Ben Stein's Diary

The Homeless Fed Analyst

Filling up along the Sunset Strip.

By 8.27.13

Unlike most of the stories you read about Hollywood, this one really happened.

At about 10:30 tonight, I realized I was low on gasoline. There was a gas station nearby on Sunset Strip with moderate prices. I headed over there. As I was pulling in, a very pretty young woman in tight white pants and a man with her looked at me very hard, started to laugh and then kept looking at me as I was pumping my High Test.

The woman came over and asked me if she could have her friend take her picture with me. “Sure,” I said.

I put my arm around her bare shoulders. She had young, soft skin and a ready smile. “Are you a student?” I asked her.

“No,” she said. “I’m a sexy actress.”

“Does that mean porn movies?” I asked.

“Not so much movies as scenes,” she said.

“Really. May I ask how much that pays?”

“You mean just straight vanilla boy girl?” she asked.


“On a good day, a thousand dollars,” she said.

“How long does it take?”

“Depends. Six to eight hours including prep.”

“How many do you do in a year?” I asked.

“Not many,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve even done fifty altogether in five years.”

“What do you do all day then?”

“I’m on the Internet,” she said. “Pays much more per hour.”

Her male friend wanted a picture, too. Done.

Then a toothless African American homeless man whom I have often seen at this gas station asked, “Professor Stein, may I have your picture, too?”

“Of course,” I said.

I put my arm around him, too and the boyfriend took the picture. The man reeked of alcohol.

“May I ask you another question?” the man asked.

Before I could say, “No,” he asked, “When will the Fed stop buying bonds? Will it be September or October?”

“Neither,” I said, “although no one knows. But I don’t think anywhere near that soon.”

“Why do you say that?” he asked.

“Because the economy is still weak and there’s no inflation. And the nation expects monetary ease.”

“But the stock market expects it. They’re looking for the taper. It keeps going down,” said the man.

“It moves for a lot of reasons,” I said.

“Yes, but the Fed can’t keep buying bonds indefinitely,” said the homeless man.

“Why not?”

“What does your friend Mr. Buffett think about it?” the homeless Fed watcher asked.

“I haven’t discussed it with him,” I said. “Anyway, I have to go. My wife is waiting for me at home.”

“At home in Beverly Hills?”


I smiled at him, got into the car and as I left, he had stopped watching the Fed and started doing the much more productive task of going through the trash can in front of the gas station.

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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.