When time is short, do shorters.
Wal-Mart's Wage Experiment Works ... for Workers: aka Look Mommy, I Can Knock Down A Strawman! Silly people, Wal-Mart wages can't replace factory work. Wal-Mart can't adopt Costco's business model. It's not profitable to pay people anything but "the lowest wage you can get away with paying." Once raised, wages can't and aren't cut.
Me: The difference between Costco and Wal-Mart is that Costco tries to pay the most it can afford, and Wal-Mart tries to pay the least it can get away with. To McArdle, low wage employees are a barrier to billionaires' profit, not actual people with families.
Misbehaving Consumer Agency Gets Sent to Time Out: [I can't even.]
Me: This post is so incredibly aggravating that I couldn't encapsulate it. I wasted one week trying to approach it rationally and ended up walking away, enraged, every time. It's so unbelievably condescending, wrong, and misleading that I gave up. Read it if you must but I warned you.
Five Types of Voters, More or Less Loyal to Trump: How many Trump voters will retaliate against me and my elite brethren? How many seats will be lost down-ticket? It depends on the honor of Trump voters.
Me: Good luck with that.
Innovation Falls, and Retirees Pay the Price: When the population ages, productivity falls. Therefore senior should get accustomed to seeing their standard of living go down.
Me: At the bottom of the report she linked to, the author(s) note "employment at older ages could prevent these losses to some degree." And guess what? Thanks to our wonderfully perfect free market economy, older people are working longer. Even more perfect, the number of old women working has increased more than ever before!
McArdle must be so relieved.
First Lady's Garden, Like Obamacare, Will Prove Hard to Uproot: Isn't it amusing that Michelle Obama is trying to preserve her legacy as First Lady by making the White House garden more permanent? Don't you think Social Security should be paid out of general revenue? Wouldn't it be swell if Republicans removed and replaced Obamacare?
Me: Sorry, princess. Your party is the party of Trump, and all the power fantasies in the world can't make that cold, hard, groin-grinding fact go away.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Megan And Peter Go To Dinner
a play in one act
Let's get an appetizer
What would you like, potato skins or chicken tenders?
I don't care, either one.
But darling, we have to pick one, you know.
Yeah, sure. Whatever you want.
But I want to know what you want.
I don't care.
I've found that most restaurants don't know how to make decent chicken tenders. If they don't actually use dirty oil, they have no idea how to hit exactly the right temperature to produce the perfect crispness. But this place has especially good potato skins, with gilded applewood smoked bacon and delicious sour cream made from Peruvian yak milk.
So you agree, we should get the potato skins.
What? I like chicken nuggets. They remind of coming home to an empty house after school and heating up a plate of chicken while the X-Box loaded.
I'm sure we could work this out to our mutual benefit. If we had potato skins, we both would benefit because we both would enjoy them. But if we had a few nasty little badly-fried lumps of chicken tenders, I would be very unhappy and neither one of us would enjoy them. So I am sure you can see that I must give in and have the potato skins, for the sake of your happiness.
Well, thanks, Megan. I can have chicken tenders any time.
That's right, dear. Now, what shall we have for dinner?
I want the Sole Meniere. You never make fish and I had fish all the time, growing up in Florida.
Ugh, you know I can't stand fish. Wouldn't it be selfish to have something we couldn't share with each other? Could you enjoy your meal huddled suspiciously over your food like a convict?
Think of the diminishing marginal returns: You'll be tired of your fish in fifteen bites and want me to finish the rest, but it will go to waste because I loathe fish. But if you have a ribeye, I will happy to finish your steak. If I were to order a ribeye you wouldn't be happy because you want fish.
Peter, don't you want to have a higher yield curve?
I want chicken tenders and Sole Meniere.
Are you sure you want the fish? What if I ordered the clam chowder and you ordered the potato skins? You'd have fish and I'd have potato skins.
What else are you going to have?
A timbale is a like quiche with no crust, covered with a Béchamel or mushroom sauce.
Béchamel, again? Didn't we have something in white sauce three times this week? Strike.
You don't have to have any if you don't want.
So far I don't want anything we decided to order. Can I have the Beef Wellington?
What about the pork tenderloin with ginger stuffing and coriander sauerkraut?
Double strike. How about the venison roulade?
Acceptable. What about braised Iberian pork cheeks with port wine and honey?
Oooh, yes! So we'll split the clam chowder, potato skins, pork cheeks, and venison roulade, Now, how about dessert?
[tentatively] I heard the flan is excellent here.
(shudders) Flan is slimy, Peter, and nobody can convince me otherwise. Let's have the chocolate lava cake and the macaroons.
I like the cake but the macaroons look like Necco wafers. How about the rustic apple tart with English cheddar cheese?
