Height of Irresponsibility

By
January 29, 2009

Obama pronounces Wall Street "shameful" and the "height of irresponsibility." Certainly there are irresponsible actors on Wall Street. But I think the heights have already been scaled by Washington, as Ben Stein points out.

Only ten per cent of the "stimulus" to be spent on 2009.

Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.

This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.

For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.

We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.



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Comments:
  1. WAHOO WILLIE says:

    While I certainly agree that the “let’s push this out so it looks like we’re doing something befoer anyone with half a brain reads it” stimulus package is a big keilbasa. I have to admit that wall street and their big bonuses is totally out of line. Normally I couldn’t give a rats left nostril whether a comapny pays a CEO a gazillion bucks for running the show and I dont care if every teller of a bank gets a million dollar bonus……….until it’s MY money they do it with. These people are worse than third generation welfare cheats and someone needs to be called to account.

  2. WBestPresidentEver says:

    Corruption in goverment RUNS DEEP. VERY DEEP. Put your rubber boots on.
    Unions…..I knew it. All that money they gave him for his campaign, he had to pay it back.
    “Worst Government Ever” and this is just the beginning. Damn, 4 years of this ?
    God help America if anything will be left of it.

  3. eaglewingz08 says:

    We could give the unemployed 75K, but that would mean that currently employed people would quit their jobs to claim the same money and pretty soon we’d have a race to the bottom. Again, dems claim policies to be well intentioned (though I doubt they’d know what is good policy to begin with) and the policies cause havoc socially, economically culturally and politicially.

  4. jharp says:

    Ben Stein is a right wing hack and knows nothing about our economy or business.
    July 27th, 2008
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/business/27every.html?_r=1&ref=business
    “Hmmm. New housing construction was very roughly 3.5 percent of the economy. Hmmm. Mortgages were roughly $12 trillion. If 2 percent of mortgages defaulted and half of that were recovered in liquidation upon foreclosure, we would have a net loss of roughly $120 billion. Lots of money and we could have fun with it in Vegas, but not enough to bring down the economy of a nation with a $14 trillion-plus gross domestic product.
    There would probably not be a recession, said I. If there were, it would not be long or deep. All that was required was for the Federal Reserve to stand by with oceans of liquidity and assurances that it would not let anything big fail.
    Time has passed. The news media are full of shrieking and wailing about the economy.
    But how bad is it, really? The economy isn’t at its best. Oil prices are painfully high, foreclosures are really hurtfully high, job growth in many areas is sluggish or worse, and a sector of the credit markets is extremely weak. But over all, it’s not all that bad.
    According to the June 2008 economic indicators from the White House Council of Economic Advisers, here is where we stood at the end of June:
    There has not been one down year for the G.D.P. in this decade. There has not been one down quarter, in inflation-adjusted terms, since 2001. It’s possible that the G.D.P. will not show growth in the second quarter. So, by the old definition — two straight downward quarters of G.D.P. — we cannot know if we have just entered a recession”
    Read the whole thing. You are being duped.

  5. SacTownMan says:

    Don’t worry WB there will be a mid-term election coming in 2012 that will certainly help rebalance the house if not the Senate.
    The American people are not socialist’s and will not sign on for this massive spending in the long term.
    The MSM daily pounds the people with doom and gloom in an attempt to scare them into submission.
    The crooks on Wall Street are no different than the current crew in DC.
    This sense of entitlement will be the main culprit in bringing down the egomanical leaders when the “typical white people” have had enough!

  6. WAHOO WILLIE says:

    Can’t draw unemployment if you quit your job……….

  7. ET says:

    –Read the whole thing. You are being duped.
    Well said, jharp. Of course, you are referring to the democrat stimulus bill, right?

