In light of my earlier rant about PHSI, we introduce today a new and continuing series: Really, Really Bad Calls — in research, print or TV.
A few ground rules: We are not talking just a single bad call, or even a few — but rather, a person’s
entire oeuvre. When a guy with a good track record gets a call wrong, we give him the benefit of the doubt, and he gets a pass. When some idiot insists that Housing is bottoming for 3 years, they are fair game.
No, we are talking serious fuck ups. This is not for merely messing up a bit — we are looking for
something truly special in terms of money losing idiocy. Not just wrong, but brain injuring, wildly
embarrassing, astonishing examples of bad analysis. Wishful thinking,
cheerleading, politically polluted economics, and similar ilk. Stuff so god-damned bad that reading it actually lowers your IQ dozens of points. The kind of wrong that leads to a
bad. Or as my Texan friends say, shit-the-bed-wrong.
David Lereah type wrong.
Consider this marketplace of ideas in action, bringing a little
accountability to those irresponsible pundits who are costing the
investing public money.
Now, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and I
can be, and all-too-frequently am, as wrong as the next guy. Hey, we expect to be wrong. But I
consider myself merely run of the mill dumb, and taken as a whole, readers
here have made money. What we are looking for is stupendous, horrific, jumbo money losing stupidity.
Which brings us to Ben Stein.
I know I swore off Stein a year ago, but I stumbled across this piece from 12 months ago, I had to remind you of exactly how myopic and, well, just plain incompetent the guy is: From August 2007 Ben Stein: SubPrime Doesn’t Matter, Buy Bear Stearns
The rate of loss in subprime mortgages keeps climbing. In time, perhaps it will double, maybe back to $67 billion. This is a large sum by absolute standards, and I would sure like to have it in my bank account.
But by the metrics of a large economy, it is nothing. The total wealth of the United States is about $70 trillion. The value of the stocks listed in the United States is very roughly $15 trillion to $20 trillion. The bond market is even larger.
You can read it paragraph by paragraph and discover something wonderfully wrong in almost every sentence . . .
Really, why the hell does the NYT insist on publishing this guy? He is a political hack, a terrible economist — and an enormous money loser.
And thats this week’s Really Really Bad Call…
Farewell To Ben Stein (January 2008)
Chicken Little’s Brethren, on the Trading Floor
NYT, August 12, 2007