One Of These Things Is Not Like the Other

[trigger warning: Megan McCardle]

Shorter McMegan: Some job security for your 50k a year job is exactly the same as earning 2 billion dollars in largely untaxed income as a hedge fund manager.

How this moron continues to fail upward is beyond me.

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112 replies
  1. 1
    Richard Shindledecker says:

    You can fool some of the people some of the time and if they’re the right people that’s enough. Oh well…

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    I will NOT read her!

    And, Ha-Ha!, there’s nothing you can do to make me!!!!!!

  3. 3
    Alexandra says:

    Gotta admit, that long ago, because I took Sully’s links seriously at the time, I used to read her over at the Atlantic for a short while… until I clicked onto how horrible she was. Sometimes, I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box.

    Still, better late than never.

  4. 4
    MattF says:

    “This is not actually a critique of anything anyone ever said or wrote, I’m just running off at the mouth.” Weelll, OK, then.

  5. 5
    Ben Cisco says:

    How this moron continues to fail upward is beyond me.

    It’s a feature, not a bug.

  6. 6
    Roger Moore says:

    How this moron continues to fail upward is beyond me.

    She comforts the comfortable, and there will always be good paying jobs in that area.

  7. 7
    Trollhattan says:

    You’ll have to wait on my thoughts on the book until they’re a bit more fully formed.

    Heh, indoozle. One is tempted by the temporal comparison of the timelines of her forming those “thoughts” to the galloping glacial melt-rate, but I’ll just predict Miami’s flooding wins.

    Also, too, does The Ole Perfessor know McArglebargle is goin’ after his tenure?

  8. 8
    PsiFighter37 says:

    What a stupid premise. Nothing more to add.

  9. 9

    @Trollhattan: She’s waiting for people much smarter than her to have cogent attacks on Piketty that she’ll glom onto those.

    OT, Trollhattan, but the CO River reached the Gulf today for the first time in 16 years. We had to create a pulse flow and have a super high tide, but it happened. http://www.livescience.com/457.....-gulf.html

  10. 10
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Trollhattan:

    …thoughts,,,

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  11. 11
    brad says:

    Why, oh why, JC, can’t you heed the sage wisdom of our great daddy Freddie and stop encouraging misogynistic attacks on McMegan solely because she’s awful and there’s nothing actually misogynistic about calling her out for that?
    Also, when you do this it tempts me to post on FMM, and that’s just cruel. Her upwards failure has leveled off, I escaped.

  12. 12
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Time for a refresher on just who McMeghan really is.

  13. 13
    Alex S. says:

    God, she’s such a moron, now she says that she’s currently reading Piketty’s book but we’ll have to wait for a while until we know her opinion on it. BUT: She already had her “review” up before she had started to read it. And of course, she’s now on the “If you want to raise taxes, then let’s tax EVERYTHING YOU HAVE, you stupid academic!” train. I propose McArdle should be taxed for her incredible ability to fail upwards. It’s a fantastic low-risk asset.

  14. 14
    Trollhattan says:

    @ranchandsyrup:
    Whoa, of all years for that to happen. IIRC they also do pulsing to restore Grand Canyon sandbars, but I don’t know if they have the water for that at present. (We’re busy making water flow backwards, which I’m told is a fun trick.)

    This damn drought is sure raising havoc with restoring the San Joaquin…especially while every Westside farmer bitches about how we’re worshipping Gaia’s fish over poor, hapless Mankind.

  15. 15
    Trollhattan says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    “I ‘think,’ therefore I blend.”

  16. 16
    Napoleon says:

    NY Times is reporting that Pelosi picked Dem members for the #Bengazi! panel.

  17. 17
    catclub says:

    @Alex S.: “then let’s tax EVERYTHING YOU HAVE”

    Actually, serious property taxes ( which include stock and financial assets,) could be effective in reducing inequality.

  18. 18
    Calouste says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yep, she writes things people with money and influence like to see written, and there’s been a career in that since the time cuneiform was invented.

  19. 19
    am says:

    I’m traumatized by trigger warnings. Please give advanced notice next time.

  20. 20
    raven says:

    Well, a dog thread and then a vets thread. At least I have something else to read.

  21. 21
    Turgidson says:

    She’s such a putz. Her review of Piketty was basically: “TL:DR. But he’s wrong because the Kochs don’t like what he wrote.”

