Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, January 29, 2016

Shorter Megan McArdle: When The Poor Get Restless, Start Pouring Oil On Troubled Waters

A few shorters. Fortunately McArdle is a sparse poster.

Tax Cuts Can't Motivate the Republican Base Anymore: Ever since the New Deal was enacted America grew steadily poorer and by the 1970s things got desperate. Taxes had risen so much since then that cutting taxes was a popular position. But taxes are lower now so we will have to do... something else.

Don't Blame Americans for Blaming China: I was wrong about Iraq, the 2008 crises, and Trump, and I was wrong about the globalization of trade.  It has hurt many workers so we need to do... something.

This post has some goodies:

Sure I was wrong but you think you're a smartie, don't you?
Yes, yes, I know: You predicted China's enormous trade surpluses with the U.S. and the disruption they would cause. But if you want to assert some amazing economic foresight, it takes a bit more than one correct prediction (I, for example, called the housing bubble in 2002, which has not made every other prediction correct). I’ll want to see some evidence, like the fabulous stock portfolio you’ve managed to assemble through your superhuman facility for predicting just how economic events will unfold.  
For people have been predicting trade disasters for decades: OPEC, Japan, Germany, just to name the most iconic. (Remember Rising Sun, the Michael Crichton Japanophobic thriller published right about when Japan was embarking upon its 20-plus year “Lost Decade”?) The rise of those new manufacturing centers did end up badly hurting individual domestic industries (steel, cars, electronics), but not “industry” overall. China was different because it brought so many workers to market so very fast -- but that was hard to foresee without having perfect foreknowledge of the course of Chinese industrial policy.
Now that globalization has gutted the American working class, we no longer need to worry about the American working class being gutted on such a big scale again.
Moreover, it’s unlikely to be repeated, unless another 1.3-billion person country can move half its countryside into the industrial core over the course of a few decades. Future trade movements will be on much smaller scales, meaning that the U.S. economy will probably be better able to handle the shock.
Sucks to be you:
Politicians know that what people want most is work and community -- not tax cuts, not welfare, not more generous government benefits. The problem is, they have no idea how to actually deliver it. Whatever mistakes we made 20 years ago, we’re stuck with them now. The problem is, that’s not really a very satisfying answer, is it? I’m not stuck with them; I have a stable job, a lovely if somewhat decrepit row home in our nation’s capital, and a marvelously cheap smartphone manufactured in China. It’s someone else who got stuck with the decisions the elites made, and all the elites can seem to offer is pretty much exactly the same policy prescriptions they were in favor of 25 years ago. I can’t blame the elites, exactly. But I can’t blame the folks who have decided they’re sick of listening to them, either.

Hey, Trump Voters: He'll Offend You Next: Silly upper-class conservatives, Trump will never give you what you want.

Beware: Wal-Mart's Raises Are Not a Victory: Wal-Mart is trying to screw over its workers again. That's what happens when liberals try to interfere with Wal-Mart screwing over its workers. And upper-class conservatives shouldn't support them; those liberals could be taking your dividends.

Health Care's Continental Divide:
Leonid Bershidsky: National Health Care works. I know, I live in Germany and use it.
Megan McArdle: The world sponges off of American drug profits for innovation so we cannot have national health care.
Leonid Bershidsky: I will explain about German's system and drug innovation and you will understand you can have national health care.
Megan McArdle: But how will we have millionaire doctors and plush hospitals? Besides, corporate takeover of the politics is so complete that we'd never get it enacted anyway.


Bruce.desertrat said...

You deserve a medal or something for reading that stuff. I get all screen-punchy when I do.

Susan of Texas said...

I am much less diligent than I used to be. It's depressing to watch so much greed and elitism masquerading as intellectual public policy.