The Evil, Statist Ben Stein

A lot of conservatives and even libertarians think highly of Ben Stein. (He was a keynote speaker at FEE before, for goodness’ sake.) He’s smart, he “sounds conservative,” he’s got a weirdly “successful” and varied career—he’s the Clear Eyes shill and “the guy from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”  But he’s always been bad, and he’s getting worse. As for the past—he’s notorious for his anti-capitalist attacks on Michael Milken (see Lew Rockwell’s The Free Market vs. the Managerial Elite from 1989, and Rothbard’s defense of Milken).

As for now: he was on the abysmal CNN Parker-Spitzer show last night explicitly calling for higher taxes. Of the 90+% marginal income tax rates in the 1940s–50s, he says “we had the most vivacious growth in the 1950s” despite 90% marginal tax rates. Therefore, as for the Bush tax cuts set to expire soon: they should be stayed for 3 years, but then—raise taxes on the wealthy. After all, a guy making $5m: “he can pay a couple million more.” Raise them on billionaires, people making $2 to 3M. After all, “there are so many rich people,” he gushes, that “it’s insane.” Of course, since he has only reached mediocre levels of success with his Clear Eyes commercials and copyright royalties from Bueller, he doesn’t mind if the top 0.5% are taxed more: $250k is “rich,” he exclaims? What a joke! Don’t tax me. Tax my “friend” Warren Buffet!

He also says we should means test social security and Medicare, and that it’s “ridiculous” that wealthy people get these benefits—after all, we “simply can’t afford it.” But “one thing I would never cut is defense. …I would not cut a one penny.” How fiscally conservative!

How evil. Shun this guy. He is not one of us.


11:52 am on November 17, 2010