Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I see there's a little crop of inter-sub-generational warfare growing, with "Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy" answered by "Fuck You. I'm Gen Y, and I Don't Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor." I'm sure there are other respondents out there, but they may as well forget it because Megan McArdle has, as is her wont, already stunk the whole thing up:
Let’s take a hypothetical woman who graduated from college in 1994. Call her, oh, I don’t know, “Megan McArdle.”
Oh holy jumping Jesus.
Megan basically hit the demographic and educational lottery: She graduated from an Ivy League school with no debt. Unfortunately, she had a degree in English, so her first job paid only $19,000. Double unfortunately, she was laid off. She went to work for a startup, where she was laid off when it folded...
As the drunk said to Stony Stevenson in Between Time and Timbuktu, that's the saddest story I ever heard. Long story short, McArdle's tale of whooaaa is meant to convince... well, nobody; she compares complainers to children, and throughout her chronicle (which might make a nice ebook entitled "Down and Out at the Koch Institute") never misses a chance to tell the kids, in her own sorry-notsorry way, you think you have it rough? It's just a way to fill column inches, and for some people the best way to fill column inches is to offer oneself as an example of grit and determination, a Horatio Alger of the Thermomix set, for the littlebrains to emulate.
Is the job market unusually bad right now for millennials? It sure is, and believe me, millennials have nothing but the deepest sympathy from me and our hypothetical. Life seems scary, and y’all don’t deserve this. 
But here’s the funny thing: When I was moving out of my parents' home and into the 435 square feet of paradise where I spent my last years in New York, I was seriously panicking...

My mother took me for a 32nd birthday drink, which I had a hard time enjoying, given that I was freaking out.
Down at a stinking blind tiger, no doubt, and out of a growler. And not one of those artisanal ones neither! Then up six flights of stairs to the cold-water flat they shared with the Delaneys...

Be sure and catch up with the earlier column to which she refers, containing advice to the people she would later hector, including:
Let this [economic catastrophe] open you up to things you’d never have considered. I had no plans to be a journalist; I stumbled into it. And if I’d had better-paying options, I might not have dared to take that job at the Economist, because financially, it was a huge struggle: My disposable monthly income, after loans, rent and taxes, was in the low hundreds. But I love journalism more than any other possible career I could imagine. It may end up being a good thing that the Great Recession shocked you out of “normal” and into “scramble” mode...
As if you needed any more proof that The Up Side of Down is going to be the biggest inspirational best-seller since The Five People You Meet at a Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein Shooting Match. When life gives you lemons, make Avocado Wasabi Ice Cream!

My sympathies are with people who have to live with this shit economy. I'm sure I don't have to convince you good people but here's a little something from USA Today anyway:
U.S. workers were more productive from April through June than previously estimated, while labor costs were unchanged. 
Productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.3% in the April-June quarter, up from an initial estimate of 0.9% growth, the Labor Department said Thursday. Unit labor costs were flat in the second quarter, less than the 1.4% rise the government had initially estimated. 
Keep working, slaves, or we'll have to cut the budget on our corporate image campaign.
The combination of stronger productivity and less of an increase in wages should provide assurances to the Federal Reserve that inflation is not a threat.
Oh yeah, about that:
Fed downgrades its outlook for US economy... 
The Fed predicted Wednesday that the economy will grow just 2 percent to 2.3 percent this year, down from its previous forecast in June of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent growth.
Add to that the traditional "job creators" not actually creating jobs and you'll see that, whether you're Y or X or Boomer or Whatever, you're fucked and you have a right to complain. And like all your rights, it's something the McArdles of the world want to take away from you.

UPDATE. Post mildly edited for clarity. Comments are understandably hot on this one, mainly concerning the absurdity of McArdle's self-presentation as a struggling youth. We should keep in mind that even privileged people have real troubles, and sometimes may share them out of a yearning for fellow-feeling -- to show that down deep they're the same as you. McArdle, unfortunately, shares them only to show that she's better than you, because she knows some readers will believe it and buy her book so they too can learn how to do "scramble" mode well enough to achieve Meganhood. Look, if Donald Trump can get away with this shit, why not her?


  1. waspuppet9:07 PM

    It's true, you know. She planned to go into a field where you have to be right about something occasionally, but this worked out so much better.

  2. XeckyGilchrist9:17 PM

    I hope the whole "job creator" horseshit strangles on its own puke soon. I suppose it's strictly speaking true that a lower tax rate on corporations enables them to create jobs, as the proponents say, it just doesn't oblige them to do so. And that's the loophole they diddle unlubed.

    I'd like to see regulations passed that tax profits that aren't used to create jobs, or something similar. "Hey, since you were going to create a bunch of jobs anyway, what can it hurt?"

  3. So she decided against "Permission to Suck" as the title for her book? Who says she can't wise up?

  4. Jason9:28 PM

    Seeing as you're not using these profits to reinvest in your company, why don't we just tax them to reinvest in society. cool?

  5. hellslittlestangel9:37 PM

    Let them eat cake, at their parents' house.

  6. redoubt9:50 PM

    See, I saw "Gen McMe" and thought of the French general Mac-Mahon, who said before the Franco-Prussian War, "We are ready down to the last button on the last gaiter" . . .and was promptly defeated.

    But never fear! If you can't beat the Prussians, you can always shoot your own people:

    The French army spent eight days massacring workers, shooting civilians on sight. Tens of thousands of Communards and workers were summarily executed (as many as 30,000)

    (Disclaimer: Not recommended as an anti-unemployment measure. By the Kochs. Yet.)

  7. montag29:52 PM

    There's a remarkable amount of push-back on questioning the motives and methods of the 1% (more like the 0.001%), so I would expect MeMeMeMeMeMeMeMegan to join in, since she so badly wants to be one of that gang.

    But, honestly, ArgleBargle is whiny in a way that this bit of chutzpah is not:

    Each particular individual in the community who contributed to a man’s rise to wealth was paid at the time–either materially or, as in the case of parents and friends, spiritually. There is no debt to discharge.
    There is nothing to give back, because there was nothing taken away.

    Well, maybe there is–in the other direction. The shoe is on the other
    foot. It is “the community” that should give back to the wealth-creators. It turns out that the 99% get far more benefit from the 1% than vice-versa. Ayn Rand developed the idea of “the pyramid of ability,”

    Even ArgleBargle isn't this brazenly and blatantly dull-witted, although she certainly unwittingly rises to the task frequently enough. In an age of not enough jobs, and those that are available pay too little or don't have enough hours to live on, we're supposed to give up even more to the greediest fuckers on the planet because they deserve it?

    Keep it up, Forbes. I don't think people will be shocked in the slightest bit to see ol' Stevie gutted and hanging from a lamppost at the corner of Wall and Broad.

  8. JennOfArk10:06 PM

    My brother used to do this obscene gesture, where he would pinch the skin on the front of his neck and jerk it up and down, while making a spitting noise. Kind of like fapping.

    I think of that obscene gesture every time I see Steve Forbes. Or Mitch McConnell.

  9. JennOfArk10:08 PM

    McArgBarg's book is subtitled, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Learned to Love Sucking Koch. Or at least it should be.

  10. And here I thought Harry Binswanger was a joke name.

  11. She's trying to establish her street cred as some kind of plucky English orphan who scrabbled her way to the top with hard work and spit, rosy cheeks all a'smudged with coal dust...

    ...but when you read the actual details of her circumstances her spiel ends up sounding like a cross between a Miss Havisham lecture and a Bill Cosby stand-up routine: "You think you kids have tough? Why, when I was a child we had to be chauffeured TEN MILES to the Ivy League University every day! Uphill! Both ways! In the snow!"

  12. phiiladelphialawyer10:31 PM

    Geez she makes me ill. Her hard luck story includes a debt free, Ivy League education. And, when her make believe career choices didn't quite pay off, she always had rich mommy and daddy to fall back on. And yet she has the nerve to tell other folks, folks who either went into debt to finance their first (not their umpteenth, or whatever it was in her case) stab at higher education, or who never even had a shot at higher education, never mind rich parents to support her until she was practically middle aged, to suck it up.
    And, even more creepily, to her, the really lucky folks, the ones who had it made and whom we should all realize we are not gonna be living like they did, were not folks like her, who had it made by accident of birth, not the trust fund babies, not the folks enjoying the highly remunerative, if unexamined, life based on inherited wealth, but union workers! Yes, they were the coddled ones. Not, apparently, the McCardles, or even the Rockefellers.
    And, to complete the creepy trifecta, she is here to remind us that those lucky ducky union guys were hardly the majority of workers, even in the good old days. And that, believe it or not, there was discrimination against non whites and women, and that other groups, like farmers, also often had a tough time of things.
    HUH?! Who'd a thunk it? Without Megan, I would have continued under the misimpression that, prior to, say, 1999, almost everybody in the USA had a nice, steady, lifetime employment guaranteed, union job. And that such jobs were open to everyone, and that it is only since then that folks have often had to scrounge for a living.

