Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A quick batch of shorters

Bailout busts?:

Was I wrong to support the bailout? Hard to say. For one thing, it matters whether the alternative was doing nothing, or doing something better; for sure, it was not a very good design, and the bill that actually passed was worse than the one the House voted down. For another, I was not positive that the bailout would solve things; it's just that it seemed like the best shot. Since I can't compare the current world with some alternative in which it failed again, I need to think about what my metrics for assessing the decision should be.
In other words, by next week Megan will have convinced herself she was always against the bailout.

Quotes of the day:
My cold having gone, like all my colds, directly to my chest, I'm slightly more worried about continuing to breathe than the continued solvency of the markets. Evolution is a harsh mistress. But still--only slightly.
Megan cares slightly more about her sniffles than the world financial market which reporting on is supposed to be the primary aspect of her employment. Also, she actually wrote the following;
Now to go off on a tangent: fun uses of the word "literally". I get a ton of blast emails from various PR people, publications, and random pundit larvae. My personal favorite came in today, headlined: "Barney Frank was in bed with Fannie. Literally."
This was too marvelous to actually read the email, so I don't know if he was notifying me that Barney Frank has come out as a heterosexual, or implying that Barney Frank had required the entire staff of one of our GSEs to sleep with him in exchange for his protection.
This woman actually thinks there was a reason for her to type that all out.

How to handle the crisis in your 401K:
Don't look. Seriously, don't look. I have no idea what's going on with any of my equity investments, because that is not short term money that I need to keep my eye on.
... wow. In a time of financial crisis, Megan is advising people to not pay attention. Brilliant.
If you look you will get upset, and you will be tempted to do something stupid. I can't guarantee that the market won't drop further and you won't regret having held on.
Nor can I legally be held responsible for what happens to anyone who actually takes my advice, no matter how bad it is.

She gets paid for this.


Chad said...

I suppose the one silver lining to recent events is that it's causing Megan to reveal again and again just how ludicrously, hilariously unqualified she is to be an economic pundit - even a blatantly ideological economic pundit.

LAdy Lucy said...

She won't let me post no more. So in re her "bronchitis":

For God's sakes, quit smoking...today! Not tomorrow, today! No more Camel Menthols. None. Not a one. It's over. You're a vegan...who smokes? WTF.

Anonymous said...

Our Megan does seem to get sick a lot. Is she really a smoker?

Lady Lucy said...

Is she really a smoker? Google "megan mcardle vertigo." Click on "Vertigo Sucks" to see Megan like you've never seen her before.

spencer said...

This woman actually thinks there was a reason for her to type that all out.

Oh, but there was. That reason was to boost her daily word output, and to convince her editors (and the dumber of her readers) that she is actually doing something.

She does, however, have the beginnings of a decent point when she advises people not to make panic moves with their 401Ks - but that advice is more applicable to younger people who have more time for their investments to recover. For someone who is closer to retirement, aggressively monitoring you retirement savings right now is a no-brainer.

And yes, Megan is a smoker. She loves being photographed blowing smoke rings outside of DC bars and clubs.

SV said...


Interestingly at freakonomics they were wondering why a lot of Economics texts don't talk about financial meltdowns even though they always occur.



spencer said...

sv, as someone who has done graduate-level work in economics (though in a pretty shitty department), my own take on that is that the economics textbooks are often loathe to acknowledge forces and phenomena that bring up questions about the laughable assumptions underlying so much economic theory. These kinds of crashes prove that the market is not some super-duper ultra-efficient entity that only needs to be freed of its regulatory shackles in order to work its magic. But most economists want you to believe that that's what the market is. I'm not sure why they want you to believe that, but I think it's because they realize that that belief is the only thing that makes their mathematical models work. And if their mathematical models don't work, why, that means that economics is no more rigorous and authoritative than anthropology or (gasp!) sociology!

SV said...


Thanks for the response Spencer.

But isn't it alright that economic theory can't explain everything right now but it does attempt to get better with time.

Sort of like, Newtonian physics is good enough most of the time but in really weird situations it falls apart. Perhaps that's the case with economic theory as well?

spencer said...

sv, you would think so, and I do believe that there are economists who are trying like hell to make their discipline useful for prediction purposes and relevant to explaining certain aspects of human behavior. But my experiences with economists lead me to think that a lot of economists were originally attracted to the discipline because it happened to comport nicely with their pre-existing (and generally conservative) political views; if the discipline were to change in ways that significantly challenged the whole idea of the inherent wisdom of unregulated markets, they would find themselves working in a field that was suddenly much less friendly to their political ideologies. And we all know how some people can get a lot of their personal identities intertwined with their political ideologies ...

Anonymous said...

How the fuck can you be so sick that you can't operate a computer keyboard for two whole days? She's faking. Probably on another three-day bender.