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Ben Stein on the Unemployed

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July 20, 2010 – Comments (23)

"The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say “generally” because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day’s work."

 

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/19/the-end-of-wishful-thinking 

23 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 20, 2010 at 2:43 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

Ben Stein is a wonderful contrarian indicator.

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#2) On July 20, 2010 at 3:24 PM, russiangambit (29.37) wrote:

do not know how to do a day’s work."

Gee, it is like 80% of american workforce when you compare it to asian countries workers. So what now?

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#3) On July 20, 2010 at 3:35 PM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

Does Ben Stein know how to do a day's work?  Has he done any real work in the last 30 years?  I'm sure that most of these "overbearing and unpleasant" unemployed individuals could spend 10 minutes speaking in a monotone voice for a Comcast commercial.

 

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#4) On July 20, 2010 at 3:38 PM, eddietheinvestor (< 20) wrote:

This is but a small quotation from a longer article--an article that also provides valuable advice to people looking for work and that clearly indicates that those who have lost their jobs derive from the upper, middle, and lower classes--and thus is not making any implications about social class.

By the way, here is another selection from Stein's article:  

Next, because this recession hit employment so hard, but also hit home values so hard, many of my friends, who thought they were rolling in real estate equity, find themselves without work and also upside down on their homes, with lofty mortgages to pay, and no ability to sell their homes This is not happening to people in faraway places. This is happening to people very near me. Extremely near me.

However, as the economist I am, I try to not only watch and wring my hands, but to draw lessons and rules from the experience. 

Again, there are powerful exceptions [to the idea in quotation above] and I know some, but when employers are looking to lay off, they lay off the least productive or the most negative. To assure that a worker is not one of them, he should learn how to work and how to get along -- not always easy.Productive workers with real skills and real ability to get along are also sometimes unemployed, but they will be the last fired and the first hired.

 

 

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#5) On July 20, 2010 at 3:40 PM, TMFHousel (91.86) wrote:

"Does Ben Stein know how to do a day's work?  Has he done any real work in the last 30 years?  I'm sure that most of these "overbearing and unpleasant" unemployed individuals could spend 10 minutes speaking in a monotone voice for a Comcast commercial."

Ha, I thought the same thing when I read it.  

 

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#6) On July 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM, ragedmaximus (< 20) wrote:

Did he died?

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#7) On July 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM, ragedmaximus (< 20) wrote:

BUELLER BUELLER?

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#8) On July 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM, blake303 (29.30) wrote:

If his friends are unemployed and unable to pay their mortgages, does that not imply that attorneys and economists in DC and California have unpleasant personalities and provide little/negative utility?  Who knew?

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#9) On July 20, 2010 at 4:28 PM, motleyanimal (79.87) wrote:

"overbearing and unpleasant" unemployed individuals

There is great demand for such people in customer service.

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#10) On July 20, 2010 at 4:34 PM, soycapital (< 20) wrote:

A true statement as far as I can tell.

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#11) On July 20, 2010 at 4:34 PM, BroadwayDan (97.64) wrote:

That's of course what he thinks.  In order to be a true conservative you have to believe in the idea that America is a meritocracy or as close to it as one can reasonably expect, and that life is mostly fair. So, these things can't be factored in:

* abusive parents

* chemical addictions

* miserable community filled with crime

* awful schools

* illness/injury

* bad luck

* Bosses who are jerks 

* having your job outsourced

Wasn't he booted from Yahoo! or something like that because the commercials he does are for a "free" credit report that is grossly misleading. The pomposity and obviousness of his comments - be nice, work hard and study are - pretentious and condescending beyond words. And if you are a jerk at work, odds are you have no clue (afterall, you're a jerk) and reading Ben Stein won't help.   

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#12) On July 20, 2010 at 4:35 PM, lemoneater (78.55) wrote:

I'm in customer service, but I'm not sure I'm mean enough:) Thanks for the laugh, motleyanimal. 

 

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#13) On July 20, 2010 at 4:40 PM, ragedmaximus (< 20) wrote:

He needs to go choke on a few motza balls down at the salvation army soup kitchen!

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#14) On July 20, 2010 at 5:02 PM, starbucks4ever (98.67) wrote:

When I hear the cliche "right-wing jerk", I think of Ben Stein.

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#15) On July 20, 2010 at 5:11 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

HollywoodDan - I agree with most of you list, but not this one:

* chemical addictions

That absolutely is a failure of character. 

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#16) On July 20, 2010 at 5:29 PM, irvingfisher (33.83) wrote:

I think I would be pretty unpleasant if I were unemployed for several weeks because some fat cat market manipulators (GS & Paulson, Citi, AIG, etc.) rigged things to collapse the whole economy and made billions in the process.

