Keeping with the theme of letting someone else write my posts, I bring you an entertaining article from the New York Post. I really have no prior experience with the Post, so I can’t tell you much about it. But it is a pretty good commentary on our current Presidential Administration.
Damn Americans. They just don’t see the wisdom of surrendering to experts the power they need to remake the country into a progressive paradise.
Sighing with regret, liberals like Jonathan Gruber admit that they’re forced to hoodwink the citizens. For their own good.
Gruber, the MIT economist who (in the words of The New York Times) “put together the basic principles of” ObamaCare and helped Congress “draft the specifics of the legislation” is one of a long line of liberals driven by the belief that the stupidity of the American people is so insurmountable that persuasion is futile. Liberalism: the place where compassion blurs into condescension.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass,” Gruber said, in a newly unearthed 2013 video that went viral last week.
Gruber’s jocular tone wasn’t surprising. In explaining why a huge tax increase was disguised to conceal it from the American people, he was admitting what was obvious to close observers: The law is really just a redistribution scheme. Even the Democrats didn’t think ObamaCare could pass by being so described.
That’s why deception, as Gruber says, was central to its design.
Profiting from deceit
Except Gruber got it wrong: The people weren’t actually fooled. Most Americans are not wonks. They simply suspected that the law was too good to be true.
ObamaCare will cut your premiums? By $2,500 a year? And reduce the deficit? While giving gold-plated coverage to tens of millions more people? Who won’t have to pay much? And none of this will result in anyone losing their current plan?
To the average person, Obama sounded like a used-car dealer shouting, “Free Ferrari. Gets 100 miles to the gallon! Did I mention it runs on rainwater?”
Americans didn’t buy it. Never did. At no time has approval for ObamaCare hit 50% in the Gallup poll.
So the Democrats pushed the program through anyway, without a single Republican vote, via legislative legerdemain.
No program of similar scope had ever been rammed through without bipartisan support. The only thing bipartisan about ObamaCare was the opposition: 34 House Democrats joined all of the Republicans to vote against it.
What’s important about Gruber’s words is that they highlight the fact that ObamaCare isn’t just “controversial” or “divisive” or “hotly debated.” It is fraudulent. Being based on lies, it is illegitimate.
The arguments made in its behalf were tainted. When Democrats including Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and even the elves who run the White House website wanted to push the idea that impartial experts agreed with its sunny projections about ObamaCare, they turned to . . . Jonathan Gruber.
“Objective Analysis Shows Reform will Help Small Businesses, Lower Premiums for American Families,” said a Nov. 4, 2009 White House blog post that referred to Gruber’s supposedly unbiased opinion.
Yet Gruber joined the HHS payroll right after Obama took office, in March 2009. He was paid $392,600 to consult on ObamaCare. Some might call this kind of arrangement “corruption.” It’s like an expert witness appearing in court to swear that BP never spilled any oil while working as BP’s $400,000-a-year publicist.
But that’s not the only way Gruber personally profited from the Affordable Care Act. After he “pretty much wrote ObamaCare” (liberal health-care journalist Sarah Kliff), he hit the road to promote it — and got paid via funding provided by the same law. Minnesota paid him $400,000 of ObamaCare money to attend one meeting, print a copy of a report and participate in an e-mail list, The Washington Times reported. Wisconsin and Vermont each paid Gruber $400,000 for similar “work.” West Virginia, Maine, Colorado and Oregon also hired him, though the Times didn’t say how much they paid him. So Gruber has made more than $1.5 million from ObamaCare — that we know of.
But don’t worry, the Government Accountability Office already investigated, and cleared him. Though it’s against the law for federal agencies to use funds for propaganda, and though Gruber published many op-eds praising ObamaCare without disclosing that he was a paid government contractor, GAO ruled that all of this proselytizing was simply a hobby.
‘Decontextualized bits of fact’
Liberals call President Bush a con artist, or worse, for launching a war because of an active WMD program in Iraq. But Bush genuinely believed Iraq had WMDs. So did every major foreign intelligence agency on earth, even France’s. So did Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, who voted for the war based on the same intelligence Bush saw.
Bush acted on information he believed to be true. That is not lying.
Telling the American people something you know to be false — if you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what — is lying.
Defenders scrambling to defend the administration’s lies are beclowning themselves.
“ ‘Stupidity’ is unfair. Ignorance is a more accurate term,” wrote Jonathan Chait in New York magazine.
