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Ben Stein: Poor People Are Jealous, Lazy Drunks

Conservative pundit Ben Stein has made some waves with a new column in The American Spectator, writing that “only government sanctioned religion could save poor people from their own ‘self-sabotage.’”

“What will make the genuinely poor stop sabotaging themselves?” Stein writes. “Maybe, just maybe, if we let God back into the public forum it would help. I have seen spiritual solutions work miracles.”

He continues, saying “My humble observation is that most long-term poverty is caused by self-sabotage by individuals. Drug use. Drunkenness. Having children without a family structure. Gambling. Poor work habits. Disastrously unfortunate appearance. Above all, and counted in the preceding list, psychological problems (very much including basic laziness) cause people to be unemployed, have poor or no work habits, and enter and stay in poverty.”

Stein then goes on to praise the rich saying “They fund symphonies and ballets and schools for inner city kids. They are a bulwark against tyranny because they can afford lawyers to fight overweening government.”

The former Comedy Central host then adds that the poor are not grateful for what they do have, saying “Yes, the government designates many tens of millions as poor, but they almost always have indoor plumbing (which my mother did not have in her small town in the Catskills) and they are super nourished as opposed to mal-nourished. They get food stamps. They get free medical care. They get vouchers for many of the needs of life.”

The former Richard Nixon speechwriter then concludes his column, saying “In olden times, poverty was the common human condition. In the USA, as recently as the Great Depression, poverty was commonplace. FDR might have exaggerated when he described one-third of the nation as ‘ill housed, ill fed and ill clad…’ But surely he was not far off. Is there any public policy that can help them? We just don’t know so far.”

About the author

Igor Derysh is the Managing Editor of Latest. com and a syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sun Sentinel, and AOL News. His work has been criticized in even more publications. Follow him on Twitter @IgorDerysh