Jesse Myerson is a young, left-wing journalist who recently wrote an article for Rolling Stone that advocates some solutions to America’s ongoing economic malaise. These solutions range from a guaranteed income to a land-value tax. They are reforms that assume the economy should serve the people (all of them) and not the other way around.
Obviously this kind of common-sense thinking has a lot of conservatives incredibly upset, though most of them have been unable to muster any substantial criticism of the piece. “But capitalism!” and “LOL kids today” are among the most common critiques.
But as unimpressive as American conservatives have been in refuting Myerson’s ideas, none of them can compare to Canada’s own Kevin O’Leary, who was inexplicably invited to debate Myerson on CNBC Tuesday. And the K-man seemed very eager indeed to show just how unprepared someone can be for a five-minute cable news debate.
Even though O’Leary has long been a household name in Canada, he’s trying to grow his brand in the U.S. and clearly thought CNBC was friendly territory. All he needed to do was trot out some Soviet Gulag references and shout loudly, and a victory for capitalism would be assured.
Things went off the rails quickly, though, when O’Leary said he wanted to rebut Myerson’s suggestions about free education.
Myerson’s piece did not discuss education.
Undaunted, O’Leary said Myerson was complaining that young people have a lot of debt, and pointed out that educational debt is a huge problem for young adults.
At this point, Myerson realized the obvious: “You didn’t read the piece, did you? I didn’t mention student debt. At all.”
Let’s just remember that O’Leary is one of Canada’s most prominent economic voices, for some reason, and is so trusted that he has an hour-long analysis show on the CBC with Amanda Lang. And this is the best he could do?
This man suffers from either utter incompetence or such baffling hubris that he failed to do even the barest preparation for his appearance, which was to read a five-point listicle. If he had prepared adequately, O’Leary might have had some things to say that actually pertained to Myerson’s suggested reforms.
Maybe O’Leary shouldn’t shoulder all the blame, though. Myerson clearly knows his stuff: he cited several mainstream and libertarian economists who have suggested similar reforms to his — including, of all people, Milton Friedman.
Not that actual economic theory matters to O’Leary. He just wants to continue parlaying his wealth into fame and respect, and hopefully keep hidden the fact that he is illiterate.
UPDATE: Only a day after his cringe-worthy performance on CNBC, Kevin O’Leary chided people for not preparing enough when they talk to him.
Nerves are nerves, I get that. But if you’re asking me to consider your pitch, you’d best know it. #cbcdragonsden
— Kevin O'Leary (@kevinolearytv) January 9, 2014