  22. 22
    scav says:

    @Trollhattan: Don’t forget the ongoing jackbooted oppression of jet skis. Not to mention the lawsuits in favor of Gaia’s little money-spinning coastal oysters. Things are getting very complex.

  23. 23
    Belafon says:

    @Napoleon: And it’s pretty close to the list i would have picked:

    Elijah Cummings of Maryland
    Adam Smith of Washington state
    Adam Schiff of California
    Linda Sanchez of California
    Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

  24. 24
    fidelio says:

    @Alex S.: Let’s tax her kitchen equipment!

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    @Napoleon:

    NY Times is reporting that Pelosi picked Dem members for the #Bengazi! panel.

    It looks like a serious bunch: Elijah Cummings (MD), Adam Smith (WA), Adam Schiff (CA), Linda Sanchez (CA), and Tammy Duckworth (IL). Cummings is the ranking member in the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Smith is the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee. Not a bunch of backbenchers and time servers, that’s for sure.

  26. 26
    Trollhattan says:

    @scav:
    Why, oh why do we not yet have the jet ski quote as a rotating tag line?

    Angry mob

  27. 27
    Skippy-san says:

    DUMBEST ECONOMICS BLOGGER EVER.

  28. 28
    pete says:

    To contact the editor responsible for this article: James Gibney at jgibney5@bloomberg.net.

    Just sayin’

  29. 29
    Trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Ooh, here’s hoping Tammy Duckworth gets in some head-smackin’ time. She’s quite good at it.

  30. 30
    Turgidson says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Cummings is a respected senior congressman and a grizzled veteran of Darrell Issa’s mendacious witch hunts, so hopefully he’ll be effective in exposing and debunking the bullshit and conspiracy-mongering.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: THIS.

    The comfortable need to be made uncomfortable. If that takes tumbrel rides, so be it.

  32. 32
    Alex S. says:

    @catclub:

    You need to read the text (unfortunately). She wants to tax the ‘privilege of a professor’, i.e. the job security and the freedom to work beyond the mandatory retirement age (too bad the Koch brothers don’t care for that either). Apart from simply trolling Piketty, she wants to tax intangible assets – which is not what progressive taxation does. Taxation redistributes because it gives what it takes – money. McArdle’s idea doesn’t make sense here.

  33. 33
    srv says:

    When are you people going to by the McMegan a new calculator already?

    You liberals never solve problems, you just keep whining about them.

  34. 34
    Paul in KY says:

    @Belafon: Sounds like a good bunch.

  35. 35
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Trollhattan: She sure is. I’ll never forget how she took that contractor apart who made a bogus claim to a service disability. I wouldn’t piss her off if I could avoid it.

  36. 36
    TooManyJens says:

    @Alex S.:

    McArdle’s idea doesn’t make sense here.

    Might as well embroider that sentence and hang it on the wall.

  37. 37
    Yoda Dog says:

    @Alexandra: Many moons ago… to my utter horror and embarrassment today… I half took David Brooks somewhat seriously.. It had to be pointed out to me what a useless and disingenuous troll he really is. (Holds head down in shame..)

    Point being, you’re not alone. At least we learned!

  38. 38
    the Conster says:

    McMoron accusing others of missing the point – LOL. I bet she thinks she’s really onto something with comparing tenure to loss carry forwards, Repo 105 and offshore banking. What a dumbass clown, and she thinks she’s got something to say about Piketty? ORLY?

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    @Roger Moore:
    I’m not overly happy with Schiff, who was my Representative until the 2012 redistricting. He’s too Blue Doggy for my taste, especially given how strongly left leaning his district is. OTOH, he first won office by beating Jim Rogan about the head and shoulders with his role in the Clinton impeachment, so he should be reliable in keeping the investigation from turning into a witch hunt.

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:

    @Alex S.:

    McArdle’s idea doesn’t make sense here.

    Shorter.

  41. 41
    catclub says:

    @Alex S.: You canna make me read her.

    I will note that in NC the property tax, which hit financial assets ( but only those OUT of state, hence ruled unconstitutional) was called the intangibles tax.

  42. 42
    Elmo says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    That contractor was later arrested for the brutal murder of his wife. Friends of mine were acquainted with her.