  8. Todd says:

    I agree this stimulus package sucks. Pandering by the Democrats to left wing interests is just as disgraceul as pandering by the Republicans to right wing interests. More evidence that the political system in DC is broken, and only a strong centrist 3rd party can save this country. It would be laughable, if it weren’t so sad, to see the Republicans criticize this package after they’ve done their very best to bankrupt this country through their own incorrigble and inept economic policies.
    I also find it outrageous that Dan can describe the $18 billion just distributed in Wall Street bonuses for the catastrophic results in 2008 as just a case of some “irresponsible actors on Wall Street.” How is that companies that took billions from the taxpayer only to distribute it to their employees, many who were responsible for the losses, isn’t the equivalent of looting the US Treasury, a.k.a. the taxpayers. Why isn’t this essentially stealing?
    People who work on Wall Street are not entitled to earn bonuses when their companies lose billions of dollars, when their shareholders have seen the value of their shares shredded? And, especially they are not entitled to earn bonuses when their companies would be defunct if not for the largesse of the American taxpayer. I wonder just how much Lehman and Bear Stearns employees earned in 2008 in bonuses? Guess – a big fat zero. Just what kind of message does this send to investors in American stocks?? It’s loud and clear – don’t invest in American companies because it’s rigged against the shareholders, in favor of corporate insiders. This is yet another reason a generation of Americans will abandon investing in the stock market, as if they need other reasons.
    Where’s the outrage over that, Dan? Some irresponsible actors, indeed.

  9. jharp says:

    Well said, jharp.
    Posted by: ET | Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 08:30 PM
    Thank you. Ben Stein is a tool. And has been wrong about everything.

