Monday, February 16, 2009

Breaking down Pete Stark vs. Jan Henfeld

Pete Stark is a Democratic congressman from California; Jan Henfeld is a quasi-incendiary interviewer who is looking to make a name for himself with a combination of cold logic and non-bargaining libertarian premises. The video of their interview is here, it is pretty entertaining and at times laugh-out-loud funny.

Jan Henfeld starts off the interview by catching Pete Stark in saying that the more debt a country has, the wealthier they are. Extending this statement to its logical extreme, Henfeld asks why the US shouldn't borrow another 2 or 3 trillion.

Stark is stuck in a bind, and he reverts to personal insult, asking Henfeld if he has ever taken econ classes (apparently yes at the University of Puerto Rico) or if he has a doctorate (apparently no). Stark went to MIT and then the University of California-Berkeley for his MBA, and he is more than a little pretentious about it. He tells Henfeld basically that he can't understand the issue because he's not smart enough because he didn't go to a good college. Burn!

But Henfeld is relentlessness, so Stark comes back and tells him to "shut up," rips off his microphone, and tells Henfeld to "get the fuck out of here." Recall that Stark is a Democratic congressman from Fremont, California! This is incendiary stuff.

What's ironic is that many of Stark's policies are aligned with a libertarian point of view: he voted against Iraq, the Farm Subsidy Bill, and the Economic Stabilization Bill of October 2008. He is also the first openly atheist congressman. Therefore, I can only shudder when I think what might happen if Henfeld ever interviewed Dick Cheney.

(Hat tip: David Henderson)