Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Megan McArdle's support for corporations is more than a little nuts; corporations should have all the power and none of the responsibility. One of her pet causes is eliminating corporate taxes.
But while I don’t agree that we need to make corporations pay their “fair share,” I do agree that jettisoning the corporate income tax would be expensive. So here’s my proposal: Eliminate the corporate income tax and take the money from people. That’s what you’re doing anyway, so do it in a simpler, fairer and more progressive way, by raising income taxes on the wealthy and taxing capital income (dividends plus capital gains) more like ordinary income. And stop wasting everyone’s time and money on this insane, unwinnable chess game.
She also said it would be impossible to get individuals to pay more tax but whatever. It's not like we read McArdle for logic, consistency or ethics anyway.

We read for the funny. Let's step into Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine and review McArdle's venomous fury over the passage of the ACA.

First, however, let's see what Mr. Paul Krugman has to say about people with Obamacare Derangement Syndrome.
Health Care Hatred
The good news about Obamacare so far shouldn’t be considered disputable. Enrollments really are above target; multiple independent surveys show a sharp drop in the uninsured population; health care cost growth really has slowed dramatically, whatever the reason; the newly insured are generally satisfied with their coverage. If you want to insist that big problems lie ahead, fine (but please explain), but the facts so far are pretty good.
But what I’m getting — and what you get whenever you suggest that things are going OK — is an outpouring, not so much of disagreement, as of fury. People get red-in-the-face angry, practically to the point of incoherence, over the suggestion that it’s not a disaster. 
What’s that about? Partly it may be Obama derangement syndrome. I was struck by mail I received after my last column accusing me of shilling for Obama and refusing to admit what a disaster he’s been — when the column didn’t so much as mention the guy. Obamacare was a label stuck on the Affordable Care Act by its opponents, to tie the president to the disaster to come; now they’re livid that it, and he, are turning out OK.

Partly it may be general hatred for any kind of program that helps the less fortunate, especially if they happen to be, you know, not white. Such programs must be disasters — don’t bother me with evidence. 

And partly, I suspect, there’s now an element of shame. If this thing is actually working, everyone who yelled about how it would be a disaster ends up looking fairly stupid.
But, you know, sometimes looks don’t deceive.

 Shame, I doubt. Fury at being thwarted--yep. McArdle was livid when ACA passed:

Regardless of what you think about health care, tomorrow we wake up in a different political world. 

Parties have passed legislation before that wasn't broadly publicly supported.  But the only substantial instances I can think of in America are budget bills and TARP--bills that the congressmen were basically forced to by emergencies in the markets. 

One cannot help but admire Nancy Pelosi's skill as a legislator.  But it's also pretty worrying.  Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority?  Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn't want this bill.  And that mattered basically not at all.  If you don't find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances.  Farewell, Social Security!  Au revoir, Medicare!  The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected.  If they didn't--if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission--then the legislative lock-in you're counting on wouldn't exist.   

Oh, wait--suddenly it doesn't seem quite fair that Republicans could just ignore the will of their constituents that way, does it?  Yet I guarantee you that there are a lot of GOP members out there tonight who think that they should get at least one free "Screw You" vote to balance out what the Democrats just did. 

If the GOP takes the legislative innovations of the Democrats and decides to use them, please don't complain that it's not fair.  Someone could get seriously hurt, laughing that hard. 

But I hope they don't.  What I hope is that the Democrats take a beating at the ballot boxand rethink their contempt for those mouth-breathing illiterates in the electorate.  I hope Obama gets his wish to be a one-term president who passed health care.  Not because I think I will like his opponent--I very much doubt that I will support much of anything Obama's opponent says.  But because politicians shouldn't feel that the best route to electoral success is to lie to the voters, and then ignore them. 

We're not a parliamentary democracy, and we don't have the mechanisms, like votes of no confidence, that parliamentary democracies use to provide a check on their politicians.  The check that we have is that politicians care what the voters think.  If that slips away, America's already quite toxic politics will become poisonous.

 Long after predicting that Obama and the Democrats would be sorry they ignored the will of Republicans, McArdle also predicted that bad economic news was going to scuttle Democratic hopes. When some good economic news came out she did not say that it was good news for Democrats, however. Ignoring the good news on Obamacare means she can also ignore any benefits that might accrue for Democrats. A lot of poor people saw their health insurance premiums go down, and no matter what they say, they know who put more money in their pocket and who tried to prevent Democrats from doing anything.

We know that people who support the rich will never suffer financially for trying to screw over the poor, even when they say they can't wait to screw over the people trying to help the poor. There is no shame. There is only mercenary calculation. And knowing McArdle, she won't be able to get those numbers right either.


Anonymous said...

Corporations are people. But we should take money from actual people?
Our McMegan is not learning.

Susan of Texas said...

Corporations are people but we should tax people and not corporations although we can't tax anyone because they'll just cheat.

Downpuppy said...

This is about the 45th time she's trotted out this tattered hobbyhorse. It's lost all its numbers, and exists only as pure rant.

Well, thanks for pointing it out. It gave me an excuse to go over to Bloomberg to point, laugh, and pretend to dunk on LBJ.

Susan of Texas said...

Numbers? She don't need no stinking numbers!

rjs said...

just an overdue thank you, Susan, for your valuable public service (reading McArdle so the rest of us dont have to)

fish said...

Oh, wait--suddenly it doesn't seem quite fair that Republicans could just ignore the will of their constituents that way, does it?

Man that willful ignorance of very recent history really pisses me off.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

fish swims in a river of sadness.

So say we all.

Susan of Texas said...

Thanks, rjs.