Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Little McArdle Is A Dangerous Thing

Let's pick the M&Ms out of the trail mix, so to speak. There's no need to listen to all the blather.

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.


Anonymous said...

my favorite part of the meth discussion, McMeg talking about a HIV positive, meth addicted (for a few years), poor woman:

"It doesn't make it any sadder that she was my age, of course, but it does make it seem more real to me."

of course it does.

it is not surprising that she missed the fact that the whole point of that project was to document how nearly impossible it is to escape that sort of poverty. Dumb woman, should have pawnshopped her teeth.


Downpuppy said...

Golden Ring! with one tiny little stone, cast asiiiiide.....

I still miss Tammy Wynette.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god. Megan's motto is "always look on the bright side of life" if she actually wrote a blog post in praise of people having to pawn their shit. Love the dig at hypothetical (imaginary) "non profit" payday loanmakers. She can't resist trying to turn the very phrase "non profit" into a curse, even if to do it she has to attribute the industry (really, non profit payday loan makers?) to the an imaginary group.


Susan of Texas said...

The New York Times had an article on "non-profit" payday loans, which must be what McArdle is referring to. It seems that a Goodwill director who owns a credit union, set up a non-profit payday loan program for Goodwill. It doesn't look much better than the other operations.

McArdle just ignores the fact that Americans are getting poorer.

atat said...

"It doesn't make it any sadder that she was my age, of course, but it does make it seem more real to me."

Maybe it's just my own pet peeve at work here, but the blinding narcissism and relentless self-absorbtion might be the most infuriating thing about McArdle.

Anonymous said...

I believe when Americans were getting gouged on Credit Card interest and penalties because they were still able to get credit cards Megan made the reverse argument that the Credit Card companies were virtuously replacing the leg breakers and pawn shops of yore. But I can't be bothered to look it up because she makes me gag.


NonyNony said...

but the blinding narcissism and relentless self-absorbtion might be the most infuriating thing about McArdle.

They're the ONLY thing about McArdle when you get right down to it. Her appalling ignorance, as an example, is a function of her narcissism - as in she only bothers to investigate something with anything resembling "depth" if she's convinced it affects her in some way. Just like she can only show empathy towards people who are almost exactly like her in some way.

If McArdle where so goddamn narcissistic and self-absorbed, she might actually learn something about the real world and be a better person. But that appears to be beyond her reach.

When you think about it, her old handle "Jane Galt" really summed her up well.

Anonymous said...

She must've spent all day researching this stuff!

Kathy said...

Conservative Tribalism on display: empathy and sympathy for people in their Clan, or who remind them of themselves, anyone else who is suffering Probably Deserves It.

Rugosa said...

Why would it be embarrassing for a non-profit to solicit donations ("beg for alms")? That's generally their main source of funds.

Anonymous said...

Latest Megan post appears to have inspired 600+ comments.

usually means some kind of horror beyond her normal crap

atat said...

re: latest Megan post:

I won't even bother to dip my toe into the comment section to see why her commenters are worked up, but it looks like the usual McMegan idiocy, only more obviously idiotic than usual. Just a lot of batting around at strawmen.

I stopped reading at the point where she appears to have deliberately misread Krugman, and then goes on to pretend to not understand the difference between political ideology and race, as far as alleged discrimination goes.

Idiot, as usual.