Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Doing Unto Others

Forbes published an op-ed that tries to do a McArdle on Elizabeth Warren. The commenters sneer at the "lame picking" on Warren and say they want her anyway. One says:

Figures, some bank lackies are coming out of the woodwork to attempt to smear Warren's flawless reputation.

Nice try.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the 'Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual' ad that's in the top right hand corner.

Heh. Suspicion of banking motives, critique of the post on its (weak) merits, and demands for leaders who will help the middle class, not try to screw them over. It's a mighty nice change after reading far, far too many McArdle comments.

Speaking of which, McArdle tells us that your pension, stocks and oh-by-the-way-Social-Security-and-Medicare are all gone. Better save instead. The post is full of omissions and carefully shaded truths, as usual, and has deeply dishonest and hurtful aims, as usual. And McArdle will fail, as usual. There is a very, very big difference from peddling bullshit that will save people money and peddling bullshit that will cost people money. Every one of us over 40 has listened to our parents describe their medical procedures, and felt the flicker of fear that comes from knowing that we could never afford to keep our ill parents alive without government help. That's why the fake Terry Schiavo hysteria failed and that's why ending Social Security will fail, barring some new disaster heaped on us by our superior elites, like invading Iran.

Of course, McArdle tells us to save and leave the poor, put-upon rich people's money alone after buying a house, an extravagant wedding, various and assorted consumer goods, and flying down to Florida to buy a cute little hipster car. What does she care--she has wingnut welfare, an endless fountain of beneficence. So what if the younger generations go broke trying to pay for their old parents' medical care? Sleazy half-true articles on eliminating Social Security puts money in her pocket and it won't affect her or her parents anyway. Everybody else doesn't count--this is Megan McArdle's world and we just live in it. Anybody else is a nameless bit player or extra who exists only to support the real star of the show.

The funny thing is that McArdle is an easily replaceable cog, of no importance to the people who pay her so much money. She is financially secure and is seeing all her little consumerist dreams come true because she writes what they want her to write. Otherwise she'd be tossed out on on her behind like all the other conservative who supported conservative principles over the elite's desires. But if you fill the nation with hate and fear and lies you'll get rich.

What would happen if we all did that?

What if McArdle's beloved credit union lied to her about her mortgage? What will happen if Megan McArdle's mechanic lies and substitutes a refurbished, sub-standard part on her car? What if the contractor who replaces her wiring lies, and her house catches on fire? What if her employer lies and tells that he can't afford to provide health care coverage anymore? What if her favorite restaurant lies about sanitation practices and she is poisoned? What if her doctor lies about which medical procedures she needs to milk her for more fees? What if we all treated Megan McArdle the way she treats us?

Our well-paid elite take a lot for granted in this world. That might not be a good idea in our bright and shiny, winner-take-all future.


Anonymous said...

that's why ending Social Security will fail, barring some new disaster heaped on us by our superior elites, like invading Iran.

I'd argue that even then our "superior elites" might be in for a rude awakening. On the morning when they wake up and find that the gates of their "gated communities" have been stormed and there's an angry mob ready to re-enact the French Revolution.

Our "superior elites" fail to realize that the social safety net is part of the social contract that allows them to stay rich with any security. Take that away and eventually the citizenry start wondering exactly why they should be living the high life while so many other people are suffering.

The last time that question was an open one was in the 30s, when the country was seriously vacillating between Communism and Fascism and only a timely intervention to create a safety net saved Capitalism from itself.

Anonymous said...

I read that as "whiner take all." That would be a perfect description of Megan.


Anonymous said...

The NYT for July 31 had a summary of some unusually specific calculations by Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff of the practical effect of cut backs in SS benefits.

The calculations assume a 3-year extension in the normal retirement date from 67 to 70 (which is characterized as a 19% reduction in total SS benefits). The estimated reductions in living standards that couples with above average incomes would have to make over remaining working lives starting at ages 35, 45, and 55, in order to accumulate additional private savings to offset the SS benefit cutback were:

-10.4% for 55 year olds,

-9.7% for 45 year olds, and

-9.4% for 35 year olds

No calculations are given for 25 year olds, but it is reasonable to assume that the reduction in standard of living would be somewhere in the range of -9% for that group.

These calculations suggest that any specific SS benefit reduction may really be a "third rail". The necessity of a 9.4 to 10.4% reduction in living standards for members of the "investor class" to offset the effect of a reduction in their current SS retain projected retirement income could even get the attention of a Republican politician!

Euripides said...

One of the Authors of the Forbes piece, Alex Brill, worked for the Bush Administration as an 'Economist', works for AEI, (I think you are aware of them!)