To the charge that ObamaCare was crafted in a deliberately deceptive way, Chait replies that Gruber is talking about something totally different: “He was trying to explain how the law’s architects had to compromise the simple technocratic purity they might use to design the law in an academic setting to account for an irrational political system in which tiny bits of fact can be decontextualized and manipulated by demagogues.”
Nice one, Jacques Derrida. Fellas, next time you tell your wife you’re going to Phoenix to attend Aunt Sophie’s funeral and evidence emerges that you instead spent the weekend with three hookers in an EconoLodge in Reno, try this one: “I had to compromise my simple technocratic purity to account for an irrational marital-vows system in which tiny bits of fact can be decontextualized, honey!”
I don’t recall anyone saying that Todd Akin’s strange rape remarks were “decontextualized bits of fact.” Then again, let’s keep in mind the relative importance of these gotcha moments. Akin was idly theorizing off the cuff about a topic that had nothing to do with anything that would ever pass his desk if elected, whereas Gruber was talking about the months of strategic thinking involved in a $2 trillion law he co-wrote that is the single biggest piece of legislation in the last half century.
On MSNBC, contributor Josh Barro essayed a blame-the-victim line of reasoning: It’s “the public,” he said, that “puts politicians in a position where the only thing they can do to make the public happy is lie and so, people lied.”
Wrote Danny Vinik in a “Who cares?” piece in The New Republic, “While it’s nice to imagine a world in which politicians promoting ideas were always forthright, balanced and disinterested, that’s not realistic.” We’ll see if Vinik shrugs the next time he catches a Republican in a lie.
History of misleading
The brutal effects of the lies are still coming in. More and more Americans will see their premiums rise. More and more Americans will be tossed out of their current insurance. More and more Americans will become more and more angry about this.
And all of this to solve a problem that was as overhyped as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” In July 2009, six months into the Obama era, a Time magazine poll found that while there was widespread consternation with something called “the system” (i.e., what people were told about others, from news reports), 86% of Americans approved of their own personal health care.
Eighty-six percent! Abraham Lincoln wishes his approval ratings were that high. We’re talking about something that Americans liked at least as much as motherhood, the Grand Canyon and summer.
But it had to be completely redesigned, because there just wasn’t enough for the Jonathan Grubers and Jonathan Chaits of the world to do.
The reason liberals consistently mislead, or try to mislead, the public on their policies is that they don’t pass the common-sense test.
During the stimulus debate, we were told that, because of a magical fairy dust called the “Keynesian multiplier,” a dollar of federal spending would actually pump four or five dollars or six dollars into the economy. Worrying about the resulting debt, we were told, betrayed a misunderstanding of economic science, which we all know is completely scientific and not speculative at all.
Unlimited spending, though, sounds frightening to everyone but experts. “Why do we ever bother to show fiscal restraint?” pointed out Michael Kinsley in The Atlantic. “Why have taxes at all? Why deny ourselves anything money can buy? If $15 trillion in debt can be a freebie, why not $30 trillion or $60 trillion?”
Liberal “caring” and liberal lying were partners even in Social Security. In order to win Supreme Court approval of the program, the FDR administration had to argue (truthfully) that it was a tax-and-welfare scheme — not an insurance plan. Problem: Americans, even in the 1930s, weren’t fond of a dole.
As William Cohen, one of the architects of the program, explained at the time, “The American public was and still is insurance-minded and opposed to welfare, the ‘dole’ and ‘handouts.’ ”
Yet after the Supreme Court OK’d Social Security, the people were told in a pamphlet, “Your [Social Security] card shows that you have an insurance account with the US government — federal old age and survivors insurance. This is a national insurance plan for all workers.” It was the opposite of what the New Dealers told the Supreme Court.
The Social Security tax taken out of your paycheck was designed as an illusion — to make you think the government is just banking the money for you instead of conducting a massive intergenerational transfer of wealth. Today, it’s the young and relatively poor who are subsidizing older, richer people.
Conservatives are skeptical about government claims in the first place. Gazing at a pothole that’s sat untouched for two years, we tend to doubt that a single law is going to fix health care nationwide for everybody.
It’s supporters of the party of government who should be most upset by government deception. As Fournier put it in National Journal, “[Gruber] called you stupid. He admitted that the White House lied to you. Its officials lied to all of us — Republicans, Democrats, and independents; rich and poor; white and brown; men and women.
“Liberals should be the angriest. Not only were they personally deceived, but the administration’s dishonest approach to health care reform has helped make ObamaCare unpopular while undermining the public’s faith in an activist government. A double blow to progressives.”
How many more “victories’ like ObamaCare can progressivism survive?