  13. You know what I was missing today? Another article from Megan McArdle about how hard she's had it. Oh dear, you didn't get your dream job straight out of college. No, you get someone else's dream job and whine about how hard it is and how you don't make as much money as you could have. Yes, this is the perfect person to talk about realistic expectations.

    But I can't focus on McArdle, because if I have to read one more article bitching about "Millenials" I'm going to choke on my own bile. Apparently I'm part of this group, which is funny because I was Gen-X until 2008, save a few years when I was an Echo Boomer. Funny, I don't recall my birthdate changing. You know, it's almost as though these generational descriptors have no real meaning and are just a cheap attempt to throw a veneer of objectivity on the same "you darn kids" kvetching that's been going on for the last 10,000 years.

  14. But she had to eat Ramen noodles for a very short period of time! And her disposable income was a mere four or five times what I spend on myself in a month!

  15. JennOfArk10:36 PM

    Undoubtedly, in her ramen noodle days she was eating better than she is now.

  16. Is it just me, or is that an argument for a return to fiefdoms? Sorry, I don't think I can afford King Walton's hunting tax this month...

  17. philadelphialawyer10:38 PM

    Yeah, the numbers, even as she presents them, don't really add up to a Ramen noodles lifestyle, much less the "cheap" kind.

  18. JennOfArk10:41 PM

    The weird thing is that the whole "job creator" thing is actually accurate; it's just that they've misidentified who the actual "job creators" are. Job creators are people who buy stuff. Jobs aren't being created because roughly half the people in the country have no money to buy stuff once they pay the rent, the utilities, buy food, and fill up the car with gas. Getting money into their pockets would actually create jobs, because then they'd have some money to buy stuff. Shoveling more money at the Waltons or the Kochs will create exactly zero jobs, because it's not like they're going to be dropping off their dry cleaning at your neighborhood cleaners, or buying more TVs or washing machines or blow dryers or refrigerators. They've already stocked each of their 20 homes with all of those things.

  19. montag210:43 PM

    Oh, it is, it is.

  20. whetstone10:44 PM

    Actually, she got an MBA and stumbled into "journalism." So she washed out of a field where she was supposed to be full of shit and into one where she was supposed to have a clue. Yet it all worked out! Clearly, something we can all learn from.

  21. philadelphialawyer10:45 PM

    Those fake generational things, when they are not of the "you damn kids stay offa my lawn" kind, are usually of "the selfish Baby Boomers ate my Social Security" variety. In other words, they are almost always fake, and they are almost always about setting one group of people against another, on the basis of something that really has no meaning. Usually so that folks won't focus on things that do matter, like social and economic class.

  22. hellslittlestangel10:47 PM

    ...ol' Stevie gutted and hanging from a lamppost at the corner of Wall and Broad.

    Upvoted for that delightful image.

  23. montag210:52 PM

    Binswanger is essentially saying that freedom from taxation is simply not enough--there has to be adulation, too. Which is why I think little Stevie gives him a slot.

    So, yeah, fiefdoms fit pretty well in the world view. Not only must there be control of all wealth, but a tug of the forelock from the peons would be good, too.

    I've said it so often that it must be getting very, very tiresome (it is for me), but conservatism is immutably, inextricably alloyed with aristocracy. After all, little Stevie's only talent is having had Malcolm for a father, but he surely wants that to count more than anything, especially democracy, for which he has some considerable disdain (having been laughed out of enough Presidential races to convince his over-inflated self that the system doesn't work as it should, given that he's never won).

  24. whetstone10:54 PM

    It may end up being a good thing that the Great Recession shocked you out of “normal” and into “scramble” mode...

    When the Invisible Hand closes a door, it opens up a window. Step through that open window, poors! Just trust me!

  25. montag210:55 PM

    Well, stumbled in the sense that she tripped and fell headlong onto the pavement, smacking her head, hard, and got picked up by journalism, which thought, hey, this could be some fun.

  26. hellslittlestangel10:59 PM

    Yeah, the idea that business owners "create jobs" because they're bored or feeling munificent rather than because they're forced to due to increased demand for their product is about as stupid as stupid can be. Nobody hires a worker unless necessity compels them.

  27. tigrismus10:59 PM

    I suppose it's strictly speaking true that a lower tax rate on corporations enables them to create jobs

    Employee salaries are deductible, so hiring people already lowers corporate taxes.

  28. Spaghetti Lee11:06 PM

    millennials have nothing but the deepest sympathy from me

    Of course, McArdle's deepest sympathy is about the same as the average person's shallowest sympathy.

  29. montag211:09 PM

    Or the average person's "oh, fuck you."

    We are, after all, talking about the media's most self-absorbed, most talentless hack in decades. Well, perhaps tied with Sally Quinn.

  30. Davdoodles11:12 PM

    "But I love journalism more than any other possible career I could imagine."
    I think she thinks that scratchy-fapping thing she does is called "journalism".
    Oh no, wait. She's talking about careers she "could imagine".

  31. Wait. This libertarian true believer and Ivy League grad lived with her parents until she was 32 'cause she couldn't make her chosen career(s) work to the extent she was able to buy pink sea salt and wacky kitchen devices whenever she so chose? And she has the gall to shake her finger at folks without the benefit of a golden womb for getting a little fed up with how goddamn tough the folks that spawned her made the rest of the world?

    Ugh. What an asshole.

  32. That's a good point. When does writing a series of poorly researched columns about shit she doesn't understand, much does the legwork for, constitute journalism? Oh, yeah, FOX News and Rush Limbaugh run our media, I forgot.

  33. AGoodQuestion11:16 PM

    I had no plans to be a journalist; I stumbled into it.

    Doing perhaps irreparable damage to it in the process.

  34. Spaghetti Lee11:20 PM

    The only way Reaganomics could work the way its backers say it does is if the economy is hermetically sealed off. If American workers give up a collective $10 million in salary so Mr. Boss can get his tax cut, the theory goes that he'll use that $10 million to re-invest in his American workforce. But that never happens. It either goes to another country, sits in a hedge fund, or gets spent on a third mansion. They're obviously under no legal obligation to spend it on American workers, and there's no economic theorem that says it naturally happens, either. The structural flaws are so fucking obvious I can't believe anyone who isn't already filthy rich believes it, but here we are.

  35. philadephialawyer11:20 PM

    And, anyway, most corporations are not about "creating" jobs. They are about moving them from one entity, usually one which pays better, to another. Take the company "Paychex," they created zero jobs, as the work outsourced to their employees on an assembly line basis used to be done by a payroll department, in house.
    Starbucks, for the most part, doesn't create moves them from Ma and pa coffee shops (including the proprietors, who are put out of business) to its stores. Neither does Walmart, as it too moves jobs from smaller, local retailers to its superstores.
    In every case, at least some good jobs/small business niches are lost. And what is gained is, to the greatest extent possible, low wage, low to no benefit, bottom level jobs with minimal advancement possibilities. With the difference going to the owners of the giant corps as profit.
    Perhaps, perhaps, a company that actually invents something, which makes the economy run more efficiently overall, can be said to, on balance, create jobs. On balance, because even improvements put some people out of work/business. But most companies don't fit even this bill. They really are nothing but players in zero sum game. The jobs they "create" are lost elsewhere, and the jobs (and SB opportunities) that were lost were better than the jobs created. Better for everyone but the corporate owners, that is.

  36. DocAmazing11:22 PM

    Oh, I'm sure she thinks she'd make a dandy astronaut.

  37. Spaghetti Lee11:24 PM

    The same shameless liars who say 'young people are spoiled and entitled' are the ones who tell older people still in the workforce that the reason they're making shit pay with no benefits despite their experience is because the young generations are so hungry and motivated that they've made pensions and long lunch hours and long vacations a thing of the past. Like Philadelphialawyer says, it's exactly about pitting people against each other, just like rich people have done for-fucking-ever. And it's genuinely depressing to see how many otherwise smart people with a keen sense of economic justice can be tricked into thinking people 30 years older or younger than them are to blame for everything.

  38. Spaghetti Lee11:26 PM

    "Please, sir, I would like some more Himalayan salt."

  39. Spaghetti Lee11:28 PM

    Just like you can find people going all the way back to ancient Rome decrying the hurried pace of modern life and the increasing crudeness of the youth, Social Security has been 'about to run out' since it started. There are people still working who haven't collected it yet whose grandparents were informed, solemnly and regretfully by their economic betters, that Social Security was a scam and that they'd never see any of it. Of course, the motive was and is the same. Rich fucks see a giant pool of money that gets fairly and efficiently paid out to normal people and say "That can't be right. I deserve that money!"

  40. hellslittlestangel11:31 PM

    Yeah, the "Shock Doctrine." Belief in this is a definitive symptom of being an absolutely shitty human being.

  41. AGoodQuestion11:34 PM

    Binswanger's sub-byline claims, "I defend laissez-faire capitalism, using Ayn Rand's Objectivism." I'm sure he thinks this is impressive. Not to toot my own horn, but I defend the peppermint castle using a fleet of ice cream dragons.