How about the tart a la mode?
Deal. Okay, let's get the waiter. Waiter!
Don't you love gains from trade, Peter?
Waiter, we're ready to order.
I'm sorry sir, the kitchen closed ten minutes ago.
Megan McArdle Shorters:
How To End The Death Penalty: Ending the death penalty would be a terrible mistake.
OK, We Agree: Obamacare Needs Some Fixes. Now What?: Health care reform will destroy Democratic election chances in
2012 2016 2020.
Testing Health-Care Providers' Threshold for Pain I read everything about all-payer I could get my hands on, made multiple phone calls, and still don't understand it. But here is why it won't work.
How To End The Death Penalty: Ending the death penalty would be a terrible mistake.
OK, We Agree: Obamacare Needs Some Fixes. Now What?: Health care reform will destroy Democratic election chances in
Testing Health-Care Providers' Threshold for Pain I read everything about all-payer I could get my hands on, made multiple phone calls, and still don't understand it. But here is why it won't work.
"And I said to Rae Jean, today it's gay marriage, tomorrow it's the rice paddies."
Megan McArdle has responded to all the criticisms of her foolish Trump tax post and I will get to that soon, but I was distracted by a shiny object. Thanks to a heads-up from a reader whose e-mail I can no longer find (thanks!), I listened to half of a bloggingheads episode that McArdle did with Robert Wright to discuss Trump's followers, and it was a revelation.
McArdle's theories on Trumpism are elaborate fantasies that explain why liberals force conservatives to be racist, which they, like, totally aren't. I only had time to listen to half of her hour-long podcast but by the end of that time two things became unusually clear: McArdle has read too much communist propaganda, and she is afraid her career will be damaged by her past anti-gay marriage stance if liberals gain more power. Everything else flows from that.
Wright and McArdle started their discussion of Trump and his supporters by saying they didn't expect Trump to get the nomination, and neither did anyone else. Wright says it makes you wonder if elites deserve respect, which Trump supporters already doubt. McArdle says the "elites were just constitutionally incapable of imagining that this could actually happen. And so, uh, one hesitates to call oneself elite, but, uh--"
Wright and McArdle agree that calling oneself an elite doesn't mean one thinks one is better than the non-elite, it's just a "sociological category."
"I would say I'm on the anti-elitist side of the spectrum," McArdle lied.
"In fact, it's the same thing, not thinking you are better than other people by virtue of being a quote unquote elite, is not being an elitist," Wright said.
McArdle said, "I claim I am anti-elitist, in some ways I have been more sympathetic to Trump supporters than I think a lot of people have. I am not sympathetic to Donald Trump himself, uh, I think he is kind of shockingly bad prepared for the job that he says he wants to do. Uh, he is often vulgar and offensive uh, he, whether he is racist himself I cannot peek into his soul, he certainly has made heroic efforts to at the very least to not alienate the racists who like him."
Isn't that just the way things go: Everyone in the world is able to determine that Trump is a racist, based on his upbringing, words, and actions over a long period of time. Megan McArdle, who is paid a great deal of money to comment on economics and politics, is incapable of making that assessment. She must be able to peer into a man's soul to see if he is racist. This is confusing, for later we shall see that McArdle is able to peer into her own soul and determine that most of Trump's followers are not racist.
Wright said that people say Trump's voters support him for different reasons, such as racism, ethic and class resentment, or economic anxiety.
McArdle agreed that "you don't get people for one reason" and it's obvious some hard-core racists don't like Trump, but the racists and anti-Semites are only around 10% of Trump's constituency. McArdle described Trump's supporters as not doing "super well" but not disadvantaged and are "concentrated in the $30-100,000 band," which is both wrong and an odd definition of not doing very well. But they fear they or their kids will lose their $100,000 jobs, so naturally they turn to Trump, who promises to deport day-labor construction workers, nannies, factory workers, housekeepers, mechanics and cooks.
Now that they had virtually written off racism in Trump's campaign, McArdle and Wright agreed that opposition to immigration is not necessarily racist.
McArdle said, "The way I would put this is, look, if you talked to someone about, say, some country in Africa that doesn't want to be swamped, uh, some small area that doesn't want to be swamped by say wealthy white tourists, right? Um, and it's not that the tourists [sic] are doing something kind of morally illegitimate, it's just that they want their community to be like their community."
Obviously Africans can't be racist, right? So if they don't want white people around, that's not racism. Likewise, if white people don't want black or brown people around, that's not racism either by the transitive laws of race relations. The Africans aren't morally bad people, they just don't want their community to be spoiled by the presence of people of other colors, which is what happens when other-color people enter your homogeneous community of Black people in Africa or white people in Alabama.
