Ben Stein’s column in The New York Times is a joke. Each one is stupider than the one before it. But in a crowded field of dumbness, this weeks column rises to the top. It is a defense of the business trip. The whole masterpiece is worth reading, but here’s a couple choice paragraphs:
Like other taxpayers, I hate to see my dollars going to entertain employees of bailed-out companies lavishly. Just as a matter of public decency, it is possible that they should wear the hair shirt for a time — although it’s hard to see what business purpose is served by punishing the most productive employees at a company, who are often the ones at business gatherings.
It’s funny that he thinks telling top executives that they shouldn’t take lavish business trips at the taxpayers expense (he’s referring to the AIG trip here) is a punishment. And that they are the most productive. Really? These are AIG’s top people? The ones who wrecked our economy and will have our children in penury for the next century? I’d hate to see their bottom people.
At the gatherings I attend, men and women fly coach, stay in immense, boxy hotels, start their meeting days at breakfast at 7 a.m. and work through the day until far later than seems reasonable to me. Then they do it again the next day and the day after that, finally enduring the torture of waiting at the airport, next to screaming children, in order to get home.
Wah wah! Oh, poor Ben Stein and poor hard working corporate America! Truly I can’t imagine anyone else in America who has to work long hours. It can’t be poor people, everyone knows they’re all on welfare. Oh, and their workday starts with breakfast. In a hotel. With meals paid for. The actual work is… talking and meeting and listening and socializing and learning. No, it’s not always easy and it can be a long day. But let’s get real, a long hard day of white collar corporate work is absolutely nothing compared to a long hard day of manual labor or even working retail. And next to crying babies on the airplane – will someone have mercy on these poor people?
Someone give Ben a pacifier and let him sit in a corner while they give his column to someone who still lives in reality.