Ben Stein Thinks Paul Krugman Probably Just Has Low Self-EsteemThis morning, we told you about the various reactions in the blogosphere to Ben Stein’s column in the Times business section this weekend, about what he perceived as opportunistic fear-mongering at Goldman Sachs. The piece, which included a dig at “economic journalists and commentators who sell newsprint by selling fear,” touched a nerve with a few journalists, among them Stein’s New York Times stablemate Paul Krugman, whose current column announces that the financial crisis is “back with a vengeance” and heralding the “breakdown of our modern-day banking system.” Like a mean girl on MySpace, Krugman wrote a narky snippet about Stein’s piece on his Times blog, but Stein says the sticks and stones cannot break his bones. “It is hardly to be expected that I could question an institution as powerful as Goldman Sachs and not get some response,” Stein told Daily Intel. “As to Paul Krugman, I don’t like to deal with people so full of hate. His recent piece on [Milton] Friedman [in the New York Review of Books] was so thoroughly debunked by Anna Schwartz that I would well imagine he’s not happy.” To make matters more interesting, Stein’s piece and Krugman’s column have been duking it out on the Times Most-Emailed list all morning long. At the time of this writing, Krugman is at three, and Stein is at four. Who will win the battle of the economist nerds? “It’s Christmastime,” Stein tells us beatifically. “I wish everyone peace.”
Earlier: Ben Stein Takes on Goldman Sachs, Internet Goes For Stein’s Sack
white men with money
Ben Stein Takes On Goldman Sachs, Internet Goes for Stein’s SackEr, maybe Ben Stein should stick to giving models math quizzes? After his op-ed on Goldman Sachs appeared in Times yesterday, his colleagues in economics seem rather determined to push him off the playground. In the piece, which appeared on the front page of the business section, Stein dismissed a report from current Wall Street golden child Goldman Sachs, in which Goldman economist Jan Hatzius postulates the subprime mess will affect lending so much, home prices will drop by 15 percent, making way for the economy to stagnate, if not completely collapse. Stein’s argument was that this is unlikely to happen, because the Fed would step in and give lenders liquidity. Then he took his skepticism one step further, alleging that Hatzius, guided by the “invisible government of Goldman,” was “selling fear” in order to promote the bank’s trading policies, which include collaterized mortgage obligations, and that they should probably be investigated for less-than-sterling conduct. In response, the Internet went bananas.