  10. Todd says:

    Oh yeah. Ben Stein. Here’s a guy who has absolutely zero credibility in the financial markets. Barry Ritholtz, the widely respected author of the financial blog The Big Picture, has coined a phrase for the permabull pollyannish nonsense that hacks (yes jharp, perfect word) like Ben Stein spout. Ritholtz refers to it as “bensteinery” and regularly calls for no more bensteinery. I pity anybody who listened to the advice of this clown because they are just incredibly poorer as a result. Everybody shouuld run in the other direction of this man.
    Here is Ben Stein’s op-ed piece in the New York Times on August 12, 2007 in the incipient days of the credit crisis. It’s just so embarrassing. The glibness, the lack of depth of understanding of the massive overlerveraging in the US and global economy, the utter disdain for the market’s ability to forecast properly, make it a worthy nomination for “worst call ever.” At the time this piece went to press the S&P500 was 1450 vs today’s 845, a mere 42% loss !
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/business/yourmoney/12every.html
    Chicken Little’s Brethren, on the Trading Floor
    By BEN STEIN
    Published: August 12, 2007
    THE job of an economist, among many other duties, is to put things into perspective. So, because I am an economist, among other duties, here is a little perspective on the recent turmoil in the stock and bond markets.
    This week: The swinging markets, a boom in generics, native Americans in a business battle, self-policing arbitrators, and a bullish indicator.
    First, when the story of this turbulence is reported, the usual explanation mainly has to do with some new loss in the subprime mortgage world — the universe of mortgages and mortgage-backed instruments related to buyers with poor credit histories or none at all.
    Here is the first instance in which proportion tells us that something is out of whack:
    The total mortgage market in the United States is roughly $10.4 trillion. Of that, a little over 13 percent, or about $1.35 trillion, is subprime — certainly a large sum. Of this, nearly 14 percent is delinquent, meaning late in payment or in foreclosure. Of this amount, about 5 percent is actually in foreclosure, or about $67 billion. Of this amount, according to my friends in real estate, at least about half will be recovered in foreclosure. So now we are down to losses of about $33 billion to $34 billion.
    The rate of loss in subprime mortgages keeps climbing. In time, perhaps it will double, maybe back to $67 billion. This is a large sum by absolute standards, and I would sure like to have it in my bank account.
    But by the metrics of a large economy, it is nothing. The total wealth of the United States is about $70 trillion. The value of the stocks listed in the United States is very roughly $15 trillion to $20 trillion. The bond market is even larger.
    Much more to the point, the fears and terrors about subprime mortgages have helped knock off 6.7 percent of the stock market’s value in recent weeks. This amounts to about $1.1 trillion, or more than 30 times the losses so far in the subprime market. In other words, these subprime losses are wildly out of all proportion to the likely damage to the economy from the subprime problems.
    The disconnect goes even further. The Dow Jones industrial average has been heavily moved by fears about the subprime market. But how are most of the Dow 30 affected by subprime mortgages in any meaningful way? No Dow company is short of liquidity, and consumer spending is still strong.
    Foreign stocks, especially in developing countries, have been hard hit, and this is supposedly connected with a “repricing of risk,” which in turn is connected with subprime mortgages. But how are the risks in Thailand or Brazil or Indonesia intrinsically related to problems in a housing tract in Las Vegas? The developing countries are fantastically strong and liquid. Why should problems at a mortgage company in Long Island have anything to do with them?
    European stocks have also been hard hit, and this has to do with relatively small amounts of subprime in some European banks. On a global scale, the numbers in Germany and France are minuscule for subprime exposure. For European markets to fall on subprime issues makes no sense.
    News last Thursday that a small amount of unpriceable subprime mortgages was in a BNP Paribas fund in France sent the markets in Europe and the United States sharply lower. Why? The losses in France are at most in the single billions, while the losses in United States markets alone were in the hundreds of billions on the BNP news.
    Then there is the supposed “drying up” of credit for private equity deals because of fears of risk. But this is also puzzling. I can’t think of a single recent major private equity deal in which the bonds have defaulted.
    More to the point, suppose that all private equity deals were stalled for a year. Why should this affect the Dow? None of companies in the Dow 30 is having trouble raising cash. And suppose that all private equity deals went away for good. Taken together, they are not all that big a piece of the United States economy. Why should they put the markets of the richest nation in the world, as well as all of the world’s other markets, into turmoil?
    Then let’s take a peek at Bear Stearns. This venerable and clever financial house has taken some major hits on subprime mortgages lately. That is sad for the stockholders (I am a very small stockholder), and the price of Bear Stearns stock has tumbled.
    A little over a week ago, news about Bear Stearns’ liquidity issues lowered the its market value by about more than $1 billion in one day. That is a big hit to a single company, to be sure, but then came the shocker: that news also helped wipe out hundreds of billions off the total value of United States stocks.
    MY point is this: I don’t know where the bottom is on subprime. I don’t know how bad the problems are at Bear. Yet I do know that the market reactions are wildly out of proportion to the real problems that have been revealed. Maybe there is some giant thing hiding in the closet that might rationalize the market’s fears. But if it’s hidden, how can the market be reacting to it in the first place?
    More will be revealed, as the saying goes. But recently, investors have been selling out of all relation to what we know. Reassurances in word and deed from Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, helped calm the markets on Friday. But recent events are a disturbing commentary on the power of fear.
    This economy is extremely strong. Profits are superb. The world economy is exploding with growth. To be sure, terrible problems lurk in the future: a slow-motion dollar crisis, huge Medicare deficits and energy shortages. But for now, the sell-off seems extreme, not to say nutty.
    Some smart, brave people will make a fortune buying in these days, and then we’ll all wonder what the scare was about.
    Ben Stein is a lawyer, writer, actor and economist. E-mail: ebiz@nytimes.com.

  11. PA says:

    “But over all, it’s not all that bad.”
    Of course, prior to all this current kerfluffle in the 04′ election season, we were told it was the worst economy since the great depression.
    But since Obama is president now, we can just lower the bar, right?

  12. jharp says:

    Please wingnuts. Please. Watch Ben Stein completely humiliate himself.
    Stein is dead wrong. Dead wrong. Telling us investment banks are a strong buy and cheap. Right before they folded. Merrill Lynch strong buy at $55!
    Peter Schiff was exactly right. Ben Stein was dead wrong. And you bozos choose to listen to Ben Stein.
    You deserve to lose your money.
    August 18, 2007 – Peter Schiff Versus Ben Stein

  13. jharp says:

    “Merrill Lynch strong buy at $55!”
    Correction. Merill Lynch a strong buy at $73.70 by Ben Stein in August 2007.
    And now. Bank of America Corp, the biggest US bank by assets, may get more aid from the government to help absorb losses tied to this month’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co, three people familiar with the matter said.
    Details are likely to be disclosed on January 20, the people said. That’s when Bank of America may post its first quarterly loss in 17 years as it digests the purchases of Merrill Lynch.
    How’s that make you jackasses feel. Your tax dollars paying for the idiocy of Ben Stein.
    No wonder you’re all broke and whining about poor people doing almost as well as yourselves. You listen to a hacks and a fraud like Ben Stein.
    You deserve to lose your money.