"I don't know that this place exists, but I am just saying as a sort of theoretical construct if that place said to me, "No, we want a community that's a certain way, that is our old way of life, we want to preserve that I wouldn't say that they're racists, I would say they have something affirmative that they want to preserve and influx of strangers does change it."
As we saw when McArdle discussed Brexit, she thinks an influx of other-color or other-culture people will destroy a community which has existed unchanged for an unknown number of years, or at least change it for the worse.
"My relatives came here in the ninetieth century and they absolutely changed America radically, if you look at how America's politics changed, its religious make-up, um, any number of things. Now I think a lot of those changes were for the good, I think some of them weren't, you look at what happened in, in nineteenth century cities thanks largely to my people, as, you know, we were... [laughs] I, I can see why the Protestants were upset."
Naturally she would side with the oppressor, and her decent Irish ancestors would spit on the lace curtain upstart. It's too bad we don't hear what the Irish immigrants did to the Protestant Americans. Deny them employment? Burn down their churches? Spit on them as low-lifes?
"Um, but, and, but the fact that I came here makes me feel even apart from the kind of benefits of having other foods, other cultures, etc., makes me feel sort of moral obligation to pay it forward, there are arguments to the other side, there are people who say look, my community is the way I want, it's not that I, like, hate those people or think they're inferior. I mean, but, they aren't like me, if they come here things will change. You're importing your future electorate, and that does change things, right? So I think that's that, it's legitimate, and I think that elites conspire--"
As we know, McArdle is almost always talking about herself when she talks about others. This will become very clear later. McArdle assumes immigrants will be Democrats and she wants to prevent people from immigrating to America to gain a better life for their children because it would harm the chances of the political party she says she doesn't belong to. She is not the only one of course; Republicans often say this.
"But I would say this, this, that there's a fourth group, um, that I think is and, and, I think there is a lot of overlap with the this group and the other three, is that they're tired of being shushed by elites, right, and you can frame that as, like, white resentment, and also you can frame it as actually elites are kind of obnoxious about these people and this is a natural reaction backwards."
McArdle and Wright said that political correctness didn't change how people felt about others and it was very tedious to keep up with changing terms, such as disabled versus differently labeled. McArdle was upset that she was being forced to use words chosen by others instead of the terms she wanted to use.
McArdle said, "If you're not [an elite] what it feels like is some nanny came along, they have more economic power than you, they have way more cultural power than you, they're ordering you around and they're telling you you're not allowed to say what you think."
Political correctness killed terms like the n-word, retarded, and all the slurs commonly used in the near past. The statists are controlling speech. McArdle, who repeatedly said she is not a Randian, said she was worried about the same sort of repression that Ayn Rand most feared.
"And, you know, there's, there's a real, there's a whole literature of communist countries and one of the really interesting things is uh, I'm, I'm starting to read The Three Body Problem, the science fiction novel about China, which is obviously kind of very cryptically getting at these issues. What's interesting to me is you read these things, you read Orwell, you read lots of them uh, people make the same observation which is that they think that the object is to make them lie, not for any affirmative [unintelligible] just a purpose in and of itself and that the ultimate purpose of that is to shame them, degrade them and make them less, right, and so they, what they feel is that they're being controlled and shamed by people who have appointed themselves as their cultural betters, that they have no power over the conversation, and that--"
Yeah, that's not revealing at all.
McArdle's ability to peer into the mind of Trump supporters is nothing short of incredible. She realizes that it's not racism, they're really afraid of Clinton imposing a Cultural Revolution, and it will all end up with her being sent to the sticks to take inventory in a dress shop. This paranoia is overwrought. Does she really think she's going to be shamed for using the wrong word for disabled?
Wright pointed out that conservative strategist have cultivated resentment to get votes and this election is partly is about a sense of contempt that people feel the elite have for them.
McArdle responded, "So, I-I think that that's true, but I also think that the contempt is absolutely there, and, I-I still remember the first time I encountered it, the first time I noticed it, so I underwent a conver-I grew up in a super liberal part of New York City and I went to college and I still remember a communications major talking about Rush Limbaugh, who I had never heard, I think I had listened to Rush Limbaugh twice in my life, he is not my cup of tea on any level. Um, but she [laughs] said she wanted him banned from the radio and I-I said, "Well, but you know, that's bad, that's censorship" and she said, [forcefully] "You don't understand these people listen to him and they believe what he says," and that thing has always stuck with me because it really is a kind of running theme in conversations that I hear very frequently in DC and in New York, is like "these people," "these people" are sheep and they are bad sheep and they need to be controlled and herded somewhere because they are terrible."
McArdle does not want people to tell her she is terrible for taking a stand against gay marriage and the idea that some liberal policies are more moral in fact is extremely grating to her.
