Avik Roy’s Nonsense on Disability Insurance

Avik RoyOne thing that this last week has shown is that Chris Hayes’ new weeknight show All In is certainly as good as his weekend show was. So you will forgive me for writing twice about it in as many days.

Last night, there was a discussion of the recent NPR attack on Disability Insurance. And Hayes brought on Avik Roy to play the part of the evil and stupid conservative. It was type casting. As regular readers know, I am no fan of this man. And he showed why on this appearance yesterday. He is supposedly a policy wonk. And yet, like most conservatives who are supposed to be policy wonks, all we ever get from him are tired conservative canards and talking points.

In this case, he brought up Jonah Goldberg’s specious argument in The Baltimore Sun that our disability program must have huge amounts of fraud because the program in the United Kingdom did. Former Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue blew that argument out of the water. I suggest watching the segment below (five minutes). But the point is, rather than bring up actual evidence, Avik Roy just quotes National Review propaganda from Jonah Goldberg.

We very rarely get any policy discussion from Avik Roy. That would be fine if he were just another conservative pundit. But he works at a think tank. He is supposedly a policy guy. And this is what the conservative movement has come to. It has been decades since their think tanks actually worked on any policy. Now, they just look for better ways to twist facts to justify policies that are givens, based upon their political ideology.

I know the pickings are poor when it comes to conservatives who can do anything more than rant. So Hayes can be forgiven for inviting Roy on his show. And I’ll admit, Avik Roy is far better than most conservative pundits. But it shows just how intellectually vacuous the conservative movement has become. Up against even reasonable opposition, Roy is pathetic.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Avik Roy’s Nonsense on Disability Insurance

  1. Nice clip. Hayek? Really? Might as well reference Rand and Friedman, while you’re at it. Haven’t any of these people read anything else? John Locke? David Ricardo? They don’t quote Adam Smith anymore, so I guess he’s no longer in the Conservative Cliff’s Notes. (Too liberal, I imagine.)

    I hadn’t seen Roy before (I don’t have cable or watch even much broadcast TV), and so I can’t say if this clip is representative of him. I know the type, though. They’re glibber and seemingly more sedate than the people they argue against (like the disability advocate and former government official here.) They can appear like the sanest person in the room because of their easygoing tone.

    That easygoing tone comes from not giving a shit. Yes, they believe in what they’re saying enough. But it means nothing to them. It’s just applying principles which sound high-minded to the real world, not something they’re concerned with in the least. Once you get your chosen policies enacted, the fact that they don’t have the supposed social benefits you claimed is unimportant. Into the memory hole, and onto the next step which will genuinely lead us down a road to serfdom (see what I did there?)

    Like any good liberal I dislike the Boehners of this world. I hate them far less, however, than I do these soullessly calm Paul Ryan types. They’re like the concentration-camp doctors who could torture by day and be loving family men at night. When you’re that at ease with opinions which may harm millions of people, something in you is very broken beyond repair.

  2. @JMF – I’ve written a lot about Avik Roy. Just search for "avik" on this site to see. In particular, I wrote "Avik Roy is Trying to Kill Me." He noticed it because I wrote, "I want to rip off your scrotum and suffocate you with it. Cock sucking plutocrat bastard!" He tweeted it out and I got about 1000 clicks because of it. I was very grateful. Until he got a lot of press because of his argument that we should have a healthcare system more like the Swiss, I was one of the top search results for "Avik Roy." I think that means he was googling himself.

    I too took note of the Hayek statement. One reason that conservatives have backed off Smith is that liberals (who actually read the books) started pointing out that Smith [i]was[/i] a liberal and he never said that markets were perfect; he only said that markets run a lot better than you would think. Regardless, it has been forever since conservatives believed in free markets.

    To answer your question: no, conservatives mostly limit themselves to reading conservative writers. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be conservative. (Not that I’m so liberal as to read Hayek.)

    And yes, that was clever.

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