Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Trollin, Trollin, Trollin

Megan wants attention. Alas, we exist to give it to her, though at least it's not the kind she wants. A not shorter, then shorters.


Ezra complains that I called him a communist, or ignored the TOTALLY AWESOME EXAMPLES OF NATIONAL HEALTH CARE in order to compare it to the Soviet Union, which we all agree sucks. [sic - ain't no USSR no more]
Uh, no.
I said that these arguments about administrative costs and rationalizing production and eliminating wasteful competition turn out not to be nearly as good arguments as they initially sound.
Odd as this may sound, Megan is completely right. She "said" these things, she didn't argue them. Arguing a point requires providing your partners in debate, or those listening in, good reasons to adopt your position, whereas Megan operates on the basis that it being her position is reason enough. I can say that I am worth $11 trillion and that being a libertarian literally causes cancer in babies, but...
It's hard for me to believe that even Megan, or anyone, thinks Europe doesn't produce any kinds of innovations in medicine or any other field, but apparently she does. That said, I still can't parse the following;
But I'd argue that the difference is that Germany and France, unlike the Soviet Union, have companies which produce in American markets to provide them products.
I mean I honestly don't know what she's even trying to say. Germany and France develop new products because we develop them for them by buying the products they develop? What?
The onslaught of stupid that follows is too extraordinary not to note.
One key thing to remember is that there's a big difference between a situation where the government is a sizeable buyer/producer, and one where the government is essentially the only buyer/producer. ....
Look at defense spending. ... virtually everyone thinks defense procurement is an overpriced disaster, which gets innovation only at drastic cost. Unfortunately, there's no other way to go about it.
... I... How do you even respond to that? There's no other way to defend the nation but to allow military contractors to inflate their prices to the tune of untold billions. After all, up until the military industrial complex formed following WWII, we had never lost a war. Then we tied in Korea and lost Vietnam, obviously there's no other way.
Right now, the US has a market--no matter how screwed up--for medical goods. It is not a good market. But no one in the market, except Medicare, has enough pricing power to totally undermine the market mechanism, so it grinds out an equilibrium that bears some resemblance to consumer demand. In turn, Europe can buy those market-produced products. But if you kill the last market, everything suddenly looks very different. What's the right price for innovation? What should we research? Those questions stop being decided on the basis of the number of consumers served, and start being decided on the basis of who has the best lobby.
I just don't get it. How can Megan, or anyone seemingly literate in the most basic sense, think there are no scientists in Europe, or anywhere else in the world? Does she think the history of the vcr means we invented everything sold in Japan? There's stupid, and there's simply incoherent. The basis of Megan's attempt at an argument here is mindblowingly nonsensical.
And then there's this;
There's one more difference, which is that health care is not transportable.
This is why the organization Doctors Without Borders is actually a Dadaist art troupe who perform "operations" using giant prop bodies and surgical tools.
And she closes with something a medical executive told her;
But as anyone who has lived in Europe can attest, the beliefs about what happens in America are ludicrous. And I'm not talking about "the man on the street"; I'm talking about journalists, politicians, doctors. It's not uncommon for Americans getting treatment in Europe to be asked "You'd never be able to afford this in America, right?" by their doctors and nurses, when "this" is stitches or antibiotics. I'd be terrified of switching places with an American too, if American health care were actually one eighth as bad as most Europeans seem to believe. Yet despite that, as far as I know the net migration is actually the other way.
Yes, then they ask the American not to shoot them, then they say "Eugh-haugh-haugh!"
But the main point is not that one system is better than the other.
And as Sarah Palin argued, the real quitters are the ones who don't quit.

Question Answered:

Look, all I'm saying is that Obama's inability to fix the economy in under six months means the previous 80 years' worth of data regarding the relative performance of the economy during Democratic versus Republican Presidencies is now inapplicable. If you can't handle that, you have the problem, not me.

A Public Plan and the Law of Unintended Consequences:

Dear Hilzoy, please forget that you're done dealing with my intellectually dishonest self and give us a link?

The Politics of the Possible:

I bet I can be so annoying you HAVE to link to me, Krugman. Dammit, I need traffic.

Sasha Baron-Cohen Strikes Again:

Why is she writing a movie review, and why does it read like a short paper stretched out to meet a word count?
We went and saw Bruno last night.
Or, "we saw Bruno last night". English major.

And we're done. Nutella and Susan are right, Megan is in a manic phase. She must be feeling up because of the engagement. She's not even trying to hide the stupid, in a way I like it, it makes this much easier.


Anonymous said...

Megan says: It's not uncommon for Americans getting treatment in Europe to be asked "You'd never be able to afford this in America, right?"

I was treated for Stage I breast cancer in 1994. 3 of the 6 or 7 doctors I saw said to me, "Well, if you were in England, here's what they'd do to you." All three proposed English treatments were different. Plus I never asked any of the doctors how I'd be treated in England. But for some reason, they seemed to have merry old England on the brain.

Susan of Texas said...

Almost nobody congratulated her on her engagement announcement. Rod Dreher did, but then one of his commenters said that they should get married at the courhouse in shame since they'd already moved in together. None of the liberal/quasi-liberal bloggers said anything. That's got to harsh her buzz a little, since it's further proof that people she considers her peers don't return the favor any more.

