You may know him best for his deadpan delivery in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or his offbeat game show, "Win Ben Stein's Money." But this active thinker is also a major contributor to current discussions and understanding of business, ethical and social issues in the world of finance, and the political and social content of mass culture. Come hear this polymath speak about the many economic, political and social issues confronting us today- The Commonwealth Club of California
Robert Saldich is the Chair of the Board of Governors at The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, CA.
Ben Stein is a lawyer, economist, and commentator on finance (and a well-known actor and Hollywood personality).
Stein served as an economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He has been a longtime contributor to Barron's and a columnist and editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal. He has also written extensively about finance for New York magazine and the Washington Post.
In addition to writing for Yahoo! Finance, he currently writes a biweekly column on economics and finance for the New York Times and appears weekly on the Fox News network commenting on finance and economics.
He is the author of several personal finance books, including How to Ruin Your Financial Life, Moneypower: How to Make Inflation Make You Rich, Financial Passages, and - with Phil DeMuth - the best-sellers Yes, You Can Time the Market, Yes, You Can Be a Successful Income Investor, and the forthcoming Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably.
Stein, whose father was well-known economist Herbert Stein, grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1966 with honors in economics. He studied law and economics at Yale from 1967 to 1970 and graduated from Yale Law School as valedictorian in 1970.
Stein is honorary chair of the National Retirement Planning Coalition and lives in Los Angeles, California.
78 million baby boomers, $50K each = $3.9 trillion.
That could mean only $2 million for about 2 million baby boomers (or about $8 million for about 500,000 baby boomers) and nothing for the rest. Be careful with averages, they can be very misleading.
His moral arguments seem plausable.
As a liberal, I find myself agreeing with everything Stein says in this clip. He seems to be one of the few Republicans who is actually concerned about the future. Regarding the "Baby Boomer problem", the vast majority of Medicare dollars goes to keeping old people alive who are going to die within 3 months. However proposing that old people should die sooner with a little dignity will cause conservatives to yell "DEATH PANELS!!!".
Perhaps one explanation is that our hospitals are businesses out to make a profit and the Medicare program is little more than a cash pipeline to them.
Ben Stein, maybe you could inject some reason into this quandary...
His advices were wrong, and many people ruin their lifes: ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Stein )
Financial advice prior to 2008 stock market crash
On March 18, 2007, in a column for CBS News online version of CBS News Sunday Morning, Stein famously proclaimed in the beginning of the subprime mortgage crisis that the foreclosure problem would "blow over and the people who buy now, in due time, will be glad they did," the economy was "still very strong," and the "smart money" was "now trying to buy — not sell — as much distressed merchandise" in mortgages as possible.
On August 18, 2007, on Fox News Channel's Cavuto on Business, Stein appeared with other financial experts dismissing worries of a coming credit crunch. The lone dissenter was Peter Schiff, who predicted that the mortgage sector would create a crisis leading to massive recession, a view that produced laughter from the other experts. Stein strongly recommended investing in then-troubled financial institutions.
Ben Stein: The credit crunch is way overblown. The [financial institutions] are being given away; they're so unbelievably cheap...The subprime problem is a problem, but it's a tiny problem in the context of this economy...It's a buying opportunity, especially for the financials, maybe like I've never seen before in my entire life.
Peter Schiff: This is just getting started. It's not just subprimes. This is a problem for the entire mortgage industry. It's not just people with bad credit that committed to mortgages they couldn't afford. It's not just people with bad credit who are going to see their home equity vanish... This is going to be an enormous credit crunch...
Neil Cavuto: You must be a laugh-riot at parties.
Ben Stein: ...subprime is tiny. Subprime is a tiny, tiny blip.
Peter Schiff: It's not tiny. And again, it's not just subprime. It's the entire mortgage market.
Ben Stein: You're simply wrong about that... Defaults for the whole mortgage market are tiny.