"Um, um, and, so I think that yes, absolutely, do conservative strategists use that strategically, absolutely, just as Democratic strategists strategically heighten the perception of conservative racism in minority communities. There is racism in the conservative movement um, but it is railed on constantly because that is to their political advantage. Like, this is how politics works. This is how people are raised."
Both sides do it, but liberals did it first and forced conservatives to do it, whatever "it" is. Democrats inflame minorities communities by constantly railing on the dreadfulness of racism, which the minority communities might not even notice without all that political maneuvering. And this is not only politics, it's how minorities are raised. They're told by their parents all their lives that white people treat them badly, so naturally when they grow up they think badly of white people.
Remember, racism is rare. That's how we know it's all in Democrats' heads.
Wright said, " Trumpism has been described as white identity politics, do you think it is to some extent a reaction against the non-white identity politics that have become such a big part of coalition building on the Democratic side?"
McArdle agreed that Blacks created racism by seeing themselves as a political group.
"Uh, yeah. Look, I think first of all the more you have ethnic identity politics, there's [unintelligible] dimension along which stuff is played, if you define everyone else as a racial demographic category then the people the residual is also going to define itself as a racial demographic. If that is the major cleavage line in politics, then we'll have white identity politics. Um, so yes, I think that that is part of it. Um, I think that as America becomes majority minority, right, it-it no longer makes sense to say as a white person you're just kind of a default American and then everyone else is a member of a particularist ah, minority. Now you're a member of a minority too and minorities tend to have identification with each other, they cleave together along those lines, right, there are cultural similarities between white people, they have shared experiences that non-white people don't, um--.
What else could the United States do after the Civil Rights Act but become racist for the first time?
Wright pointed out that white people don't just hate minorities, "a lot of the people they hate are white. You can call it white working class identity politics, too."
McArdle said, "But identity politics is always strongest, is always strongest in the working class, right, that's a generally tr--." Wright didn't agree and McArdle dropped it. She said workers used to identify with their fellow working class members but "that broke down" for some reason. What else could they do but become White Nationalists and get Hitler tattoos?
McArdle says she's concerned about "punitive norms." People feel threatened about having different options. People are so afraid of being punished by the liberal cultural hegemony that reject the idea of violating norms altogether. But Trump violates all norms, McArdle said, and the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater.
She said Trumpism is a huge reaction against all the social justice stuff, that people used to be able to have a different opinions but now you'll be called racist. When there are lots of punitive norms that punish people for different opinions such as gay marriage, "people's reactions are no, I don't want that, and what starts to happen is that any violation of norms looks okay. So they like Trump for violating norms but Trump smashes all of them so people are so sick of it. They're rejecting the entire system, instead of the tenuous part."
Wait, how did gay marriage sneak in there? I thought we were talking about racism as a motivating factor for Trump voters.
"And I think that's what we're seeing here, is that people are so sick of the elite cultural control over them and I don't think this is all of it but this is a strand of his support, that that the fact that he's vulgar, the fact that he is not bound by any kind of decent norms of propriety. That's a big part of his appeal and the problem with that, and I think, but on the flip side, the problem with having so many punitive norms, of having norms not just be about we're going to have an argument, but no you can't say that and if you keep saying that, I'm going to see if I can destroy your livelihood, or get you get kicked out of school. Right?"
And there you go.
Megan McArdle is supporting-not-supporting Donald Trump's Republican party because she is afraid that she will suffer financially for being publicly against gay marriage. She can't give that reason for supporting the rehabilitation of the Party of Trump, but there it is. So she works her way backwards, inventing pseudo-intellectual reasons for covering her heteronormative hide.
She said Trump's following is a backlash against speech codes, and she has no problem with word bans-her mother slapped her when she was four for using the n-word after hearing a black friend use it, which is fine with her.
The problem, McArdle said, is that we're going beyond a word ban to an idea ban. "What happened with Brendan Eich and gay marriage is a good example [of an idea ban], right, that's not a word ban, he was--that is a ban for believing in heterosexual marriage and I can disagree with that but--the point is that--"
McArdle doesn't disagree with that. She said that gay marriage might harm heterosexual marriage, so it was better to forbid gays from marrying. She also slickly tries to minimize anti-gay legislation that has been run through the courts for years to restrict gay rights and calls anti-gay beliefs a belief in "heterosexual marriage," a miserable dodge. Wright pointed out that in the future, people might look back on anti-gay marriage advocates the way we now look back on anti-miscegenation advocates.
McArdle protested that Brendan Eich's action was private, his workplace not anti-gay, his donation was leaked by "someone at the tax office," and she "can't imagine an organization advocating against interracial marriage."
