Thursday, May 26, 2016

Did Obamacare Pass Because Americans Are Stupid?

Average Americans Are Stupid?
America's elitist class: millions of average Americans are irredeemably, hopelessly and unrelentingly stupid
By  Arnold Ahlert -- Bio and Archives 
May 26, 2016
It began with MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber in 2014. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes amplified it a couple of weeks ago. And now, in an equal opportunity bashing from the other side of the political dividing line, The Federalist senior editor David Harsanyi has offered yet another look at one idea that apparently unites America’s elitist class: millions of average Americans are irredeemably, hopelessly and unrelentingly stupid.
Gruber led the elitist charge, revealing the Obama administration’s behind-the-scenes efforts to get the Affordable Healthcare Act passed. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he stated. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass… “
 Note the inherent contradiction. Gruber is calling voters stupid—even as he admits a lack of transparency was required to get ObamaCare passed. That’s because ObamaCare “was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies,” Gruber explained. In other words, if the “stupid” American public knew what was really going on, the healthcare bill would have gone down in flames.
ObamaCare has been the law of the land since 2010 and ever since, a substantial majority of “intellectually-challenged” Americans remain opposed to it. Why? Maybe it’s because those identifying themselves as “smart” Americans put together a disastrous website, whose cost had exceeded $2.1 billion by 2014. Or maybe it’s because ObamaCare premiums will rise 20.3 percent on average this year, or the fact that more than half of the ObamaCare healthcare co-ops had gone out of business by November 2015, and eight of the remaining 11 face the same fate. Or maybe it’s because millions of “stupid” Americans were assured by our president they could keep their doctors, their existing policies, and save an average of $2500 per family under ObamaCare—every bit of which turned out to be bold-faced lies.
One might be inclined to believed such “knowledgable” Obama administration officials would be chastened by such a debacle. Not a chance. In fact they doubled-down, choosing not only to deceive the American public, but orchestrate that deception with the help of gullible members of the media and Congress with regard to the Iran deal.
Again, note the inherent contradiction. It’s the American public who is stupid, but it was Ben Rhodes who bragged to the New York Times how successful he was in “shaping” the Iranian narrative. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.”
Not tactics. Outright lies. Lies so blatant a portion of a 2013 State Department tape—in which administration spokeswoman Jen Psaki essentially admitted direct talks with Iran had begun long before the so-called “moderate” government currently ruling that nation came into power—was initially deleted. The State Department blamed it on a “glitch,” much like the excuse the White House used when French President Francois Hollande’s statement about “Islamist terrorism” suffered the same fate.
Rhodes also derisively dismissed the nation’s entire foreign policy apparatus as “the Blob,” and was just as condescending with regard to the media. “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns… They literally know nothing,” he insisted.
What about a deliberately know-nothing Congress that decided a treaty wasn’t a
treaty, so they could eliminate the Constitutional requirement of a two-thirds majority vote necessary for one’s approval? That bit of legerdemain allowed Obama to get his deal when Senate Democrats successfully filibustered 
opposition to it, essentially abdicating anything resembling responsibility for a disaster that even Obama himself admitted will allow Iran to eventually acquire nukes. The very same Iran that continues to develop missiles now capable of destroying Israel in “less then eight minutes,” according to Iranian senior military adviser Ahmad Karimpour.
And the very same Iranian deal a “dim” American public opposes by a whopping 57 percent to 30 percent margin, according to Gallup.
Unfortunately, such contempt for the average American is not wholly owned by progressives. “Never have so many people with so little knowledge made so many consequential decisions for the rest of us,” pontificated Harsanyi in a column for the Washington Post.
He was just getting warmed up. “A person need only survey the inanity of the ongoing presidential race to comprehend that the most pressing problem facing the nation isn’t Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media or even Big Money in politics,” he continued. “It’s you, the American voter. And by weeding out millions of irresponsible voters who can’t be bothered to learn the rudimentary workings of the Constitution, or their preferred candidate’s proposals or even their history, we may be able to mitigate the recklessness of the electorate.”
Harsanyi understands that weeding out voters he doesn’t like resembles the “ugly history of poll taxes and other prejudicial methods that Americans used to deny black citizens their equal right to vote.” But he nonetheless insists some unnamed entity tasked with improving the voting quality of the public “should ensure that all races, creeds, genders and sexual orientations and people of every socioeconomic background are similarly inhibited from voting when ignorant.”
In a subsequent column for his own website, Harsayni reveals a bit of his own ignorance while still advocating for some kind of voter test. “I’m unsure why the test would ever need to be changed,” he writes. “The Constitution does not change.”