  43. 43
    rikyrah says:

    Cummings has done a pretty good job checking that fucking criminal Issa, and I had doubts he would do what he’s done on that committee with Issa.

  44. 44
    slag says:

    Actually, I really appreciate the warning. It’s very alarming to click on a McArdle link unsuspectingly. And unnecessarily. A little politeness toward your audience can go a long way.

  45. 45
    Alan says:

    Yeah, but I don’t think you understand the doom our economy would have if those hedge-fund managers decided to go Galt. And IIRC, not that many years ago there was also a tenured state university professor entertaining ways to go Galt. Just imagine what we wouldn’t know today about nano technology and which coffee maker to buy if that professor had done so. Nah, McArdle’s comparison may not be such a stretch.

  46. 46
    spudvol says:

    McArdle = Money Boo-Boo

  47. 47
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    A wealth tax isn’t going to happen any time soon, so McArdle is just spankin’ it from the get-go. But if one really wants to entertain the thought, let’s start with the simplest questions:

    How do you afffix a value to tenure? You can’t use market value because you can’t buy it, sell it, or trade it for a Subaru. Until you can determine a value, you can’t levy a tax.

  48. 48
    BGinCHI says:

    From the article:

    Professors and civil servants implicitly recognize the economic value of this deal; whenever someone suggests abolishing lifetime job protections, they rush to argue that they have agreed to lower pay in exchange for these privileges. That’s not always true, in fact. Also overlooked is that the people who do this are effectively engaging in tax arbitrage: exchanging taxable income for untaxed guarantees that can be very financially valuable.

    What is that little sentence doing in there? The one that says “That’s not always true, in fact.” This is how lazy people make arguments. They don’t make them; they assert them. There is no proof or even reasoning. Likewise the use of the word “fact” does not render something factual.

    Cole nails it in his description. This is false equivalence, if not just total horseshit. Hey Megan, why don’t you apply some arguments to taxation? Like how much of a percentage of income working class people pay in ALL KINDS of taxes and not just your precious income tax.

    Fucking idiot.

  49. 49
    somethingblue says:

    It’s astonishing how effective not being very bright can be when it’s applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner.

  50. 50
    different-church-lady says:

    I’ve been reading Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

    And with that I hit the close box.

  51. 51
    🌷 Martin says:

    Ok, quit fucking reading McMegan. Read something more useful.

    Fairly quickly, though, the discussion focused in on what had first attracted our attention: the choices companies make when they invest in innovation. Unlike some complicated macroeconomic factors, these choices are well within managers’ control.

    We’re happy to report that we think we’ve figured out why managers are sitting on their hands, afraid to pursue what they see as risky innovations. We believe that such investments, viewed properly, would offer the surest path to profitable economic and job growth. In this article we advance some prescriptions that could become the basis of an agenda for meaningful progress in this area.

    In our view the crux of the problem is that investments in different types of innovation affect economies (and companies) in very different ways—but are evaluated using the same (flawed) metrics. Specifically, financial markets—and companies themselves—use assessment metrics that make innovations that eliminate jobs more attractive than those that create jobs. We’ll argue that the reliance on those metrics is based on the outdated assumption that capital is, in George Gilder’s language, a “scarce resource” that should be conserved at all costs. But, as we will explain further, capital is no longer in short supply—witness the $1.6 trillion in cash on corporate balance sheets—and, if companies want to maximize returns on it, they must stop behaving as if it were. We would contend that the ability to attract talent, and the processes and resolve to deploy it against growth opportunities, are far harder to come by than cash. The tools businesses use to judge investments and their understanding of what is scarce and costly need to catch up with that new reality.

  52. 52
    BGinCHI says:

    @different-church-lady:

    And with that I hit the liquor cabinet.

    I see you and raise you.

  53. 53
    Alex S. says:

    Off-topic: No! I am not clicking on the HuffPost article with the headline “If you have a penis, you should watch this”

  54. 54

    Aww… it’s so cute that she thinks that university and college staff are full of old liberal tenured professors and not an increasingly large workforce of part-time adjunct profs who don’t get benefits and can be fired at will.

  55. 55
    different-church-lady says:

    @Alexandra:

    Sometimes, I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box.