Wright said that that's his point, so McArdle fished up another segregation-era argument. "You need to give people space to change their minds. If you go from ten years-wait-but there's also this--is that-"
McArdle said she disagrees with comparing racial inter-marriage with gay marriage, that race is different from everything else, including gay rights. What followed was a long explanation in which she tried desperately to deny that racial bigotry was anything like sexual bigotry, so Megan McArdle wouldn't look bad to prospective employers.
"And I think the legacy of slavery in the United States is unique, it is the original sin of our republic, uh, it justified things, so for example, I think states should have a right to succeed, if Hawaii who wants to leave right now they should be free to, on the other hand, I also think that seceding over slavery is not okay. And I kind of square this circle by saying, you have the right to secede, that the South should have been allowed to secede and we should have invaded to end slavery."
Wright laughed. He will not be the last. She thinks parts of the nation should be able to dissolve it, never mind that whole war over secession to maintain slavery. But after we let the South secede, we should have invaded the now-foreign country to force them to give up slavery, which we will somehow enforce. She really must think that everything she says is wise, otherwise she would have learned to curb her musings when being recorded.
"But at any rate, the point is we did a bunch of things, we've always, and for the past 150 years we have taken legal steps that are kind of not justifiable on principle-on legal principle I mean, there are totally justifiable on the principle of extirpating this terrible wrong we did to millions of human beings. Um, I feel similarly about affirmative action, uh, is that you know what, this thing happened we have to undo it, it's not kind of fair, and I don't care."
Affirmative action is unfair to whites.
"Um, and now you can, we can have practical arguments about affirmative action but as a principle matter, and I feel that way about just a large number of things, Brown v Board of Education was not necessarily a good but as a woman, right, I don't think that I deserve that, that, saying things about women is on the same par as saying things about Blacks. It's a different thing, I don't think, I don't think it's as bad. Uh, I think [unintelligible] comments that are okay to make about women that I don't think aren't okay to make about Black citizens. But-but that too has been applied to women and it's not a pace of change thing, these changes have been happening for 50 years."
School desegregation was not necessarily a good thing, my friends. McArdle might want to worry less about her anti-gay stance and more about her views on other races (and their IQs).
After talking about idea bans, we are now back to word bans. Insulting Blacks is worse than insulting women and gays, although we are not talking about insults, we are talking about systematic exploitation, repression, violence, and denial of civil and economic rights. But for McArdle, it's about words, specifically the words she used to explain why she was anti-gay rights.
"But it is now dangerous to believe things in a way it wasn't 50 years ago, uh, that it wasn't 20 years ago. So if you think about, like, the gay marriage case, right, for me, if you, if you, if someone had told you ten years ago gay marriage is about it-it part of having gay marriage be legal is obviously people that disagree with gay marriage would be legally required to bake a wedding cake for that wedding. I don't know about you, but I would have been, like, "That is some bs propaganda, that is never going to happen, then you are just making crap up so you can like to make a stupid argument against gay marriage. And then it happened, right, things have changed so fast we not only say, well, we've changed our minds, but holding a position I held five years ago is now appalling and I will pummel you for it."
At this extremely interesting half-way mark I had to abandon the conversation.
McArdle felt protected by the covert racism and sexism of the right, just as she felt free to giggle about violence against peaceful protesters during our disastrous invasion of Iraq. She now feels less protected in a gay-positive Clinton Nation.
McArdle is Trump-curious because if the liberals win and dominate the Supreme Court, she is afraid she'll lose money. People might fire or refuse to hire someone with a history of being antagonistic to gay marriage, and despite her best efforts at erasing her past, her old posts can still be found. Everything she says is a rationalization for her desperate attempts to preserve her elite status and freely-given, comfortable, consequence-free "opinions" about race and sexuality.
ADDED: It's not too surprising that McArdle has sympathy for Trump voters. Both she and Trump (wrongly) think Democrats are letting in illegal aliens to gain more voters.
Donald Trump on illegal immigration this morning: “They are letting people pour into this country so they can go and vote." via @reidepstein— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) October 7, 2016
SECOND ADDITION: McArdle is worried about the liberal culture thought police while the anti-gay organizations are the ones firing people for their ideas on gay marriage.
One of the largest evangelical organizations on college campuses nationwide has told its 1,300 staff members they will be fired if they personally support gay marriage or otherwise disagree with its newly detailed positions on sexuality starting on Nov. 11.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
This is Rumplestilskin. He, like the contents of these recaps, is short and evil.
Maybe Crime's Not Rising, But If Voters Think It Is....
McArdle fact-checks Donald Trump and determines crime is not rising. Then she throws it all in the crapper.