  42. montag211:34 PM

    A conversation at some point in the indeterminate future:

    "She's not down here because I blew her out of the goddamned airlock."

  43. mortimer200011:37 PM

    It's bad enough that little Janie Galt thinks she endured a hard-scrabble rise from upper-middle-class misery through the meritocracy to her well-deserved position typing for Bloomberg. But it's the fatuous narcissism that leads her to offer "tips" to jobless grads based on nothing but her own experience that is truly awesome.

    I graduated from business school...I moved back in with my parents...I spent a year doing administrative work in a trailer... I’ve had to make big asks...I, too, am also an obsessive penny pincher...I had no plans to be a journalist; I stumbled into it... how I found the job at the Economist? I met a woman who worked there at a cocktail party... I got lucky ...if you keep moving, you’ll probably get lucky too.

    Here's what I did, and so should you! I think this way, you should, too! Here's what happened to me, just make it happen to you! I got a job at the Economist, and you can, too!

    And then you can look back on your life and realize, hey!, You're an expert, too, and you can give losers "tips" on stuff you know nothing about. Just like MEEEEEEEEEE!

  44. montag211:38 PM

    Thus proving beyond all doubt that he's no brighter than his boss.

  45. Spaghetti Lee11:39 PM

    I read Weinstein's article, and the first comment was from a charming fellow named 'shootingfan' who said, well, what do you expect from the generation that played soccer and t-ball where they didn't keep score so no one's feelings would get hurt? It's not the first time I've heard it. It's not even the tenth time. The self-esteem-friendly kiddie soccer league is the new welfare queen in a Cadillac, or the new public-school-bans-Christmas-decorations. Everyone's heard about it, everyone's quick to bring it up as an example of what's wrong with the world. But no one's ever actually seen one. As a member of that generation who did soccer, basketball, and bowling in my youth (and sucked at all three) I can assure you that scorekeeping is alive and well, and that if there was a hippie-parent conspiracy to breed the competitive instinct out of all their children, it didn't succeed.

  46. PulletSurprise11:40 PM

    She actually wrote "y'all?"

    Bless her heart.

  47. smut clyde11:42 PM

    I was just commenting over at LG&M that you have to give Niven & Pournelle credit, when they described their Objectivist utopia in "Oath of Fealty", for coming out in the open about it being a return to feudalism.

  48. Ditto. I've never seen a no-score game in my life, but I've heard dozens of people bring them up. They might do that for really little kids, but I think that's more to assuage their psychotic parents than anything.

    The best part about that guy is that he appears to be crying hardship because his parents were alive during the depression. And then he lapses into a long list of things that he's done, but he did hear about.

  49. AGoodQuestion11:44 PM

    Oh, the coordination required in remembering what lie to tell which suckers.

  50. mortimer200011:45 PM

    They always want to talk about the necessity of tax cuts and other welfare to entrepreneurs -- that was always their response to Occupy Wall Street, in order to take Wall Street completely out of the picture. But they never bring up guys like hedge funder John Paulson, who made $5 BILLION dollars in 2010 without creating a single job. In fact, he made $100 million more than McDonald's did that year, globally. They may be shitty jobs, but whatever else you can say about them, McDonalds actually hires hundreds of thousands of people.

  51. PulletSurprise11:47 PM

    "You too can be failed upward!"

  52. smut clyde11:47 PM

    See, I saw "Gen McMe"
    For me, it brings to mind the rhythm of "James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree".

    Meg Meg Megan McArdle
    McArdle of Gen McMe...

  53. Spaghetti Lee11:48 PM

    Getting 'paid in spirit' from that guy is like your cat leaving you a headless mouse corpse to show what a good hunter he is.

  54. Increasingly, the best profits are in rent-seeking. You want a billion dollars? Take some money from other rich people and shuffle it around a while. It's a complete violation of the rules of the market because it produces nothing of merit, but apparently some people are okay with that.

  55. montag211:57 PM

    Study released a few days ago saying, approximately, that only 1% of the wealth of the top 1% is in entrepreneurial investments, and only about 1% of the 1% are entrepreneurs themselves.

    Reinvestment is--and has been virtually from the advent of the financialized economy--a myth. The wealthy are attracted to making their money in the financial markets because there's a higher return from theft and market manipulation than there is in making a better mousetrap. It's one of the reasons why the financial crises are coming faster, bigger, and closer together. Staying in the bubbles and getting out of them before they pop is enormously profitable. With smart money people behind them, more bubbles mean more money for the very wealthy.

    Building a good washing machine is so 1958.

  56. Okay, explosion imminent. I just read McArdle arglebargle, and I came to a dead stop here:

    Finally, amazingly, she found a job at the Economist. It paid $40,000 a year. In New York.

    ..."Fuck you" does not encapsulate my feelings adequately. Clearly I'm going to have to brush up on my Mandarin obscenity, because there's nowhere left to go in this language.

    I know a lot of people have made jokes about McArdle being a grown-up Veruca Salt, but I never realized how true that was until I read this. She gets a high-status job doing something that most people do for a hobby, where she was more or less allowed to set her own pace, take long periods of time off without consequence, and fail spectacularly without any risk of being fired. For this, she made more money that in any job I've applied to in the last two years. Read on, and you'll see that she made enough money to put fifteen percent into a retirement account, and she still had more disposable income than me. She's crying hardship because she didn't get quite everything she wanted.

    Shit like this is why I don't find McArdle's antics all that funny. I have a story about this, which is a little long but...fuck it, I'm on a roll. In 2008, I was pounding the pavement in northern China. I'd managed to get fired from the employer who brought me over there for reasons I never fully understood, and I was up sleeping on a stranger's couch while I waited for my prospective employer to get around to processing the necessary paperwork. It was all a shell game - she was never going to hire me, she was just trying to frustrate me into leaving of my own volition. Nevertheless, I spent my days talking to various crooked officials and occasionally ferrying messages back and forth because the new company wouldn't take any calls from the old company. I'd eventually discover that I was brought over on an illegal visa, so it's a good thing I never went in a bank or I'd probably have been arrested. To top it off, I managed to develop a cold in the middle of all this, which is very pleasant when you're facing down a Siberian winter.

    Anyway, at the end of one day I dropped by an Internet cafe for a respite. I pulled up some blog or another, which informed me that our own Veruca Salt had taken a week off. Because she had a cold. That apparently prevented her from using a laptop. I just put my head in my hands and said to myself "Goddamn it, Megan...goddamn it."

    And that's why I don't find her funny.

  57. sophronia12:00 AM

    I believe this is a perfect example of the sort of internet screed known as the humblebrag. "Yes, even I, Magan McPerfect, have suffered! But I made it, and you can too, as long as you aren't one of those really icky poor people who don't even know any rich people!"
    The problem is, all of the 1% have a story like this. Once upon a time they had to do something shitty, so they've paid their dues. And this hogwash is still incredibly appealing to Americans. The person who sent me that "Y Gen Y" crap was my millennial-age cousin.

  58. DocAmazing12:04 AM

    "Please, sir, may they have less?"

  59. stepped_pyramids12:24 AM

    Is there a German word for "a neck that cries out for the guillotine?"

  60. a Horatio Alger of the Thermomix set.


    What McMegan also omits is she had well-to-do parents who could, would, and did sweep in to bail out her lazy, dishonest, talentless, thoughtless ass.

  61. LookWhosInTheFreezer1:14 AM

    I would like to give this comment a trophy, but then, of course, I would have to give one to every other commenter because of Liberal Fascism and Political Correctness...or something.

  62. Freshly Squeezed Cynic1:15 AM

    "My disposable monthly income, after loans, rent and taxes, was in the low hundreds."

    Fuck. You.

  63. Freshly Squeezed Cynic1:20 AM

    Indeed, if you're an actual economist instead of playing one on TV like McArdle, the idea that profits often come from rents that provide very little benefit goes all the way back to Ricardo and Smith.

    Of course, I think it's a bit of a flaw of mainstream economics that there really do not seem to be very good theories of profits (much like the flaw of realism in IR is that for a theory so heavily state-based it often uses a piss-poor, instrumental model of the state), but baby steps, eh?

  64. Oh, I'm sure she thinks she'd make a dandy astronaut.

    Well, she would - as long as she's on the "B" Ark!

  65. Freshly Squeezed Cynic1:26 AM

    The pyramid of ability, neatly balanced on the tetrahedron of meritocracy, orbiting the spheroid of talent.

    Randian Geometry: A = Euclid, 1st Edition

  66. Freshly Squeezed Cynic1:29 AM

    Representing the lollipop guild is a gross form of collectivism and violates the non-aggression principle.

  67. montag21:34 AM

    Somehow, that's a formula that desperately needs the inclusion of the gravitational effects of supermassive egos.

  68. Freshly Squeezed Cynic1:40 AM

    The closest soccer gets to a no-score game is a 0-0 draw, and the best of those are as thrilling and competitive as the ten goal wonders.