    She lacks salience to the extent that I believe she might actually be a gum eraser.

  56. 56
    different-church-lady says:

    @BGinCHI: I fold. And join you at the cabinet.

  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Fucking idiot.

    She’s a fucking tool, not an idiot, or at least not only an idiot. That attempt to slip by an unsupported assertion was made quite deliberately and with malice, not out of some inability to make a good argument. It’s part of the schtick.

  58. 58
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Roger Moore: Nice diverse bunch, too. Good for Ms. SMASH!

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Roger Moore: Nice diverse bunch, too. Good for Ms. SMASH!

  60. 60
    different-church-lady says:

    @Alex S.:

    McArdle’s idea doesn’t make sense here.

    It does not make sense here or there
    It does not make sense anywhere

  61. 61
    hoodie says:

    How this moron continues to fail upward is beyond me.

    She’s not failing. It doesn’t take a lot to keep a few hundred of these bots in pink himalayan salt, Kuhn-Rikon egg separators and butter boats (even David Brooks’ $4M heartbreak hotel is chump change), and they serve a useful purpose. McMeghan, Brooks and the other denizens of their ecosystem are picked and groomed precisely because they can keep a straight face while making facile arguments like this, which appeal to billionaire heirs, certain CoC types and others who hate uppity professors for being too big for their bank accounts, and to self-loathing totebaggers who believe the same. You populate the media with enough of these types and they become a self-reinforcing unit, e.g., McMeghan gets approvingly cited by Brooks, Sullivan or some other equally worthless POS, and suddenly reasonable people can disagree about the impact of having wealth disparity that rivals the Gilded Age and what to do about criminals in Brooks Bros. suits who aren’t really criminals because, well, they are the best people. Picketty’s book has apparently caused a ripple in the Matrix, and now the various Agent Smiths are trying to expunge it.

  62. 62
    BGinCHI says:

    @different-church-lady: It does not make sense on a train.

    It does not make sense in the rain.

  63. 63
    Bazooka Joe says:

    @different-church-lady:
    How dare you besmirch humble, yet useful gum?

  64. 64
    Roger Moore says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Nice diverse bunch, too.

    It’s easier to pick a diverse committee when you’re starting from a diverse caucus.

  65. 65
    different-church-lady says:

    @Roger Moore: Gonna be interesting to see republicans trying to tell Duckworth she doesn’t know anything about overseas violence.

  66. 66
    scav says:

    Speaking of not getting it, numbers are hard, and best in the world, the breakout stats on math standards are interesting (US states v. world). Didn’t say entirely unexpected (there are bits that manage to, go data!) but interrresting.

  67. 67
    Barbara says:

    Just came back from the library, where her book was sitting on the “New Books” shelf. I left it alone.

  68. 68
    cckids says:

    @Turgidson:

    Cummings is a respected senior congressman and a grizzled veteran of Darrell Issa’s mendacious witch hunts, so hopefully he’ll be effective in exposing and debunking the bullshit and conspiracy-mongering.

    Yes. In his statement at the press conference announcing his involvement, Rep. Cummings said “I feel we need someone in the room to defend the truth”.

    I’m not religious, but AMEN.

  69. 69
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes, I was just thinking that the Dem Party, and Dems in the House, are becoming a not-bad reflection of the American populace, so Nancy didn’t have to stretch too hard, and she didn’t have to engage in tokenism. Still, I like what the visuals here will say. But of course the main thing is that these are all solid, smart representatives who are likely to call bullshit whenever bullshit appears.

  70. 70
    the Conster says:

    @hoodie:

    I wonder if 100 years from now there will be Pikettyists. Doesn’t have quite the verbal punch as Marx, and harder for teabaggers to spell on signs.

  71. 71
    srv says:

    That nasty Krugman man is getting more uppity to his peer Mr. Brooks

    This didn’t just totally misjudge the nation’s needs, it was also strangely incoherent even on its own terms. Yes, an aging population and rising health costs may eventually force cuts in benefits, although that’s far less certain than Beltway orthodoxy would have you believe. But why, exactly, is it urgent to deal with the prospect of possible future benefit cuts by, um, cutting future benefits?

