Humor – and hope. Those two complementary elements characterized Ben Stein's speech on Sunday at The ASI Show Long Beach. The famous funny man may be best known for his television show-hosting and comedic roles in movies like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but Stein is also an Ivy League-educated economist and lawyer with a keen perspective on American history and the current political and economic landscape. During his speech to a packed ballroom, he drew on this multi-faceted background to spark laughs and inspire insights about what the nation must do to prosper in the years ahead.
At the podium in his trademark suit and sneakers, Stein said that despite the challenges facing America – from high crime and national debt to a slow economic recovery – he believes the future remains bright. “We are very blessed to live in the greatest nation in the whole history of the world," he said. “America is far from finished." Such sentiments were not mere platitudes. Throughout his talk, Stein pointed to historical examples of America emerging from tough times to build a better tomorrow, from the post Civil War industrial boom to becoming the world's leading nation after World War II. He also spoke of the advances in genuine civil rights for all Americans as evidence that the country can adapt and make improvements that may once have seemed impossible. “Doors of opportunity have been thrown open," he said.
On a national level, said Stein, success has always been achieved by a uniquely American work ethic – a willingness to work hard with a purpose that is driven by a belief that doing so will lead to a better life. It's that very commitment to hard work, somewhat lacking in the younger generation as Stein sees it, that Americans must draw upon now to kick start substantial economic growth. Furthermore, Stein believes an improved education system and a turning away from a pop culture defined by callousness and obsessed with violence could help propel national advancement. "I know if we have the right attitude in our hearts," said Stein, borrowing from Richard Nixon, “our best days lie ahead."
Counselor caught up with Stein following his speech to find out why he has a positive outlook for America's economy. Click here to watch the video.