Megan McArdle Is an Idiot


Somebody explain this paragraph to me

Before the ink was dry on our new tax bill, outraged blue states were screaming about the cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes. Their governments were also frantically seeking ways around it, and small wonder. For decades, high-tax states with a lot of wealthy residents enjoyed a hefty subsidy from the rest of America. Legislators were understandably panicked over what voters might do when handed the rest of the bill.

This is from Megan McArdle in Wapo, who is one of those wonders who keeps getting plum writing jobs in spite of having the brain of a turnip.

At no point in this column does McArdle explain how people in high-tax states are getting a subsidy from the rest of America. It’s long been known that it works the other way around; with some exceptions, higher-tax “blue” states are subsidizing the lower-tax “red” states.

Here’s where it’s coming from:

Last fall, when the Trump Administration was pushing for its Tax Bill of Doom, Mnuchin and the rest of the Swamp Creatures pushed the idea that people in high-tax states were getting a break on their income taxes because they could deduct high state and local taxes from their federal returns. However, even with that “advantage,” the data show us that the high-tax “blue” states are still subsidizing the low-tax “red” states, not the other way around. And that’s because people who make tons of money tend to be concentrated in “blue” cities, because they are better places to live, and that’s where their jobs are.

The lie about how “red” states were subsidizing “blue” states was one of the selling points of the tax bill. McArdle is too dim to realize it was a scam.

Glenn Kessler explained,

Indeed six states–California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania–claim more than half of the value of all state and local tax deductions nationwide, according to IRS data. (Texas has no state income tax.)

As it happens, the high-tax states also tend to be the wealthiest states — and also blue states in presidential elections. Under this particular provision, one could perhaps make the case that they are being subsidized by low-tax states. But when you step back and look at the total revenue and spending picture, blue states could make the case that they are subsidizing other states, as various reports show they receive far less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes.

A report released on Oct. 3 by the New York State Comptroller said that New York generated 9.4 percent of the federal government’s income-tax receipts, even though it represented 6.1 percent of the U.S. population. It received 5.9 percent of federal spending allocated to the states. According to the report, New York contributed $12,914 per capita in tax revenue to the federal budget — but received $10,844 in per capita federal spending. The problem has only gotten worse in the three years since the report was last produced, state officials said.

“In New York state, the idea that we are being subsidized by other states holds no water,” Deputy New York Comptroller Robert Ward said in an interview.

And, of course, since the very wealthy made out like bandits in the tax bill, one can’t weap for them too much. But those blue states have a lot of low- and middle-income taxpayers also, who are there because that’s where their jobs are, but they struggle with higher costs of living and really need that tax deduction to get by. And there’s a bigger issue here about income inequality, as well as the fact that those blue states and cities are the biggest drivers of the American economy — just imagine if the whole USA were Mississippi — and yet people who live there have less of a say than rural red state voters about who gets to be president.

Just don’t get me started.

11 thoughts on “Megan McArdle Is an Idiot

  1. Megan McArdle Is an Idiot

    Sorry, Maha, but this is a "dog bites man" headline…

  2. Bingo! But as stated, the big repeated lie is Trump's stock position.  It sounds like something I have heard before, but who can remember WW2?



  3. I’m not so sure if she’s dumb, as much as she's making bank working for the wealthy corrupt, and rationalizes it all because they’re keeping her fed. 

    She once claimed to be an “ultraliberal” who found Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group to be pure evil (??), yet had no problem attending an extremely expensive prep school funded by her union busting lobbyist (and according to a certain criminal task force) corrupt father.

  4. If you looked at MargleBargleGargle's body of work from a different angle – and didn't know how feckin' stupid, ignorant, bigoted, and ALWAYS wrong she is  – you might think she was a humorist on par with the NYT's great Russell Baker.

    The difference(s)?

    Russell Baker was a brilliant satirist and humorist who knew a lot about a lot.

    McArgleBargleGargle is s feckin' eegjiotic shithead who wouldn't know shit from Shinola. 

    Most people laughed WITH Baker.

    Almost all people laugh AT McArgleBargleGargle.


  5. McArdle is too dim to realize it was a scam.

    Oh, come on, you don't think she's writing in good faith, do you? She doesn't believe that, it's just the current Party Line, so it's what she writes. None of the gombeens  writes what they really think. They write what their editors want, and their editors want what they think their corporate owners will want.

    • Procopius — I direct you to a post from the Mahablog archives, “You, Too, Can Be an Econoblogger!” from 2010. Here’s just part of it.

      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.”

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

      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.

  6. As a resident of one of the targeted Blue States (CT), I was worried about the tax hit. 

    But the GOP Tax "Cut" was smartly targeted – the first $10K (?) of State/Local tax is still deductible, so Thousandaires like me won't really get hit (hard).  But there are a lot of mansions and shoreline summer homes here in CT, and (local) Real Estate tax can be real money. 

    The real point of that nasty little clause is to foment class war in Blue states.  CT GOP always crows about taxes driving "job creators" (rich people and big Corps) out of state; losing the Fed deduction of State taxes (which are relatively high) will exacerbate that.  Will the Democrats remember to remind people who broke it? 

    • elkern — I’ve been seeing wingnuts crow for years that wealthy people are fleeing New York because of the taxes. Somehow, they’re all still there. Even the ones who retire to Miami keep their Manhattan apartments or their “other” mansion in the Hamptons. Brooklyn is being taken over by luxury high-rise apartments that most of the natives can’t afford, but somebody is buying them (although not necessarily living in them year-round). Rich people live in New York because it’s New York. They might pay lower taxes in Dallas, but if you really want to live in New York, Dallas is not an acceptable substitute.

  7. "I’ve been seeing wingnuts crow for years that wealthy people are fleeing New York because of the taxes "

    Same story for Illinois, some (not necessarily wealthy) do come over the line to Indiana where they are greeted with bad roads, minimal state services and some of the worst school systems in the country! Low taxes, sometimes you get what you pay for. Elkern is right, the tax provisions were designed to punish blue states, but that fact seems lost on McArdle, which why she is an idiot!

  8. Yeah, the Blue states are still subsidizing the Red states. OC, the Red states complain about receiving Federal funds, because so much of it goes to "those people" (non-Whites). 

    It occurs to me that if the South had won the Civil War, Trump would be wanting to build a wall along the Mason Dixon line. 😉

  9. "Megan McArdle, frequently in error but never in doubt."  FIEBNIDitus, A mental disorder of epidemic proportions.  Disables many of our locals.


Comments are closed.