Ben Stein: I think stocks will be a heck of a lot higher a year from now than they are now.
A year and a month later, in the Global Financial Crisis of September 2008, global stock markets crashed, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the US government, AIG was bailed out by the Federal Reserve, Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America Corporation, and Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs confirmed that they would become traditional bank holding companies.
In a Yahoo! Finance article written on October 17, 2008, Stein explained that his understanding of the debt obligations based on real estate loans was less than the "staggeringly large" amount of obligations that were created through trade in derviatives of those, and so why it wasn't as similar to collapse of junk bond empire in early 1990s as he'd thought it would be: "Where I missed the boat was not realizing how large were the CDS based on the junk mortgage bonds."
why is it that when religious advocates like Stein find these "holes" in a scientific theory they rush to fill them in with God?
Just as good of a question is "Why do Darwinists, in general, refuse to consider the idea of a designer?". If you look at organisms and see great complexity and separate systems that work purposefully together to maintain life (think circulatory, respiratory, nervous), I think it's reasonable to consider that a designer is behind it. And that's the point he's trying to make (just saw his movie), that it doesn't make sense to exclude the idea of a designer if that's where the evidence points. And that's what Darwinists tend to do. They refuse to even consider the possibility of a supernatural creator. And why?
People like Stein aren't looking to say "God did it" and let that be the end of it. Of course we all want to explore and discover further and further into what the world is made of and how it works. His point is just to leave ALL options open to consideration. To exclude certain fields of possibility for no reason other than that you don't like them is completely unscientific.
If Ben's a republican/Republican, and stands for the Republic, then why isn't he a libertarian/Libertarian? He seems smart... http://www.rootforamerica.com
Maybe Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram can give Stein his answers regarding the informational organization of matter. Maybe when Stein more completely applies his "compassionate conservatism" he can work on ending the drug war. Unless he thinks incarceration of the poor and minorities is compassionate (which I doubt, from his stated admiration of Martin Luther King). ...And where does he stand on gun rights? Is he aware of the history here: http://www.secondamendmentdocumentary.com ? If he's not aware of the 2nd amendment's history and practice, he should definitely use the DVD at the above link to educate himself. Stein's a very curious creature, indeed.
Even if Ben had asked those questions of a physicist, he would not have been given a conclusive answer.
That's not the point. A physicist would have been able to explain why he couldn't answer Ben's question much better than an evolutionary biologist ever would have (although I'd also like to point out he just says he's talked to "Darwinists," but without saying whether or not these people are even actual biologists). When you're asking a "Darwinist" a question about anything other than Darwinism their answer has no more authority than your average guy on the street's would if you'd asked him the same question. If you're looking for answers about physics, ask physicists. Otherwise you're just setting up fake targets so you can knock them down and pretend you're proving a point.
If there are holes in a theory, regardless of who is posing the theory, then alternates to that theory must be considered.
Some theories have substantially bigger holes than others. The bigger the holes, the worse the theory. Darwinism, as a scientific theory, has very small holes. "God did it" has very, very large ones. Ok?
Another thing: why is it that when religious advocates like Stein find these "holes" in a scientific theory they rush to fill them in with God? Science has no problem admitting there are limits to our current body of knowledge, because it's obvious to anyone paying attention that those limits are consistently expanding. Why do so many devout people seem to have such a hard time with that idea?
But words - words are not enough! - Klaus Kinski
Even if Ben had asked those questions of a physicist, he would not have been given a conclusive answer. If there are holes in a theory, regardless of who is posing the theory, then alternates to that theory must be considered.
Yeah, he's not bad for the most part, but my opinion of him wavered a little after chapter 15. So Ben couldn't find any Darwinists to explain where physics come from? Ok, but what's the point of that? That's like asking an economist (or actor/economist) to explain physics. If the economist can't do it, does it mean his economic theories are wrong? Of course not. If Stein really wanted to know about physics he'd ask a physicist. What a ridiculous argument to make.