Harper's Publisher Turns Down $50,000 in Donations: Heh, this post is great. McArdle is incredulous that Harper's turned down corporate money because it always has strings attached. First of all, turning down money is the greatest heresy possible in McArdleland. Second, what's the big deal with selling out? Duh, money!
The rich men who pour millions into magazines are buying control. (And, in the case of our illustrious owner, eventual profitability). As a non-profit there's nothing stopping Harpers' from raising funds . . . except that it's embarrassing for McArthur to go begging for alms, and doing so would eventually create demands that he share some power with the people giving donations. It will not do Harper's any good to raise a few hundred thousand from outside sources, and lose McArthur's millions as ownership becomes less rewarding.
Notice how McArdle pretends that she was hired by an eccentric multi-millionaire who turned a profit due to his courage and pluck and the excellence of his Megan McArdles, not from whoring his venerable magazine out via expensive "salons." And note her swipe at McArthur, as if he would be begging for money instead of selling ad space. She really doesn't miss a trick. She must have been a barrel of laughs in high school as she sharpened her claws on her less popular classmates, honing the talents she now employs so skillfully. She didn't become this good without a lot of practice.
There are a couple of posts about meth and regulation of cold medicines; McArdle thinks that all regulations should be eradicated if any are onerous. The system might merely be improved, but for McArdle it's all or nothing. Another post criticises the SEC; it regulates, therefore it is a target.
Finally, we are informed that it's a good thing that the middle class has turned to pawn shops for money as it loses access to credit.
Is it necessarily a bad thing that pawnshops are replacing credit cards? One could argue both ways--if people can't pay the pawnshop, they lose their stuff. On the other hand, the interest rates are competitive, and certainly better than payday loans, for which even nonprofits charge interest rates in the range of 300% to cover the transaction costs and the risk of default. And having a pawnshop sell your stuff doesn't, as far as I know, put a ding on your credit history.
Of course, many people would argue that the clients of these lenders would be better off not borrowing money at all. My take on the research is that this is true--for a minority of the customers. Most of the customers are better off, because they've avoided an emergency like a broken car, an overdraft fee, or an eviction, that would have put them in much worse straits than the loan. Most of the people who take these loans seem to be pretty severely credit constrained, so there aren't really better credit options for them.
It would, of course, be much nicer if people never got into those situations. But you cannot will such a world into place by banning one of the symptoms of financial insecurity.
It's wishful thinking to imagine a world where the financial industry hasn't driven the economy into a ditch, forcing middle-class America to liquidate their way of life. Yet many of these same Americans knowingly voted for anyone who would tell them that God loves them best and they are the smartest, kindest, most special people in the entire history of mankind. They will continue to vote against their interests, each and every one of them, until they are forced by circumstances to suffer directly from their politicians' actions.
And even then they'll still blame liberals.