Provides advice for Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney PC ('Attourneys and Government Relations Professionals')

One of their clients is EchoStar:An American Arbitration Association panel, which included a former chief Colorado Supreme Court justice, awarded Bartlit Beck $40.2 million and rebuked EchoStar for "egregious conduct." Among EchoStar's infractions: delaying arbitration, which the parties had agreed to in their contract, by suing Bartlit Beck; and making claims of unethical conduct against the firm that ranged from overstated to "patently false."

When Mr. Alton first went to EchoStar to apply, EchoStar told him it would not do him any good to put in an application because they were not set up to handle blind people. However, after receiving a copy of his charge of discrimination, EchoStar invited Mr. Alton back and put him through a sham interview process that included a Braille test, which was longer and more difficult that the test given sighted people, and a Windows skill test that consisted of a person giving him directions on how to access icons, such as "move to the left, move down, now click." source echostar in the legal news"

and is CEO of Matrix Global Advisors whose motto is "We supply the economic advice to support your public policy agenda"

A choice quote from his corporate blog: Another potentially positive effect of Congress’s failure to pass the extenders bill is that the expiration of extended unemployment benefits could produce a positive jolt for the labor market as more unemployed workers look more aggressively for work.

Congrats Susan, you've found an even bigger shit than Megan. ;)

The other Co-Author Aparna Mathur also works for guess who? AEI! what a coincidence.

Batocchio said...

The funny thing is that McArdle is an easily replaceable cog,

Sorta, and you're right that she's there only as long as she shills the company line, which she does eagerly and arrogantly. But as aimai's pointed out before, McBargle has no shame, and it's more in a masochist vein than the evil version of "no shame" of Karl Rove or Newt Gingrich. No matter how many times she's debunked and mocked for being wrong, dumb or mean, she keeps coming back. She's like some glibertarian zombie serial killer, perpetually slain but who always comes back, sucking out the brains of her readers.

(Ironically, salt should destroy a zombie, but perhaps not if it's pink and Himalayan. The salt, that is. Or the zombie, for that matter.)

Kathy said...

I wonder if unemployment, Social Security and other "entitlements" are what is keeping Americans from rioting and worse?

Corporate America and their bought politicians & shills don't seem to think so; but what if unemployment benefits -less than needed to survive in the first place- had not been renewed?

What would have happened? Or will happen? Has the catfood commission, or Boner, or our President for that matter, even imagined the consequences of millions of Americans completely broke?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if unemployment, Social Security and other "entitlements" are what is keeping Americans from rioting and worse?

Not completely, but I suspect its helping. The more you have to lose the less likely you are to risk something dangerous - that's the basic calculus of socialism. The rich give up a bit of their power and their wealth in exchange for the security of knowing that people aren't going to show up with guns and make them march to the guillotines. It's cheaper and less messy by far than private armies - plus private armies tend to be more unpredictable than a large middle class that has a lot to lose if they decide to start breaking shit.

The rich idiots that run the Republican party have never bought into this calculus - even with the way the country was in the 30s they figure that we would be more likely to tip towards Fascism (which is better for the rich) than Communism (which isn't). Maybe they're right - I suspect that's the game they're playing right now anyway.

tigris said...

No matter how many times she's debunked and mocked for being wrong, dumb or mean, she keeps coming back.

But she's so bad at it, so transparent, that she ends up making their ideas less credible. Wouldn't a more effective cog write pieces that were less easily debunked?

Downpuppy said...

I ended up in a really stupid fight with Megan & Mouse on the blog version of Oh Noes! let them eat catfood.

Susan of Texas said...

It's easy to debunk this stuff, but it takes a lot of time. I've been putting off a post on Paul Ryan, Krugman and McArdle for days because I am looking for work.

The biggest factor is that most people won't try to understand what she's saying, they'll just parrot her talking points. They don't want proof, they just want a plausible lie. We make decisions based on our emotional make-up, and look for justification later. So we don't look for--or even at--evidence that disproves our theories, only evidence that seems to support them.

tigris said...

Susan, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make it sound like I don't appreciate what you do, "easy" was not the best word choice. I meant that she's often so obviously wrong, so lazy and sloppy that it's shocking anyone pays any attention to her, much less that she gets paid and published by a somewhat respected magazine, but they do and your efforts to debunk her have been fabulous and tireless.

Susan of Texas said...

No apology necessary; the crazy thing is that it isn't hard at all to find her mistakes and lies when you look things up, but who has the time except a bored housewife? It makes it easy for her to get away with this stuff.

And thanks for the appreciation!