    More broadly, the notion that we’re in trouble because politicians pander to a public that wants something for nothing is utterly at odds with what has actually happened since 2008. In both America and Europe, budget deficits have clearly come down too fast, perpetuating the slump while probably if anything worsening the long-run fiscal outlook. If there was pandering going on here, it was a case of pandering to elite deficit obsessions, not popular desire for a good time. Also, isn’t it curious that populist measures like debt relief for families went nowhere,even though they have a long historical track record of doing good, while banks were made whole?

    The idea that anyone would look at the past five years and declare that what we need is two, three, many Simpson-Bowles commissions is quite mind-boggling.

  72. 72
    BGinCHI says:

    @Barbara: Take it into the bathroom stall and leave it there. Birds of a feather….

  73. 73
    feebog says:

    She conflates academic tenure with civil service protections, as if the two were even remotely similar. She really is an idiot. Or a moron. Take your pick.

  74. 74
    srv says:

    Also, too, I think McMegan is such a masterful troll that she is probably Doug’s fiance.

  75. 75
    BGinCHI says:

    @srv: She’s too funny looking to be a polygamist.

  76. 76
    raven says:

    @feebog: That makes it even more important to continue to talk about her.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    Promising start:

    ” I’ve been reading Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” You’ll have to wait on my thoughts on the book until they’re a bit more fully formed. ”

    Probably, she won’t write a review, then.

    By review, I think she means one of those elitist snobby reviews that you write after you read the book. I think she wrote a pre-read review already.

  78. 78
    PaulW says:

    Some job security for your 50k a year job is exactly the same as earning 2 billion dollars in largely untaxed income as a hedge fund manager.

    Could someone please fire Ms. Megan so she can realize there is NO SUCH THING AS JOB SECURITY? Not at 50k a year and not at 250k a year. The 2-billion hedge fund manager can get fired too, but that SOB will have enough in the checking account to tide him over for the six months he’s stuck job-hunting…

  79. 79
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🌷 Martin: These people are Ferengi. The only profit they see is short term, they have no concept of the long term, they cannot think critically, they have no appreciation of cause and effect.

    If they ever read The Wealth of Nations (I know…it is to laugh), it is abundantly clear that they did not comprehend it.

  80. 80
    different-church-lady says:

    @jl:

    You’ll have to wait on my thoughts on the book until they’re a bit more fully formed.

    Coming up shortly after the snowball fight in hell.

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jl: The woman is an outright whore for the utter scum that are the Koch Brothers. It’s not possible for her to fully form any thought other than cashing the check left at her bedside.

  82. 82
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @rikyrah: Isn’t Issa’s committee still meeting too? I’m trying to picture what Cummings’s days will be like.

  83. 83
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @feebog: Can we go for cretin? Dull normal is right out of the question.

  84. 84
    kc says:

    [trigger warning: Megan McCardle]

    Suddenly, trigger warnings make sense to me. :)

  85. 85
    Randy Khan says:

    With great trepidation, I clicked the link to find, well, more or less what I expected.

    What’s striking is that she takes a statement that is true in its particulars – measuring “true” income is hard and we lack the tools to do it precisely – and then overextends it so much that sound of the seams popping is like machine gun fire.

    Absolutely, the total benefits a reporter gets from her job exceed the reported income (although for a correspondent in Iraq or Afghanistan, you have to account for the cost of getting injured, raped or killed in the calculation). And, absolutely, you could argue that tenure has a definite value that makes the job of being a professor pay more than it seems to pay (although in a society with an income tax imposed annually during the time you have the job, it’s not clear how much of that value remains unaccounted-for at the end). But all of those things – even considering all reporters and all tenured professors in a lump – are fairly close to rounding errors compared to what the people at the very top of the heap get.

    It makes my head spin. She’s like the person who points out that the water fountain is leaking but doesn’t notice that the building is burning down.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    But of course the main thing is that these are all solid, smart representatives who are likely to call bullshit whenever bullshit appears.

    Which means they need to have robust vocal chords, because they’ll be calling bullshit often.

  87. 87
    BGinCHI says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: What?? No. She knows where to spend that money, honey.

    Also, too, invidious comparison to honest prostitutes everywhere.

    Megan gives considerably less bang for the bucks.

