Ben Stein's Diary

Debbie From the Democrats

Primary day sparring and partying -- with no way out of the recession.

By 8.27.10

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Tuesday
Wow, am I tired. I just got back from my very busy working trip and here I am back in L.A. heading over to CNN to be on Larry King Live. The show is about the primaries. The other guests are Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for GWB, Alicia Menendez, a very pretty young woman in D.C. from some leftist think tank, and my old pal Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Congresswoman from the Democrats, a tough, aggressive fellow Semite from Florida. She is really, really tough. Really. No, not really at all. I like her a lot.

I wish I had her balls.

Anyway, we talked about the elections and it was all fine until Ms. Wasserman made an amazingly dishonest comment about how every GOP Member of the House wanted to privatize Social Security. "Wait a minute," I said, "you just made that up. It's not true at all."

"No," she insisted, "it's true," and she named one or two Congressmen who supposedly believed that.

"No," I said, "you just made it up. You have no sources at all. Tell me your source."

(I am paraphrasing here.)

She was angry at me but I was not scared. I had a Jewish mother one billion times more scary than Debbie and I went on to a good life.

So, I gave her my e-mail and she didn't send me the source so, of course, she just made it up. How typical of Nancy Pelosi's Democrats. Just make up a lie, a BIG LIE, and see if the masses question you.

At the end of the show, I said that, alas, no one had a darned clue about how to get us out of the recession. We don't know if more deficit spending will do it. We don't know how to create much more monetary ease than we have already done. The GOP has no convincing ideas about what to do, and the Democrats don't either. The monetarists are stumped because how do you get a recovery if the banks have lots of cash but won't lend to consumers? The Keynesians are baffled because we already have major Keynesian stimulus and it's not doing much, as far as we can tell.

The budget deficit is getting to staggering levels and yet we have low inflation. Mortgages are at very low interest rates although the rates are totally nominal because the banks won't lend so housing is staggered.

When Mr. Paulson let Lehman fail, when Prof. Laffer made the GOP the party of fiscal irresponsibility, we really got into a deep hole. How we get out NO ONE KNOWS. This is terrifying.

But, here is an interesting note: there are high levels of unemployment but the employers I talk to say there are severe labor shortages of skilled labor at every level from carpenters and plumbers to CEO's of biotech companies. And, as noted before, in my small circle of friends, anyone who has good work skills and a decent personality can get a job. I am not talking about the national scene. Just my little world. The chronic complainers and the malcontents and the unrealistic are the ones who cannot find work they want. The people who really want to work can get work. It might not be great work, but it's work.

Tuesday
Happy Birthday to my pal Phil De Muth. He is 60 and my wife and I took him, his beautiful wife, Julia, and their adorable 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, to Mister Chow for dinner. The food was great and Phil was in a daze. By an astounding coincidence, today, on Phil's birthday, Phil's lovely daughter, Rani, had a baby girl, making Phil a grandfather for the first time. I don't blame him. I would be terrified to be a grand dad.

Phil is a super guy and will be a super grand dad. I wish he had been my grand dad. But both of mine died before I could get to know them.

On the way home, I stopped to get gasoline. The Hispanic attendant, whom I have known for many years, wanted to talk to me about the mosque in New York.

"We have to wake up," he said. "Those people want to hurt us. Then they want to build a mosque. Why? To hurt us more? And how come Obama always takes the side of the people who hate us? Isn't this his country, too? What's wrong with him? Doesn't he know he's an American? Or what is he? This country has to wake up and get rid of Obama."

I nodded. "I agree," I said.

The man shook his head. "This country has to wake up," he said again. "We elected Obama. We made a big mistake. Now we have to fix it. Stop him, then get someone else in there. Someone who is an American. Someone who works for us, not our enemies. "

He shook his head and walked away and I drove home to write about him.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.