Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, September 20, 2010


Today is a very busy work day but I will address Megan McArdle's latest post about her housing difficulties as soon as humanly possible.

I can hardly wait!


cynic said...

Her quoting some random newspaper guy who used to be a sports columnist to refute Krugman (her previous post) is *way* funnier.

She gets taken to task and as always, gets snippy.

Much hilarity ensued.

Anonymous said...

Her comment thread is priceless.

aimai said...

Susan, don't leave us hanging! I'm not going over there. I can only take McMegan in very small doses, filtered through your snark.


Anonymous said...

I just found this blog two days ago. What have I been -doing- with my time? Damn. (Of course, maybe the blog isn't so good: maybe it's just that the subject is endlessly horrifying.)

aimai said...

No, the blog is that good. But its going to absolutely suck up your time, that's for sure.


Anonymous said...

I too am a great fan, Susan. :-)

Er .. not of McArdle, you understand, but of you.


(I can't post as anything other than anonymous but I'm zhak, though I doubt anybody has paid any attn to my comments.)

Left Coast Tom said...

OK, your cryptic reference forced me to go over and look. Good God. Even on wingnut welfare she can't handle the task of Buying A Goddamn House.

And somebody's paying her actual monetary units to be a Business And Economics Editor.

chrisb said...

holy crap what a mess for mcmegan. I love the underlying subtext of "surely someone must have told those people we were buying the place even though we haven't yet"

freq flag said...

Even on wingnut welfare she can't handle the task of Buying A Goddamn House.

And somebody's paying her actual monetary units to be a Business And Economics Editor.

For professing to be "Jane Galt,"-- ostensibly the real-world embodiment of John Galt--she certainly is not very competent at much of anything, is she?


Kathy said...

No mention of why the Tenant wanted to exercise his rights (90 day notice). Maybe s/he lost his job, got sick, or the place s/he was planning on moving to became unavailable.

The insinuation is that tenant is trying to shake-down ArgleBargle. But who knows? Megan hasn't mentioned actually talking with the tenant.

aimai said...

Yeah, K.Willow, I love all the poutrage over the Tenant exercising her right not to be thrown out on the street when they all have zero evidence that the Tenant was informed in a timely manner, or that anyone made the Tenant the various offers of help, money, etc...

What struck me as particularly Megan, in its mealymouthed ness, is her assertion that the Tenant had "only been in the house for four months" as though that meant that the Tenant ought to have fewer rights than someone who had been there for years. I think her supporters assume that it means that the Tenant could have had no reasonable expectation of staying for the duration of the lease but that presumes that the absent landlord told the Tenant that he/she was trying to sell the house. Again,there's no proof that this is the case. As far as we know the Tenant signed a year long lease and expected not to have to move twice in the year and can't afford to do so.

Megan fully understands the costs of moving, storing, and couch surfing when its happening to her but seems unaware of them when they are happening to someone else. She also seems unaware of how often things fall through at closing. She also went into this *without a lawyer* and seems surprised to find out that there are ways to structure these risky purchases so all the risk doesn't fall on you. Tenants in the house? So common a problem that there's a whole lot of law on the issue.

Really, what can you say but Megan and her husband are simply pathetically dim bulbs.


Smut Clyde said...

So common a problem

Common problems, by definition, happen to common people. They're not supposed to apply here.

Downpuppy said...

She dropped in a comment that the seller was underwater & abroad. It then dawned on her that not knowing this made her look even worse, so she edited it, but contradicts herself all over the place about whether or not she should have spotted that as a problem.

But I'm sure that the lender will show up & say - McArdle? You are a friend of the Borg! Welcome to your new home.

Anonymous said...

Hey, are we gonna have to wait for your post as long as we've waited for Warren Part II?

Clock is running. It's day 2.


Susan of Texas said...

I'm working on the post now and will get it to you as soon as possible!

Blake said...

Megan must be omitting at least some of the facts surrounding this transaction. She never mentions the real estate agents, both her's and the seller's, who one would assume would be doing all they could to try to close the deal. In Megan's version, things are just happening and there's no way--or no one-- to fix them. Even the seller doesn't seem to care. This seems odd.

I also don't really know why Megan thinks she can just walk away from this deal--she signed a contract to buy the property, which the seller could very well be able to enforce. What if the tenant clears out tomorrow? Or in two weeks? Megan is on dangerous ground if she thinks she can just walk away from a sales contract because she assumes the tenant won't ever move. Even if the tenant stays, her refusal to close might cause her big problems.