  14. Todd says:

    ROFLMAO !! What classic bensteinery: “Merrill Lynch is an astonishingly well run company.” Charles Payne is another huge hack. I’m not sure if Neil Cavuto still has these morons on his show these days. Neil is a hack, probably does.

  15. whiteandblackmixed says:

    “God help America if anything will be left of it.”
    It’s already Gone. It happend over the past eight years just with a different group of corporations, busineses and contractors finding favor and being a part of the full scale looting that has already taken place. So what’s wrong with our current President having a go at it?

  16. mark l. says:

    open question:
    will the democrats ‘go for the gold’ and decide to jack the federal budget this year, feeling good about getting away with the ‘stimulus’, or will they pull back in the realization that they just got away with all the spending that they can politcally afford for the year?
    (for 07-08, federal budget was 2.9 trillion.)

  17. Lala says:

    “But over the past generation, government has removed the necessary counterbalance of fear from the equation. Policies enacted by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which were always government entities in disguise), and others created advantages for home-buying and selling and removed disincentives for lending and borrowing. The result was a credit and real estate bubble that could only grow — until it could grow no more.
    Prominent among these wrongheaded advantages are the mortgage interest tax deduction and the exemption of real estate capital gains from taxable income. These policies create unnatural demand for home purchases and a (tax-free) incentive to speculate in real estate.
    Similarly, the FHA, Fannie and Freddie were created to encourage lending by allowing primary lenders to turn their long-term risk over to the government. Absent this implicit guarantee, lenders would probably have been much more conservative in approving borrowers and setting interest terms, and in requiring documentation of incomes and higher down payments. Market forces would have kept out unqualified buyers and prevented home-price appreciation from exceeding the growth in household income.”

  18. mark l. says:

    paul krugman article describing Enron as the future of business, 1999.
    it appeared in fortune magazine.
    http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/eman.html
    “By contrast, in today’s cutting-edge e-businesses (see Cover Stories), the company often owns–or rather, rents–little but brainpower. That’s a long way from the era of the man in the gray flannel suit, when the great business empires were not run according to the principles of supply and demand: They were command-and-control systems, and people did what they were told. As technology grew more complex, as big corporations grew ever bigger, as computers made it easier to impose centralized control, it was clear to smart people that the economy would bear ever less resemblance to the competitive system described in obsolete economics textbooks.”
    (cont’d)
    “The retreat of business bureaucracy in the face of the market was brought home to me recently when I joined the advisory board at Enron–a company formed in the ’80s by the merger of two pipeline operators. In the old days energy companies tried to be as vertically integrated as possible: to own the hydrocarbons in the ground, the gas pump, and everything in between. And Enron does own gas fields, pipelines, and utilities. But it is not, and does not try to be, vertically integrated: It buys and sells gas both at the wellhead and the destination, leases pipeline (and electrical-transmission) capacity both to and from other companies, buys and sells electricity, and in general acts more like a broker and market maker than a traditional corporation. It’s sort of like the difference between your father’s bank, which took money from its regular depositors and lent it out to its regular customers, and Goldman Sachs. Sure enough, the company’s pride and joy is a room filled with hundreds of casually dressed men and women staring at computer screens and barking into telephones, where cubic feet and megawatts are traded and packaged as if they were financial derivatives. (Instead of CNBC, though, the television screens on the floor show the Weather Channel.) The whole scene looks as if it had been constructed to illustrate the end of the corporation as we knew it.”

  19. mark l. says:

    “The retreat of business bureaucracy in the face of the market was brought home to me recently when I joined the advisory board at Enron–”
    p krugman.
    It would be one thing if Ben Stein had been touting a company he was working for, but it appears not to be the case. Unfortunately Paul Krugman is guilty of hyping AND WORKING FOR Enron in 99, less than two years before it collapsed.

