Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is Jonathan Gruber wrong?

In the past two weeks multiple videos have surfaced in which one of the consulting architects of Mr. Obama's Affordable Healthcare Bill is seen and heard referring to the planned obfuscation in the wording and design of the bill so that the American voter would not be aware that money was going to be taken from younger people to pay the medical bills of older insureds; that if that fact were made generally known, the bill would never have passed.  He goes on to refer to the general "stupidity" of the American voter in accepting the misleading wording.  He does this in many different videos taken at different times before different groups...and he is clearly proud of his accomplishment.

Is he wrong?

And just a vital a question is: was the public mislead by his efforts?

Before I discuss the possible answers to those questions, a little historical review is in order.  First...let us keep in mind that the human is always looking for "free" "stuff."  Usually it is in the form of a bargain, sometimes it is a gift, but always we feel good if we get something for less than we thought we would have to pay or work.

Second, Politicians have for years proven that they were serving "us" by "bringing home the bacon."  How often did we hear during campaigns of how many projects were brought back to us from Washington, how many federal tax dollars were made available to us because of our representatives' efforts?  Did any of us...ever...consider that federal tax dollars originally came from US?  That our politicians didn't give us THEIR money...they were giving us OUR own money, and taking credit for it?  Not many even thought about it.  Local pols would brag about a project that wasn't going to cost us anything because they had gotten FEDERAL money...glibly glossing over the fact that Federal Money is our money too.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.

However, because everyone in Washington was doing the same thing, and because over time the distribution of money evened out around the country, no harm was done; we all paid our federal taxes and we all got some of it back.  No harm, no foul, right?

Unfortunately, however, there was a harm.  We got used to accepting political lies and assuming that we weren't being hurt by them.  That is incorrect.  We were being, and have been, indoctrinated to accept without challenge politicians' promises of "free" stuff...even as deep inside we knew that no such thing existed.

The Healthcare Bill, however, was a break from the traditional, "you protect my back and I'll protect yours" attitude that was largely based on district based "pay backs."  This was nationwide and involved what may turn out to be a one time country wide taking from an entire class of people in order to benefit another whole class of people.  No foreseeable payback here at all...yet it was sold much the same way, with the added twist of planned and carefully considered lies and misstatements designed to support getting enough votes to enact the bill.  The Leaders of the Democrat Party as well as the Democrat President took a Healthcare model that they ideologically favored and crafted a bill that would put this model into place.  In the process, the drafted both language and construction that hid the fact that one main element and result of the bill would be re-distribution of wealth.  They also knowingly failed to announce this, and when opponents pointed the facts out, lied and denied that it was so.

Adding to this con, the President knowingly assured the American public that the bill would not require anyone who was happy with existing healthcare plans to change anything about their coverage...even as he constructively had to know that he was lying.

And now we are presented with the filmed proof that Mr. Gruber, who was considered the "go to" guy by the administration on the design and construct of the bill, not only worked to hide the facts and present wording that would keep the CBO from considering the true costs of the bill, but was effusively proud of his ability to mislead a "stupid" electorate.  And...with that, all members of the administration and of the Democrat members of Congress have developed a curious case of amnesia regarding Mr. Gruber;  they only dimly remember the name and cannot recall any substantive dependence on his abilities to design and craft the bill.  Suddenly there is no recollection of his being one of 4 people who met in urgent session with President Obama 3 days prior to the Senate vote that passed the bill on pure partisan lines to figure out how to reassure (falsely as it turns out) wavering Democrats who's votes would end up being critical to passing the bill.

Now, any thinking person would think through the process used to conceive, draft, and promote the oddly named "affordable" Healthcare Bill and perhaps some to the conclusion that those that came up with this bill perpetrated a fraud on the American public and on the Congress as a whole, and abdicating their responsibilities under their oath of office in the process.  I feel that way, but am not sure that, as self-protective of federal office holders as Federal Law is (note that the RICO statutes exempt Congress for consideration thereunder) seems to be, there is any legal recourse.

The main thought of this particular post, however, is...was, and is, Mr. Gruber wrong in his attitude about the intelligence of the American voter.

One can argue both ways.  Surely, there was an effort by opponents to point out that the claims by Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi and the rest of those in office were false and could not be accomplished under the claimed financial considerations.  At some level, we all know that there is no such thing as a "free" lunch, yet we did not react with either anger or disbelief, but sat silently by as Congress acted.  And even recently, many of those Democrats who voted for the bill were re-elected...and this was done with them acknowledging that they never read the Bill before voting in favor.  These are certainly facts that seem to support the accuracy of Mr. Gruber's characterizations.

On the other hand, people in a bad economy are focused on working, earning money, stretching their available funds to take care of their families and they believe, with certain fairly minor deviations, that their elected representatives are looking out for them...at least in the major areas.  And Healthcare involves about one-sixth of the American Economy...so I could also argue that the electorate could reasonably rely on their elected officials to do the right thing...even as the opposition was shouting "fraud" and "you lie" to the high heavens.

I suspect that many of those that partake of the Progressive, Socialist, Liberal, Democrat ideology do indeed see themselves as of superior intellect, an elite group that truly does the entire country a favor by not only knowing what is best for everyone, but doing it despite any desire on the part of the "others" to disagree.  That is the attitude so clearly demonstrated in Mr. Gruber's commentaries.  He may be right.  I happen to think he is wrong...but I don't count.  Elections have consequences and recent elections certainly have seemed to support a general acceptance of Mr. Gruber's ( and those of Mr. Gore, Mr. Soros, Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, and Ms. Pelosi, among many others) point of view.

One wonders if we have reached a tipping point in this country where no longer will the electorate insist on government being responsive to the public, but allow the government to cause the electorate to serve the government.  After all, when was the last time that the government gave you back a personal freedom...or granted you a new one?

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