Here's my guess what happened: The seller is a private seller, acting without a broker. Megan, in an effort to save money and outsmart the world, decided to enlist her (dotty) mother, a retired NYC broker, to handle the sale. Mrs. McArdle prepared a flimsy sales contract that ignored the tenant problem. Mrs. McArdle also never followed up, until last week's drive-by, to see if the tenant was still living there. I think mom fucked up the deal in the beginning; and now Megan thinks she can walk away. I've dealt with private sellers before, and they very often know what their rights are and how to enforce them. If I were advising Megan, I'd tell her to get a good lawyer ASAP, and she better not simply blow off the closing. You don't fuck around with half million dollar deals.

aimai said...

I agree with your assessment--not necessarily on the "Megan's mom" thing but on the total bizarrness and amateurishness of the entire proceeding up to and including her fuzziness on whether she is or is not obligated to close. Actually, having the tenant still there probably voids most contracts since the seller is obligated to deliver the property free of encumberances. In fact the *buyer* not showing up is very common, so common due to the problems of selling the first house that contingencies are usually written in to the document to cover these eventualities.

In my own experience the process of buying a house is so fraught with difficulty and so often includes a month or two before you can get in that it should always be included in the purchase arrangement. Very often there are clauses the prescribe exactly how much rent the current owner must pay if they can't vacate immiediatly because in the old days that was one of the principle issues: each person was selling a house contingent on being able to close and move into the next one. They could neither close on their new house without sellign their first one, nor move from the first one without closing on the second.


Mr. Wonderful said...

Megan, in an effort to save money and outsmart the world

Phrase of the week.

aimai said...

I guess I'm unbanned over there because I find myself posting like mad. I'm going to stop now and do some work. But here's the interesting thing, to me. Her posters are all up on attacking the Tenant for failing to respect property rrights--Megan's property right--but Megan has no property right in the transaction yet, and where she has some kind of right its vis a vis the owner of the house (the landlord) and not the Tenant.

Its like her readers, like Megan, simply don't grasp that there's all kinds of formalities you have to go through: like filling out paperwork, like paying the money, before you get to have a dog in this hunt. As far as they are concerned the Tenant, like "liberals" everywhere (according to one commenter) is just screwing Megan because the state gave her the ability to jump over the market and do so.

Megan hasn't bought the damned house. The Tenant doesn't owe her anything--not even a "promise to move." If Megan pulled out of the deal at the last minute the tenant would have no recourse to move back in and Megan wouldn't feel the least bit sorry to have inconvenienced her. They have no relationship. Yet Megan and the commenters are sure that they do. The commenters make threats (on Megan's behalf) and invoke random thoughts like "month to month lease" and "its customary that" and "no judge would back up the tenant because" and even "Megan: you should charge the tenant rent! Its outrageous that the Tenant is not paying rent!" when Megan doesn't own the house and there is zero evidence that the 90 day window the Tenant has invoked does not also come with 90 days of rent attached.

The entire of them, except the snarksters, are living in an absolute fantasy land.


fish said...

I personally love the subtle complaint about how DC law prevents eviction in the rain and cold and how odious that would be if she wanted to kick the tenant out in January...

Anonymous said...

am i the only person who thinks the business and economics editor of the atlantic should have more pressing issues to discuss than her pathetic skills at home-buying?

I don't know what K-Thug's countertops are like and i don't care. but she's gone hyper-friedman with this my-life-as-economic-data crap.

(also love how in the comments she paints her upbringing as middle-class)


Blake said...

Amai, I agree that the tenant situation may very well void the sales contract--but I wouldn't bet any of my money on it. (Megan obvioulsy doesn't care.) But think of it this way: What, exactly, did the seller do wrong? Megan says he gave the tenant 90 days' notice on July 1st, so the tenant has until Septemebt 29th to vacate, as per D.C.'s landlord-tenant ordinance. The seller can't force the tenant to move any earlier. If the tenant holds over after the 29th, then we don't know who's problem that is, the court's will have to figure it out. Megan thinks she has all the answers, but I wouldn't be so sure if I were her.

My overall point is just like yours--Megan's an idiot for not getting a lawyer invovled to negotiate the terms of this sale. All she had to do was Google something like "buying real estate occupied by tenant" and she'd probably have gotten thousands of hits informing her of the dangers of purchasing tenant-occupied real estate without legal consultation. But this does tell us that Megan's inability to do basic research extends to her personal, as well as her "profeessional", life.

Kathy said...

Yes, I noticed several of Megan's commenters offering to send "Threateners", or to visit the poor tenant themselves, and make (her?) move.

Megan hasn't accepted the offers, but she didn't ban the commenters either. I'm pretty sure I would. That sort of vicious "joke" isn't funny.

spencer said...

(also love how in the comments she paints her upbringing as middle-class)

To Megan, the only people who aren't "middle class" (other than the poor, that is) are the ones who never have to make any economic tradeoffs whatsoever, and who can buy whatever they want, whenever they want it.