  20. LOL….and watch what the leftist fool jharp has to say to this.
    ”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E3D6123BF932A2575AC0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print
    Fools like jharp listened to Barney Frank. Fools like jharp wrecked our economy and left the fool Barney Frank in charge. Fools like jharp and Todd who don’t even pay their taxes and support criminals like Al Franken, Charlie Rangel, and Timothy Geithner are now desperately flailing, trying to attack other people, trying to deflect any attention away from the fact that the Obama Party blocked regulation, that the Obama Party demanded that loans be made based on skin color, and that the Obama Party supports and endorses people who cheat on their taxes even as they raise taxes on honest, hardworking people.

  21. Dan says:

    “People who work on Wall Street are not entitled to earn bonuses when their companies lose billions of dollars, when their shareholders have seen the value of their shares shredded?”
    Well, assuming you are a shareholder, file a lawsuit. As I’m not, nor on the board, it isn’t my business. Funny that while our Pols are dining on $100 steaks courtesy of taxpayers via Obama you reserve your wrath for Wall Street. Have some more kool aid with that Big
    ac you’re eating tonight.

  22. jharp says:

    Hmmmm. I’ve always thought of Ben Stein as a horses ass, a fake, and a phony but I must admit I like what he says here.
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/27/preston.mccain/index.html?iref=mpstoryview
    “While Stein identifies himself as a Republican, he certainly does not always march in lockstep with GOP leadership. For example, Stein is backing Al Franken’s bid for the Senate. That’s right, that Al Franken, the liberal Democratic comedian who is seeking to oust incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota.”
    “He is my pal, and he is a really, really capable smart guy,” Stein said of Franken. “I don’t agree with all of his positions, but he is a very impressive guy, and I think he should be in the Senate.”

  23. jharp says:

    “Well, assuming you are a shareholder, file a lawsuit.”
    You obviously have no experience as a shareholder who just got taken to the woodshed. Though your tough talk sounds appealing, in reality it is a huge longshot. And costly. With little chance to get paid even if you win.

  24. WBestPresidentEver says:

    Ben Stein is a right wing hack and knows nothing about our economy or business.
    Posted by: jharp | Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 07:51 PM
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Ben Stein has more brains and education in the tip of his little finger than you can ever imagine to ever have, you IDIOT SCUMBAG. You have no brains, you lost them long ago when you became a liberal fool.
    ———————-
    So what’s wrong with our current President having a go at it?
    Posted by: whiteandblackmixed | Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 10:26 PM
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    He (that one) is from Chicago, the biggest bunch of crooks (proven) in the entire country. He learned well from all his scumbag associates about crime and corruption and how to milk the system and get what you want. These are all a bunch of dirtbags in Washington now, brought in from none other than CHICAGO. Rham Emanuel is a real creepy jerk off. The “Chicago” mafia and gang takes over WASHINGTON !
    The last 8 years? HA….LETS GO BACK TO THE CLINTON YEARS AND BEFORE WHEN ALL THIS BS started, with lowering standards for Home Loans to people that did not even have jobs and demanding banks to give them loans. Let’s tell the REAL TRUTH about when this all REALLY Started !!
    Obama mama even got an extra strip of land under curious conditons to go with the home he bought, brought to you by none other than a crimnal is jail now serving time. HMMMMM.

  25. jharp says:

    Posted by: WBestPresidentEver | Friday, January 30, 2009 at 12:53 AM
    You are some piece of work. I can’t help but feel sorry for you. And at the same I loathe the utter nonsense you post.
    I’m not trying to insult you but you really are a sad specimen. Peace be with you. Get yourself some help.