  69. marindenver1:41 AM

    Oh gawd!! I saw that dipshit's POS earlier. In his conclusion he actually seems to think that Ayn Rand is still, like, alive. Or maybe, to him, just her essence. Whatever, all I could think of was "where are the tumbrels these days, anyway?" I mean, I've got the knittin' needles to the ready. Bring it on!

  70. "Megan basically hit the demographic and educational lottery: She graduated from an Ivy League school with no debt."

    But this fact has no bearing on her current wealth, obviously. So why discuss it in more depth?

  71. philadelphialawyer1:56 AM

    I've seen it done for really little kids in soccer.
    But so what? First of all, the kids know who won, as do the parents.
    Beyond that, is it really so important to keep score in what amounts to an instructional setting, with a minimum level of skill, of refereeing, and of organization generally? What is going to happen, you may wonder, at the end of the season, when there are no standings (or "table" as we Euro wienie commies like to say in our Anglophilic Soccer English), and thus no team to crown as champion and give trophies to? Um, nothing. Because the end of the season, at that, low level of play, is not typically marked by a dinner or any other kind of event. And there are no trophies to give out at the dinner that is not had. Nor are is there any need to decide which team to send to the non existent playoffs to determine a champion of a wider geographic area, as no such champion exists either.
    Think of the games ("matches"!) as practices, as scrimmages, and perhaps, it may calm you down, if you are conservative and just can't conceive of any event without clearly demarcated "winners" (for you to suck up to) and "losers" (for you to vilify, degrade, and generally make feel even worse about losing).

  72. marindenver1:56 AM

    LOL, the non-scoring soccer leagues are basically for the 5 & 6 year olds who don't get the game and are really just out there to stare at the daisies and wonder what all the grown-ups are screaming about. At least that's what my kid did. The youngest. The older ones had more of a competitive drive but, hey, that was OK too. But they're all competitive little capitalists now, dammit!! (Except the ones who aren't.) (Including my youngest who preferred the daisies and now works with kitties and puppies as a veterinary tech. Graduated at the top of her class too!)

  73. Spaghetti Lee2:00 AM

    And here I was thinking that the Pyramid of Ability was a poorly-translated Yugi-Oh card.

  74. Freshly Squeezed Cynic2:18 AM

    Scramble, kids, scramble! You can't make an omelette without breaking a few livelihoods.

  75. Freshly Squeezed Cynic2:19 AM

    Wasn't that "administrative work in a trailer" a sinecure found for her by her father?

  76. Freshly Squeezed Cynic2:20 AM

    This assumes that McArdle has depth.

  77. Freshly Squeezed Cynic2:24 AM

    These days, the Ramen noodles are prepared by the K-1355 Noodleator with 6 variable speed pasta stirrers and a built in flavour gauge.

    They also contain more cheese than a Mills & Boon set in Wisconsin.

  78. Odder2:28 AM

    Aye, I spent me first two or three decades of toilin' as a deckhand wistfully pinin' for the low hundreds as a shore-leave allotment.

  79. dunk24:18 AM

    Is there a German word for "a neck that cries out for the guillotine?"

  80. smut clyde4:48 AM

    So to sum up... when one hypothetical person with free time due to parental support is invited to the right cocktail party where she shows the right attitude to land herself a job, this proves how personal qualities like perseverance and hard work triumph over adversity; while if Obama and his Secretary of State resolve an international crisis through a combination of of brinksmanship and negotiation, it was only through blind luck.

    OK, got that.

  81. Jeffrey_Kramer5:02 AM

    Shorter McMegan: "I upped my income: up yours!"

  82. If it weren't for that so-called "disaster" Hurricane Katrina, there'd be many folks who never saw the inside of the glorious Houston Astrodome!

    See how fate can work miracles?

  83. I just had occasion to have some of that recently, and it tastes like cherries.

  84. BigHank537:38 AM

    John Scalzi nails it in this essay, in which he coins the immortal phrase "thin strips of Objectivist jerky."

  85. If the other monkeys have the basics of survival guaranteed, it's much harder to get them to do things for you.

    The whole point of the "money" thing is that you can work up a system in which you can get other monkeys to do things for you to get enough coconuts to live.

  86. BigHank537:47 AM

    It's tempting to blame every bit of this on our corporate overlords, but we did a lot of this to ourselves. Tired and grumpy and feeling old and sorry for yourself? Buy a new and bigger TV to shut the kids up! Buy a newer and shinier car than the guy next door!

    Now, I'll grant you that every advertising guy is trying to hack our fear and reward stimuli, and they're really good at it. The depressing part is that they're just chasing something new and shiny themselves. Society is an externality, doncha know...

  87. BigHank537:51 AM

    Millions of kids around the world have to worry about stumbling into minefields or chunks of depleted uranium or unexploded bombs or getting turned into child soldiers, and she wants sympathy because she accidentally found a career.

  88. I want to dwell with this comment in a zero-sum game, devouring good jobs and being nourished by the lost wages and benefits. I want to pay toadies to praise us as "job creators".

  89. coozledad8:32 AM

    The only jobs they create are for dead artists, gunsmiths and Indians, if you go by the Koch brothers treasure collections.

    Otherwise, they're not only not paying taxes, they don't pay their bills. There's a cutoff for people who behave like this. My wife used to carry some of our extra produce, chicken and goose eggs to work. The receptionists, admins and data people would always pay for them, or offer to. When some mid and upper management got wind of the stuff, they'd just come take it. The owners of the business didn't even know what most of it was, since it wasn't already cooked and on a fucking plate.

  90. coozledad8:38 AM

    Food, glorious food! Don't you wish you had some!

  91. "Who's this We, Kemosabe?"

    But I get your point. I suppose, deep down inside, everyone who is conned is complicit in the con. That's how it works, neh?

    Still, building an entire social, political, and economic system around a neurotic compulsion is definitely not a healthy thing for humanity. (I'm going out on a limb here.)

  92. Aimai8:53 AM

    Sign your work Barbara Bush!

  93. JennOfArk9:07 AM

    No, it's even better than that. She lived with her parents, while her father was enriching himself off the public teat, until she was 32 and could afford to go out on her own and make a living lecturing others about being lazy good for nothings sucking off the public teat.

  94. JennOfArk9:13 AM

    This, a thousand times. As I've pointed out to friends with children, all of this activity micromanaged by adults isn't necessarily doing the kids much good - at least in our neighborhood games, we learned how to work together, police each other, etc. That is, WE learned how to do all the adult tasks that having the parents involved micromanaging now deprive the kids of learning. Not to mention how the constant shuttling of the little darlings from one supervised activity to the next wears out both parents and children and kind of defeats the whole purpose of "fun" and "play" and turns it inot, as you said, just another job.

  95. coozledad9:21 AM

    Sigh. Working for paper and for ions.

  96. jinna9:30 AM

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  97. Mark_Bzzzz9:32 AM

    Nobody graduates from an Ivy League school without debt unless they have the incredible privilege of parents who can pay your way or they are an athlete on a full ride. I, myself, graduated from college with minimal debt, but that's because I had some scholarships, worked my ass off while I was in school, and went to a state school in an era where tuition wasn't jacked sky high in order to keep the riff-raff out. Yeah, back in the 70s, the tuition at my school was about $300 for 18 semester hours. Another $150 for textbooks and you're set, if you can find a place to flop.

    That's a lot more than the same dollar figure in today's money, but still a lot less than current tuition, even for the same state school.

    And living with your parents into your 30s? Pffffft! What a loser!

  98. Halloween_Jack9:36 AM

    The genesis of that urban legend/trope, I think, is the same overweening self-regard on the part of the baby boomers, or at least the assumption of same on the part of various news outlets, that unfavorably compares each succeeding generation to them, and reassures the boomers that whatever problem the newer generations have isn't the boomers' fault. I don't think that it was entirely an accident that we started hearing about how those millenials needed constant positive reinforcement at the same time that their generation was being saddled with horrifying amounts of student loan debt.

  99. Someone should explain to poor Megan that if you are using the term "disposable income" you are not struggling...

  100. Halloween_Jack9:43 AM

    That rant of his would make sense only as his delayed revenge for all the teasing he got in junior high.

  101. coozledad9:49 AM

    So it's gearglebargleinabgehacktzug?.

  102. Halloween_Jack9:58 AM

    Oh, good luck with that.

  103. Halloween_Jack10:01 AM

    I'm kind of experiencing McMegan fatigue. One of the nice things about Breaking Bad is that you finally get to see Walt get what's coming to him. When is Megan going to run out of places to distribute her bullshit from? At least places that pay?

  104. DocAmazing10:19 AM

    She floats in a sea of privilege. Call her Horatio Algae.

  105. whetstone10:23 AM

    Jeezapete, I got off the boat.

    Blacks certainly weren’t having an easy time of anything, nor were
    Mexicans, nor American Indians, nor Asians, nor women -- who were paid
    less than married men for the same work as a matter of policy and mostly
    couldn’t get the same work.

