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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

  • Eric Swinderman

    While there are truths to what Ben Stein said, he is speaking about a rather small sector of the population. Yes there are people who make bad decisions over and over again that keep them down. However, what Ben Stein and the rest of the GOP fail to comprehend is that there is a difference between destitute and poor. The major problem is America isn’t the destitute (while that is a problem) it’s the working poor. The people with college degrees who have jobs that barely pay enough to pay the bills let alone save for the future and build financial stability. The GOP seems to only see cartoon versions of everything and that’s what they are not qualified to solve, let alone speak on these issues.

    • Dewenda Cooper

      Eric Swindleman you said it right! Im a R.N. who had a heart attack and other health issues that rendered me unable to work. I have worked since i was 16 years old. But now to hear people in the republican party said that poor people( with what retirement pay i get i consider myself poor) it makes me anger. I have had to rely on some publiv assistance to survive. But iam not lazy nor do i what to be needy. After talking to my doctor about my health in which he says i could never do the physical part of nursing, i am back in school getting a second degree in adminstration which is stressful but won’t be a physical challenge on me. The point is befire i became a nurse i worked had and raised a family with values and such. Mr. Stien claims that there are groups who give to the poor inner cities and we should be proud of the rich. Why? When most inherit what they have. And if they are Christians as much as they claim we would have more people who don’t have to rely on our government.

  • Finnsmom1

    I wonder if Stein will have the nerve to repeat this nonsense on CBS Sunday Morning. A few years back he ranted about how unfair it was for wealthy people to be forced to pay more income tax. He recanted it 6 months later, BTW.

  • Beverly Brown

    Listen stupid. Your friends on wall street messed the American people up gambling with our money, nobody went to jail. We pay into unemployment get laid off can’t hardly collect and you call black people lazy and wanting free stuff from the government. Pray to god that people like you and the rest of your kind will never need help from a person who is not privliledged like you butt wipes. Not to mention you had a stupid president and his friend sent our men and women to a war that they started. Go take you medication.

  • Deborah Murphy Ross

    How convenient to put all poor people in the pigeon hole drunks and drug addicts too lazy to improve their lot in life. This guy must be getting millions in contribution from the corporations who pay too little to their workers, send jobs overseas ,pay little to no taxes and collect ridiculous amounts of subsidies from those who are paying tax. So fuck him.

  • msaxie


  • Dennis Augello

    Didn’t Jesus say you had to sell everything in order to get into heaven?

  • Sapphire Possible

    He was drunk when he made this statement.

  • Bob Rtarp

    fuck ben stein , he is a schill for govt.