Megan McArdle (born January 29, 1973) is a Washington, D.C.-based blogger and journalist. She writes mostly about economics, finance and government policy from a right-libertarian or classical liberal perspective.
She began her writing career with a blog, Live From The WTC, started in November 2001. In 2003 she was hired by The Economist to write for their website, and since then she has worked full-time as a journalist and editor, both online and in print. Publications she has worked for include The Economist, The Atlantic, Newsweek/The Daily Beast and Bloomberg View. She was a Bernard L. Schwartz fellow at The New America Foundation. She has also had book reviews and opinion pieces published in the New York Post, The New York Sun, Reason, The Guardian and Salon.com.
Early life and education
McArdle was born and raised in New York City. Her father, Francis X. McArdle, was former managing director of the GCA (General Contractors Association of New York) during the Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani administrations. Her mother, Joan McArdle, was a real estate broker for Prudential Douglas Elliman.
She has an undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.
During her junior year, she worked as a canvasser for the Public Interest Research Groups, the nonprofit founded by Ralph Nader. Her experience there hurried along her “transition from ultraliberal to libertarian.” The organization was, she later wrote, “the most deceptive, evil place I've ever worked.” She earned an MBA from University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.
McArdle began blogging in November 2001; her blog was originally called "Live From The WTC", because she was working at the time for a construction firm doing cleanup at the World Trade Center site following the September 11 attacks. She wrote under the pen name "Jane Galt". The name was a play on "John Galt", the name of a central character in Ayn Rand's Objectivist novel Atlas Shrugged; though her political perspective could best be described not as Objectivist but as moderate libertarian or classical liberal. In November 2002 she renamed the site "Asymmetrical Information", a reference to the economics term of the same name. That blog had two other occasional contributors, Zimran Ahmed (writing under the pen name "Winterspeak") and the pseudonymous "Mindles H. Dreck".
McArdle achieved some online fame in May 2003 for coining what she termed "Jane's Law", in a blog post. The law, written with regard to the two main U.S. political parties, Republicans and Democrats, reads: "The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane." Another well-known post of hers, from April, 2005, discusses why she takes no position on the issue of same-sex marriage; she wrote, "All I'm asking for is for people to think more deeply than a quick consultation of their imaginations to make that decision... This humility is what I want from liberals when approaching market changes; now I'm asking it from my side [libertarians], in approaching social ones."
In 2009, she criticized an article in Playboy by eXiled Online editors Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, detailing the influence of the Koch brothers in American and Tea Party politics. Playboy took down the article in response to the flak.
By 2010, McArdle had also become The Atlantic's business and economics editor. In February 2010, her blog lost the title "Asymmetrical Information", as The Atlantic switched to having every blog (except Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish) be identified solely by its author.
In 2012, David Brooks called McArdle one of the most influential bloggers on the right, writing that she is among those who "start from broadly libertarian premises but do not apply them in a doctrinaire way."
McArdle has been critical of the libertarian politician Ron Paul, taking him to task for not strongly disavowing racist statements that appeared in his newsletters, arguing against his championing of tax credits, and accusing him of lacking specificity about cutting government spending. McArdle was also quoted as saying that Ron Paul "doesn't understand anything about monetary policy," and that "he wastes all of his time on the House Financial Services Committee ranting crazily."
U.S. automotive bailout
In late 2008, McArdle wrote extensively against a proposed federal bailout of the U.S. auto industry (which ultimately occurred in early 2009). In November 2008, various of McArdle's blog posts on the subject were quoted approvingly by conservative commentators David Brooks, Michael Barone and John Podhoretz, among others.
National health care
Since 2009, McArdle has argued extensively against instituting a system of national health insurance in the United States, and specifically against the federal health care reform bill the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed in March 2010. In addition to a number of blog posts on the subject, she also wrote an article on the subject, "Myth Diagnosis", in the March 2010 Atlantic.
In a July 2009 blog post, McArdle listed two reasons that she objected to such a system: first, that it would stifle innovation, because "Monopolies are not innovative, whether they are public or private," and second, that "Once the government gets into the business of providing our health care, the government gets into the business of deciding whose life matters, and how much." Commentator Ezra Klein of the Washington Post criticized this post, writing, "In 1,600 words, she doesn't muster a single link to a study or argument, nor a single number that she didn't make up (what numbers do exist come in the form of thought experiments and assumptions). Megan's argument against national health insurance boils down to a visceral hatred of the government."
In an August 2009 post, McArdle reiterated, "My objection is primarily, as I've said numerous times, that the government will destroy innovation. It will do this by deciding what constitutes an acceptable standard of care, and refusing to fund treatment above that. It will also start controlling prices."
In a comment to that post, McArdle stated, "The United States currently provides something like 80-90% of the profits on new drugs and medical devices. Perhaps you think you can slash profits 80% with no effect on the behavior of the companies that make these products. I don't." In a subsequent Washington Post online chat, a commenter asked her, "You said that medical innovation will be wiped out if we have a type of national health care, because European drug companies get 80% of their revenue from Americans. Where did you get this statistic?" McArdle responded that it was "a hypothetical, not a statistic." This was criticized in a blog post in The New Republic. In response to this criticism, McArdle stated that she had misunderstood the question, and "thought the commenter was referring to the postulated hypothetical destruction of all US profits." She also stated that, though "there are no hard numbers available", she estimated that the U.S. contribution to pharmaceutical profits was at least 60%.
