By John Ostapkovich

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Actor, economist, and conservative commentator Ben Stein, in Philadelphia this afternoon, says America has some serious problems, not all of which are from Washington, DC.

Stein gave about 400 attendees at the 12th annual La Salle Economic Outlook luncheon a quick look at America’s ability to overcome all manner of things, from wars to depressions.

But, in several funny anecdotes, he worried aloud that too many of today’s students don’t know that they don’t know.

“Eventually, this collapse of education is going to be a real serious problem,” he said.  “And I think the debt problem is a real serious problem, (and) trying to compete with the Far East is a real serious problem.”

Stein told of the blank looks he once got from a high school class when he mentioned Pearl Harbor.  No one had heard of it, but one student ventured that it might be a new jewelry store at the mall.

On the debt front, he says, accounting is a very creative field and he expects politicians to make it look like they’re doing something.

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