    McArdle notes this, somewhat reasonably, to point out that the good old days of solid middle-class jobs for "everyone" can't be separated from a market distorted by racism and sexism (and reduced immigration), and about how the good old days were only good, broadly speaking, for white men. A perhaps obvious point for some, but one that's always worth remembering.

    But the thing that black people and women did when the economy was booming and the returns were not going to them was to complain for decades about how things were fucked up and bullshit. They had movements and everything; you can read about it. They advocated specific policy solutions. Martin Luther King had some interesting ones.

    This is the essence of the whole thing: McArdle looks at how blacks and women were cut out of the better part of the labor market and concludes--I guess, it's always hard to tell with her--that the natural state of the economy can't support an actual middle class, or can't support your hopes and dreams for the future, or whatever she's on about. Anyway, be glad you're not a Memphis garbageman in the 1960s. Did she mention that she didn't even make six figures until she was in her mid-thirties!!!

    Liberals look at this and think "fuck, there's a lot of money going to dickheads who keep breaking things and don't really seem to be making anything of use, either, maybe someone should do something about that."*

    *I'm not saying we should make her writing illegal; it would kill the Himalayan salt market.

  106. whetstone10:24 AM

    Actually, I went to a hippie school where we were, I swear to you, discouraged from keeping score when we played soccer and basketball.

    You're goddamn right we kept score anyway. I mean, come on.

  107. moelarryandjesus10:33 AM

    Harrumph! You people are OBVIOUSLY not equipped to handle Jane Galt's true stories of her struggles to escape from the gritty, gritty streets armed with nothing but family connections and a strong sense of entitlement. For shame, sirs! For shame!

  108. whetstone10:41 AM

    what do you expect from the generation that played soccer and t-ball where they didn't keep score so no one's feelings would get hurt?

    I have an acronym for these people: SAT (or ACT, if they're from the Midwest).

    What were you saying about being judged by a score? Oh, you lost a t-ball game when you were five? OMG, that must have been devastating! It's a wonder you're not a pissy asshole. OH WAIT.

  109. RogerAiles10:58 AM

    If Meeeeegan graduated from an Ivy League school with no debt, and then lived with her parents, where did the loans come from?

    Something tells me we're not getting the whole story.

    No wonder she loves journalism.

  110. Seth Edenbaum11:01 AM

    "Fuck You. I'm Gen Y, and I Don't Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor."

    The couple met as graduate students at Florida State University, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in art history and has received a master’s degree in the same discipline, and he received a master’s in international affairs.

    Ms. Edwards, 29, is keeping her name. She graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, Va.

    She is the daughter of Shelley N. Edwards and Gregory S. Edwards of Sunrise, Fla. Her father, who is retired, was a district commander of the Florida Highway Patrol in Fort Lauderdale. Her mother is a fund-raising officer at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale.

    Last month, Mr. Weinstein, 30, received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia. Later this month, he is to become a copy editor at The Wall Street Journal. He graduated from Columbia.

    He is the son of Anne C. Weinstein and Alan Weinstein of Lauderhill, Fla. His father is the president and owner of a yacht brokerage and service company in Oakland Park, Fla., bearing his name.


    Hi there. I’m a Miami-based editor, writer, and media consultant who’s occasionally writing these days for Gawker, Salon, Columbia Journalism Review. By day, I’m the lead homepage editor and chief voice officer for Fusion, the new ABC-Univision joint venture.

    Until May 2013, I bounced between DC and SF as Mother Jones' inaugural engagement editor and Tumblr dude, as well as its lead national security reporter. Before that, I worked at the Wall Street Journal, the Village Voice and the Tallahassee Democrat. My writing has also appeared in the New York Times, GQ and Newsweek, among others. I’ve done some stuff in Iraq, won some game-show money, and attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism to learn investigative reporting, political/military affairs, business and media news, and literary criticism.


    Fuck all of you

  111. reallyaimai11:12 AM

    Megan has been writing this essay, in various ways, for years. To be fair, the sense of extreme loss and status anxiety that she felt immiediatly after graduating and then again after 9/11 was a real thing--because it related to her real fears and humiliations and uncertainities about her life prospects relative to those of the group against whom she measured herself: her wealthier more secure (former) peers rather than against some realistic standard like "everyone else in my age cohort." Even upper class girls can sing the blues when they can't afford top shelf whatever at the eateries of their friends.

    But that being said from the get go these essays, which she wrote rather frequently, were embarrassingly, nakedly, narcissistic and to the exgtent that they were mostly written from a post deluge standpoint were always hideously tone deaf to read. Megan prides herself on her "sticktoitiveness" when she really only mined family and business connections until she conned her way back into the ruling class by a new route. Truly: born on third and thinks she hit a triple is an accurate description.

  112. Ellis_Weiner11:12 AM

    chief voice officer

    Is this a thing? Does anyone have the remotest idea what it is? Is it a silly euphemism for "flack"?

  113. reallyaimai11:21 AM

    This entire little threadlet is just great to read. Like an unscored volley in tennis. I agree with everything everyone has said and would like to award everyone a trophy. But I also want to add that this whole sports and trophy ranking BDSM fetish on the part of the right wing is really interesting from a anthropological and psychological stance.

    Because people give out trophies in other kinds of competitions and they also engage in activities which are, for the most part, trophyless--like painting and, say, ballet. It is not, in fact, a feature of painting as a hobby (or any art form) or ballet (though it is a feature of competitive irish and scottish dancing) that the students be ranked and trophied or punished by the witholding of praise or trophies. And no one thinks that girls are worse dancers or are unprepared for life because they dance or paint. The entire model of these activities is more like "your own personal best" than "who got 1st prize.

    The right wing fetish for competition is really a thinly disguised desire to make sure that some people, any people, learn to know their place as losers in life, sitters on benches, low scorers in order to make sure that some other people--random people they don't even know--are recognized as real winners.

    This is some kind of compulsion, really. It doesn't relate to their real needs or their real world experience. Its more like some kind of mythic story they need to tell each other--and they fear if it isn't eternally re-enacted that maybe the sun won't rise on capitalism and America again tomorrow. Yes: if little bobby doesn't sit, humiliated, on the bench and forced to sit out of his Tball game because he's no good then something something something the loss of our national purity of essence and our manly vigor.

  114. People who understand the thrill of a late October pitchers' duel in the World Series seem to think a 0-0 draw in soccer is "boring." No. Soccer is exciting precisely *because* scoring is relatively rare.

  115. A huge percentage of libertarians I have known are somehow living off the public. I know that may not be the case generally, but in my personal experience, it's been that. I think they want to purify themselves or something very scatological.

  116. reallyaimai11:28 AM

    Oh would like to join in a giant, polymorphously perverse, mat of plankton and unicellular creatures floating eternally in the sunshine on a sea of toxic agricultural run off with this comment.

  117. Right and it's as if the recession was an act of god instead of a collection of assholes ripping everyone else off.

  118. reallyaimai11:30 AM

    I can't figure out who is getting the fuck you in this scenario?

  119. reallyaimai11:34 AM

    I was at the Bar Foundation in the early OO's as a graduate student fellow. Another guy who was there, finishing up his dissertation on some topic they found interesting (we were on a pretty tiny fellowship but it seemed huge to me) had a horrible thing happen to him: his mother and sister, who lived on a houseboat in Alaska, were blown up and he needed to fly up to Alaska to deal with the situation. The cost of the ticket was immense becuase it just is. The secretaries and the other interns and fellows helped pitch in to buy the ticket but the actual lawyers and top Bar Foundation people? No way.

  120. Pretty much this. What McArdle is doing is not that unusual - complaining about one's problems as though they're the worst thing in the world is something everyone does. If she showed even an ounce of human compassion or awareness over how lucky she's been, I wouldn't care. But no, every time she writes this type of article it's nothing but whining about how her life wasn't a magic carpet ride from day one. No real reflection, no compassion for people who had it rougher.

    This is a woman who simply refuses to learn anything - not just empirical facts, but fundamental truths about the human condition. Then again, why should she bother? She's made it this far without it.

  121. whetstone11:52 AM

    In some fairness, I know where he's coming from. My wife and I both attended prestigious universities; her for both undergrad and law. I'm in Weinstein's field (and probably make less). My wife does public interest law. Combined we make in the high five figures, and have savings of half that. We're in our early-mid 30s.

    We chose jobs we like and believe in that don't pay as well as other jobs we have had/could likely have (big law and ad/PR, eg); we chose to have a child; we chose to give up 40% of our income this year to take leave and be with her.

    All these are voluntary choices. If we chose to be more financially secure, we could probably do so. Choose different jobs, not have a kid, not take parental leave.

    But they are, I think, reasonable choices--and ones that, in another country, would be less of a challenge. America is big on "family values," but we have some of the least friendly child-leave policies in the developed world; a near-total services gap between birth and universal pre-K, served by a basically unregulated and typically expensive market (we're going to be paying much if not all of my salary for a couple years); an expensive and opaque health care system (our child is five months old, and we just got the final bill, God willing, from her birth).

