Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Shill vs. Shill

It's Shill for the Rich versus Shill for the Rich at The Atlantic today. Megan McArdle attacks liberals for "breathlessly celebrating Wal-Mart's "capitulation" on national health" and suspiciously intelligent and forceful commenters attack her in return. Here's one:

This reads like a comment on a blog entry. The context has to be sought out--you don't really include it. Why not begin your article with the substance of the story you're referencing? If you really think that "liberal" commentators have missed the point, you've hardly done your theory justice. You begin by summarizing your 3 examples' points, then you briefly mention several opposing points of view. Cryptically, you label the final one "on the other side..." as if it were in opposition to your previous point, which it is not.
I find this all somewhat interesting, but if you can't bother to write a complete story, I can't be bothered to follow your byline in the future. Reporting and analysis is difficult. That must be why so few of you are good at it.
McArdle's sorrowful announcement that business might have bad motives at times is a welcome break from her usual routine, but is old news to the rest of us. When you check her links, the "breathlessly celebrating liberals" turn out to be a little less than breathless. Or celebrating.

Strange as it sounds, a key pro-reform player in the healthcare battle is...Wal-Mart. America's largest employer -- known heretofore as destroyer of small business, crusher of unions, denier of decent benefits and force for global wage reduction -- signed on yesterday to the concept of an employer mandate for healthcare.

Yesterday, Wal-Mart, along with SEIU and the Center for American Progress released a letter articulating shared principles for health reform. And it went a ways toward ending my skepticism. I figured whatever SEIU and Wal-Mart produced would be a bland set of principles offered at a safe and uncontroversial moment. This is the opposite.

The throws its weight behind two primary policies. The first is the so-called "employer mandate." This is, essentially, a tax on employers that don't provide health care. It both helps pay for health care and helps get more people covered. It's a top priority for Organized Labor. The business community, however, loathes it and has spent the past year organizing aggressively against it.

Yes, Wal-Mart--the company famous for finding new and creative ways to squeeze
employee health benefits--has today endorsed, in principle, an employer mandate.
It did so in a letter issued jointly with the Center for American Progress and Service Employees International Union (SEIU):[snipped quote]
It's a broad statement and, as always, the meaning of the commitment depends a great deal upon the details. But this is not a small thing. By endorsing the idea of a
employer mandate, Wal-Mart has made the idea more difficult to demonize. It has
also--and I can't stress this enough--given some political cover to members of
Congress who might be sympathetic to the idea of employer mandate but hesitate
to take a vote that might be perceived as anti-business.
My goodness, that sure is a lot of breathless celebrating. You can just hear the jubilant triumphalism.

I sometimes think McArdle writes her blog not just for money and social advancement but also to continue her favorite practice of catty insults towards her enemies that so enlivened her high school days. Let's take a peek into Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine and visit a few of her attacks on liberals.

I see a lot of liberal blogs crowing that Obama's really taking it to the hedge funds who are holding out on the Chrysler bankruptcy. Hedge fund managers, you see, have a civic duty to lose large amounts of other peoples' money in order to ensure that the UAW makes as few sacrifices as possible in a bankruptcy.

I don't understand why these articles keep getting written. Moreover, I don't understand why they can keep getting written. Did progressives really think they'd woken up in Sweden on November 5th?

Liberals got made [sic] when this question was asked about them four years ago. But
I'll admit it--in my opinion, the conservatarian coalition is basically out of ammo.

Several liberal blogs are chortling over this statement I made early in the year:
"Will the economy decline in 2008? Paul Krugman is voting for doom. It's worth keeping in mind, however, that Paul Krugman has predicted eight of the last none recessions under the Bush administration."
I think it's obvious we're in a slowdown, and a recession seems likely-ish, but Britain's skirted recession for over a decade now, so I can't be too fatalistic. This is obviously hilarious--if you have an incredibly shaky understanding of statistics, and also, no knowledge of decision science.

I read liberal blogs defending Spitzer and spinning conspiracy theories about his downfall, and all I can think is "Really? You really want to hitch your wagon to this fallen star?" Why on earth?

What is with the liberal economists suddenly discovering, in wide-eyed shock, that economists who are attached to political campaigns spin things to favor their candidates?...Welcome to politics. I am skeptical that Brad De Long and Paul Krugman have never noticed the phenomenon before.
How many people who seem to pushing policy are merely stuck in adolescence, endlessly replaying a nightmare scenario of sucking up to petty powers and pushing down the "interlopers"?


Downpuppy said...

I'm afraid I don't get your title.

Megan's post was one nasty big mess. Snide & sloppy is always a foul brew, even though it is her trademark.

Susan of Texas said...

I think that Wal-Mart hired some people to astroturf. I have no idea if that's true, but it would be surprising if they didn't. I guess I should have said that, huh?

Also, Spy vs. Spy.

Downpuppy said...

Yeah, you sort of abandonded the lede before 'splaining it, missie.

I looked at a Mad for the first time in about 20 years a few months ago. Spy Vs Spy had turned into Spy vs Spy Vs Spy - they'd added a female. I think her name was Poochie.

Kathy said...

Megan's commenters' are an excellent example of really stupid people who've received a good education. Those taking her "side", if one can call tossing snide and erroneous spitballs taking a side, are just as uninformed and malicious as she.

Medicaid & Medicare insolvent? What the Hell does that mean. Social Security broke? NO it is NOT. Listing various Gov't programs and claiming they are "broken" or out of money. Pish AND tosh!

Bunch of Morans.

blivet said...

Downpuppy, I recall the third Spy making occasional appearances in Mad back in the 1960s.