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Petitioning Editor in Chief, The American Spectator Bob Tyrrell

Tell the <i>American Spectator</i> to Retract Ben Stein's Slurs About the Unemployed

Poor Ben Stein. According to his July 19 column in the American Spectator, he and his wealthy friends are having a terrible time lately. It seems that the down economy has started to affect them in negative ways and — you're not going to believe this, folks — they don't like it.

But what's really sad about Stein's column is the way in which he describes the unemployed — of which there are almost 15 million in the United States right now.

Among other offensive and condescending things, Stein writes:

"The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say 'generally' because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day's work."

He also says:

"People who have meaningful savings, insured retirement plans, diversification of assets, people who do not buy what they cannot afford, people who do not simply assume the money will materialize out of thin air for their next purchase, people who add and subtract and see life plain, these people rarely get in desperate trouble."

We all know there are plenty of financially irresponsible people in this world. But to suggest that most unemployed people are lazy and "unpleasant" and that people who get into financial trouble because they can't "add and subtract and see life plain" — well, frankly, that's insane.

Urge the American Spectator to retract Stein's offensive column immediately.

Photo credit: Neshan Naltchayan

Letter to
Editor in Chief, The American Spectator Bob Tyrrell
I am deeply offended by the ignorant, condescending way in which Ben Stein characterized unemployed individuals — of which there are almost 15 million in the United States right now — in his July 19 column, "The End of Wishful Thinking."

Stein writes:

"The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say 'generally' because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day's work."

He also says:

"People who have meaningful savings, insured retirement plans, diversification of assets, people who do not buy what they cannot afford, people who do not simply assume the money will materialize out of thin air for their next purchase, people who add and subtract and see life plain, these people rarely get in desperate trouble."

I acknowledge that there are financially irresponsible people in this world. But I am offended at the suggestion that most unemployed people are lazy and "unpleasant" and that people who get into financial trouble because they can't "add and subtract and see life plain."

I urge you to retract Stein's column today.