    We're not poor. Adam Weinstein is probably not poor. But with a run of bad luck, we could easily lose what we have made; and we live in a country that makes it difficult to avoid that while simultaneously making what I think are ethically defensible life choices--choices that were easier to make (for white people, mostly the dudes, at least) several decades ago. He's laying it on a bit thick, and I wish he'd looked at angles in addition to flatlining wages. But when he says he "feels" poor, I sympathize.

  122. JBMNKY11:53 AM

    Good grief, a WHOLE YEAR doing administrative work in a trailer? I know plenty of people who spend their whole lives doing that job; they are called construction superintendents.

    The funny thing is, the people in the trailer are surrounded
    by dozens or hundreds of construction workers who WISH they had a job in there:because it’s clean and has heat, air conditioning and some chairs.

  123. Mark_Bzzzz12:34 PM

    I forgot about that. Princeton still ends doing pretty well in the NCAA tournaments.

  124. The best part about that guy is that he appears to be crying hardship because his parents were alive during the depression.

    That's nothing. Rick Santorum is in touch with the working class because his grandfather lived in a Tennessee Ernie Ford song.

  125. KatWillow12:56 PM

    The Kocks and all those other billionaires really and truly believe that they earned and deserve every penny of profit they pry from the people who actually worked to create the wealth. Hence their hatred of TAXES.

  126. marindenver12:58 PM

    LOL, don't kid yourself about ballet. There are a lot of competitions and they are cut throat. You never leave your pointe shoes unattended because they WILL be cut up. (I'm speaking from first hand experience as a former ballet mom.)

  127. KatWillow1:05 PM

    The Rich know perfectly well that it is their greed and dishonesty that is the cause of our economic slump. So they work very hard to blame others: Elderly, Poor, Students, Racial Minorities, Environmentalists, Anti-continent-crossing pipeline folk, etc. etc.

    The awful thing is it works

  128. marindenver1:08 PM

    The best part is that she thinks she's a journalist.

  129. LookWhosInTheFreezer1:25 PM

    The competition fetish also fits nicely into their worship of almighty incentives! Without some sort of zero-sum winner/loser outcome, nobody would do anything. This is probably why they have such disdain for the arts. Because the vast majority of artists don't even pretend to do it for fame or money or social status. People paint, dance and play instruments for sheer joy. Hardly a legitimate reason, to conservatives.

  130. KatWillow1:27 PM

    MY disposable monthly income was $7.00. Really.

  131. Seth Edenbaum1:29 PM

    "We should keep in mind that even privileged people have real troubles, and sometimes may share them out of a yearning for fellow-feeling -- to show that down deep they're the same as you." It's hard out there for a pimp

  132. LookWhosInTheFreezer1:50 PM

    Yup. I mostly just-hit, even with well-matched partners because playing sets, keeping score etc. takes most of the fun out of it.

    Ironically, de-emphasizing the competitive angle of sports at a young age might not only keep more kids playing and enjoying them, but might also make the ones who do decide to play competitively, into better being able to make that transition from practice-mode into match-mode, by lowering the pressure/expectations that cripple so many player's games.

  133. GWPDA2:04 PM

    Gee McMegan - My heart, it bleeds for u. Particularly since after searching for three years, I finally swung a job in my (PhD!) field, paying decently, only to have it sequestered out from under me. Next job option? A temp gig in Building 157 (it shares the cafeteria at Bldg 197) in The Navy Yard! Kind of encapsulates life as it is currently lived, don't it?

    Meanwhile, McM - how's that poisoned wood surface in your kitchen working out?

  134. When I was in High School, the father of this girl I was interested in was a libertarian, and was also on public assistance. Even back then I realized that made no frickin' sense.

  135. I caught that loan bit, too. Car loan? (But why would she need one in NYC?) My best guess is that "loan" is a cover for credit card bills (since, technically, those are payments on loans), but if she said "credit card bills" that would dent the image of virtuous thrift she's trying to project.

  136. Gromet3:18 PM

    Huh. Never really thought of it this way, but I guess I led a life of luxury with my monthly disposable $45.

  137. GWPDA3:29 PM

    Psilly pibbels - she went on 'the street' to buy the appropriately high end kitchen appliances that define her life. Those loans cost serious vig!

  138. whetstone3:35 PM

    This is probably why they have such disdain for the arts.

    Also because, insofar as the market for the arts reflects winners and losers, they usually end up pretty far in the latter bracket, particularly in Hollyweird. From which they are shut out, perhaps by the gays, through no fault of their own.

  139. Gromet3:37 PM

    And then with all those trophies, 20 years from now we'd think we deserve not to die in a ditch, which would unfairly ding hypothetical peoples' ability to afford nice salt. Thanks for saving us from ourselves, LookWho!

  140. PulletSurprise3:40 PM

    Not so much born on 3rd as "her parents knocked it out of the park, but let her run the bases; she later took credit for the RBI."

  141. Gromet3:40 PM

    One fist of 'bortion, nuther of marriage,
    The rightwing don't get ya -- well, the rightwing will get ya.

  142. philadelphialawyer3:49 PM

    Lots of them are public contractors. Somehow, they figure, because they are not government employees, that makes a difference. The idea that the taxpayers are the ones paying the portion of their fees that represents their not inconsiderable profit, and that the public spending that that represents is at least as as susceptible to a libertarian argument as is spending on, say, teachers' salaries, never crosses their little, greedy minds. Many of them have made quite the fortunes in this way too. If the school district/town/county/ State/Fed pays a teacher's salary, that is "theft" from them, as taxpayers. But if the school district/town/county/State/Fed pays them to build the damn school, that is perfectly OK.

  143. GWPDA3:53 PM


  144. GWPDA3:54 PM

    How else would you know u were done?

  145. PulletSurprise4:10 PM

    Jumped out of the boat to watch Jane Galt styling herself as Jane Eyre:

    ...neither [business consulting or blogging] paid well enough to allow her to leave her
    parents’ spare bedroom, where she spent her 29th birthday … and her 30th
    … and her 31st. She was uninsured, with several chronic diseases. Her
    clothes wore out, and she couldn’t afford to replace them. For the first
    time, she understood what Victorian heroines were talking about when
    they felt “shabby”: Her clothes were stained, stretched out of shape and
    fraying at the edges, and there was no money for more.

    Figures that she'd find that she found more to identify with the imagined life of English aristocrats than with her very real American neighbors. Some of them.... gasp... use Black & Decker kitchen appliances!

    And her most remarkable memory to relate: Her clothes were 3 years old. (Fans self, clutches pearls, faints.)

  146. reallyaimai4:25 PM

    But you know why this seems so awful to her--because of the opportunity cost to her--an opportunity cost she doesn't imagine other people are entitled to suffer from. She had an MBA, for gosh sake's--a year in a trailer "cost" her the fabulous sums of money and the networking possibilities to which she felt entitled.

    She reminds me of a book on Tamil emotion which had the Tamil's the anthropologist interviewed making the argument that it was a bad idea to feed poor people because it was their "habit to be hungry" and you would be disturbing that habit and doing them harm by feeding them like normal people. Megan really believes that her suffering was greater than that of other people, because they are (or should be) used to their class position.

  147. reallyaimai4:26 PM

    Yeah, I was a ballet mom too. I never entered my daughters in any competitions in seven years of ballet. The vast majority of ballet takes place in class and is not scored at all.

  148. reallyaimai4:34 PM

    People are entitled to feel whatever they want to feel. And not only that, they are "right" to feel stressed and anxious whatever their portfolio may look like to other people. It is a fact that although a small portion of the middle class still has disposable income and a luxurious lifestyle the props have been kicked out from under that lifestyle in a number of ways: there's no lifelong employment, there are no partnership agreements that can't be dissolved, there is no secure pension plan, health care is in flux and radically so, and people are squeezed between a senior generation that may be going financially bust and needing care and a younger generation that is still dependent on their parents.

    Even two income high status people are, as you said, one or two paychecks away from a major disaster and if they have children they are hyper aware that the privilige with which those kids have grown up will not be replicated in those kids lives. I think a bunch of middle class, even quite successful people, have a legitimate feeling of fear--like the person who is falling past the thirtieth floor on their way down. The breeze and the view are fantastic, but you haven't hit bottom yet.

  149. reallyaimai4:35 PM

    Jane Galt styling herself as Jane Eyre is fucking perfection.

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  151. BG, now with more feck5:09 PM

    Who said we are entitled to lives without stress? Has any generation been stress-free? Sorry, but I see plenty of younger people who are still living with their parents, or who are taking money from them. It's everyone's fault if they've assumed that the American Dream is a fact. It's called a "dream" for a reason. Ultimately, I empathize much more with older people who have lost their jobs than with younger people who can't find them.

  152. abdar nitangae5:17 PM

    Perhaps on the lines of liebenswurdig I would guess, perhaps, "abgehackenswurdig hals."

