Ep 150: Economist Ben Stein – Understanding Stagflation

Today, I have a great friend and fighter for individual freedom, Mr. Ben Stein. I wanted to mix it up a little bit and record a short QA with someone who is an expert in the topic I’m covering. You know me never groundhog day, and I will be doing more of these in the future. Yes, it is a shorty, but jam-packed with valuable information on inflation and personal finances. 

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Remember, the second leg of the Three-Legged Stool of The Simple Life is Financial Freedom. I don’t just cover this to fill space; shoring up and running your finances like a pro is a huge part of living the life you want.

Ben Stein is the most famous economics teacher in America. His comedic role as the droning economics teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is by far the most widely viewed scene of economics teaching in economics history and has been ranked as one of the fifty most famous scenes in movie history.

But in real life, Ben Stein is a powerful speaker on economics, politics, education and history and motivation–and like his father, Herbert Stein, considered one of the great humorists on political economy and how life works in this nation.

Stein in real life has a bachelor’s with honors in economics from Columbia, studied econ at the graduate level at Yale, is a graduate of Yale Law School ( valedictorian of his class by election of his classmates in 1970), and has as diverse a resume as any man in America.

Much more important, Ben Stein is morally committed to making your meeting a success and bringing his extensive background to bring out the most powerful and funniest trends in current history.

That background includes…poverty lawyer for poor people in New Haven, trade regulation lawyer for the FTC, speech writer for Presidents Nixon and Ford. ( He did NOT write the line, “I am not a crook….”), columnist and editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal, teacher about law and economics at UC, Santa Cruz ( undergrads ) and Pepperdine( law school and undergrads).

He has written or co-written roughly 30 books, mostly about investing, with his brilliant colleague, Phil DeMuth, many of them New York Times bestsellers. His and Dr. DeMuth’s book, “Yes, You Can Time The Market” has become a landmark of using price theory for securities market analysis.

He wrote a column about economics for The New York Times for several years, roughly 2004-2009.

He was the co-host, along with Jimmy Kimmel, of the pathbreaking Comedy Central game show, “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” which won seven Emmies, including ones for Ben and Jimmy for best game show host. ( Surely making him the only well known economist to win an Emmy….). Presently, he writes a column for The American Spectator and for NewsMax, and is a regular commentator on Fox News and on CBS Sunday Morning, as well as a frequent commentator on CNN.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 45 years, Alexandra, two dogs and six cats.

He loves people and loves to meet new people and hang out with them. He’s a party guy, albeit an extremely serious economist and a decades long critic of excessively loose fiscal policy and unhelpful regulation in finance.

Topics Discussed: 

  • What is Stagflation.
  • Where did the term Stagflation come from.
  • What is the difference between Inflation and Stagflation
  • How does it affect the economy
  • How you can hedge against Stagflation
  • Ben gives you some advice and where to park your money
  • What you can do about Stagflation

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Episode Resources:

Transcripts :

[Music]

with gary collins

your how-to guide for getting your

together

[Music]

hey ben thanks for coming on again it’s

been a while i think it’s been like a

week or so right great place i don’t

know how long i don’t i don’t keep track

of the time well we see each other all

the time on

this show on

our wonderful show that judah so kindly

produces

and uh what i want to get into tonight

since we went into inflation last time i

want to discuss the difference because

this now stagflation’s being thrown

around what is the difference between

inflation and stagflation

well in stagnation there is a uh slowed

down or a freeze on economic activity

economic activity is very slight or if

if at all

but prices are still rising we haven’t

had static equation

for a very long time it’s very

questionable whether

stagflation even exists it was a it was

a phrase of some smart economist who

wanted to make money thought of uh to

get himself some lectures but uh it does

it’s very rare there’s there’s such a

thing as uh prices rising on a general

level at a slight level or worldwide

level without there being a very

considerable slowdown in growth

when was the last time this happened

well they said it was happening uh

around twenty 30 years ago when mr um

i knew

head of the federal reserve i forgot his

name was mr walker i’m sure does mr

walker i forget his first name and he uh

he it was alleged uh and put the us into

a condition where we have either not

either no economic growth or very little

economic growth but would still have uh

prices rising

would this be a different situation

because now we have flooded the market

with a bunch of

funny money through the fed

is this a loan

it’s not funny it’s not money money it’s

just as good as any other money it’s

it’s absolutely

it’s money and money is money and it’s

money it’s a very good saying it’s nice

to have a lot of it uh but it’s the same

it’s just money money money money and uh

a friend of mine i think is on her way

over here with some of that funny money

for me to take her out to dinner for her

birthday and the funny money came from

me in the first place so probably use

funny money in a way

that’s really so funny to me

borrowed it’s borrowed money without

permission is how i look at it because

they’re not

they’re printing money

that’s the way it always is and they

have permission

the permission comes from the federal

reserve act which allows the federal

government to print as much money as

they want and uh there’s nobody stopping

and there never has been anyone stopping

him

some public opinion that could stop him

but it doesn’t i mean people people do

not want the economy to come to a

crashing hall so they will not stop

printing money and will not stop having

inflation and we’re just going to keep

on having inflation for a long long time

the only question how fast is it going

how much of a thud do you want when it

stops okay so when we had the gold

standard though this wasn’t the typical

protocol was when things got hard we

just printed more money

right

but they’re terrible terrible terrible

times during previous years of the gold

standard and people think oh well

the gold spirit

that was sort of ended around in early

1930s uh pretty much exactly ended then

we would never have any kind of real

inflation problems because if there was

a

there couldn’t be too much money because

the amount of money was tied to the

amount of gold the amount of gold was a

real fixed amount it couldn’t just uh

change a

decimal place somewhere

uh reserve a talent sheet and say okay

instead of having such as a billion when

you have such trillion dollars

there was some restriction on how much

money could be created

[Music]

[Applause]

you

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