  88. 88

    OT but today would have been the Notorious B.I.G.’s 42nd bday. Died at 24. Still the greatest. Michaela shows some love for Biggie

  89. 89
    hoodie says:

    @srv:

    But why, exactly, is it urgent to deal with the prospect of possible future benefit cuts by, um, cutting future benefits?

    That’s the one I never got, i.e., let’s cut SS benefits by 30% now so we don’t have to cut them 30% in the future based on a 70 year prediction about the economy. Of course, it’s just a stalking horse for privatizing the whole program and providing another money funnel to Wall St. I’m sure that will be as successful as 401(k)s. What are they going to do with all those starving old folks, grind ’em up to feed the bankers’ dogs?

  90. 90
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @BGinCHI:

    It does not make sense for pink salt.
    It does make sense for Mister Galt.

  91. 91
    Turgidson says:

    @feebog:

    Can’t it be both?

  92. 92
    SatanicPanic says:

    @hoodie: This is why I know they’re not going to do it- because if you can’t answer how you’re going to take care of old people you’re not going to make a case for cutting their benefits that enough voters will agree with

  93. 93
    jl says:

    Oh lord, I read it. The breadth and depth of the ignorance is astounding.

    McArdle is supposed to be an economics and business writer. Does she know anything about those fields? Does she know anything about policy debates? Has she heard about the theory of compensating wage differentials. A commie named Adam Smith had something to say about them, and some economists have noticed the issue, right up to Joseph Stiglitz. She thinks that how to define money income and non-monetary compensation for tax purposes is something that has been overlooked? Has she heard anything about the big topics of debate for the ACA.

    She thinks doing research consists of “reading, writing or asking people questions”. She thinks researchers operate the same way pundits do?

    Man, nice work if you can get it. If you have no shame, or so clueless that shame is an irrelevant concept, the McArdles, Wills, Brooks, and Fox Newsers of the world have the prefect gig.

  94. 94
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    @the Conster: I wonder if people will confuse them with 4-year-olds demanding pasta.

  95. 95
    BGinCHI says:

    @jl: If she taught one of my classes they would laugh her out of the room. Actually, they would be too polite. They would just sleep.

  96. 96
    jl says:

    @hoodie: Yeah, the con was to trick people into agreeing now to cuts that are almost certain to be greater than 20% to 30% in the future to avoid cuts that have some chance of being at most 20% to 30% in the future. Didn’t work. Too bad. I weep for the Simpson-Bowlesers of the world.

  97. 97
    kindness says:

    To this day I still am 86ed from commenting at The Atlantic over comments made in a McCardle post. No, there were no threats involved. I just pointed out how stupid her position was….frequently. Well duh! All her positions are ‘challenged’ shall we politely say? Guess The Atlantic has some thin skin.

  98. 98
    Citizen_X says:

    @the Conster:

    and harder for teabaggers to spell on signs.

    “Cat” is hard for teabaggers to spell on signs. Like that has ever stopped them?

  99. 99
    DLew says:

    Note to Freddie DeBoer: This post was not misogynistic.

    Note to Freddie DeBoer Part the Second: This comment was not a vile personal attack on you.

  100. 100
    Roger Moore says:

    @Randy Khan:

    She’s like the person who points out that the water fountain is leaking but doesn’t notice that the building is burning down.

    It’s easier to understand when you notice the thermite grenades in her pockets.

  101. 101
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I happen to own a pink salt block that you heat slowly and then cook on. You can also chill it and use it for a serving tray. Since it was a gift, it still sits in my pantry.

    John, When Tom had Megan fever he put up pretty pictures. just saying

  102. 102
    Roger Moore says:

    @JPL:

    I happen to own a pink salt block that you heat slowly and then cook on.

    This is actually an extremely cheap way of buying fancy salt. It’s exactly the same stuff you pay McArdle pays outrageous prices for, just not broken up into little pieces. If you’re willing to break it up yourself, you can get it at something like 90% off the price you’d pay for it at the market.

  103. 103
    RSA says:

    @BGinCHI: McCardle:

    …whenever someone suggests abolishing lifetime job protections, they rush to argue that they have agreed to lower pay in exchange for these privileges.

    Even this is a straw man. The academic freedom argument is much more common, at least in my experience. And tenure isn’t really “lifetime job protection”; a tenured professor can be fired for incompetence, neglect of duty, or misconduct. If a department or college is dissolved, you get the same effect.