Whatever the underlying reality, people are more concerned about crime than they were a few years back, and as politicians discovered in the 1960s, the public is very sensitive to any perceived increase in public disorder. I suspect that those perceptions have more to do with the riots that have filled our television screens in the last two years than they do with a significant increase in the average American's personal danger of being victimized. But whatever the cause, politicians will have to contend with the effects.
(Corrects when the crime statistics were released in first paragraph.)I left the correction in because it amuses me.
"Whatever the underlying reality" is another keeper. The journalist corrects the record (all the cool kids are doing it) but then ignores reality to blame Black outrage over indiscriminate murder. Of course she believed all the racist propaganda shoved down her throat with a boot, but they're not depraved, they're just culturally deprived.
Affordable Housing Is Easy. In Theory.
You poor people sure are shit out of luck.
The Depression Was Great For The American Kitchen
This one was precious.
I’ve always wanted to read a good account of how American food was transformed by those years, so I was pretty excited when a reader alerted me to "A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression," by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe.
As someone who has herself published a book, I know that there is no more tedious and dispiriting review than “The author wrote the book they wrote, rather than this completely different book I’d have been much more interested in.” So I’m not going to review the book, other than to say that they have discerned their task pretty narrowly, making it mostly into an account of the inadequacy of food relief efforts during the Depression.Hahaha! "I hate people who do this thing that I am about to do." McArdle really hates to read about capitalism's victims.
Of course McArdle goes on to rhapsodize about kitchen innovation and the wonders of new refrigerators (for those who could afford refrigerators) and frozen food (for those who could afford food).
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
I've been writing about Megan McArdle for almost 10 years now. It's been a hard slog at times; McArdle has few ideas and it's very difficult to come up with new snark the 259th time I write about McArdle's healthcare lies. But incredulity keeps me coming back. How can she get away with lying so often about so much? The answer is self-evident: she's not paid to tell the truth, her readers don't want the truth, and McArdle wouldn't know the truth if it pulled up next to her in an Uber cab. But as many times as I tell myself that the reason is obvious, I still am flabbergasted every time.
One of the bennies of our truth-optional society is that Megan McArdle can write a long post criticizing Clinton for lying and nobody (nobody that counts) will point out her rampant hypocrisy. Isn't that nice for her? Billionaires pay her to be a hypocrite and liar AND she gets paid to scold other people for lying! Gross income inequality sure is great!
I checked in on the morning news on Sunday to find Fox News reporting that Hillary Clinton had been rushed away from the 9/11 memorial she was attending, and had appeared to faint as the Secret Service herded her into a waiting van. Her press pool was prevented from following. What followed was perhaps the most amazing spin cycle of my media career, unfolding in 140-character, exclamation-point-ridden indignation modules.
First the veracity of Fox was questioned, and its reporting compared to some of the conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health that have been circulating on the internet. Then video appeared, showing exactly what Fox’s source had said: she’s leaning on a concrete post for support, tries to get into the van, and then her knees buckle and she has to basically be lifted by the people around her. The Clinton campaign said that the candidate had “overheated” and was resting comfortably at her daughter’s apartment.Take that, liberals! Fox wasn't lying, for once! Of course they tried to exaggerate Clinton's illness into anything that would prevent her from winning and make Trump president as well, but we aren't supposed to care about that.
Liberal New Yorkers rushed to paint the city as a sort of Death Valley of the East, its streets littered with the fallen bodies of those who had dared to step outside for more than a few minutes. Eventually someone on Team Clinton seemed to realize that the “overheated” story was making her sound like a frail old lady and we got a new story: Clinton had pneumonia.I was on Twitter at that time as well. Everyone said it was hot outside. Not satisfied with exaggeration, McArdle moves quickly to speculation. The Clinton team must have panicked and "we got" a new story!
Now the spin began rotating fast enough to power a high-speed monorail.I was curious enough to look this up, and I still have no idea what she's talking about. If she is referring to Maglev trains, apparently there is no spinning involved, just magnetic repulsion and a lot of stabilization.
There was no story here except the one about a brave politician who had disregarded personal sickness to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.Belonging to the party of Trump is killing her elitist soul.
Clinton had gone to work sick because “that’s what women do.”McArdle tweeted that she and lots of people worked when sick. So there!
Anyone still talking about her health after this remarkable display of physical stamina was a scurrilous partisan and a bad journalist.Poor, poor, victimized conservatives are just trying to elect a narcissist authoritarian and the mean Democrats are making fun of them!
UCLA sociologist Gabriel Rossman had the tweet that I think best captured the flavor of the exercise: “Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un shakes the world with the spirit of Juche by collapsing at a military parade.”Yes, mindless support for a leader belongs to conservatives and liberals better remember that.
