Dear GOD Ben Stein Has Lost It
Dear God, Ben Stein is an idiot!
First he goes on CBS to blame "Mr. Obama" (it's President Obama, just say it once) for scaring us into wrecking the economy, because we're not buying stock (I am),
What we need, as Bill Clinton aptly pointed out recently, is more cheerleading and less fear-mongering. We elected Mr. Obama to be National Spirit Leader, not National Scary Storyteller.
If Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner, his Treasury Secretary, and Mr. Volcker, his well-respected advisor, and some real superstars like Warren Buffett and Jack Welch all came out and said, "The recession will end within 12 months. We are sure of it," the recession WOULD end within 12 months.
and then he's writing in the New York Times that he's so scared because the barfing economy is all the fault of short sellers.
Can it be that as recently as 2006, financial firms accounted for almost one-third of all the corporate profits in the United States? Or that money was so free-flowing that a single bat mitzvah party could be estimated to cost $10 million?
That era is gone with the wind. Now we face a severe recession, frightening jumps in unemployment, a breathtaking collapse of equity and real estate prices. Now we face a major discontinuity with what has gone before — a real, grinding, 3 a.m. fear, replete with nightmares of bread lines.
Geez, bread lines. Way to inspire confidence, Ben. His solution? End mark-to-market accounting, because short sellers selling securities as the securities plunge are driving securities down. Yeah. They're making money hand over fist [all five of them] dumping collapsing securities, whose value was obviously inflated if they're continuing to fall.
Right. And if people would just stop wearing parachutes, no airplanes would ever crash. They're driving the planes down.
*Briefly leans forward into hand*
Okay, I'm not knowledgeable enough to take on his suggestion to bring back the "uptick" rule because I don't know much about it, and as for credit-default swaps - hell, I'm just a civilian. I'm not into that level of investment yet, and I don't think I'd go for a scheme like that. I don't think I'd ever go for a scheme like short selling.
But, MY GOD, what an imbecile! I'm beginning to think that there's another reason, other than cowardice and belated embarrassment for his appearance in a snake-handler movie, why he cancelled his commencement address at the University of Vermont. He was asked, after all, if he would confine his remarks to his so-called expertise: economics. It sounds like his ability to articulate coherently any position in his own alleged field is severely compromised.
Ben Stein Runs Out of Ideas
Oh. And did I mention that a few weeks ago Stein made a rambling argument in favor of automaker CEOs hopping around the planet in private planes? (Can Al Gore be forgiven now?)
The executive of an important company has immense responsibilities. His or her time is precious. To waste that time in an airport security line or dealing with flight delays is, quite frankly, a sin against the stockholders. Flying on a private plane is not a decadent act -- it is just a way to move a very valuable asset around to maximize its productivity. To keep executives from using these planes is as foolish as not allowing them to use cell phones or computers.
And I certainly never see the president, his cabinet members, or key members of Congress flying commercial jets.
Well, apparently no forgiveness for Al Gore - not from someone who expects the President of the United States to fly a commercial airliner (and probably without a parachute to boot).
Ben Stein's Headintushitis
Are there any restaurants around here that serve late-night nachos? How about a $10 million bat mitzvah in Highland Park?
A final word re stocks: Do what you have to do, but save. I'm still buying stock, but I diversified my portfolio and may do so again. I've been hit hard, but I didn't expect to use this money any time soon, anyway. I'm sticking to my previous course, because I don't see the disadvantage in buying stock on the way down when, eventually, the market will go back up. By the time you've figured out where the bottom is stocks will have risen to at least the point they were when you stopped buying them, anyway - or even higher - and you won't have as many shares as you could have. This is not financial advice, just how I'm approaching things.