    McCardle describes tenure as if it’s some amazing benefit, an almost unimaginable good. But the criteria above seem reasonable for any job. It’s basically freedom from being arbitrarily fired from your job. I guess that’s not something libertarians like–maybe it constrains the maker class too much.

  104. 104
    Bill Arnold says:

    @hoodie:

    What are they going to do with all those starving old folks, grind ‘em up to feed the bankers’ dogs?

    There are other options here if you move the nouns around.

  105. 105
    Roger Moore says:

    @RSA:

    And tenure isn’t really “lifetime job protection”; a tenured professor can be fired for incompetence, neglect of duty, or misconduct.

    And universities can and do make life as miserable as possible for tenured professors they want to get rid of. They may not be able to fire them easily, but they can deny them administrative support, take away their research space, assign them the classes nobody else wants to teach, and put them on all the worthless committees that need to be filled.

  106. 106
    jl says:

    @RSA: And what follows makes no sense to me.

    ” That’s not always true, in fact”

    That is an extremely odd statement for someone who believes that the market perfectly adjusts to equilibrium, magically, always and instantly, and knows more than any mere mortal or group of mortals. And it is so vague as be meaningless. Anyone who believes in market efficiency should say that it is usually, actually, almost always true.

    “Also overlooked is that the people who do this are effectively engaging in tax arbitrage: exchanging taxable income for untaxed guarantees that can be very financially valuable. ”

    But, if these guarantees are financially very valuable in the same way other tax arbitrage is, then tenure should allow professors to make money off their tenure in way that avoids taxation of that realized financial (I assume she means ‘money’) income. How does that work? So some prof uses his tenure to establish expertise that allows him or her to become a very highly paid expert witness. How does tenure prevent the government from taxing that income? And actually, universities often put restrictions on how much you can earn outside your official duties, or give you the choice of reporting that income for tax purposes, or putting into a fund for your official duties (funds for curriculum development, research lab equipment, teaching assistants, etc.) So, that means the prof does not in fact realize that income as financial gains.

    W T F is McArdle talking about?

  107. 107
    StringOnAStick says:

    @hoodie: Now that we’ve all accepted 401k’s as the current pension model (if you are lucky enough to even have that), it is instructive to remember that the whole 401k deal was originally created as yet another way to shovel money at high level business people without taxation interfering with it. Once businesses realized it could be used to replace defined benefit pensions, we all got “access” to this amazing new financial product while their other hand slid the DB pension off the table. It’s one of those multi-step screw jobs they keep coming up with for us.

  108. 108
    gene108 says:

    I read the article. It was mercifully short by McMegan standards.

    How people take anyone seriously who just makes a straw-man argument out of whole cloth that a senior accountant at a mid-sized firm is less happy with his/her job than a reporter, who gets to travel and has an expense account is fucking nuts.

    Shit, most folks I now, who travel a lot for business would rather not have to travel as much as they do. They put up with it because that’s life, but there’s a damn small subset of people, who enjoy living in hotels, eating out all the time and piling up money to be spent on a home they are never in.

    Also, too senior accountants and account managers are different fucking jobs. From my business experience account managers manage customer accounts and are either a direct sales position or ancillary to supporting sales, depending on the company structure.

    God, I wish I could be that dumb and that richly rewarded.

  109. 109
    joel hanes says:

    @Trollhattan:

    worshipping Gaia’s fish over poor, hapless Mankind.

    People who say that are deluded

  110. 110
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @gene108: I was traveling for a company a year back in the early 1990s. Back then elite status meant something, now it’s magnitude of orders worse-especially when Delta rolls out their new award structure for 2015-it won’t take long for AA and UA to follow suit.

  111. 111
    different-church-lady says:

    @Alexandra: I must apologize — when you referred to sharp pencils, I thought you were comparing them to McArdle,
    not yourself. I’m hoping (a) you did not take it as a persnoal insut and (b) people can see that my comment would have made a lot more sense if it had been McArdle who was in the pencil box.

  112. 112
    jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    Classic McMegan, she makes one rather banal point about all inequality not being equal, but uses it to obscure the
    real issue of inequality. And to be accurate, she advocates afflicting a small subset of the comfortable. However, that small subset is disliked and distrusted by most of the rest of the comfortable.

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