Heartland Institute document controversy
In 2012 Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute claimed he had received "an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy" to discredit global warming, and distributed an alleged Heartland "Strategy Memo" In a series of posts in February 2012, McArdle gave evidence that the alleged Heartland memo circulated by Gleick was faked.
McArdle married Peter Suderman, an associate editor for the libertarian Reason magazine, in 2010. She was a vegan for a year in 2008, which she ended due to a soy allergy caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis. She has written: "I must stand up for vegan or vegetarian 'chicken' nuggets. They are delicious. Even though I now eat meat again, I still prefer the vegetarian version to the 'real' thing, especially after seeing what chicken nuggets are made from."
- The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success (ISBN 067002614X)
- "A Susbidy By Any Other Name Still Smells Rotteny " by Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, Sep 17 2009
- Megan McArdle Profile
- Megan McArdle "Profile" page on "Comment is Free" in Guardian, UK.
- Atlantic Wire Launches With (Media) Star-Studded Fete, FishBowlNY, September 23, 2009
- GCA is an advocacy group for the construction and concrete industry of New York City, describing itself on its website as dedicated "to promoting infrastructure investment, private development, fair contract provisions, enhanced bidding opportunities, and a safe work environment" for the industry.
- "Megan McArdle, Peter Suderman", Weddings and Fashion: NY Times (June 11, 20100.
- "AFF Doublethink Online » What’s Your Story?". Americasfuture.org. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
- "The NormblogProfile 195: an interview with Megan McArdle", NormBlog, June 15, 2007
- McArdle, Megan (May 21, 2003). "Untitled". Asymmetrical Information. Archived from the original on May 23, 2003. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- McArdle, Megan (April 2, 2005). "A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other". Asymmetrical Information. Archived from the original on April 6, 2005. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- McArdle Leaves The Economist For The Atlantic FishBowlDC
- "Dylan Ratigan Makes It Official: Mark Ames & Yasha Levine Broke The Koch Brothers’ Takeover Of America", March 24, 2011
- "Playboy dips a toe into investigative journalism", Mar 2 2009
- "Housekeeping Note", February 25, 2010
- "Farewell", June 10, 2012
- Bloomgarden-Smoke, Karen (17 June 2013). "Megan McArdle Leaves Newsweek for Bloomberg View". The New York Observer. Retrieved 1 July 2013. "Megan McArdle is leaving Newsweek for Bloomberg View, where she will cover the economy, business, politics and national affairs as a columnist."
- End of the Recession?, The Kudlow Report, October 29, 2009
- Sunday Show Preview FishbowlDC
- Fareed Zakaria GPS Transcript, CNN, March 22, 2009
- Weekly Wrap: Another bubble?, Marketplace, Friday, November 13, 2009.
- Twitter / daveweigel: One odd thing about that NYT
- Brooks, David (2012-11-19). "The Conservative Future". New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- Ron Paul roundup, Megan McArdle, January 8, 2010
- Ron Paul on taxes, Megan McArdle, December 28, 2007
- Weigel, David (2010-12-10) Congratulations! Now Shut Up.: Why Ron Paul's newfound power both pleases and worries libertarians., Slate
- Bailout to Nowhere, David Brooks, The New York Times, November 18, 2008
- Detroit Automakers a Relic of the Past, Michael Barone, Human Events, November 15, 2008
- Bailouts Necessary and Unnecessary, John Podhoretz, Contentions, November 11, 2008
- Myth Diagnosis, Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, March 2010
- A Long, Long Post About My Reasons For Opposing National Health Care, Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, July 28, 2009
- Ezra Klein - Megan McArdle's Case Against National Health Insurance. Sort of
- What Does It Mean To Have a Private Health Care System, Megan McArdle, August 13, 2009, The Atlantic
- Megan McArdle's Word Games | The New Republic
- Does the US Really Account for So Much Pharma Profit?, Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, September 2, 2009
- Turns out ObamaCare might not save hundreds of thousands of lives, Timothy P. Carney, The San Francisco Examiner - Beltway Confidential (blog), February 28, 2011
- Gleick, P.H., "The Origin of the Heartland Documents", 2012-02-20, Huffington Post.
- McArdle, Megan (2012-02-16). "Leaked Docs From Heartland Institute Cause a Stir—but Is One a Fake?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- McArdle, Megan (2012-02-17). "Heartland Memo Looking Faker by the Minute". The Atlantic. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- McArdle, Megan (2012-02-21). "Peter Gleick Confesses to Obtaining Heartland Documents Under False Pretenses". The Atlantic. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Megan McArdle, Peter Suderman - NYTimes.com
- McArdle, Megan (31 July 2008). "The end of an era". The Atlantic.
- McArdle, Megan (2011-02-09) In Praise of Cheap Food, The Atlantic
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Megan McArdle.|
- McCardle's new column at Bloomberg View
- Megan McArdle's personal blog
- Megan McArdle's blog at The Daily Beast (September 2012-June 2013)
- Megan McArdle's former blog at TheAtlantic.com (August 2007 - June 2012)
- Profile at The New America Foundation
- Fellows Homepage at The New America Foundation
- "Can we sue our own fat asses off?", Megan McArdle, Salon.com, May 24, 2002
- Video debates featuring McArdle on Bloggingheads.tv
- Interview with McArdle
- Roberts, Russ (December 7, 2009). "McArdle on Debt and Self-Restraint". EconTalk. Library of Economics and Liberty.
- Speech at Republican Party conference