  153. Tiny Hermphrodite, Esq.5:19 PM

    AFAIK Sadly No, but I think "Backpfeifengesicht", a (smug) face that begs to be slapped, applies here, though it's far to mild.

  154. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.5:36 PM

    *Slaps forehead* Disregard the comment above, though she also has a Backpfeifengesicht. You can certainly make up the word "abhackungswürdig" or "abhackenswürdig" . And ta da a new meaningful and correct word is born. German, it's better than Lego.

    *Heads to google* Okay, there is one hit on a German site for "abhackungswürdig". A nearly new word.

  155. John D.5:54 PM

    There's an old Little Orphan Annie storyline in which Daddy Warbucks stupidly marries an obvious gold digger becuase he wants to provide a mother figure for Annie, and the woman in question goes on to cause him no end of trouble. Part of the story involves her going back to her old friends in the slums to endlessly bitch about how terrible her lot in life is, now that she's married to a millionare, and one of the old chums eventually remarks, "She has no real problems now, so she invents reasons to feel sorry for herself! the sap!" Harold Gray, Annie's creator, was a right wing nut par excellence, and even so, he had McargleBargle's number pegged years before she was born!

  156. reallyaimai5:58 PM

    Who is that in answer to? Life is stressful enough without being told to eat your bowl of shit and like it. Every person--let alone every generation--has to wrestle with work, life, family, illness, and death. Its not that this, or any generation, deserves more than sorrow and pain and grunting out this life from day to day--its that we hope for more than that for our children and our children's children.

    The fact that people can not afford to move out of the family home and set up households as independent adults, with good jobs, is a problem for society. Its not a problem because it makes people sad, its a problem that there is no way out for us because the economy has tanked and is not going ever to be fuctional again for the majority of our people.

  157. John D.6:00 PM

    Apart from anything else, this observation really jumps off the computer screen:

    "Blacks certainly weren’t having an easy time of anything, nor were
    Mexicans, nor American Indians, nor Asians, nor women -- who were paid
    less than married men for the same work as a matter of policy and mostly
    couldn’t get the same work."

    As if the selfish little twit actually gives a damn about any of that! She's just exploiting all of those issues to tart up the credentials of her own whinging narcissism. You can almost admire the sheer, hypocritical gall of the woman!

  158. philadelphialawyer6:37 PM

    I don't mind her living with her parents into her thirties. Or using her connections to get a job. Or having the luxury of taking multiple stabs at higher ed until she found one course of study that led to a real job.
    What bothers me is the lack of self awareness. The refusal to acknowledge that all of the above makes her lucky, and lucky in a way that many of the folks she is addressing now are not. And lucky in a way that union workers, even of the dreaded white, married and male variety, were and are not.
    Lots of folks would perhaps fall back on their parents, except that their parents are themselves broke, and living on the brink, or in an institution, or as themselves the more or less unwanted "guests" of their own relatives. Or maybe their parents are dead. Or, their parents have disabilities, or sicknesses or injuries, and they rely on their adult child, rather than vice versa even being a possibility.
    Lots of folks would love to have connections to hit up for "temporary" jobs. But they don't. Because of where they are from. Because (see above) their parents were not as well heeled as Megan's. Because the only "connections" they have are with people as broke as themselves or broker.
    Lots of folks would like to go back to school, even after having completed college. But they can't. Because they don't have the money. Because (see above) they have to take care of their disabled/sick/injured parent(s) instead of living with and off them. Because they don't have (see above) "connections" to provide them with "temporary" jobs while they fail and figure stuff out and fail again, until finally getting it right.
    And all of the above assumes that Megan did finally make it on merit. Not because of her birth status and connections and/or because she decided to peddle her ass (metaphorically, of course) to the highest bidder. A dubious assumption indeed.
    Finally, what's with the union workers? They, unlike her, were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Their jobs were not hereditary, and union "privilege" (if you must) was won through strikes and lockouts and fist fights and slow downs and fighting and lobbying and marching and so on. It did not come with birth, as did her no loan Ivy League education, her connections, and her cozy "spare" bedroom at her folks' house. And, at that, being a union worker still meant getting up every day and going to work, often at menial or manual labor, for pay and benefits that, at best, and after a lifetime of hard work, could (maybe) support the middle class lifestyle that Megan takes for granted, takes as her due, and sees as being, for herself, anyway, the natural state of affairs in the universe. The notion that they were/are the lucky ones, not Megan, is so lacking in self awareness, so preposterously selfish and self centered, as to be beyond the mere realm of disgusting and instead deep, deep inside the kingdom of the delusional.

  159. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.6:39 PM

    "I defend laissez-faire capitalism, using Ayn Rand's Objectivism."

    Whats the difference between this and "I defend Young Earth Creationism and Flood Geology using a literal and inerrantist reading of the Old Testament"?

  160. philadelphialawyer6:53 PM

    But all of that is a strawman. Who is saying that they are entitled to a life without stress? Who is saying that they are entitled to a house, car, good job, lots of money, etc, etc, without having to work for any of it? Folks are PO'd because of the lack of opportunity, not because they might have to work and struggle to take advantage of that opportunity. Folks are also PO'd because the people that Megan worries about, the investment bankers, hedge fund managers, CEOs, etc., have so rigged and ripped off the system that they can have all of the above, only so much more of it and gold plated besides, while other folks, again, don't even have opportunities to get any of it.
    And young folks need jobs as much as old folks do. This generational warfare thing has got to stop. The Boomers did not wreck the world. Those that came after them are not to blame either. Really, the whole "generational" construct is fake, even from a flimsy, pop sociological perspective. What matter is that the rich are eating our lunches and drinking our milkshakes. Not our parents and not our children, not our older or younger brothers, sisters, cousins or friends. "Empathize" with everyone who is being denied a fair opportunity, old or young. And find "fault" with the rich scumbags who are doing the denying and living off it too, young or old.

  161. ohsopolite7:44 PM

    No kidding--when I look at what it would take my 19 year old daughter to live independently like I did at her age, it's really pretty staggering how things have changed. When I did it 35 years ago I could actually live on a not-quite-fulltime minimum wage job. Good luck pulling that off these days, unless you're willing to give up shelter so you can have a lavish Ramen noodle diet, or vice versa.

  162. reallyaimai8:08 PM

    As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
    As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,For they are women's children, and we mother them again.Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
    As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women deadGo crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
    As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,The rising of the women means the rising of the race.No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

  163. reallyaimai8:12 PM

    Oddly enough--Blacks, Mexicans, Native Americans, Vietnamese boat people, and women are still doing really badly in the present economy. As are working class white men. What is her point here? That if you didn't complain then you can't complain now? Or that white men need to shut their pie holes because "those people" had it bad once? She is an equal opportunity lecturer so I think she's actually too stupid to realize that her implied audience includes more than just upper class white boys so lecturing them about the evils of "you people" might be coals to newcastle.

  164. JennOfArk8:56 PM

    Not to mention, I don't fucking buy it.

    I'm sure she could have afforded new clothes from Wal-Mart, which she no doubt would insist are good enough for the little people, those moochers and looters who do the work to create the wealth of those she so assiduously laves with her tongue. It's not that she couldn't afford new clothes; it's that she couldn't afford the brands that she believed were good enough for her, special snowflake that she is.

  165. PulletSurprise9:09 PM

    Oh, I don't either. Her notions of hardship don't scan as very imposing. "But I have an Ivy League MBA!"

    The picture of her spending 3 consecutive birthdays in her parents' spare room is a little too much. I'm picturing a single cupcake with a single candle on a nightstand, and her folks finally giving up and arranging a meeting so she could get a job allfuckingready...

  166. JennOfArk9:20 PM

    And also too, I'm going to go there because as I've admitted many times, I am a very bad person's not as if new clothes would have helped her. Unattractive is unattractive, no matter how it's wrapped. And as she's demonstrated repeatedly over the years, in her case, ugly goes all the way to the bone.

  167. BigHank5310:27 PM

    Usually, having a kid knocks the libertarian out of you right quick.

  168. BigHank5310:33 PM

    Perhaps Mr. Fish has a lucrative day job teaching tensor calculus to cats, which is the minimum skillset I imagine would be needed to get a new concept into Ms. McArdle's mind. Though I suppose writing it on hundred-dollar bills might have a better chance.

  169. BigHank5310:44 PM

    Asteroid, climate apocalypse, worldwide economic crash, energy shocks, slate-wiping plague...

    No matter how fast they spend it, the Kochs will probably never run out of money. What they may run out is things to buy. Nobody can sell you a passenger pigeon, a dodo, or a brontosaurus, because they're extinct. An infinite amount of money won't get you one. At some point on the price/scarcity curve there's an asymptote, and things past that point are very, very different.

  170. not only that, but I think that the label you're looking for is the OhOh's. sometimes known as the UhOh's

  171. Tehanu11:46 PM

    What is this "disposable income" of which you speak?

