Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deep Thinkers

It's not easy being a shill for the rich. You have to constantly come up with new ways of telling everyone that high levels of inequality are just fine-n-dandy while the facts are telling everyone otherwis, the little tramps. Fortunately for Megan McArdle, she has people like David Brooks to do her thinking for her. Since he has a New York Times column, obviously the key to literary and punditary success is copying everything Brooks says and does. When he finally kicks the bucket the Times will naturally offer his job to her since the only things that will have to be changed are the by-line and photo.

(Note: we are saying the facts are little tramps, not McArdle. As we all know she couldn't possibly be a whore who would sell out her fellow countrymen for a high-priced cocktail and taxi fare because whores are poor and McArdle is not.)

But we digress. Now that Brooks has led the way, McArdle tells us that the Blue Staters are fooling themselves when they think income inequality is a big problem, for Blue inequality is just fine and proper while Red inequality is the real problem.

The Great Work Divide
Business Nov 22 2011, 11:01 AM ET 54
Reihan Salam has an interesting post on income inequality in which he notes that executives of days past used to consume a lot more of their "income inequality" in the form of corporate perks. Salam attributes this to the fact that there was more within-firm skill inequality; I'd chalk it up more to the tax code, which in 1986 was changed in various ways that made it much more attractive to pay your employees in salary, and much less attractive to pay them in the form of lavish expense accounts and magnificent private office space. The notion of an executive washroom with its own special key now seems mostly ludicrous, but it was an actual thing--and I'm not sure that giving executives special bathrooms is actually noticeably less corrosive to social cohesion and personal happiness than giving them fatter pay packets.
We are supposed to believe that executives no longer have perks, after McArdle defended tax breaks for executive jets. She lies like she breathes--badly.


This particular passage struck a nerve with me:

In a sense, the sorting mechanism at firms like Apple happens before you join the firm: its employees are homogeneously high-skilled, now that manufacturing, etc., has been off-shored. So while a firm like Pepsi might have had a range of employees at different skill levels, that is somewhat less true of the iconic technology firms of our own era.
It suddenly occurred to me that this is a standard feature of the work lives of blue state elites: almost all of their contact is with people just like them. Same education, usually the same few states of origin, and a pretty uniformly shared set of values about what work is for and how it should be done.
McArdle took Brooks' ball and ran with it. It's not that income inequality is high, it's just that education inequality is high. And we all know that education inequality is due to laziness and immorality. Just stay in school, don't have kids, work hard, and you too will become a corporate CEO!

These people tend to vote Democratic. Small-business owners, who work in much more diverse environments, tend to vote Republican. I'm not going to speculate on why this might be so--but I suspect that it matters.
All liberals are elites who live in blue states, work with people educated at elite institutions, and have elite jobs. They don't run businesses and aren't poor or Black or Hispanic or old or female. They are elites, except when they are not. Therefore any liberal who is concerned about income inequality is just being jealous of his more successful elite bretheren.

Where would we be without Megan McArdle to think for us, and David Brooks to think for Megan McArdle?

13 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Hahaha.

McArdle, late to a party that's already been pooped.

Here's Bobo's comeuppance, from Krugthulhu via Driftglass.
~

Clever Pseudonym said...

Megan's lack of self-awareness is almost becoming charming. There's something very cute and amusing to me, reading McArdle opine about work ethics, as she's openly admitted she slept walked through college and now gets paid to sit at a computer and pull blog posts out of her ass. She's as lazy as can be. Hell, she can't even be bothered to do non-sweat inducing research because it's all "AFAIK."

fish said...

It suddenly occurred to me that this is a standard feature of the work lives of blue state elites: almost all of their contact is with people just like them.

Because Apple doesn't clean the bathrooms, or have a cafeteria, or lights that need changing, or grounds that need tending. It is a remarkably self sufficient place. Or our Megan doesn't actually notice the people that make her world run smoothly. Not sure which is right.

KWillow said...

...suddenly occurred to me that this is a standard feature of the work lives of blue state elites: almost all of their contact is with people just like them...

"Suddenly occurred"? When? In the shower or when taking a dump?

Are all those Liberal Teachers only associating with Those Like Them? or don't the kids they work with and teach, and the kid's parents count?

...These people tend to vote Democratic. Small-business owners, who work in much more diverse environments, tend to vote Republican. I'm not going to speculate on why this might be so--but I suspect that it matters...