To state the obvious: Obviously Hillary Clinton’s health matters, and the public has a right to know whether she has the physical stamina to be president. Obviously Sunday's events are a real story, not only because of what happened, but because the Clinton team lied about it. If it didn’t matter, why did they lie, and hide it from her press pool?That's a great question. Why did Megan McArdle lie about health care statistics? What did she get out of it? Money? Perks? Jobs? The thanks of a grateful Koch brother?
Perhaps less obvious, but also true: this whole cycle was straight out of the playbook that worked for Bill Clinton for many years. Hide, deny, lie, and when that lie breaks down, spin another while surrogates and supporters attack. That playbook lost its mojo on Jan. 19, 1998, when the Drudge Report broke the story of Monica Lewinsky's presidential trysts. It has been steadily getting less effective since that day. Unfortunately, the only person who doesn’t seem to realize that is Hillary Clinton.Because McArdle is dishonest, she pretends that Clinton is secretive out of stupidity, instead of necessity. Clinton has been the target of the wingnut welfare system for most of her adult life and she has learned to be excessively cautious.
I will hardly be the first to observe that all of us, and especially famous people, now live in a digital panopticon, where at any moment our actions may be observed, videotaped, and uploaded to the internet. Nor that the web has democratized publishing, creating what law professor Glenn Reynolds has dubbed “an Army of Davids” willing and able to attack the powerful.That same "army" mocked Clinton for pointing out it exists.
Nor that the amazing proliferation of data and records on the web has given those Davids an array of weapons far more powerful than a slingshot. Why has the news not yet reached Hillary Clinton?
If you collapse in public, and you are famous, the odds that this event has not been captured on someone’s cell phone are starting to approach zero. And the odds that this video will be seen by virtually every American are starting to approach 100 percent because there are no longer any gatekeepers to bully. Trying to control stories like the old Clinton spin machine did is like trying to fight World War II with tactical maneuvers that worked for Caesar’s legions.Politicians control spin! News at 11!
Nor is this the first time that Clinton has had this problem. She tried to keep her e-mails secret by building a private server that was eventually going to come to light.So did everyone else, evidently.
When it was discovered, her early stories about it were nonsensical to anyone who knew anything about technology.That is, people who are not McArdle.
They were bolstered by easily checkable statements that were at best half-truths and which were almost immediately exposed.You know who else makes easily checkable statements that are at best half-truths and which are almost immediately exposed?
When she finally gave a press conference, she played dumb and evasive as the public’s trust in her plummeted. She then swung to a series of new statements which were progressively shown to be untrue.
This drip-drip-drip of revelations had been worse for her than if she’d been more forthcoming in the first place, because it turned a bad one-day story into a months-long Technicolor saga.McArdle is lying by implication, pretending that the Wingnut Wurlitzer doesn't exist.
This problem could have been avoided if she had simply recognized that the old world was gone, and that the new one offered no safe hiding places. Just as she could have short-circuited Sunday's disaster by announcing, well before the ceremony, “Secretary Clinton has walking pneumonia, but it’s under control and she feels very strongly that she needs to be there to honor the victims of September 11.”The right would have immediately called for her resignation. Which is exactly what happened.
If Gabriel Rossman perfectly summed up the spin cycle yesterday, David Axelrod perfectly summed up the problem beneath it: “Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What's the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?”
Unfortunately, there’s now a possibility that even if such a cure is found, for Hillary Clinton, it will come too late.Have I mentioned lately that Megan McArdle is a lying liar?
Friday, September 9, 2016
Matthew Yglesias at work.
Because Matthew Yglesias is a soulless, calculating, automaton and fake journalist hack, he wrote a post arguing for less government transparency. Because Megan McArdle is a soulless, calculating automaton and fake journalist hack, she wrote a post complaining that if the government gets to avoid transparency, so should businesses.
The money shot:
Moreover, customers also have a voice in how businesses run, because they can move to a competitor if they don’t like your performance. Arguably, this gives them more control over businesses they deal with than over their elected officials, which is why you get better customer service from your cell phone company than from your local purveyor of building codes. Why, then, should I have a right to know not only what options Goldman Sachs sold me, but what they thought of them, if similar government deliberations are shielded from view?
We want to see the internal deliberations of Goldman Sachs because that protects us against fraud. But consider how you’d feel about a presidential administration that sold its new health-care overhaul by saying, “If you like your plan you can keep it,” and then later discovered that this was untrue. Then consider how you’d feel if its leaders knew that this promise was false and made it anyway. Even a well-run administration will make honest mistakes. But an administration that lies about one policy proposal will probably lie about them all, and you’ll want to adjust your faith in its promises accordingly. Which means you have a stake in knowing, not just what happened, but the internal process that led to that promise.Goldman, Sachs sold bad mortgages and then bet against them. McArdle doesn't want you to know that second part. Of course this lucrative deceit has nothing to do with Obama's predictions for Obamacare, all of which suffered from constant Republican undermining and the need to get the approval of the medical field and drug companies.