I would feel sorry for her if she weren't actively working to reinstate feudalism.

Ken Houghton said...

Great. She links to AB and totally misreads the post. What part of "he BEA has only been calculating real GDP per capita since 1929, and yet the best performing Republican, Reagan, is beat out by four Democrats, and all but one of the entire bottom half of the sample is taken up by Republicans" did she not understand?

bulbul said...

Shorter Megan: Market market. Market market market. Market market? Well, market market market. Market.

How can Megan, or anyone seemingly literate in the most basic sense, think there are no scientists in Europe, or anywhere else in the world?
Megan and think in one sentence? Puh-leez.
The point of this is that she actually considers the United States the last shining beacon of innovation, individual freedom and all things good and Randian. Everywhere else is the Great People's Republic of Looters and Moochers.

bulbul said...

Or, "we saw Bruno last night". English major.
Oh come on, "went and VERB.PAST" is a perfectly legit American English colloquial expression. No need to get all Strunk and White on her ass. Two sentence-initial "buts" following after one another, now there's one to smirk at, as is "I haven't laughed so weakly at a movie in years."

NutellaonToast said...

I love that she used a pronoun as the very first subject of her writing. Fuck, the very first WORD of her writing.

We love that, actually.

not even an mba said...

Hilzoy's responded.

Shorter Hilzoy:
Shorter McArdle: I gots mine. The rest of you can DIAF.

Mr. Wonderful said...

"Unfortunately, there's no other way to go about it."

Sure, understanding today's complex world of the future *is* like having bees live inside your head.

But: there they are!

Mr. Wonderful said...

"Those questions stop being decided on the basis of the number of consumers served.."

As it now is here? Someone should ask MM whom the medical-insurance complex is more interested in serving: hundreds of millions, via promoting prevention, or tens of thousands, by developing yet another highly specific, side-effect-rich drug to sell at $52 a pill until, thanks to "government intrusion into the market," it's forced to go generic so that large numbers of consumers can actually, finally, be "served."

clever pseudonym said...

Every time hilzoy, Klein, or Drum comment on Megan's stupidity, the subsequent comments are filled with pleas to stop linking to her hackery and sincere wonder as to why anyone takes her seriously. It somewhat builds my faith in the direction of new media.

Jacquie said...

How about the fact that she can't even take a second to fucking Google how to spell SACHA Baron Cohen's name? It's not like he's in every single periodical on earth right now, or anything.

bulbul said...

Is it just my ISP screwing with me again or did she really take down that Bruno review?

Anonymous said...

She's not even trying to hide the stupid, in a way I like it, it makes this much easier.

Yeah, because she's normally soooo good at hiding teh stupid.

Jeez, Brad, it's not enough that she cuts your meat for you, now you want her to chew it, too?


Anonymous said...

And then there's this;
something a medical executive told her;

If Megan McArdle did this you would be like, "OMG you retard it's called a SHIFT KEY!! You're supposed to be a journalist!!!"

European drug companies compete in the American market just like American companies do, so saying "there are scientists in Europe too" doesn't really answer the argument.

NutellaonToast said...

If that's supposed to be coherent English, you could have fooled me. We've repeatedly stated that we don't hold ourselves to the standards we hold her. I think it has something to do with one of us being a hobbyist whereas the other is a paid professional. I leave it to European scientists to figure out which is which.

And if European drug companies were so fucking fond of American markets, why don't they move to America? After all, aren't the wealthy super mobile and flock to the best place for stomping on the poor?

All of which is fucking moot because we don't fucking care that they can fleece people better here than there, assuming your argument is true. We want better health coverage not higher profit margins. Have you noticed that new drugs for Malaria, which is easily one of the most devastating ailments worldwide, are about 1/100,000,000th as common as new drugs for bigger, better erections? Hell, I'd rather have less CANCER research (a disease that generally affects people healthy enough to get old) if I could get it in exchange for an orphan disease that was killing Africans by the truckload.

brad said...

I am a bit lazy about that, and I really don't give a shit.
European companies also do business in Europe.

Anonymous said...

So you think switching to a European-style system will be better for orphan diseases? Why? I don't think Europe has ever spent much money on malaria research, and the (American) Gates Foundation is by far the biggest donor these days. Really it would be surprising for a government health care system to spend a lot of money on something that doesn't affect the taxpayers that fund it.

NutellaonToast said...

Yes, I was talking specifically and only about malaria, and not any other orphan diseases.

BTW, look up orphan diseases, as you obviously didn't catch that in my first response.

Annnnd finalllyyyyy, European and American style health care are NOT the only two kinds of health care ever in the world. D'oh. There go Hobson and his horses again.

Anonymous said...

OK, so the disease you mentioned as an example in support of your argument is actually irrelevant for some reason. Thanks for mentioning that! If not malaria, what orphan diseases were you thinking of when you said that a government-run health care system would be better than our current market-driven system because it would treat orphan diseases better?

Annnnd finalllyyyyy, European and American style health care are NOT the only two kinds of health care ever in the world.

OK, so what do you want instead? A system that's like Europe, except you get to decide what diseases get cured? If all of McArdle's arguments are retarded and incoherent, then what's wrong with Europe?