Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Hollywood Type Tries To Analyze The News

And what should greet me upon my return to the keyboard today but this CNN nonsense in which Ben Stein is given a platform to pontificate about the economy.

I guess, if you’re a high-profile conservative, it just doesn’t matter how many times you screw up as you echo Republican Party talking points in the guise of an “interview” or other allegedly impartial means of communication. And Stein has had his share of these moments, such as here where he incorrectly claimed that Dr. Benjamin Spock’s son committed suicide (it was his grandson, and how low is it to bring that up anyway)?

Stein also claimed here that ExxonMobil “needs a hug” (and how much did it cost for you to fill up your vehicle at the pump recently, dear reader?)

But for today’s CNN “story,” Stein claims that John W. McBush needs to bring on Karl Rove and put him in charge of the former’s fading presidential campaign.

Sure, bring on board the guy who “led” the Repugs to their Congressional loss in 2006 and, in the process, remind way too much of this country of how they got suckered in 2004 to vote for President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History because they were afraid of wetting their pants over terrorism and the threat of gays marrying and indoctrinating their kids into “the homosexual agenda.”


And I also want to take note of Stein’s comment about how the economy is supposed to be doing just fine, thank you…

"We are in a psychological recession. People think times are really, really bad, but it is an amazing thing if you are out there among them: the hotels are full, the airlines are full, the high-end shops are full, the Wal-Mart is really, really, really full, the highways are full, the trains are full. But on the other hand, clearly some portions of the economy are suffering terribly."
There are all kinds of ways that I can blow holes in this, but I would just like to point out the following.

In the metropolitan Philadelphia/Southeastern Pennsylvania area where I live, I have occasion to travel on our roads a good deal for both work and non-work related reasons. And I have traveled into southern New Jersey on Saturday mornings twice recently during what would normally be peak traffic times for those traveling to the Jersey shore points.

In prior years, I would have sat for possibly an hour or longer, but I have sailed through to my destinations as if I were traveling at night time. And we recently completed a six-hour trip en route to our vacation stop through Connecticut when we expected to run into horrendous traffic on I-95; we almost tried to break up the trip through making a hotel reservation near Mystic, CT closer to our final vacation stop at MVY. But the anticipated traffic hangups didn’t materialize there either and we proceeded with no problem; we only hit traffic when we arrived on the cape of Massachusetts, which was completely anticipated.

My point is that the price of gas is affecting people’s vacation plans. The highways are not as crowded as they have been in prior years when gas was a dollar or more less per gallon. Anyone who denies that is a liar or a fool, or both.

At least Stein supports Al Franken for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, though if I were Franken, I would be wary of such an endorsement.

And believe it or not, this ties into a comment on Stein’s column in the New York Times a couple of days ago, in which he told us…

As far as I can tell, there are several reasons (why, in Stein’s view, the economy isn’t as bad as we’re being told). One is the immense size of government expenditures. Federal outlays alone are roughly $3 trillion in a $14 trillion economy. If you add in consumption expenditures by state and local governments, the number comes in above $4 trillion. Second is the very large federal deficit, on the order of $400 billion. This is highly stimulative, as was the federal stimulus package itself. Third is the truth that the blows to the economy, while painful, are simply not enormous on a national scale.
Actually, I agree with Stein a bit on the fact that our federal deficit is “highly stimulative”; as noted here, it is “stimulative” for China, Japan, the UK, and other countries that (for now) continue to finance our wasteful economic negligence (and since Stein doesn’t go to the trouble to source his numbers except to claim that they basically come from Bushco, I won’t bother to try sourcing them either).

Also, as kos notes here, those sorry statistics noted by the Australian actually don’t include the cost of our two wars, believe it or not.

I couldn’t help but note in the CNN piece that Stein is hoping for a sequel to the ‘80s hit movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the film that launched his movie career (he wants to star in the sequel, of course). This is appropriate in a way, I guess, given that the original (and yes, I had a laugh or two over it also) took place during the supposedly sunny, “Morning In America” years of The Sainted Ronnie R, which prescribed both domestic and international reality avoidance for this country.

The problem is that, though Stein has the means and the high profile to get away with intellectual “truancy” over our current plight, if you will (reminiscent of Bueller himself – an iconic performance by Matthew Broderick), most of this country does not (including yours truly, of course). And due to eight years of primarily Repug “governance,” we have ended up in the same metaphorical condition of Cameron’s father’s Ferrari at the end of the movie (and don’t expect Stein or any of his fellow members of the investor class to help as we dig ourselves out of the ditch).

Update: More proof for Ben Stein that everything is just hunky dory...

No comments: