Aug
24

Your Friday Megan McArdle Moment




Posted at 19:12 by Brad

mcardle3.jpg
Above: The Becky Sharp of the glibertarian set

Megan McArdle, a.k.a. Jane Galt, is up to her usual tricks:

An exchange with a blogger who is apparently a philosophy student at the University of Virginia leads me to believe that many people are still misunderstanding my point about the morality of single payer healthcare. Many people responded to my first post by saying, “But we have a duty to care for the sick!” Trying to make myself very clear, I wrote 2,000 words explaining that even assuming, arguendo, that we have a duty to make sure people don’t die from lack of health care, this is not a good moral argument for single payer. At which point I got more posts, including from said philosophy student, saying “But we have a duty to care for the sick!” Length having failed, let me try brevity:

1) Single payer transfers money from anyone who is young and healthy to anyone who is old and sick, regardless of their need for the money.

Basically, yes.

And as someone who is young and healthy (Really! I go on three-mile runs thrice a week and lift weights twice a week!), I have no problem with this. The reason? Well, because I have no problem paying taxes to help old sick people now, because I’m going to be old and sick in the future. That’s the basic principle involved here. But for peeps like Meghan, whose only thought is “MEEEEEEEEEEE-me-me-me-me-MEEEEEEEEEE!”, this line of thought is deeply immoral.

2) For this to be moral, the entire enormous class of people who are old and sick must have some justified claim on the money of the young and healthy.

And they do. They’re old and sick. I’m young and healthy. They need the help. I don’t at present.

God, can you imagine what Megan McArdle’s gonna be like when she has kids of her own and they ask her for lunch money?

“For that to be moral, the entire enormous class of school children who are hungry and unemployed must have some justified claim on the money of their working parents,” she’ll tell her weeping son.

Gavin adds: Plus, imagine how upset the kids will be when mommy decides it’s time to leave Grandma on an ice floe. “She has no justified claim on my money,” she’ll explain. “You must not love your Grandma very much if you’d allow her to live as a moocher…”

3) The large class of old and sick people do not need the money; as a group, they are wealthier than the young, healthy people from whom we are transferring the money.

Uh, but, like, medical care is really really expensive for people who need chronic attention, and, uh, a lot of older people are strapped for cash, which is, like, why we made programs such as Medicare and… sigh… whatever…

4) Therefore, we must look for another legitimate claim on society’s resources.

5) Another such claim might be a fairness claim: the old and sick have been terribly unlucky, so we should pay for their health care even though they don’t need the money.

6) This is not a good argument. Most of the old and sick are sick because they are old. Getting old may suck, but it is not unfair; it is inevitable. All of us will become old and sick, unless something even worse happens to us to make us dead.

Something worse, i.e., they don’t have enough money to pay for health care because people like Megan McArdle would rather get a new flatscreen TV.

enthanasiepropaganda.jpg
Above: How they used to say it

Some of the old and sick are just sick, and have never been healthy. But to calculate the relative deservingness of the whole group, we have to weigh the bad luck of those people against the bad luck of the currently young and healthy people who will, in the future, die young.

Whu, whu, WHAT? Meegan, it is impossible to weigh the “bad luck” of people who will die young because, like, we have no way of predicting the future. What the hell.

As a group, there’s no reason to think that the (currently) old and sick have had worse luck than the (currently) young and healthy, although obviously some members of each group are unluckier than others.

Meghen… sigh… let me break this down for you…

Universal health care means that everyone is covered. Young unlucky people don’t get turned away from hospitals because there are billions of old people who “deserve” more care. Where you’re getting these wacky ideas is beyond me.

7) A third argument we might make is that the young and healthy should pay for the care of the old and sick because they have more responsibility for the problems than do the old and sick people themselves. This is self-evidently stupid. If even 100 people who are currently old and sick smoked and dranked themselves into early debility, while all the other old and sick people in America had absolutely no causal role in their own illness, this tiny aggregate responsibility for a few cases of lung cancer and cirrhosis would, to a near certainty, be larger than the responsibility the young and healthy bear for other peoples’ ill health1.

8) Thefore, as a group, the old and sick have no moral claim to massive transfer payments from the young and healthy.

Bloob-blubba-bloob-blubba-bloob-blubba.

This tells us nothing about any moral claims individual members may have. For example, veterans could be entitled to care, regardless of need, because they incurred some part of their current illness on behalf on the nation.

Whereas school teachers are parasitic leaches sucking off the gubmint’s teet.

9) Arguments that we shouldn’t let the worst off members of society die are not valid moral arguments for single payer. They are arguments in favor of giving health care to those who cannot afford it, a much more limited project.

OK.

There’s also the argument that the current system sucks for people who do have health insurance because it limits our choice of doctors, because most of us rely upon our employers for health insurance and thus aren’t free to switch to other plans unless we want to pay through our asses, and because private insurers actually have incentives to deny people coverage, etc., etc., etc.

But never mind all that shit.

I’m just pissed that some greedy old biddy is trying to steal the money I was going to spend on an XBox 360 just so she can have her so-called “medication.”

123 Comments »

  1. FlipYrWhig said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:17

    So, ultimately, her whole thing comes down to — there are no groups, only individuals?

  2. Simba B. said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:18

    I love the wingnut passive voice. They think it lends authority to what, in reality, is a really shitty argument, but they just come off sounding like pretentious assholes. Which she totally is, so mission accomplished, as the wise philosopher once said.

  3. Douche Baggins said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:18

    Listening to a libertard like Megan McFuckwit talk about morality is like listening to the Pope lecture on condom use.

  4. Mooser said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:19

    You don’t understand, as usual! Meghan has discovered a way to stay young beautiful and healthy. See, she’s got this painting, which she keeps in a locked room upstairs…

  5. merciless said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:28

    God, can you imagine what Megen McArdel’s gonna be like when she has kids of her own and they ask her for lunch money?

    Yes, I can. I know a dozen old women who constantly say things like, “Well, I’d love to go visit my new grandchild, but the kids are so busy they said they don’t have time for me to come just now.”

    This is the kid’s way of saying they hated her growing up and could care less if she ever darkens their door again.

    The old ladies say this every birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, too. Old Megan has quite the surprise coming to her in thirty years.

  6. Jon H said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:30

    It’s like McArdle hasn’t quite figured out that there are diseases and conditions inherent to aging itself, that have nothing to do with ‘luck’ or bad habits.

    Old people who worked in labor-intensive jobs are simply going to have more problems, through no fault of their own.

  7. His Grace said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:30

    Can I get a job at the Atlantic? I can write a half dozen posts with the premise that old people deserve to be sick and die too but they would at least be less self-righteous. Really, the basic shorter Megan for all of this is something to the effect of Iz can has new iPhone? Insurance? Don’t comprehedz how works. Blame Old People.

  8. Jon H said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:31

    “Whereas school teachers are parasitic leaches sucking off the gubmint’s teet.”

    And coal miners got black lung because all the cool kids were doing it.

  9. Mooser said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:31

    I can’t wait to tell my in-laws, my wife’s parents, who have supported our marriage, been good friends to us, and loaned us money when we needed it, that they have no claim on us! I’m sure when they check that stance against their Christian religion, they’ll understand.

  10. Jon H said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:35

    The inability to conceive of the situations of others, it burns!

  11. dslak said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:35

    I would expect a libertarian to argue simply that it is unjust to take money from one person to give it to another, regardless of need. Bringing in need seems to actually be self-defeating for the libertarian position. Beyond that, I didn’t think there were still people who bought into a utilitarian case for libertarianism; that’s just silly.

  12. Lesley said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:37

    Well, because I have no problem paying taxes to help old sick people now, because I’m going to be old and sick in the future.

    Megan’s rather short sighted about her own self-interest (or perhaps she’s stinking filthy rich and doesn’t depend on anyone).

    Unemployment insurance is another example. With the exception of the self-employed, all employers and workers contribute to the fund. I haven’t been unemployed in over 25 years and it’s likely I’ll never be unemployed (crosses fingers/toes) so how does paying into the fund benefit moi? Helping people (and sometimes whole communities) stay afloat during hard times benefits society and the economy overall. It keeps people paying rent/mortgages, keeps people consuming, keeps people healthy and reasonably happy. What do you get when you reduce unemployment insurance or prevent certain workers from qualifying? Homelessness and despair! Homelessness and despair has broader social consequences and costs big bucks to repair.

    The unemployment insurance fund is also used to subsidize wages (preventing layoffs) and fund training programs. We call that corporate welfare, something Megan’s probably ok with. (I’m speaking of the Canadian system – it pumps millions back into communities across the country every month.)

    ****
    I’ve met single conservatives who get all fussy about having to subsidize education. “Why should we pay when we don’t have kids? If you want to have kids that’s your choice. If you want to have kids you should be able to afford them,” etc. I don’t have kids, but darn, I kind of like the idea of contributing to their education because some day those kids are going to be building and maintaining the bridges I drive over or building/repairing my home or looking after me in hospital. Paying taxes to benefit others also benefits me-me-me.

  13. Jon H said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:38

    Does McCurdle have any family members over 65 that speak to her?

  14. mikey said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:38

    Maybe I’m missing the point. Perhaps all this type of discussion needs to happen only in the rarified air of the ivory tower. Because, from down here, it just sounds mean, venal, stupid and self serving.

    Why would their even BE a discussion about whether the “old and sick” have some kind of philosophical “moral claim” on wealth in the possession of the rest of society, including another subset identified as the “young and health”? Is this some kind of basis for determining whether to take care of one another?

    Shouldn’t the fact that we are a community, we’re all in this together, and our compassion and our humanity compels us to try to heal the sick, feed the hungry, help the less fortunate? Why must there be some kind of sick, high minded ROI calculation? What kind of society does this woman aspire to live in? One that steps over the elderly, the dying, that refuses to treat the sick, the poor, the needy because they can’t PAY for their treatment? So, what, they should die? Is that markets at work?

    Seems to me we’re way too far down that path already. Where are the voices arguing for community, empathy, compassion? Where are the stuffy intellectuals when people, OUR people, are suffering and dying every day?

    Megan not only asks the wrong question, she doesn’t even understand the problem…

    mikey

  15. Kathleen said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:38

    yes, let’s compare government programs targeted only to poor people (affordable housing) to those where the wealthy are also forced to buy-in (social security).

    let’s make health care more like the projects and less like the most successful and popular social program in our country! great idea McCardle!!

  16. Jon H said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:39

    “or perhaps she’s stinking filthy rich and doesn’t depend on anyone”

    Supposedly she lived in New York all her life. I’m guessing she doesn’t mean the Bronx. I wouldn’t be surprised if her family had lots of money.

  17. Legalize said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:39

    Gotcha. Making sure that old people get care when they are sick, as well as making sure that younger people get care when they are sick is imoral because some people (young and old) get sick because they get old and / or because they have bad habbits like drinking and smoking. Further, young people do not get sick unless they drink and smoke, and old people necessarily get sick because they are old OR because they drank and smoked in their younger days.

    I wonder what would happen if your average wingnut actually bothered to inform herself about the topics she purports to “argue” about, instead of basing every “argument” on “it seems to me,” and “I would imagine” speculation. Scary things I’m certain.

  18. Kathleen said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:41

    Mikey – I think her point is simple, though she obfuscates it in stupid (probably on purpose).

    any government health case program should only help “poor” people.

    if this is the starting point, then we end up with no substantial health care reform.

  19. Legalize said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:41

    “Supposedly she lived in New York all her life. I’m guessing she doesn’t mean the Bronx. I wouldn’t be surprised if her family had lots of money.”

    She has Upper East Side written all over her face. She’s probably been living in a $200/ month penthouse on Park Ave. all her life. She simply can not understand reality.

  20. Batocchio said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:41

    Every argument she makes is painful. The most charitable description would be that each McCardle argument is extremely narrow and ignores context, common sense and relevance. Although I think the “cheesy fries” example in a previous thread summed it up best.

    Even if she were right in her hair-splitting, so what? Universal, single-payer health care is still a better system than anything she’s proposing. It’s still a good thing. It’s still practical, and a vast improvement, except perhaps for for the wealthy.

    I think she needs to put down the Ayn Rand reader and read some basic anthropology texts. There’s a term called “generalized reciprocity” (sort of akin to the Golden Rule, actually) that Dr. Rocket captures nicely with “They’re old and sick. I’m young and healthy. They need the help. I don’t at present.”

    (And yeah, what is it with this so-called libertarians being against taxes, social services, public libraries but cool with torture?)

  21. uri said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:43

    Clearly, Logan’s Run demonstrated the most appropriate approach to care of the elderly.

  22. Righteous Bubba said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:47

    The key word that libertarians have never figured out is society. There is one, and it’s a collaboration whether they like it or not.

  23. uri said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:47

    care *for* the elderly

    ugh, half-edits

  24. Cat Brother said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:52

    You know, I’ve gotten to like Andrew Sullivan, pretty much, over the last few years, and then he had to complain that bloggers were hating on Ms. McArdle. Because she has ‘guts.’
    GUTS, Sullivan? Heaving the elderly off the lifeboat takes guts?
    I’d post a link to Bats Left, Throws Right, who does a great takedown, but not enough of you would go see, so the highlights –
    “Even so (arguendo), how can we say that asking the young to contribute to the health care needs of the elderly is economically unfair? Aside from the people Objectivists do not care about–the unlucky few born to poverty, or orphaned, the sapling versions of the people they’re willing to send to their deaths at age 65 or above in the Great Cosmic Lottery–the young have been fed, clothed, and housed for most of their existence at no charge. They’ve been educated at someone else’s expense, including that same group of the elderly and infirm who’ve build and defended the businesses where most of those young people earn their money, the roads they take to get there, the infrastructure they use once they do. If they get into an accident on the way they’re assisted by police, fire, and hospital services, public or mostly public, of whose costs they personally have borne very little.
    Maybe, to achieve economic equity, people under 30 should have to get to a hospital under their own power, or else bleed to death. Perhaps we should hand every 21-year-old a bill for the public health services that eradicated smallpox or provided him with drinking water and adequate sanitation. Maybe we should just go whole hog and start a Borgesian Lottery. Maybe we need to reconsider the economic efficiencies of the high-quality protein (tender, too!) that is the human infant. That’s the great thing about libertarianism: options. ”

    OK, fine,
    http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2007/08/getting-other-people-to-die-for-your.html

  25. John said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:57

    My favorite comment on that post is the one arguing that the problem with our health care insurance system right now is *over-regulation*, and we should try letting the HMOs be free, free, free from government oversight.

    Because once it is free from the onerous and soul-sucking burden of regulation, Blue Cross’ truel soul shall burst loose, showering all the needy with morally appropriate health care.

  26. The Hon. Dr. St. Rev. Bradley S. Rocket, Esq, PhD, MD said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:58

    To be clear here, I bear no particular malice to Ms. McArdle as I do with other, more vile propagandists, i.e., Ole Perfesser Reynolds, Malkin, etc. She’s simply a person who is amusingly wrong about a great many things, but I don’t put her in the same class as the Mark Steyns of the world.

    That said, her hire at the Atlantic isn’t exactly tempting me to subscribe to them in the near future.

  27. billy pilgrim said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:00

    Now that the Glorious war In Iraq is all ponies and candy, they are obviously devoting their best rhetoricians to battling eeevvvul HEALTH CARE!!!

  28. t4toby said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:03

    She is fun to mock, but I am so sick of seeing that self-satisfied face of hers.

    Since I seem to be firmly in the lookism camp (I still think teh sammich was funny, and teh celery was even better), I guess I just can’t stand her homely, I Wish I Was Pretty But I’m Not So I’m Going To Prove How Smart I Am In Order To Maintain My Dignity Since No One Ever Taught Me That There Is More To Life Than The Material schtick.

    Wher’s Derb? The Prefessers (Cyborg and the Lesser)? Malkin? Coulter? VDH?

    ‘Cause this beeyatch has been occupying too much real estate around here lately!

  29. Kathy said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:07

    She seems to be objecting to elderly people who are well-to-do getting single payer insurance. Those people pay their taxes (mostly) and are as entitled to the benefits as much as anyone. It’s like saying Well-to-do should pay a toll to cross a bridge that poor people can cross for free.

  30. Dorothy said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:08

    the entire enormous class of people who are old and sick must have some justified claim on the money of the young and healthy.

    They do. It’s called a social contract.

    See, Meghan, when you a child, your parents cared for you because you could not care for yourself. They fed you, clothed you, provided shelter, gave you medical care, and sent you to all those fine, fine schools.

    Guess what? They could not possibly raise you in a vacuum. They used the available resources of society to take care of you, whether it was having a neighbor or friend babysit you, sending you to daycare with underpaid teachers, having a nice boss who let them take time off of work, sending you to public schools (with underpaid teachers), taking you out to local parks, enrolling you in community sports programs, etc. Heck, even tiny occurrences like the time you got lost at Sears and the security guard got you back to your parents or the various drivers who actually yielded in school zones and didn’t run you over, yes, even these people “helped” raise you.

    See, now your parents and all the various people who assisted them in whatever way when you were a child are 25 years older, and they are getting “old and sick”. Now would be a great chance to pay them back, to say “Thank you, Ms. Watkins, for being the best third grade teacher in the world!” or “Wow, Mr Pickup Truck Man, it was sure nice of you to brake that time I rode my bike into the intersection without looking!”

    Here’s the deal: Society as a whole cares for the “young and healthy” when they are still the “young and helpless”, and Society as a whole– including the “young and healthy”–promises to care for the “old and sick” in return for the caring these people gave when they were young and healthy.

    It is about transferring money from group to another, yes, but you have the wrong groups: it’s about transferring money from people who more than they need to people who don’t have enough. And you know what? Those group lines are fluid, and any one of us can move from group to the other, at any time. In 1998, my husband and I got laid off from two different companies at the same time, and we went from a combined six-figure annual income to no annual income at all: in the space of a week. And most Americans are one natural disaster, one catastrophic illness, one car accident, one company shut-down away from bankruptcy or financial ruin.

    But see, keeping these people in the “productive member of society” category (instead of the “homeless person” or “must turn to a life a crime” or “going postal” category) is a win-win for society as a whole. If the social safety net can catch them when they fall, they can get back to work a lot faster, there’s less “ripple effect” on their families, and you don’t end up with starving peasants rioting in the streets: everybody wins.

    You want to live in a true libertarian paradise? Fine. Sign up with http://www.survivorman.ca/>Survivorman for his next trip into nowhere with nothing, and don’t come back at the end of the week. Then, maybe, you can have some actual insights into “self sufficiency” and “independence”.

  31. Lesley said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:10

    Shouldn’t the fact that we are a community, we’re all in this together, and our compassion and our humanity compels us to try to heal the sick

    The Canadian “model” (although, sadly, with the wingnuts and greedy corporations taking over gov’t, this is changing) is very directly tied to self-interest and this is something people forget). It’s in everyone’s best interest to care for everyone else. Healthy greed, if you will.

  32. DocAmazing! said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:15

    I’ve got a great idea. Why should the rich be entitled to police protection for their stuff? Socialist schemes like “police protection” are patently unfair. Let’s raid their mansions, and ask them about their taxes.

  33. AkaDad said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:16

    uri said,

    Clearly, Logan’s Run demonstrated the most appropriate approach to care of the elderly.

    I prefer a Death Race 2000 type of solution…

  34. Dan Someone said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:17

    Um, this whole “young and healthy vs. old and sick” thing is a red herring. Single payer — or any properly designed universal health care program — would also transfer money from the old and healthy to the young and sick. Or from the young and healthy to the young and sick. Or from the old and healthy to the old and sick. In reality, it would transfer money from the healthy of any age to the sick of any age. More specifically, it would transfer money from healthy people who can afford it to sick people who can’t, regardless of age.

    To answer mikey’s point, the whole issue boils down to where you draw your “circle of responsibility.” Nobody questions the idea of parents providing a free ride for their kids, or adult children providing a free ride for their parents at a later age. Everybody includes their immediate family inside their circle. The question is, how far do you extend that circle beyond yourself and your immediate family? Are you willing to pony up for more distant relatives? Neighbors and friends? Your neighborhood generally? Your town? Your state? Your country? Your planet?

    An extreme Randian — or, I suppose, a pseudointellectual quasi-Randian without much of a family — would draw the circle nice and tight around herself, failing to recognize that nobody — not nobody, not nohow — is a purely “self-made” person. I suspect many of us here would draw a much wider circle. (And of course, when your circle gets wide enough, you have to rely on collective action — i.e., action by a government derived from our collective will — to provide for many or most of those within the circle. That’s what really galls the Randroids.)

  35. Johnny Coelacanth said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:20

    “It’s in everyone’s best interest to care for everyone else. Healthy greed, if you will.”

    AKA, enlightened self interest. This used to be an important component of libertarianism, or so I thought.

  36. Jeff said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:25

    You could call her post “When economic ignorance happens to lame pundits.”

  37. MMcCurdle Should Be An Island said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:28

    Lesley,

    I’d say the idea missing from Mz. McCurdled’s whole “arguendo” is that HEY MZ STUPID, those old people (or poor people, or disabled people, or whatever) don’t just STUFF THAT MONEY UP THEIR ASSES – they use it to pay, oh, things like FOOD, and HEAT, and GAS. What I’m trying to tell you, Mz. KnowItAllAlreadyAt39, is IT STAYS IN THE ECONOMY, STUPID. Everybody benefits.

    Hell, probably MORE than they do when, like, the money stays in your trust fund. That way, it only finances another fuckwit retard Atlantic columnanimalist.

    Jeebus on a stick, are you SURE Emerson used to write for that mag?

  38. a different brad said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:33

    Is she really arguing that in a single payer system even old people that aren’t sick have a right to money?
    Does she have the vaguest clue what she’s talking about?

  39. Robert Green said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:35

    her point is incoherent. veterans are pursuing goals that benefit the larger society, on that society’s behalf. but meghan claims (or manages not to notice she is claiming, but she ain’t too bright) that there is no society that needs supporting. there are only the competing claims of various individual actors, that must be weighed against each other.

    so what, and for whom, were the veterans fighting?

    for society. and she thinks they deserve health care from the rest of us.

    she’s so obtuse it’s stunning. of course, anyone who isms first and fits the facts to fit the ism is a priori an idiot.

  40. FlipYrWhig said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:45

    so what, and for whom, were the veterans fighting?

    Maybe each individual libertarian soldier fights for him- or herself exclusively. That’s bound to work out “morally” well.

  41. Jake H. said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:51

    First off, aren’t libertarians supposed to be individualists? Man alive does she generalize like it’s going out of style. “Young and healthy,” “old and sick.” I can think of a great political thinker that relentlessly and simplistically shoved all of humanity in two basic economic classes, and I was under the impression that Randroids weren’t the biggest fans.

    At any rate, if there’s a single flaw (haw!) in her argument that reduces it to a cartoony caracature, it’s that she seems to think of single-payer health care as some massive, one-time payoff from one segment of the population to another.
    1.) Time will go on. The young will get old. Yes, Megan, even you. And when you are venerable enough to have age-related illnesses, guess what–you will be eligible for help from the same system you paid into!
    2.) Has she heard of MIDDLE AGE? She makes it sound like armed IRS agents are going to tromp into college dorm rooms and ransack everyone’s sock drawers looking for the tips they made waiting tables over the weekend. The burden will also be borne by middle-aged folks who are probably starting to need more health care than they did ten years before, and will need a heck of a lot more ten years later. Think of them as the lumpen-young-and-healthy, Megan!
    3.) A lot of illnesses are age-related. A lot of illnesses AREN’T, and a lot of young people DO get sick. I don’t get why she seems to think she can just set all of that aside for the sake of argument. That makes the ensuing argument largely meaningless.
    4.) Babies and children exist. Babies and children need to see the doctor quite frequently. A lot of youngish people with kids will probably draw a lot more out of the single-payer system than they pay into it.

  42. Aaron said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:53

    She confuses herself, I think, when she (unnecessarily) puts “young” with “healthy” and “old” with “sick.” The “young” and “old” distinction is totally beside the point: there are sick young people, and healthy old people. Health insurance in any form is supposed to take from the healthy and give to the sick, because health care is expensive and (this is the part I guess she doesn’t understand) we all benefit from having more healthy people and fewer sick people.

    As with her posts on the morality of torture, she’s smart enough to see a question that it might be interesting to talk about (here, “why should we insure people?”; there, “Why is torture wrong?”), but seems to be too lazy to do the work of actually answering it. She also doesn’t do herself any favors by mucking around with irrelevancies like differentiating between the young and old, or talking about freaky mind-reading devices.

  43. TR said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:55

    Quod Erat Dumbass

  44. bl0ndej0n said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:58

    Shorter Megan:

    Sure health care sounds nice, but if I focus my laser-sharp logic on any straw man that I can think of, it collapses into a tangled pile of charred illogicalness. Can I think of any other reason that I might be wrong? Anybody? I WIN!!!

  45. billy pilgrim said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:59

    Dorothy, I love you. well played indeed.

  46. mikey said,

    August 24, 2007 at 20:59

    Maybe each individual libertarian soldier fights for him- or herself exclusively.

    Mikey!

    Yes, Sergeant?

    Take a fire team around the back of the ville and set up an ambush.

    On it.

    Uh, Mikey?

    Yes Sergeant?

    Where you going?

    Oh, I gotta see the Ell Tee.

    Do it later. Get that ambush in place before 1300.

    Um, can’t do that, sarge.

    What do you mean, soldier?

    I gotta go re negotiate my contract.

    You what?

    My contract. If I’m going to lead an ambush, I want more money.

    Oh. Well, ok, but hurry up about it.

    On it, sarge…

  47. Jake H. said,

    August 24, 2007 at 21:02

    “OK, everybody who’s interested in this Iraq regime change project, please put your name and e-mail address on this sign-up sheet the corporal is passing around in the back of the room!”

  48. Clem said,

    August 24, 2007 at 21:05

    Damn, that’s who Megatron reminds me of: Melissa Gilbert.

    http://www.broadway.com/site_images/sn_041007_moon5.jpg

    WARNING: Link contains graphic imagery of Patrick Swayze.

  49. Miller said,

    August 24, 2007 at 21:07

    Shorter Megan: Hey Grandma, meet iceflow!

  50. Jay B. said,

    August 24, 2007 at 21:12

    Christ.

    1. There is already a federally-funded medical program for the elderly: Medicare.

    2. There is already a federally-funded medical program for the poor: Medicaid.

    3. There is already a federally-funded medical program for veterans: The VA.

    These have their pluses and minuses and don’t cover everyone. However, they DO already exist. And they are largely NOT what is considered the health care crisis in this country.

    That we DO already care for the “old and sick” through our federal tax dollars seems to me that if we fold in the “young and healthy” to the risk pool the overall risk goes down, the burden gets distributed throughout the system and the profit-driven “coverage” many of the rest of us suffer is gone.

    The morality isn’t in covering the poor or the old or the vets — they are, rightfully, already covered. It’s the working and middle classes we need to do right by.

  51. Incontinentia Buttocks said,

    August 24, 2007 at 21:17

    You know, I’ve gotten to like Andrew Sullivan, pretty much, over the last few years…

    Why does anyone ever cut Andrew Sullivan any slack? The man repeatedly pimped Charles Murray’s racist The Bell Curve and accused liberals and people on the coasts of being “fifth columnists” for Al Qaeda.

    That he knows how to use commas appropriately, has actually cracked the spine on a few books, occasionally realizes that many leaders of the GOP consider people of his sexual orientation barely human, and is apparently friends with Glenn Greenwald shouldn’t blind you to the fact that he’s as much of a moral monster as any of the other wingnuts.

  52. Nim, ham hock of liberty said,

    August 24, 2007 at 21:46

    That whole moral calculus of hers is based on flatulence. Stereotypes, unsupported assumptions, and juvenile moralizing.

    A productive middle American who gets laid off and hit by a car on his way home? Fuck him. No “moral claim” to health.

    A toddler whose parents don’t have health insurance? Fuck him.

    I mean…never mind the utilitarian argument. Medicare ALREADY pays for the “sick and old,” at the expense of us strapping young John Galts, and it’s a pittance from my paycheck that I’m happy to pay. Oh, and by the way, it manages to get them sickandold folks health care a lot more efficiently than the invisible hand does – private insurers pay one metric Fuckton more in administrative overhead, just for advertising and executive salaries.

    Every one of us has a vested interest in the well-being of everyone else. The society that allows John and Jane Galts to exist does so because of the work done by everyone that came before us, and everyone that lives with us. These immoral Randian halfwits are congenitally incapable of realizing how much their “achievements” are only possible through the largesse and cooperation of others. And that sometimes, we can’t just interalize the benefits while externalizing the costs.

  53. D. Sidhe said,

    August 24, 2007 at 21:49

    I’m baffled by her “transferring wealth to those who are sick even though they may not need it” argument. Don’t *all* insurance plans, including employer-sponsored and privately paid do the same thing? And not just health insurance, either. If you’re rich and one of your four insured vacation homes burns down, the insurance company can’t say, “Well, you could afford to rebuild it yourself, and we don’t think it’s fair to take premiums poor people have paid us to rebuild your home. Good luck, though.”

    If Meghan really wanted to impress me, she’d drop all her insurance and pay for everything out of pocket.

  54. D. Sidhe said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:00

    To be clear here, I bear no particular malice to Ms. McArdle as I do with other, more vile propagandists, i.e., Ole Perfesser Reynolds, Malkin, etc. She’s simply a person who is amusingly wrong about a great many things, but I don’t put her in the same class as the Mark Steyns of the world.

    Really? Well, I suppose that’s fair, as long as her obnoxiously self-centered pseudo-logical arguments aren’t anywhere that they could influence the way, say, voters think about things.

    If she gives up her column and promises never to discuss her opinions again in a room full of people who are not her own family, then I will be content to shun her like I would any other asshole who doesn’t understand the words “community” or “humanity”.

    Oh, wait, there will still be that torture-is-fine-if-it-works (And-it-seems-to-me-it-does) thing. No, I’m still going to have to bear her the same sort of malice I have for the rest of the torture apologists, in addition to the rape apologists, the child molestation apologists, the serial killer apologists, the genocide apologists…

  55. RandomObserver said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:04

    Andrew Sullivan sucks. I lost all respect for him when he wrote some Salon piece about how he was wrong about the Iraq War but none of that was his fault and he’lll be damned if he learned a single fucking thing from it. It was the typical “hey everyone was to blame, we were all fooled” nonsense along with the “I just have to be me and keep repeating the same mistakes, because me is stupid” we’ve grown so used to.

  56. Duros62 said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:07

    So, ultimately, her whole thing comes down to — there are no groups, only individuals?

    No, I think it’s shorter than that.
    Old & sick? Fuck ‘em, they should all just die.

    Soylent Green is people!!!!!!

  57. JW said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:10

    Is little meggie unaware of how health insurance (aka privatized socialism) work? It is the transfer of wealth from the healthy to the already wealthy in order to do as little as possible for the ill.

  58. owlbear1 said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:15

    Want a ‘Non-Moral’ reason for caring for the sick and elderly, Megan?

    How’s this?

    Kill the Rich! Kill the Rich! Kill the Rich!

    Crush them! Slash them! Torture their children! Burn them alive!

  59. Doc Nebula said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:18

    ‘s’weird. Hang out over at Jim Henley’s blog and Megan McArdle is practically a goddess. Come over here and the sudden blast of sanity is like getting hit in the face by a two by four. Or something.

    Libertarianism is a fabulous, wonderful, brilliant, amazing philosophy, as long as you only operate under the presumption that the world is full of parasites who only want to take what is rightfully yours, and you, yourself, are completely self sufficient and always will be and will never ever under any circumstances need anything from anyone else that they might not want to give or sell you.

    It would be great to live in a world where libertarianism could actually work; where every one of us was this mighty ultracompetent Heinlein man/woman and we all had plenty of money and we all had a big ranch somewhere out in the mountains with, like, a working fusion power plant in the basement and a molecular rearranger in the garage.

    And an invincible force field, too!

    And we could all do anything, like solve differential equations in our heads while driving nuclear powered rocket cars at supersonic speeds with one hand and shooting zombies with the other while our hot libertarian romantic interests manned the cobalt laser turret and kept the mind controlling slugs from Titan from landing in our silver mines.

    That would be SO cool.

    Here on Planet Bummer, though, many many of us need a mutually supportive social contract to get us through from day to day, and will need said mutually supportive social contract even more as time goes cruelly on and we all get steadily more and more wrinkly and funny looking with each passing day. Which kinda sucks. But it’s just the way it is.

  60. steve EVfuture said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:18

    I hope I don’t sound like some geezer saying this, but what the fuck is wrong with young people these days? They sit on the sidelines while the war goes on and on and then you hear them make incoherent, selfish statements like this. These people are very spoiled and uninterested in the plight of anyone but themselves and their friends on Facebook (or MySpace or whatever the fuck). The way things are going for the country, it can’t be long before the rug is pulled and they can’t find work except at WalMart. Maybe they’ll wake up, then. Maybe…

  61. RubDMC said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:20

    Maybe each individual libertarian soldier fights for him- or herself exclusively.

    That’s right. And Army of One, my friend. An Army of One.

    Actually, hundreds of thousands of Armies of Ones, all shooting at each other and shit.

    What a mess.

  62. Djur said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:22

    I can think of a great political thinker that relentlessly and simplistically shoved all of humanity in two basic economic classes, and I was under the impression that Randroids weren’t the biggest fans.

    Really? I thought the definition of a Randroid is that they are big fans of Ayn Rand.

    Although I’m not sure I’d term her a “great political thinker.”

  63. Lame Man said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:27

    I need someone to explain to me how McArdadoodle’s writing is different from, say, a 10,000 word argument about Klingon grammar.

    Possibly diverting, in a shameless geek kind of way, but of no practical use to anyone, anywhere.

    Also! I found Arguendo to be the weakest Marvel comix character evar!

  64. Righteous Bubba said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:33

    Libertarian arguments solidify the attraction of small “c” conservatism pretty handily. Do you really have to rejustify and requantify every last element of an argument every goddamned time you have it?

  65. Xel said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:39

    My problem with single-payer is the same problem I have with all socialism – maybe some people do not want to take part in this big insurance thing? Maybe they want to pay back all the money they have been given by others and then break out?

    I am more socialist than conservative, but more libertarian than socialist. I don’t like anything done arbitrarily or unethically. But my minarchy is selective :).

  66. Gus said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:44

    The very kindest thing that I can think to say about her is her writing sucks. There might be the kernel of a decent argument embedded in that argument, but it’s impossible to see.

  67. Djur said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:45

    Xel: do you have any idea exactly how much it would cost to ‘pay back’ everything you’ve received from society? Especially considering that a significant amount of that benefit — pollution control, crime control, education, etc. — has a permanent and continuous benefit?

    Believe me, if you had that kind of money, you could easily set up whatever kind of fortress of solitude you like.

  68. Woodrowfan said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:48

    the only sane response to such liberterian garbage is an open-mouthed disbelieving stare. The idea that someone ill has to “earn” health care is abhorent.

  69. mapaghimagsik said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:51

    Libertarian = “hey, thanks for the help. Now fuck off.”

  70. Wilson said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:54

    I’m really not clear on her point. Does she object to all insurance? Regardless of the payment system, insurance functions by pooling risk AND pooling premiums. The elderly and other high-cost healthcare recipients are economically unviable unless grouped with much lower-cost recipients. How does single-payer alter this in the least?

    Classifying single-payer as a forced transaction and the current system as a voluntary transaction ignores the very high cost of treating those unable or unwilling to enter the voluntary system. That cost, either directly through government reimbursement to those who provide indigent care, or indirectly through increased costs passed on to paying patients is effectively a forced transaction, but one that does little to increase efficiency of the system or encourage more “voluntary” consumption.

  71. mikey said,

    August 24, 2007 at 22:59

    Waitaminute, Sidhe. Perhaps you go too far?

    the serial killer apologists…

    Now, c’mon, everybody needs a hobby, and as long as they’re quiet, polite and clean up after themselves, really, who are we to say?

    mikey

  72. MrWonderful said,

    August 24, 2007 at 23:00

    Dorothy said it for me: it’s called “the social contract,” and it’s something you have tacitly signed, Megan, by living here. If you don’t like it, stop leeching off of the rest of us, and our parents, and our children, and move to an island of your own. Otherwise, shut up and pull your social weight, and stop pretending that you don’t have to row because “you didn’t choose the destination.” Idiot.

    Jesus Christ on toast, these people are unbelievable. They’re moral retards, is what they are. Seriously. Every one of her arguments rests on the psychotic premise that each person functions in the world independently of all others *and always has.* How narrow, selfish, or sick in da haid do you have to be to end up like this?

  73. John J said,

    August 24, 2007 at 23:13

    Megan dressesit up in nice “libertarian” terms, but really the fundamental reason that the US, alone among industrialized nations, has almost no social support system is…

    “…those lazy scumbag negroes and mexicans aren’t getting any of my hard-earned money.”

    JJ

  74. dex said,

    August 24, 2007 at 23:14

    i say we christian her blog ‘less than zero’.

  75. Jake said,

    August 24, 2007 at 23:57

    I lose her at the first step:

    > 1) Single payer transfers money from anyone who is young and healthy to anyone who is old and sick, regardless of their need for the money.

    > 2) For this to be moral, the entire enormous class of people who are old and sick must have some justified claim on the money of the young and healthy.

    Why? Why isn’t it moral just because it’s a nice thing to do? It’s immoral to do something for or give something to another person unless that person has a justified claim on it? Does she really not do anything nice for anyone in her life unless she persuades herself that they have a right to it? Damn.

  76. MrWonderful said,

    August 25, 2007 at 0:03

    Jake–

    It’s worse than that. The premise itself is nonsense. It divides the entire spectrum of society into a binary of young-healthy vs. old-sick. What about young-sick? What about middle-aged/healthy? What ab–

    Oh never mind. You get the idea. To a child, everyone is either a kid or a grownup. Behold the libertarian mindset.

    (Sorry, HTML. I know you have certain lib. sympathies. And I’m sure this smug, self-satisfied, myopic girl-woman represents the worst of that view. But Jeezus.)

  77. Righteous Bubba said,

    August 25, 2007 at 0:14

    Sorry, HTML. I know you have certain lib. sympathies.

    I think that’s Bradrocket. Curse him and his sympathy! Sympathy is a very nice quality in a young man.

  78. DEMIZE! said,

    August 25, 2007 at 0:40

    #

    merciless said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:28

    God, can you imagine what Megen McArdel’s gonna be like when she has kids of her own and they ask her for lunch money?

    Yes, I can. I know a dozen old women who constantly say things like, “Well, I’d love to go visit my new grandchild, but the kids are so busy they said they don’t have time for me to come just now.”

    This is the kid’s way of saying they hated her growing up and could care less if she ever darkens their door again.

    The old ladies say this every birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, too. Old Megan has quite the surprise coming to her in thirty years.
    Ahh,nah gon happin.Teh womb is a cold barren place,like her heart.Megan McScrooge.Humbug I say,are there no workhouses?

  79. DEMIZE! said,

    August 25, 2007 at 0:42

    #

    Legalize said,

    August 24, 2007 at 19:41

    “Supposedly she lived in New York all her life. I’m guessing she doesn’t mean the Bronx. I wouldn’t be surprised if her family had lots of money.”

    She has Upper East Side written all over her face. She’s probably been living in a $200/ month penthouse on Park Ave. all her life. She simply can not understand reality.
    I live Rent Control,but for that I’d move.Sounds like a good deal.

  80. El Cid said,

    August 25, 2007 at 1:00

    What kind of perverted twisted moron freaks thinks it’s a WASTE of their money if it helps all kinds of people around them stay alive & healthy?

    What, that money would be much better spent on Doritos?

  81. lesley said,

    August 25, 2007 at 1:12

    Come to think of it, the filthy stinkin’ rich people depend on low-wage slaves and middle income wage earners for plenty. I’m sure Paris Hilton has a dozen maids cleaning her bidet (no big deal, cuz her shit smells like fresias cuz she’s rich, I’m sure) and wiping her bum, and every time she’s up up on a DUI, she depends on security guards to bring her meals and clean her cell and so on.

    Abandon the spoiled, snooty jaw-flapping arrogant rich and they break just like little girls.

  82. liberalrob said,

    August 25, 2007 at 1:13

    Latest Megan McAddled post:

    How racist was the Southern strategy?

    The “Southern strategy” should imply not merely that Republicans started campaigning in the south (that would be logical if they thought they should win there . . . and would Paul Krugman really spurn white racist voters who supported, say, the Democrats on single payer?) It should imply that Republican policy changed to make it more palatable to racists. Is this true?

    Hilarious.

    BTW, I nominate “Megan McAddled” as her official nickname.

  83. El Cid said,

    August 25, 2007 at 1:30

    would Paul Krugman really spurn white racist voters who supported, say, the Democrats on single payer?

    I’m trying to think through how a white racist voter would view a single-payer health plan as somehow helping white supremacy.

    Er, um, all these poor whites getting more health care might have more babies survive? What?

  84. Nimrod Gently said,

    August 25, 2007 at 1:48

    ALL OLD AND SICK PEOPLE ARE INCREDIBLY RICH

    YES THEY ARE OKAY THEY JUST ARE EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM THIS IS A FACT

    SHUT UP

  85. D. Sidhe said,

    August 25, 2007 at 2:18

    It would be great to live in a world where libertarianism could actually work; where every one of us was this mighty ultracompetent Heinlein man/woman and we all had plenty of money and we all had a big ranch somewhere out in the mountains with, like, a working fusion power plant in the basement and a molecular rearranger in the garage.

    Wait, no pony?

    I admit to being amazed that paying someone back for lunch is moral but buying someone lunch is immoral. If I was interested in being charitable and paying enough attention to her to wring coherence out of her comments, I would note that in my analogy the “immoral” act is actually letting someone buy you lunch when they owe you nothing, but, hey, Meghan has offered me neither coherence or generosity and it would be immoral for her to get any from me, apparently.

  86. Anne Laurie said,

    August 25, 2007 at 2:39

    So, ultimately, her whole thing comes down to — there are no groups, only individuals?

    No, no — in McArdle’s universe, there are only groups. There is the small, select, wonderful Group Alpha of “Megan McArdle, plus the people now signing my paycheck, and the people I will consider friends until the minute they turn all boring & needy & resentful & useless on me” and there’s an amorphous foggy range of Groups Beta thru Omega consisting of “all those dim grubby strawmen and cardboard cutouts who steal my tax money, take up my parking spaces, and refuse to let me smoke in airports or dump my garbage in the playground down the block”. It doesn’t seem like Megan actually knows any “individuals” — it’s just Megan McArdle, Grrrl Jeeeenyus, plus a floating cast of disposable shield-bearers.

    Really, it’s a good thing Megan has her all-purpose Libertarian Pillar of Rectitude, because if she wasn’t standing on it, she might get totally lost in the fog of “social contract” and “duty to others” talk that we faceless caricatures seem so prone to spouting! Standing tall upon that miniscule, yet ever-supportive Pillar gives her the security to look down upon all us lesser mortals (who get sick and/or old and/or stupid and/or cranky) and deliver her well-paid (if poorly-written) sermon about how life is unfair, and hey — so is Megan McArdle! ROTFLMPLAO!!!1!

    Bradley, your “Becky Sharp” comparison isn’t really fair… to Becky Sharp, who at least had genuine reasons for being a heartless bitch. Megan McArdle is the libertarian Paris Hilton. She’s not smarter or prettier or more talented than her fellow Girl Randroids, but she cannot be bested at sheer self-promotion and a relentless drive to turn even her most embarrassing stunts into personal profit.

    Just as Paris Hilton is the “fun” celebrity version of George W. Bush, Megan McArdle is the “fun” celebrity version of Wolfowitz and Perle.

  87. noen - assumptress of ubiquitous representation said,

    August 25, 2007 at 3:23

    Hey Megan!
    ummm… that air ur breathin’… you ahhh, you pay fer that?

    ‘Cause we want it back.

  88. Johnny Coelacanth said,

    August 25, 2007 at 4:05

    In re Andrew Sullivan: “The man repeatedly pimped Charles Murray’s racist The Bell Curve.” He compounded his sin by saying “One of my proudest moments in journalism was publishing an expanded extract of a chapter from “The Bell Curve” in the New Republic before anyone else dared touch it.”

    Ah yes, transgressing teh boundaries of acceptable discourse. Who cares if it was overt racism? Publishing it was BOLD. Fuckwit. Bite my fifth columnist ass, Andy.

  89. Cat Brother said,

    August 25, 2007 at 4:24

    Dammit, before any of you comment further, I want you ALL to go back and read the page I linked to, where Bats Left Hits RIght treats Ms. McArdle to a double leg takedown plus Kimura lock.
    Screw all this ‘being nice to people’ stuff, her quality of life is based on the acts, money, and sacrifices of those older than her. It’s about that simple. The safe food she eats, the highways she drives on, the police force she’ll call if she has a problem, were all put in place with the time, money and effort of previous generations.
    Her faux-smart but half-inch-deep thinking reminds me of when I listened to Loveline, back yonder in the 90′s. Some girl would call up, sound abso-fuckin’-lutely like Young Meghan, and Adam Corolla would finally say, man, you must be good lookin’. ‘Cause if you weren’t, people would have told you to shut the fuck up long ago.

    And No, I don’t find her good looking, except possibly in a pinched repressed issues-to-work-out Uber-Honky White girl way.

  90. NobodySpecial said,

    August 25, 2007 at 4:26

    It’s fairly obvious that as a youth, her parents wouldn’t sustain her required lifestyle, so now she hates on the old.

    I wonder if she keeps her parents locked in a panic room and is letting them starve to death, too, since they don’t deserve food either.

  91. MzNicky said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:00

    OMG, do I love you all. Well, except for Jay B. And Xel, who makes no sense at all.

    steveEVfuture: These ARE the young people, here, articulately showing their love. As a fellow geezer, I have to say, my hope for the future has been somewhat renewed just by reading this thread. Grateful, I am.

    John Lennon said it: “I am he as you are he as you are me, and we are all together.”

  92. M. Simon said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:09

    The money should be for old sick people with out resources.

    The payers will keep the system honest.

    The poor will be a small burden.

  93. M. Simon said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:12

    We are going to have our fusion plants:

    Bussard Fusion Reactor http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/03/mr-fusion.html

    Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2006/11/easy-low-cost-no-radiation-fusion.html

    You might not want one in your basement though. Down the block might work.

  94. M. Simon said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:15

    If you think government housing is a good idea you will love government medicine.

  95. M. Bouffant said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:16

    From the sidebar on Little Orphan Megan’s blog:

    Object of the week
    I’m generally kind of skeptical of those all-in-one “It’s a Dalmation, and it’s also a delicious breakfast drink!” kind of gadgets. My general feeling is that I’d rather have a good phone than a mediocre camera. But I am completely in love with my new multi-function printer, which has already saved me several dollars in faxing and copy fees. It’s a laser, not an inkjet, so it’s decently fast and sharp, and best of all, it hooks straight into my wireless network. I chuckle with glee every time I use it.

    Now there’s some blog-whoring! “Multi-function printer” is an Amazon link in the original. Note also that, degree in English from Penn or not, she can’t spell “Dalmatian,” & apparently no one else at The Atlantic can either.
    Legalize: Her bio says she’s from the Upper West Side (born & raised). Which fits w/ what was said a few MegaThreads ago; someone thought she was of a leftish background & so knew which buttons to push. Much like Sully, they both think they’re being so deliciously “politically incorrect,” because they’re going against an allegedly liberal, comsymp society, not realizing or caring that the power structure/forces of oppression remain the same as always, just a bit more discreet these days.

    Someone above at least implied she was 39, no mention of spouse or offspring in bio or elsewhere. Wonder why? (Not that I’m hitched or have ever reproduced or am younger, in the interests of full diclosure.)
    And yes, Catbrother (Hey, I’m one too!) I’ll be going to Doghouse’s very soon, as I do every day. He’s about as good as it gets in the world of “web logs,” all others should visit as well. But right now I have to see if Krauthammer’s going to be on Dr. Who tonight.

  96. M. Simon said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:19

    I hate the Bell Curve too!

    And I’m wondering what kind of discrimination keeps white people from winning Olympic Sprint races. Or why white folks are kept off of basket ball teams for the most part. Basket ball teams don’t look anything like our general population. It is so unfair.

    Inequality

  97. M. Simon said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:29

    Plus why are Jews so overrepresented in the Nobel Prizes?

    And why are blacks so under represented?

    Just like sports teams example, I think there is a lot of discrimination going on.

    Aren’t we all equally able? Can’t we all run an under four minute mile and also solve partial differential equations? I mean why do you have to be good at solving partial differential equations to design aircraft? Shouldn’t arithmetic be good enough?

    You see the “standards” for these fields are so discriminatory. If there wasn’t discrimination every one could have access to any job they wanted. These so called standard are just for keeping the black man down. Except for sports teams where they keep the white man down.

  98. DEMIZE! said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:31

    I’ll bet she’d love the “Vivoleum” so efficient.

  99. M. Bouffant said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:40

    M. Simon: Why don’t you go play w/ your friends over here.

  100. M. Bouffant said,

    August 25, 2007 at 5:51

    And here’s the translation for the poster in the post. (Always happy to help our kind & generous hosts.)
    This poster is from the 1930′s, and promotes the Nazi monthly Neues Volk (New People}, the organ of the party’s racial office. The text reads: “This genetically ill person will cost our people’s community 60,000 marks over his lifetime. Citizens, that is your money. Read Neues Volk, the monthly of the racial policy office of the NSDAP.”
    (M. Simon may approve.)

  101. Anne Laurie said,

    August 25, 2007 at 6:27

    Wow, Megan’s got her own suckpuppet!

    Wonder if it gets to be next week’s sidebar “Object”?

  102. Steve Kelso said,

    August 25, 2007 at 6:56

    Is she or isn’t she of the proletariat? From her perch at the Atlantic:

    Your roots are proleterian?
    Megan McArdle was born and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 with a degree in English Literature, and worked for several technology startups before getting an MBA from the University of Chicago. After graduating in 2001, she worked for a time at the World Trade Center disaster recovery site, where she started blogging at Asymmetrical Information. Megan currently works as an economics journalist for the website of The Economist.
    I don’t know you personally, but someone who casually read that biographical sketch of you would think you were completely full of s***. But I’ll let you defend your claim, although at this point you’ll need to present some evidence you weren’t just trying to sneak a fast one by your readers.
    Posted by Justin | August 25, 2007 12:22 AM

    a) My parents did not spring, full grown from the head of Zeus, into being on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I have relatives elsewhere
    b) There are a surprising number of working class old people on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
    Posted by Megan McArdle | August 25, 2007 12:32 AM

    Justin, Justin. I know. I thought the same. But then I realized someone of Megan’s stature, hired by the Atlantic and all, would never post such a easily disproval fiction, if it was such. I think she must have been raised by someone’s maid, under the stairs as it were. Perhaps her father was the butler/driver, handyman type. Then, the kindly employers helped with the college fees, providing the young Megan with first hand experience of the charity she mentions re: Katrina.
    Because, after all, McCardle’s humble beginnings must be known to many of those she grew up curtsying too, and they’ll vouch for her, I’m sure. Well, mainly sure.

    Posted by Steve Kelso | August 25, 2007 12:37 AM

    Justin, Justin. I know. I thought the same. But then I realized someone of Megan’s stature, hired by the Atlantic and all, would never post such a easily disproval fiction, if it was such. I think she must have been raised by someone’s maid, under the stairs as it were. Perhaps her father was the butler/driver, handyman type. Then, the kindly employers helped with the college fees, providing the young Megan with first hand experience of the charity she mentions re: Katrina.
    Because, after all, McCardle’s humble beginnings must be known to many of those she grew up curtsying too, and they’ll vouch for her, I’m sure. Well, mainly sure.

    Posted by Steve Kelso | August 25, 2007 12:38 AM

    Now I’m really baffled. Ms McCardle likes bulleted lists. OK:

    A)My parents did not spring, full grown from the head of Zeus, into being on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I have relatives elsewhere
    B)Megan McArdle was born and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
    Is it A or B, or A-B, B-A, or sort of a quantum fluctuation?
    Posted by steve kelso | August 25, 2007 12:42 AM

  103. Steve Kelso said,

    August 25, 2007 at 6:58

    Well, while we’re waiting for Ms McCardle to clarify, there is an Nth possiblity: she believes that “proletariat” is anyone making less than a million bucks a year.

  104. Matt Ortega » Meghan McArdle on Single-Payer Healthcare said,

    August 25, 2007 at 7:18

    [...] Tags: Healthcare 24Aug The Hon. Dr. St. Rev. Bradley S. Rocket, Esq, PhD, MD schooled The Atlantic’s Meghan McArdle — and hey, he should know, he’s a doctor, [...]

  105. RandomObserver said,

    August 25, 2007 at 9:20

    Is there some law that says libertarians have to be selfish flaming retards?

    The entire political philosophy is just looking out for number 1.

  106. M. Simon said,

    August 25, 2007 at 9:36

    What?

    You don’t think it is covert racism causing all these differentials?

  107. www.dmocrats.org said,

    August 25, 2007 at 12:34

    We already have socialized firefighting and socialized policing in this country as we do not pay for each incidence of fighting a fire or preventing or solving a crime against us when the police come to our home in order to help us. So if we pay taxes for firefighting and crimefighting, I consider it good enough that our tax dollars should pay for the medical care that we get.

    We already have transfer of money from liberals to Republican war mongers who make preemptive strikes on countries that did not pose a threat to us. So Republican regressives can shut up about transfer of money and wealth against their will.

    Do you want to destroy the hold that corporations have over congress and the president? Simple. Organize and Demand progressive legislation from some of these corporations and do not buy from them until they get the GOP to get congress to enact this legislation.

    If you want to put an end to the Republiklan party, then

    Send this letter to the Republican party now! Also put this on your web page so others can see it.

    Copy and paste the letter below and email it directly to info@gop.com the Republican Party and get 2 friends to send this letter and have those 2 friends get 2 friends to send it and so on. Thank you. Drop me a message to info@dmocrats.org with the subject Done after you have sent the email.

    Hello

    Get your Republican party to end the war in Iraq, with Bush and Cheney resigning, and until you do we stop buying televisions, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, dishwashers, dvd players, stereo equipment, light bulbs from one of your party’s major contributors and War contractors General Electric Corporation ( 203 373 2211 ) who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to remove the FICA taxable income cap and tax all of a person’s income for social security purposes and enact HR 676 Single payer universal health care into law and repeal Medicare Part D and place the prescription drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering 80 percent of all medication with no extra premiums, no extra deductibles, no means tests, no coverage gaps, and completely remove the means test to Medicare Part B and until you do, we will not buy consumer products and prescription drugs from one of the biggest pharmacy chains and GOP contributors in the country, Rite Aid, who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to enact a $10 an hour minimum wage, and until you do, we will not go to the following restaurants and GOP contributors Wendy’s, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Dominos Pizza who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to enact into law Universal vote by mail with paper ballots counted by civil servants with civil servants registering voters and keeping track of registrations, and until you do, we will not buy any GOP contributor Dell computers or monitors or go to the following restaurants and GOP contributors Wendy’s, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Dominos Pizza who cannot afford to lose a large sector of the publics business and money.

    Get your Republican party to get congress to pass and enact a law legalizing abortions from conception to six months, and to nine months when the life of the mother appears threatened, and until you do we stop doing business with two of your biggest contributors Dominos Pizza and Curves for Women Health Clubs.

    Signed,

  108. Ruthie said,

    August 25, 2007 at 13:36

    I hate it when all the GOOD snark has been taken by the time I get here.

    One can only hope that this spawn of Harry & Louise discovers the wonderful world of: copays, deductibles, approved drug/treatment protocols, out-of-plan providers, the Plan approval process, non-covered services and treatments, claims reimbursement and (–drumroll please–) COBRA!

  109. Jason said,

    August 25, 2007 at 15:52

    So, is the point of the blogs at the Atlantic to increase print circulation? Or to drive up pageviews in anticipation of the print edition’s irrelevancy? If the latter, advantage: Atlantic. According to this bold new business model, I figure Ace will join Regina Lynn over at Wired any day now, so there can be anger-induced apoplexy and generalized orgasm all at once. Orgasplexy!

  110. W. Kiernan said,

    August 25, 2007 at 18:02

    A few years back, the Federal government and the Florida government built a new exit onto I-75 at SR56 just North of Tampa. I would like to ask Ms. McArdle, what “moral claim” did the beneficiaries of this construction have upon the taxpayers as a whole?

    Proponents of the new multi-million dollar exit doubtless made all kinds of claims about how it will pay for itself in the long run (improved access to land = more real-estate development = more jobs and increased property taxes = profit!), but that really seems to be beside the point with McArdle. The backbone of McArdle’s argument is that governments may only provide services when the recipients have some kind of “moral claim” to these services. Regarding the services governments may offer, you can’t have them if you just want them, or even if the government can clearly provide these goods considerably cheaper and better than private industry. Governments, even democratic ones, may not just pay for things the silly old public merely desires, like an Interstate exit over here, a library over there. No, they may do only what the iron law of some kind of unimpeachable morality demands, that and no more.

    But why? Why can’t the U.S. government supply the citizenry with a single-payer scheme like every civilized country in the world already has? Not because of some airy Randian moral razzmatazz, but because single-payer is cheaper, and far more humanely decent (by which I mean, in my soft-hearted way, that gosh it’s so much more nice not to strand your ailing Grandpa out on the ice floe), and cheaper, and leads to superior results as measured by obvious statistical bottom lines such as child mortality and life expectancy, and did I mention that atop its other advantages it’s cheaper – a Hell of a lot cheaper – than the ridiculous Wild-West medico-entrepreneurial chaos we U.S. citizens endure today?

    But no, we citizens mustn’t have all these benefits, nor will we be allowed to save and keep the really enormous cash money difference between the cost of single-payer and the cost of the world’s-most-expensive U.S. system, because we citizens lack the “moral right” to single-payer. “Morals”! Ptui!

  111. Jrod said,

    August 25, 2007 at 23:30

    Wow, a dumbshit troll came to SN and didn’t get fed? I’m very proud of all of you.

    As for McGalt, you gotta love avoid someone who can spend 3000 words on the morality of single payer health care without ever considering the morality of letting people suffer and die because they’re poor. OMG wealth transfer!!!

    Well maybe she considered it somewhere in that mess, but I don’t think I’ve ever been able to finish one of this moron’s posts. I get halfway through or so and decide my time would be better spent staring blankly into space and drooling. I learn more from the later activity as well.

  112. aimai said,

    August 25, 2007 at 23:31

    I gtihnk the thing that so staggers me about mccardles piece is how stunningly illogical it is while posing as logical and rational. The bizarre division of society into taxpaying healthy young people and health care producing/non tax paying/sick old people is simply absurd. A single payer health system means that every person who pays taxes is subsidizing every other person who may get sick and need care. Elderly working people who pay taxes, or elderly people who pay taxes on their assets, are just as likely to be paying into the health care system as young people. And, of course, young people do need health care and young families need health care all the time. But in adedition the category of “healthy young person” who pays into the system without needing it is a vanishingly small portion of the population because being young, like being healthy, is a transitory state. *even if it were true* that the entire burden of the payments fell on some hypothetical “young and healthy” class of persons how long does any individual person fall into that category of paying out before they enter (however unwillingly) into the category of those receiving payments? What does she think the human lifecycle looks like? Is it largely composed of healthy working 18-25 year olds and the rest of us are old codgers? Cause if we are the 18-25 year olds aren’t really paying taxes for the rest of us for very long before, well, they are 26 and starting to need serious care.

    aimai

  113. mikey said,

    August 26, 2007 at 1:34

    Wow, a dumbshit troll came to SN and didn’t get fed? I’m very proud of all of you.

    Well, thanks, but honestly? It’s helpful when they’re that incoherent. It’s hard to respond to a post that looks for all the world like a message that’s been encrypted using a word-replacement scheme based on a one-time pad…

    mikey

  114. J— said,

    August 26, 2007 at 5:32

    Don’t look now, but McYardle the Turtle has another health care post up, this one complaining about the WHO’s 2000 ranking of world health care systems. She takes issue with the United States’ position, wouldn’t you know. Among other failings, she cannot or cares not to distinguish Latin American countries. They’re all just one amorphous blob of poor. All the same.

  115. owlbear1 said,

    August 26, 2007 at 7:11

    “If my health care isn’t tied directly to my employment WHY should I put up with all this bullshit?”

    “A Human resource asset that isn’t deathly afraid of unemployment is a more volatile resource to manage.”

  116. islmfaoscist said,

    August 26, 2007 at 7:47

    Forget the old and sick, it’s those helpless infants who as a group just want to unfairly rob us of all our money. How can that possibly be justified on utilitariolibertarian grounds?!

  117. Aaron said,

    August 26, 2007 at 11:31

    Notice the classware: its “young and health” v. “old and sick” and really she means: young v. old.
    her argument: your taking from the young to give to the old which is bad.
    In reality the classes are :”health” v. “sick” .
    young and old may make one more likely, but are not determinitive.

  118. forked tongue said,

    August 26, 2007 at 13:33

    117 comments and nobody mentions that she used the word “dranked”?

  119. Sadly, No! » Unintended irony said,

    October 18, 2007 at 2:46

    [...] McArdle does rather well for herself in terms of traffic, if for no other reason than people like us are linking to (and laughing at) her on a fairly regular basis. Memo to Atlantic editors: if [...]

  120. The Midpoint » Voting Obama Will Get You Laid said,

    October 9, 2008 at 5:08

    [...] “I got mine, so fuck you!”  (BTW, this particular fallacy of glibertarianism has been refuted to death.) 2. Social Security. Democrats constantly talk about how Republicans are going to take away [...]

  121. Anti-Government Extremism « Weilerblog said,

    August 7, 2009 at 0:15

    [...] not just McArdle, of course. She happens to be a high-profile and particularly shameless purveyor of the heart of Reaganism – that government is the problem, not the solution. And central to that [...]

  122. The Mahablog » You, Too, Can Be an Econoblogger! said,

    May 15, 2010 at 15:31

    [...] “megan mcardle is an idiot” sometimes, and you’ll find links to some of the best writers on the web, reduced to blubbering at the magnitude of McCardle’s [...]

  123. You Fucked It Up, cont’d. | Notes from Underground said,

    October 16, 2010 at 1:32

    [...] financial institutions and brokerage houses.  As we know, people like Megan McArdle are quick to blame (poor) individuals for their bad actions, but loath to condemn rich-ass corporations:  “But financial meltdowns don’t offer villains, [...]

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