Ben Stein, "In Financial Food Chains, Little Guys Can't Win". September 27
I GOTTA tell ya, I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall here, and it never did. Stein savages Paulson. Okay, fine, easy enough to blame Paulson when he's there to take the heat from your man anyway, this one:
By a great providence, we were sent George Bush.
--Ben Stein, August 18, 2005
surely he'll be getting to why the Democrats are twenty times worse in a couple paragraphs here, how it was actually Jimmy Carter who started this deregulation madness, and...what?
First, I am furious at what the traders, speculators, hedge funds and the government have done to everyone who is saving and investing for retirement and future security.
Really. It's like Eldridge Cleaver turning into a born-again Christian, or a Republican or something. Oh, wait.
Anyway, this goes on until he starts back in on Paulson again. The other shoe hung in the air for 1200 words. All the more remarkable if you recall Stein as one of the economic Republicans who championed his party's response to Schiavo, instead of pretending he'd never seen a religious nut in party uniform before.
I guess every man has his breaking point; I guess you know Ben Stein's has been reached when he starts babbling about farmers. It's not our intention to mock, really; for once we're willing to accept a political mea culpa, offered by someone trapped by the collapse of his own unregulated roof, at something close to face value, even if it is a little short on the mea, and to regard a post-coital apology to the pooch as reasonably sincere. We'll gladly accept any Reaganaut admission that the great god Deregulation and his handmaidens, Cupidity, Venality, and Graft, plus the Old Boy Network Chorus, are to blame, however tepid, however couched.
But...however belated? I don't think so. Those honest little people Stein now lionizes have been taking it in the shorts for thirty years now, thanks mostly to the sort of laissez-faire, Social Darwinist capitalism he and his party have been urging on us. So now unregulated credit-default swaps and other derivatives are just a big crap shoot? Was it farmers and school teachers and factory workers who were snapping them up? This sort of thing only becomes serious enough to publicly criticize when it threatens to take down the honest wealthy--those, that is, who merely benefited from the system being gamed in their favor for three decades.
So, fine, fine, Ben Stein, but here's the deal: you and your ilk stay out of it now and let other people try to clean it up. Stop donating money to anti-Socialist crankpots [more typing serendipity, Reader] and Professional Hoosier Choir Boys who'd rather risk their districts being plunged into severe depression than admit the tiniest flaw in their Divinely-inspired economic beliefs. The bill's come due for all this shit, and it comes on top of $1 trillion a year wasted in Iraq, for five years and counting. You urged it on us; your people were in charge. Yes, honest people are going to take the hit, but then a goodly percent of them are culpable for having bought into this shit, for having sold their birthright in the "election" of 2000, having bought the same batch of snake oil all over again in 2004, and having stood by as government officials and corporate war profiteers--often one and the same--baldly stole what was left. Belated outrage is welcome; feigned shock is not. Be thankful there aren't gibbets being erected outside every financial institution in the country, and don't count that out just yet. There's a bill coming due beyond what's happened to your portfolio, or mine. If it does not yet single out the people who've benefitted from this massive Ponzi scheme, whatever their degree of guilt, then it will be followed by another, larger one, and the Republicans will envy the dead.