I think I’m qualified to be the “econoblogger” for The Atlantic. That’s because the one they’ve got, Megan McArdle, is as bad at arithmetic as I am. Tbogg writes,
You really have to hand it to The Atlantic who chose to hire as their “Econoblogger” a woman whose facility with numbers would get her fired as a cashier at Wendy’s after two days.
That would be me, too, except that cash machines these days tell you how much change is owed. As long as that’s the case I could probably manage.
One difference between me and McArdle is that I’m aware that I’m bad with arithmetic, whereas McArdle seems blissfully oblivious. As Jonathan Chait wrote of her, McArdle is “frequently in error, but never in doubt.”
Another is that I’m better at basic smarts than she is, which might disqualify me for the Atlantic gig. Awhile back Brad DeLong nominated McArdle for the title “stupidest woman alive.” There’s an entire blog dedicated to her titled “Fire Megan McArdle.”
In fact, opinions on McArdle constitute a shorthand intelligence test. Ask anyone on the web what they think of McArdle, and if they say they admire her, you’re looking at an idiot. Or a libertarian. But I repeat myself.
That last bit is the real key to McArdle’s idiocy. Whatever intelligence she was born with has been replaced by libertarian ideology, leaving her with the critical thinking skills of dryer lint.
I bring this up because McArdle has embarrassed The Atlantic once again, with a post called “The Health Care Reform Already Costs More Than We Thought It Would.” As Ezra Klein explains, McArdle has confused discretionary spending with new spending.
Now, I’m not a whiz with complex cost estimates, either, and this is a mistake I might have made. However, I wouldn’t have gone public with my criticism without checking with someone who has more knowledge of such things than I do. Also, I am not the business and economics editor for The Atlantic.
But, hell, if McArdle can be the business and economics editor for The Atlantic, so could I. And so could the chair I’m sitting on.