Jewish kid like him, or a minority kid like those he once worked with as a Yale-trained lawyer and teacher, can get an education and rise to just about any job.

But the getting has been best in America over the past 25 years for the wealthy, said Stein, a rich guy who according to his booking agency makes about $60,000 a speech.

The richest 1 percent of Americans own 50 percent of the country’s market wealth. Wages for the working class have been stagnant.

Meanwhile, taxes on capital - how the rich get richer for the most part - have been cut. And our federal budget deficit grows into the trillions of dollars.

Stein, who is hitting a nerve on these issues around the country, noted that the Bush administration plunged us into a ‘terrible mistake’ in attacking Iraq, which has cost about $500 billion that the administration financed through ‘off-budget’ borrowing so taxes would not be raised.

And the war is being fought largely by the sons and daughters of the working class, who join the military for a job or to raise money for education they can’t otherwise afford.

In short, Stein says our No.1 crisis is the ‘looting of America’ by greedy capitalists and politicians who lean more toward defense contractors and drug-company lobbyists than working stiffs.

With Washington drugged too often by fundraising and unfunded promises to an unwitting electorate, ‘we’ve lost our collective soul, our ability to come together as a community,’ Stein said.

And forget compulsory national service, which puts rich and poor kids alike in the same foxhole. No political gain there, Stein noted.

Our entitlement-spending programs such as Social Security and Medicare are actuarially bankrupt. They’d be liquidated if there were insurance companies, not backed by Uncle Sam.

In short, Stein says in so many words, baby boomers and our kids are screwed. We’re going to have to work longer, delay retirement - and maybe even cut entitlement spending if we don’t like to raise taxes.

That’s why the ‘biggest generation’ (baby boomers) will need to suck it up, work longer and save more over the next quarter century. We may even have to raise taxes on the rich a bit to pay down obligations.

Ben Stein spoke to a group of affluent folks at the Golden Valley Country Club.”


From, “The looting of America isn’t funny, Ben Stein says” by Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune, July 31, 2007 p. D5

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