Tuesday, March 3, 2009


would it kill Megan to just stop posting for a few non-weekend days and let me catch up? And she calls herself polite...

Asymmetrical information:

Over the past few days, I've noticed an upsurge in liberal blogs claiming that of course, borrowers don't bear any responsibility for their current straitened circumstances. After all, there are two parties in a transaction, and the lenders are professionals and should have known better.
This post by Matt Yglesias makes that argument...
Cripple fight!!
Who knows more about your future income prospects: you, or a bank? Who knows more about your budgeting skills: you, or a bank? Who knows more about your health, personal habits, and home maintenance skills? Who knows better whether you're likely to move two years after buying for a boyfriend or an employer? Are bankers somehow more aware than ordinary Americans that recessions happen, companies fold, people lose their jobs?
......... is this some sort of super double reverse action rhetorical question? Does Megan just not know what it is banks do?

The power of government:
There are, clearly, central problems with "the Great Moderation", the until-recently-dominant explanation of the Great Depression, and the American banking system. That doesn't mean that Obama can fix them.
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things is only kind of the same...
Also, note that Megan parroting talking points means the world now knows the horrible truth that FDR caused the Great Depression to enable his rise to fascist dictatorship.
It doesn't even mean [Obama will] do a better job than John McCain would have, though we'll never know. There is a very real possibility that in two or three years, America will be in worse shape than it is now--unemployment in the double digits, GDP down by same, corporate and government budgets peeling apart at the seams. I will be curious to see whether the new armchair empiricists of the left see this as casting any doubt on their central theories, or whether they will simply argue the counterfactual.
Us lefties are practically as bad as Bush, what with our maybe having caused potentially slightly worse hypothetical conditions than Bush actually has left. In fact, we're probably going to be somehow to blame for the remaining financial crises waiting to explode from Bush era mismanagement.
When will the left face the shame of our (imaginary) destruction of the (tattered remains) of the economy?

Mortgage interest deduction: a uniter or a divider?:
in the immortal words of Upton Sinclair, it's difficult to make a man understand something when his paycheck tax refund depends on his not understanding it.
First off, you horrible asshole you, those aren't his words. You're paraphrasing him. Ask an English major what that means.
Second, Upton Sinclar was a socialist. Naomi Klein is an heir of Upton Sinclair. You are the heir of the kind of person Upton Sinclair was referring to.

More broadly, this misunderstands what stimulus is. Stimulus is not spending; it's deficit. If Bush had delivered a budget in rough balance, Obama would have had to borrow up to the current deficit to get the stimulus he desires.
What the fuck is she talking about? Can anyone provide any way to think this isn't pure gibberish? If Bush hadn't doubled the national debt Obama would have had to anyway because of... fairies?

Our house... in the middle of our street...:

I imagine this is the kind of post that forced Spencer to give up FMM posting rights. How does one even begin to explain what's wrong in this post?
Maybe by mentioning that people won't be eager to become homeless just to salvage their credit rating?

Obama's big-bath accounting:

Remember, Megan claimed to be an Obama supporter, and no doubt would never agree she wants him to fail. And yet,
Analysts have long recognized the tendency of companies who are forced to report bad news to make the news worse than they have to, piling every single thing that might goi wrong into one hell of a charge-off. The logic of this is simple: if your stock is going to take a hit, make it one gigantic hit, so that you can later "surprise" everyone when aliens from the Planet Zork do not actually land, vaporize 2/3rds of your customers, and keep the rest too busy dodging laser rays to focus on purchasing your product.
Looking through Obama's budget, I am reminded of those massive one-time-write-off festivals. Only the Obama administration has gone one better: he has actually gotten everyone to congratulate him for his breathtaking honesty.
Take the Iraq war. We were not, under any administration, going to spend as much in 2015 as we did in 2005. But by treating that spending as an ongoing cost, Obama now gets to take as much credit for reducing it as he would for closing permanent air bases in Germany, or trimming Social Security.
That fucker Obama might actually take some kind of personal credit for ending a war. And ignore those "100 years" eternal occupation dreams of Megan's fellow conservatives, even if Cheney had somehow succeeded Bush and dragged the war out till 2015 obviously we'd be spending less on it by then. Dummies.
Even worse, Megan goes on to note, is that by no longer spending hundreds of billions a year on a war Obama will be able to make effective social spending seem that much more affordable.

GDP fell 3.8 6.2% in the fourth quarter:
One of the enduring mysteries of the last month has been how fourth quarter GDP could have been falling faster in Europe than in the United States. Now we have an answer: our first GDP estimates were way too optimistic. The revised estimates now put the annualized rate of decline in the fourth quarter at 6.2%, rather than the 3.8% initially predicted.
I guess that's where that recession Megan was looking for was hiding.
You know what this means; shame on Obama for the dishonest practices of the Bush Admin.

Rocky Mountain News: RIP:
The Rocky Mountain News is apparently shutting down. Despite the fact that the paper has consistently published some of the most interesting columnists around (personal favorite: Paul Campos, who also blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money), they haven't made money, and parent company Scripps is shuttering the paper next week.
My condolences to Mr. Campos. It can't be easy to deal with an endorsement from Megan McArdle, but to paraphrase (ahem) Jamie Lee Curtis in A Fish Called Wanda, apes can read philosophy, they just don't understand it.

And here I pause, probably for the night.


Anonymous said...

I always that it was pretty lame that Bush would come up with a budget (with a huge deficit of course) and then funding for the Iraq war would be allocated from a supplementary spending bill (and thus not counted in the projected deficit). I'm not sure if Iraq war costs were factored in retrospectively (i.e., when reporting the 2005 deficit in 2006), but keeping those costs out of the initial projection was complete BS. I'm pleased Obama is actually coming up with a budget that reflects what the government is really spending.

Chad said...

It looks like "armchair empiricist" is Megan's new favorite phrase. It figures; it kind of has that right combination of smugness, elitism, and "intellectual anti-intellectualism" that would appeal to McArdle.

Anonymous said...

Funny takedown of Megan McArdle here, looks like she messed with the wrong bloggers: "Megan McArdle Queefs On Our Founding Fathers":

Downpuppy said...

On mortgage interest, the commenters were dumber than Megan.

A long discussion about capping the deduction. Nobody realized that it's been capped for 20 years.

Scary, scary, place.

Malaclypse said...

Are bankers somehow more aware than ordinary Americans that recessions happen, companies fold, people lose their jobs?

They should be. Managing money is what they do for a living, after all.

The Ignorant Investor said...

"Who knows more about your future income prospects: you, or a bank? Who knows more about your budgeting skills: you, or a bank?"

And who is out hundreds of thousands of dollars if you don't pay it back? You, or the bank?

Since Megan has never had a real job in commerce, she didn't realize that the person who stands to take the loss is the careful one in the transaction.

Dhalgren said...

That post by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine is quite a nice piece of investigative journalism. It was also harsh and personal towards Megan, but you can argue that she completely asked for it. She is yet to offer any rebuttal.