  26. Todd says:

    “People who work on Wall Street are not entitled to earn bonuses when their companies lose billions of dollars, when their shareholders have seen the value of their shares shredded?”
    Well, assuming you are a shareholder, file a lawsuit. As I’m not, nor on the board, it isn’t my business. Funny that while our Pols are dining on $100 steaks courtesy of taxpayers via Obama you reserve your wrath for Wall Street. Have some more kool aid with that Big
    ac you’re eating tonight.
    Posted by: Dan | Friday, January 30, 2009 at 12:17 AM
    ——————
    No, of course I wasn’t a shareholder. I don’t invest in stocks where the overall compensation packages, includng stock options, for high level executives are completely out of line with the interests of shareholders.
    Funny that you think that when Wall Street takes on massive risk that literally threatens the global financial system that you don’t think it’s your business to care about that, Dan? Why is that?
    And yes, I find the $100 steaks to be a ridiculous thing. Not quite as outrageous as the Bush Administration giving no-bid contracts for Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown and Root in Iraq, allowing them free reign to rip off the US taxpayer.

  27. Todd says:

    “Ben Stein has more brains and education in the tip of his little finger than you can ever imagine to ever have, you IDIOT SCUMBAG. You have no brains, you lost them long ago when you became a liberal fool.”
    ———————
    Ben Stein is extremely intelligent. I was always thoroughly impressed with his wide-ranging depth of knowledge on so many topics when I used to watch Win Ben Stein’s Money. He should have stuck with the acting and the comedy, though. “Buehller?…Buehller?”………
    As smart as Ben Stein is, it’s what makes it all the more embarrassing to be so wrong. And, completely irresponsible, too. Real people make real investing decisions by listening to the so-called experts. Anyone who listened to Ben Stein has seen their wealth evaporate.
    And stop calling me an IDIOT SCUMBAG, WBPE. Go sign up for some anger management programs. Jerk.

  28. Jack Tanner says:

    Is it stimupork or porkulus?

  29. laura newhaus says:

    Ben Stein can join every expert this side of Timbucktoo in being wrong about the coming financial crisis.
    PS Thanks for the historical info on Krugman, loved it.

  30. jharp says:

    “until it’s MY money they(Wall Street) do it with. These people are worse than third generation welfare cheats and someone needs to be called to account.”
    Posted by: WAHOO WILLIE | Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 07:35 PM
    100% agree. Though I’m no fan of welfare cheats nor wasteful government these guys are the worst.
    They “stole” the money and their isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.
    Now watch the government step in and fine them. (Government getting their share of what was stolen).

  31. RickC says:

    I get a kick out of guys like jharp. Today he is trying to compare Pete Schiff with Ben Stein. It is too bad that jharp has such little understanding. The market may be down 42%, but Schiff is worse. Schiff did call the housing collapse. But, Schiff also put his clients into the “decoupled” foreign markets and away from the dollar.
    In other words, this “hero” jharp promotes, lost 40-70% of his clients capital. The beauty of all this is that jharp has no idea of these losses.
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/116694-peter-schiff-s-euro-pacific-capital-down-40-70-in-2008
    http://caps.fool.com/blogs/viewpost.aspx?bpid=136598&t=01001019292467236494
    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/01/peter-schiff-was-wrong.html
    It is difficult to take someone like jharp seriously when he says “Peter Schiff was exactly right” when jharp is so obviously, and ignorantly, flat out wrong. So, too, was Schiff when it really counted.
    Rick

  32. WBestPresidentEver says:

    ATTENTION ….NOW HERE THIS…..jharp is Todd.
    jharp just admitted he is “Todd” as well. See below.
    LMAO….
    ————————
    And stop calling me an IDIOT SCUMBAG, WBPE. Go sign up for some anger management programs. Jerk.
    Posted by: Todd | Friday, January 30, 2009 at 07:31 AM
    ————————
    Reference:
    Ben Stein is a right wing hack and knows nothing about our economy or business.
    Posted by: jharp | Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 07:51 PM
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Ben Stein has more brains and education in the tip of his little finger than you can ever imagine to ever have, you IDIOT SCUMBAG. You have no brains, you lost them long ago when you became a liberal fool.
    Posted by: WBestPresidentEver | Friday, January 30, 2009 at 12:53 AM
    (Todd I did not call you an IDIOT SCUMBAG) But, now that I KNOW you are (jharp “Todd” as well…YOU TOO ARE AN IDIOT SCUMBAG)
    Not agreeing with the left wing nut cases does not make you one that need anger management classes. LOL.
    I am not angry, I am disgusted with left wing nut case as yourself and others.
    Keep drinking that Kool Aid !