This is what passes for clever in McArdle's eyes.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Andrew Johnston at The Literary Dissection Tray is winding up his dissection of David Brooks. I especially liked this part:
Brooks probably does wish he was a better man, maybe even one of those Great Men that are so central to his paleoconservative worldview. The problem is that the transformation that he himself describes demands way too much of him. He preaches the need for a worthwhile vocation even as he clings to a job he hates for the easy paycheck. He instructs others to ignore the external joys of prestige even as he gladly accepts the accolades showered upon him by his peers. He demands that others confront their wretched and sinful nature even as he denies ever doing anything wrong. He speaks of the virtue of the private life even as he grants himself the privilege to judge the private lives of the poor from afar. He wants everyone else to sacrifice while he stays the same.
And really, that describes Brooks most of all. He walked down the road to character, met himself eight times and found the promised land which was right back where he started. Would that we could all get paid for such things.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
After everyone else had already done the hard work for her and after she had been conspicuously silent, Megan McArdle finally came up with a post on Mylan and the EpiPen. It took a threat from Hillary Clinton to get her to respond; she was uninterested in discussing Mylan until it looked like the government might actually do something about drug company price gouging. Hurry, McArdle! A corporation needs protection!
McArdle begins her little plea by telling her readers that if they don't know about EpiPen they must have been living under a bushel. (Or they must read her column.) McArdle, however, knows everything and now that someone else has reported, digested, and printed the information, she is here to tell you all about it.
McArdle flatly states that greed made Mylan raise prices. Actually, a person raised prices, a person who should be unable to go out in public without hearing hisses and boos. McArdle usually adores talking about CEOs and their brilliant business skills but for some unknown reason she does not discuss Heather Bresch herself. McArdle explains that the reason Mylan raised prices was the lack of competition, and because the FDA made it too difficult for competitors to get to market.
These artificial barriers to entry are why we keep seeing huge price spikes for various drugs. Now, it’s worth noting that these spikes don’t necessarily last very long. With the exception of some new, expensive and very valuable drugs, such as Opdivo for cancer or Sovaldi for Hepatitis C -- drugs for which there isn't a good alternative -- competition eventually becomes a problem for price-hiking drugmakers. Patients and doctors will eventually switch to another product if the price gets too high, and I’m sure that in the wake of all these news stories, there are now a lot more doctors asking patients whether they want an EpiPen or an Adrenaclick. Eventually, that competition should push the price down even if the government doesn’t do anything.This paragraph is stuffed with lies and deception but it would take about two hours to research and correct every error and lie, and I have work to do. Unlike McArdle, I can't have someone else do the preliminary work for me while I drink, shop, and google my name looking for compliments, and then write up a blindly pro-free market tissue of lies and hit print.
McArdle's post(s) on Sovaldi were as filled with deception as all her other posts. The price of Sovaldi went down only after the government investigated them and mandated discounts. The drug company solution for astronomical prices is to hand out coupons, but most people would rather use coupons for things like soda and shampoo, not life-saving drugs.
But now that we know greed will check itself, what about Clinton's plan? McArdle says we should do what Alex Tabarrok tells us to do, having no thoughts of her own. McArdle also repeats her lies about drug innovation depending on the high cost of drugs in the US, because being a hack means never having to say you're a liar. Tabarrok says that we can solve these problems with FDA reciprocity with Europe. Any drugs approved there will also be approved here, and the government can temporarily buy European drugs when the price in the US to high.
These solutions would do nothing to solve the problem of greedy drug manufacturers, they would only make the greed more palatable for voters/customers. The government should always negotiate when buying drugs, but the pharmaceutical lobby is too powerful. It's odd that McArdle would ignore their lobby, as she was so very concerned with prison guard lobbies. But eradicating the problem would cut profits, so what is a Free Market Fairy to do?
As always with McArdle, the only thing that counts is eradicating regulation.
Beyond that, we should have a good long think about what the FDA does. A lot of the reason that it can be so hard to get new drugs and devices approved is that the FDA too often wants those drugs and devices to be perfect -- at least as good as anything already on the market and preferably better. And it does not really consider factors such as “It’s cheaper,” or “It will keep the other companies honest” when passing judgment.
We should learn a lesson from this episode. But the lesson is not, “We need more government and less market.” The lesson is, “We need more market -- which means we need better government.”It seems that the free market might not be entirely free after all, therefore we should continue to regulate only enough to let CEOs kill the poor and rake in billions without interference.