Remember Ben Stein? Anyone? Bueller? Mr. Stein spoke with The Guardian’s Jana Kasperkevic this week about the 2016 election. The former speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford was a bundle of contradictions as he talked about how he viewed this election. “Extremely strange,” he called it. Well, I guess we can all agree on that much.
As an economist, Stein had an opinion regarding free trade that differs from all three remaining candidates, calling their rejection of it “a disastrous mistake.”
Any interference with free trade in the long run produces negative results for the country that imposes the restrictions… When I hear Mr Trump or Mrs Clinton or Mr Sanders talk about how they are going to stop free trade and in some way block America from being part of the world trading system, it makes my blood run cold. That’s a terrible, terrible prospect.
He went on to tax policy, bringing up the fact that all the candidates say they will cut taxes on the poor. He couldn’t help himself when he repeated the old saw that 50 percent of Americans — the poor — don’t pay taxes. That’s simply not true. They might not pay income taxes because they fall below the poverty line, but they certainly do pay other taxes. Stein did say that he agreed with raising taxes on the rich, noting that the rich in America are, “really, really rich. And they can pay more tax.”
Back on the subject of Trump, Stein admitted that the Donald is “not a great businessman,” pointing out that, even if he were, that’s no indication that he’d be any good at dealing with the U.S. economy. In answer to a hypothetical Trump presidency, Stein proclaimed that “it would be a disaster” for the economy.
Stein went on to say that he was “open-mouthed, gasping” that Trump was the presumptive GOP nominee. He admits that he doesn’t get Trump and doesn’t see what people like about him. But, he professed, he will vote for him. Why?
… because I think he does personify a kind of national pride which I think has been lacking in the Obama days and would be terribly lacking under Bernie Sanders and terribly lacking under Hillary Clinton.
Speak for yourself, buddy. I’m damn proud of President Obama and of our country for electing him. Twice.
However, Stein has reservations.
I don’t think Trump knows a goddamn thing about economics. But I like him anyway, I might add. I think Mrs Clinton knows something about it. She is an intelligent woman, she went to Wellesley. She was a classmate of mine at Yale law school and I hope we learned something while we were there.
Stein disclosed elsewhere in the interview that he thought Hillary Clinton would “do a fine job” and “has a more balanced approach.” Even so, he’s going to vote for the guy who he thinks will destroy the U.S. economy. The guy who he — by his own admission — thinks doesn’t know a “goddamn thing” about the economy. Now I’M open-mouthed and gasping.
Ben Stein would put “national pride” over the U.S. economy. Wow. I’ve seen some severely partisan talk this election cycle but Stein takes the cake. “Screw the good of the country, I’m going to vote for the Republican even if he’s a blithering idiot with an ego the size of Manhattan.” Stein even knows Hillary, knows she would be the better choice, that she knows about the economy and still he will vote for the Orange Wonder. Folks, that’s some virulent partisanship right there.
Mr. Stein, now that you’ve shown your true colors, why don’t you just stay home on election day? You’d be doing the country a solid if you did. The economy will thank you.
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