Another interesting thing about Stein is that he does not think BP shareholders should be "punished" for BP's oil spill. Yeah, I guess the taxpayers should pay for that. Better than wasting tax money on unemployment benefits for the unpleasant unemployed. Let them eat Twinkies!

 

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#17) On July 20, 2010 at 5:58 PM, ragedmaximus (< 20) wrote:

If ben stein were president, he would probably feed all the unemployed people the BP oil slicked wildlife .

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#18) On July 20, 2010 at 8:14 PM, Imperial1964 (98.31) wrote:

Good to see Dan's name around here again.  Though I agree mostly with his point (I think), I'll post a couple follow-up comments:

I know an awful lot of employed individuals with chemical addictions or who use illegal or legal chemicals "recreationally".  Most of them work in some type of construction or another.  There are ways around drug tests.

But more to the point, yes, it's not everyone's fault the place they're born into, or even necessarily the place they are currently.  But over someone's lifetime you are able to change an awful lot about your situation and even yourself.  However, there must be a certain amount of natural incentive to do so and you don't want to take that away from people or you take away their capacity to change and grow as humans.

If you subsidize ignorance and poverty you get more of both.

Frankly, if they ever do pass socialized healthcare I stop getting up in the morning and going to this thing they call a "job".

You have to strike a balance between compassion for those in need and taking away natural incentives and consequences.

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#19) On July 20, 2010 at 8:22 PM, Acesnyper (< 20) wrote:

I would like to buy Mr. Stien a beer.

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#20) On July 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM, Dobbes (< 20) wrote:

Nobody has mentioned that Mr. Stein is amongst those who lost their jobs during the recession.  He was fired from the NYT over an incident where he endorsed a company that was not on the up and up.  People familiar with the matter say that it was just an excuse to finally get rid of Stein, his column was truly awful.  Really it was.  To the effect that when the news hit, there was a Reuters article calling him "the world's worst financial columnist."

So for extra irony points, Mr. Stein is going on record as saying those who lost their jobs probably deserved it.  In his case, he appears to be right, or at least impartial third parties seem to be willing to corroborate publically that he is no good at his job.

I for one have a tough time believing that there are no good people amongst the multitudes without employment right now.  Call me optimistic.

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#21) On July 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM, Teacherman1 (47.61) wrote:

I agree with some things he said, and disagree with others.

One thing that did ring true as far as I am concerned is what he calls "prudence".

My grandmother called it living within your means.

Don't buy what you don't need. This will allow you to buy what you do need.

Put something away for a rainy day. It is always raining somewhere.

You really don't need the "latest and greatest". You just think you do.Remember, it won't be long before the "latest and greatest", will be "old and not so great".

Just my "two cents" on the subject.

I do hope they pass the "unemployment extension", because there are many unemployeed that are really trying to get jobs. There just aren't enough to go around. 

For those who are employeed, get out of here and get back to work. You could be next :).

Have a great day, or at least a good one. 

 

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#22) On July 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM, floridabuilder2 (99.35) wrote:

#9 Motley....  that comment should be on the front page...

I started to think of all my friends and the ones that are unemployed.  If I were to go say, 50 friends deep I have 3 unemployed friends. 

#1 Single divorced female.  Alcoholic and never stops talking.  Let me emphasis NEVER.

#2 Single male pot smoking 3x drunk driving friend who rents a room from another friend.  Spends his entire day (when he had a job) on sports message boards.  At least we spend our time on finance message boards.

#3 Single male friend 2x drunk driving.  The most recent incident was last year when the cops found him on the expressway passed out in a ditch with his foot on the accelerator.

I like a good drink every once in a while, but I have found those who like a good drink every day seem to have job and relationship related issues.  Just saying

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#23) On July 21, 2010 at 12:59 PM, vtBrunson (48.40) wrote:

I disagree with chk99 concerning his view on chemical addictions being a "character flaw".  There is always a stigma associated with people who have chemical dependencies. (They lack "willpower") My best friend is an addict in recovery, and for quite a while he struggled with his disease.  His drug of choice happens to be alcohol but addiction is addiction.  

Anyways, let those of you who've never drank, or use any legal or illegal chemical substance cast the first stone, Some people have a genetic disposition towards chemical dependency.  And that doesn't make it OK, but I would not consider a person who works 60-80 hours a week and still finds time to train for Mixed Martial Arts and running marathons (like my friend) a person who lacks discipline.

Also, there have been plenty of people throughout history who were addicts and lead productive lives.

the S.C. Johnson family comes to mind 

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wiracbio/jbios/johnsonsc2.htm

 

 

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