Why not speculate if it matters? Is it that many Small business owners "employ" the very poorest, most ignorant people they can find (illegal immigrants) and squeeze every extra minute, every extra job out of them they can, while paying as little as possible?

I've worked for a few Small Business Owners: one fast-food, one a Janitorial Service, one a Printer. What they had in common is ALL their employees were very poor, and all worked "part time" so the Small Business Owner didn't have to give them a Lunch Break or 15-minute am/pm break, or sick leave or Federal Holiday Pay.

I suppose there are nice, generous SB Owners out there, but I never met one.

KWillow said...

...suddenly occurred to me that this is a standard feature of the work lives of blue state elites: almost all of their contact is with people just like them...

"Suddenly occurred"? When? In the shower or when taking a dump?

Are all those Liberal Teachers only associating with Those Like Them? or don't the kids they work with and teach, and the kid's parents count?

...These people tend to vote Democratic. Small-business owners, who work in much more diverse environments, tend to vote Republican. I'm not going to speculate on why this might be so--but I suspect that it matters...

Why not speculate if it matters? Is it that many Small business owners "employ" the very poorest, most ignorant people they can find (illegal immigrants) and squeeze every extra minute, every extra job out of them they can, while paying as little as possible?

I've worked for a few Small Business Owners: one fast-food, one a Janitorial Service, one a Printer. What they had in common is ALL their employees were very poor, and all worked "part time" so the Small Business Owner didn't have to give them a Lunch Break or 15-minute am/pm break, or sick leave or Federal Holiday Pay.

I suppose there are nice, generous SB Owners out there, but I never met one.

Clever Pseudonym said...

But you have to remember that Megan has friends of all stripes, at least imaginary ones to serve when she needs the argument-by-personal-anecdote to back her up.

It's still funny to see her accusing other people of being insular, though. She's probably the most sheltered, clueless wannabe journalist I can think of.

KWillow said...

I really suspect she's Jonah Goldber's sister. The similarities in writing and philosophy are so close. Different mothers maybe.

Dillon said...

She's as lazy as can be.

What? Megan works 60 to 80 hours a week, dontchaknow.

: )

Batocchio said...

Uhh... Republicans work in more diverse environments?!? I guess it's too bad I don't live in terribly diverse rural Alabama, because out here in Los Angeles, it's wall-to-wall highly-educated white people. (Just like most cities in the country - barely a minority in sight! Why, you have to go down to the local Republican chapter to find a Latino, a gay man or someone without a doctorate!)

I know conservatives have been playing this game for a long time: "the rich aren't elitists oppressing you - it's those snooty educated liberals!" It's still ridiculous, especially because another conservatives simultaneously attack minorities for voting Democratic. I guess they think the Democratic National Convention is segregated ala Jim Crow, and that no one actually talks to each other. Maybe if liberals weren't so horribly underrepresented in the teaching profession at every single level they'd have a better sense of Real 'Murika.

That McMegan, she sure does have the common touch.

NĂ¡mo Mandos said...

Where would we be without Megan McArdle to think for us, and David Brooks to think for Megan McArdle?

Another centipede.

Rugosa said...

". . . Apple . . . is a remarkably self sufficient place. Or our Megan doesn't actually notice the people that make her world run smoothly. Not sure which is right."

I vote for number 2. Reminds me of a PBS "reality" show about life in Edwardian England. On this show, people volunteered to act the parts of the wealthy family and the servants. If a maid was cleaning, say, a hallway or stairway and the master passed by, she was required to stand still and silent until he passed, so he and his beautiful mind wouldn't be disturbed by the sight of sweeping or dusting.

Taryn Hart said...

I really loved Dean Baker's response to David Brooks:

David Brooks Complains That He Can't Get Access to Inequality Data

"Actually he didn't complain about his lack of access to data, but he probably should have given the column he wrote today."

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/david-brooks-complains-that-he-cant-get-access-to-inequality-data

Anonymous said...

I find McArdle and Brooks both extremely tedious with their wishy-washy brand of East Coast snobby "conservatism." Of course, I find all of the other NYT/Atlantic pundits tedious as well. But it's particularly hilarious to hear these two speak of people whose contact is only "with people just like them" as if the phrase doesn't apply to themselves and their buddies at their respective publications.