Ben Stein

Ben Stein opposes "free college" movement: For poor kids, it's just a chance to get high for four years!

"Look at the time, Ben!" a desperate Cavuto replied


Scott Eric Kaufman
May 20, 2015 11:44PM (UTC)

On "Your World with Neil Cavuto" Tuesday, Ben Stein complained about recent remarks by Hillary Clinton about the cards being "stacked" against poor people, saying that she really means "she's going to stick it to the rich."

He claimed that "there's never been a time in history when the poor were made rich by making the rich poor" -- which, even he would confess, is not what Clinton is planning to do. He is, however, in favor "of there being more well-to-do people" in America.

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While that is a sensible position, given the increasingly lack of social mobility in America, it's unclear what mechanism Stein would advocate for creating a society in which there are more well-to-do people.

Although he explicitly listed education as a means of acquiring wealth, he balked at the idea of providing free education to poor people, as many of their parents are effectively poor by choice. While there are "some fine, and incredibly hard-working [poor] people and I love them and I work with them when I go to Walmart," there are "an awful lot of people who are slobs, drunks, drug addicts" and "no plan is going to help them."

He added that "if you took all that money and gave it to the dumber people, who are way below the poverty line, they'll be better off for a little while." But, Stein said, they will still fail. Not that they are destined to, as he claimed that "any person in this county...can become a middle-class person, unless he's mentally or physically disabled."

The means by which they will achieve middle-class status are, according to Stein, discipline and education -- but he immediately said that he didn't support free college education, because for most students, college consists of "four years of smoking the neon-green chronic."

"Look at the time here, Ben!" Cavuto said. "Look at the time!"

Stein refused to follow Cavuto's unsubtle lead, adding that for most kids, "college is just a chance to get high! Why are we going to subsidize it?"

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Watch the entire exchange via Media Matters for America below.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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