  172. AGoodQuestion1:25 AM

    I love this threadlet too.

    It might go without saying, but there is a lot of projection and self-deception going on in these "kids need to win or be losers" rants. Obsessing over soft kids being bad at sports makes you a jock in much the same way that being pro-war and hating hippies makes you a Green Beret.

  173. AGoodQuestion1:32 AM

    My guess is the Randian thing pays better. That's about it.

  174. Spaghetti Lee1:51 AM

    Well, lots of kids are competitive, pre and post-1980, and it's by no means a moral failing. When Mom and Dad spend thousands of dollars on tennis camp for Junior because they've decided he's going to be the next Federer, however, that's what's fucked up.

  175. David Rice7:35 AM

    I would like to give this comment a trophy, but then, of course, I would
    have to give one to every other commenter because of Liberal Fascism
    and Political Correctness...or something.
    Current Version Plugin

    Rizal Blog | Anti Gaptek

  176. mortimer20008:09 AM

    I can see why the right-wing would be so hung up on meaningless trophies:

    A few Presidential Medals of Freedom Winners:
    2005 Paul Harvey
    2004 Paul Bremer
    2004 Norman Podhoretz
    2004 George Tenet
    2002 Irving Kristol
    1987 Caspar Weinberger

    Bradley Foundation Prizes
    2013 Roger Ailes
    2012 Edwin Meese III
    2011 Jeb Bush
    2010 Paul Gigot
    2010 Michael Barone
    2009 William Kristol
    2008 Victor Davis Hanson
    2007 John R. Bolton
    2005 George F. Will

  177. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps8:30 AM

    When young adults are overwhelmingly unable to afford to move out of their family homes, they're prevented from even attempting to take that first step of the dream.

    Young adults entering every industry and field were told that hard work will be rewarded, that a college education is a key to prosperity, that taking on debt to go to college is a good investment, that it's inevitable you'll make more money than your parents did. None of that is true in 2013.

    The issue isn't that things are stressful or not everybody can have their ice cream for breakfast. The problem is that compared to previous generations, young adults are having to endure more stress, less stability, fewer opportunities for promotion and lower pay (sometimes even no pay) to even just have a shot at a lower-middle class lifestyle, much less fulfill the American dream narrative.

  178. Halloween_Jack9:52 AM

    They'll pour money into cloning research, for a) replacement bodies for themselves and b) re-creating species that they or their ancestors helped drive to extinction.

    Speaking of (not) running out of things to buy, consider this guy; I imagine Megan having a pic of him in her scrapbook with the caption, "Livin' the dream!!!"

  179. FMguru10:20 AM

    Pretty much every libertarian I've ever met, online or in person, has been living off of either family money (working spouse, old family moolah, mom's basement apartment, job in dad's company, etc.) or government largesse (contractor, nsf grant, social security, military pension, or - my favorite - disability). It's uncanny.

  180. FMguru10:38 AM

    I read a piece recently that argued that our late capitalist consumer wonderland is increasingly resembling the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union. Omnipresent unaccountable security state, transparently bullshit "news" reporting, most people shopping at a tiny selection of giant megastores full of junky merchandise, decaying infrastructure, a well-connected elite pulling away from society and living in their own secure communities, ugly functional architecture...

    Seriously, how is driving past a street full of shuttered shops to pick and choose from among the low-quality crap there all that different from standing in long lines to shop the empty shelves at the state-run GUM store? The USSR's bureaucracy had nothing on trying to get Comcast or 24Hr. Fitness to cancel or change an account. We're not quite yet at the stage where people stand in line all day for a chance to buy bread - but I note today is New IPhone Day, which means people will be standing in line to buy a slightly newer version of a gadget they already have.

  181. redoubt10:54 AM

    Sooooome. . .people say a man is made out of lube. . .

  182. realinterrobang11:38 AM

    I want to spend a relaxing weekend in a Caspian Sea dacha with this comment.

  183. realinterrobang11:43 AM

    And there are religious people out there who take the Biblical story of the widow's mite to be instructional, rather than an accurate reflection of human reality...

  184. realinterrobang11:52 AM

    My parents are well-to-do (although probably not nearly in MM's parents' league, if they could afford to pay for her to go to Hahvahd debt-free), and refused numerous times to bail me out when I needed it (to be fair, they'd bail me out sometimes).

    I think this is largely because they are pretty conservative and figured I *shouldn't* need help. My dad actually told me once that I'd never get a job because I "hate authority, and it comes through on your resume," which has to be the most baffling criticism I've ever received.

    So by actually taking help from her parents and then turning around and spouting the shit she's spouting, she's got another whole *extra* layer of hipocrisy going on...not that any right-winger anywhere cares about that, but for those of you keeping score at home...

  185. LookWhosInTheFreezer1:14 PM

    Competitive nature, in and of itself is not a moral failing, and obviously is one of the key elements that makes sports so much fun to watch and play, but as with anything it can be overemphasized to the point of developing a pathos in the players and fans. I've seen competitive spirits bring out the absolute worst elements in people (myself included.) Bitterness, resentment, distrust etc. And many people take the sports(war) metaphors: win at all costs, go for the jugular, mercy is for the weak etc., and use them as their default outlook towards life. If I ever have to hear another asshole CEO pull out a sports metaphor in a meeting to explain how he needs to see 110% and see who's in-it-to-win-it etc., I'll dump a gatorade bucket of vomit over my own head.

  186. TomParmenter1:18 PM

    Reminiscent of Captain Kirk's explanation in the Star Trek comic strip of how he had defeated some Klingon initiative, "I did it using algorithms."

  187. TomParmenter1:30 PM

    Dog my cats! That really tore the rag off the bush!

  188. timb1174:54 PM

    It's the entire raison d'etre for Goldman Sachs's existence. Create fake money with an imaginary bet and then have other people sell bets on whether that bet will work. Take a handling fee from all the idiots looking for money for nothing

  189. Mooser9:02 PM

    Sorry you need a lot more feck. That comment was, well, feckless.
    Try again, Megan.

  190. Mooser9:05 PM

    Yes it is. But why are there still wingnuts?

  191. Matt Jones11:33 AM

    "Productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.3% in the April-June quarter, up from an initial estimate of 0.9% growth, the Labor Department said Thursday. Unit labor costs were flat in the second quarter, less than the 1.4% rise the government had initially estimated.

    The combination of stronger productivity and less of an increase in wages should provide assurances to the Federal Reserve that inflation is not a threat."

    Only someone with McMegan's level of non-self-awareness could cite the *exact* reason that people are pissed about the non-recovery "recovery" and the years preceding it as an "assurance". We've seen ten+ years of growing productivity while real wages remained flat - every drop of that gain has been squeezed up to the end of the economic toothpaste tube. For instance, if the minimum wage had grown with productivity, it would be $15+ now...

  192. RogerAiles4:48 PM

    Yesterday, I left my house for the first time in months and ended up talking with an unemployed hipster who had just moved to Williamsburg and was back getting work done on his sleeve tat. I talked about the laws against vagrancy, and then after a pause, he said, "You know, you may have read us snapchatting about you people, how you fucked up the economy. A lot of people are saying you are calling us takers. The way I look at it, I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine [sic]." He paused and looked at my iPhone 5s with larcenous intent. "Besides, look what we did with it. You gave us trickle-down economics, and look what we did with it!"

    Then I punched him.

  193. nhunglth10:34 PM

    you are tried, you want find moments to meditate, relax. It's play game with me. it's great to play the tai game ban ca an xu in the gioi giai tri mobi and Forget tired after working hard learning

  194. Megan McArdle is a living, ever-present challenge to my principle of never wishing someone dead. If it could be a murder-suicide with her spouse, "Sudafed," well then I'd double-down on backing away from that principle.

  195. My cousin used to be a fund-raiser for Catholic charities. She told me a similar story. That poorer parishes contributed more that wealthy parishes.

  196. Barry_D11:44 AM

    "Not to mention, I don't fucking buy it."

    In addition to Walmart, I'll bet that if she had a job interview, and needed a new suit and shoes, her parents would have sprung for them.

  197. Barry_D11:45 AM

    "..because it related to her real fears and humiliations and uncertainities
    about her life prospects relative to those of the group against whom
    she measured herself: her wealthier more secure (former) peers rather
    than against some realistic standard like "everyone else in my age

    However, isn't that just good old-fashioned competition and capitalism and all that?

  198. Barry_D11:49 AM

    "Something tells me we're not getting the whole story."

    Read 'The Exiled'. They did a Project SHAME on her.

    Short answer - her father was heavily involved with NYC construction, and lobbying for it.

  199. Barry_D11:51 AM

    "When is Megan going to run out of places to distribute her bullshit from?"

    Probably never. She's In the elite groups within that profession, and will always right things pleasing to the elites (with the occasional, forgivable deviation - she's not perfect).

  200. Barry_D12:59 PM

    According to Project Shame, yes. They cite her as admitting it, saying that she sent out hundreds of resumes with no jobs, and only got one through connections.