  33. Todd says:

    Well, I’m so relieved about that, WPBE. My bad, and I apologize for the jerk comment. I can see how jharp might get you pissed because he does his fair share of name-calling which I think is entirely uncalled for. I understand that the left and the right don’t like each other, but why the discourse has to be so uncivil and mean is not understandable. I am a centrist-Democrat(I actually believe the GOP has fundamentally better economic ideas in theory, just never in application unfortunately, i.e consistently appalling budget deficits) and I actually have some close conservative friends in real life. We get along quite well and invite each other to dinner frequently, and can discuss issues of the day without acrimony. The point is to disagree without it ever getting personal.
    And, maybe you don’t need anger management classes, WBPE? How about disgust management classes, instead ? ;)

  34. Todd says:

    “The last 8 years? HA….LETS GO BACK TO THE CLINTON YEARS AND BEFORE WHEN ALL THIS BS started, with lowering standards for Home Loans to people that did not even have jobs and demanding banks to give them loans. Let’s tell the REAL TRUTH about when this all REALLY Started !!”
    Posted by: WBestPresidentEver | Friday, January 30, 2009 at 12:53 AM
    ——————————-
    Please provide a link to prove this statement, WBPE. You need to show explicitly that the abdication of traditional lending standards was because of specific acts taken by the Clinton Administration forcing banks to lend money to people with no money down, no documentation, etc.
    Here’s a link to an AP report showing “the Bush administration in 2006 backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to (lobbying)pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/WireStory?id=6364464&page=1

  35. Todd says:

    “The retreat of business bureaucracy in the face of the market was brought home to me recently when I joined the advisory board at Enron–”
    p krugman.
    It would be one thing if Ben Stein had been touting a company he was working for, but it appears not to be the case. Unfortunately Paul Krugman is guilty of hyping AND WORKING FOR Enron in 99, less than two years before it collapsed.
    Posted by: mark l. | Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 11:36 PM
    ————————
    I read this article. There was no hyping of Enron, suggesting that people should be aggressive investors in the company, rather it served to illustrate how some companies (e-bsinesses) had transformed themselves over time and Krugman use Enron as one example.
    If you allege that Krugman did, highlight the sentences in the article to prove your case. There is absolutely nothing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, in this article that suggests that Krugman had any input into the off-balance sheet accounting tricks that brought down Enron. In fact, this was an advisory board of Enron that Krugman served on, NOT the Board of Directors who should indeed have had a broad working knowledge of the off-balance sheet instruments Enron had employed. Your argument would imply that every single employee of Enron was complicit in the fraud simply by virtue of their employment there. The fraud at Enron was primarily because of acts done by CFO Andrew Fastow, and Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were either complicit in the fraud at worst, or turned a blind eye to it at best. Other ancillary high-level executives were also involved. You must show proof that Krugman somehow bears responsibility for the fraud and bankruptcy at Enron, to make this a black mark on his record. Otherwise, it’s totally meaningless.
    And, unless you can prove that, then there is no basis to compare the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman’s work to the economic hackery of Ben Stein, who should be forever ashamed of his total failure to comprehend the greatest economic crisis since the 1930’s.

  36. Todd says:

    Ben Stein can join every expert this side of Timbucktoo in being wrong about the coming financial crisis.
    PS Thanks for the historical info on Krugman, loved it.
    Posted by: laura newhaus | Friday, January 30, 2009 at 10:12 AM
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    That’s inaccurate. There were people who were warning of the impending economic crisis, Nouriel Roubini being the prime example. He was not alone. However, just because Ben Stein was in the great majority of people who were wrong, that doesn’t excuse Stein for being so unabashedly wrong and blatantly calling out those who predicted dire problems as “Chicken Littles on the trading floor”, and wholeheartely recommending Merrill Lynch as “an astoundingly well run company.”
    Oh laura, about Enron….do you believe that everyone who worked for Enron during the time of the fraud bears responsibility for it, no matter what their job was? If so, why?