Twenty-seven amendments suggest otherwise, Mr. Harsayani.
Though it might never occur to this trio of intellectual snobs or their like-minded soul-mates, the ostensible stupidity of the average American might not be the nation’s biggest problem. Perhaps our biggest problem is the unbridled arrogance of those with a wholly unwarranted belief in their own superiority. People who self-identify as America’s “best and brightest,” while ignoring the inconvenient reality these very same best and brightest have given us the housing crash and financial crisis of 2008, $19 trillion of federal debt, a Middle East completely in ruins, and the ongoing decimation of the middle class—just to name a few of their “enlightened” accomplishments.
It might also be useful to remind them that when their grand schemes blew up in their collective faces, millions of average Americans were called upon to pick up the tab. The same average Americans invariably called upon whenever our nation’s freedom is threatened, the people who really put the “exceptional” in our nation’s exceptionalist mindset. And perhaps more to the point in the current election season, average Americans who have had it up to their collective eyeballs with being force-fed a “superior wisdom” that is neither superior nor wise.
The late William F. Buckley Jr., one of a handful of genuine intellectuals responsible for elevating the American conversation, put it best. “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University,” he said.
Amen to that.
Obamacare: Voters, are you stupid?
By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Washington (CNN) -- Years-old but newly scrutinized videos of MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber ignited a political firestorm this week because the self-described architect of Obamacare thanks "the stupidity of the American voter" for leading to passage of the president's signature piece of legislation.
With Obamacare open enrollment set to begin over the weekend and the Supreme Court set to weigh in again on the law next year, Republicans pounced, using the videos as additional ammunition in their case that President Barack Obama and his administration misled the American public on Obamacare.
Obama on Sunday dismissed the idea that his administration and other proponents of the law misled voters about the legislation, noting that "we had a yearlong debate."
"The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with ... is no reflection on the actual process that was run," Obama said.
So why should old videos of an economics professor matter?
Here's the gist: Gruber called voters stupid, Republicans are calling him the Obamacare architect, and Democrats are calling it all a big misunderstanding.
Still confused? This will help:
Was Gruber the "architect" of Obamacare?
Not exactly. This is a law that was passed by both houses of Congress and written in different forms by several Congressional committees. It's many thousands of pages long and has a myriad of different provisions. But Gruber clearly played an important role in crafting the idea behind the series of exchanges, subsidies and taxes that form the law's centerpiece. He continues to argue the country is better for Obamacare -- but we'll get to that.
And he doesn't look nearly as cool as this guy, who actually goes by the name, "the architect."
So why is he being called that? And what did he actually do?
Gruber's work did shape the Affordable Care Act in three key ways:
1. Gruber played a crucial role in crafting the health care law passed in Massachusetts during then-Gov. Mitt Romney's tenure. Gruber modeled the impact and effectiveness of that state's plans to implement an individual mandate -- the controversial policy that essentially forces people to get covered, or get fined.
And this matters because the 2004 Massachusetts law was the model for Obamacare. The "individual mandate" became a key component -- and political lightning rod -- of the health care law most people now call Obamacare.
2. Gruber was hired in 2009 as a consultant by the Obama administration -- and paid nearly $400,000 -- for a year of his work. What'd he do? Gruber has called it "technical support" and "analysis." What he really did was take a bunch of numbers and model the effects of proposals that would later become the Affordable Care Act.
"If they hadn't had this kind of analysis, well, the law would not be designed as well," Gruber said on the O'Reilly Factor last year, discussing his work.
3.  At least eight states called him in to counsel them on how to implement the health care law and set up state-run health insurance exchanges. So he's pretty important to Obamacare.
O.K. but this guy is still calling voters stupid! I vote. Am I stupid?
No, you're not stupid. At least we don't think so.
So why is he calling us voters stupid?
Let's first look at what Gruber actually said: He was defending the fact that the law was written behind closed doors and he said Democrats intentionally made the law confusing to mask the fact that the law instituted a new tax to pay for health reform. Why'd the Democrats do this? Voters don't like new taxes. Gruber said it was more important to get health reform than to be up front.
"It's a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter," Gruber said at the Honors Colloquium 2012 at the University of Rhode Island.
And: "They proposed it and that passed, because the American people are too stupid to understand the difference," he said at Washington University at St. Louis in 2013.
The brunt of Gruber's argument is that policymakers crafting the law had to take politics into account. And politics means that politicians prefer to vote for a tax on insurance companies that will ultimately get passed on to consumers, rather than voting for a tax on consumers outright, for example.
Gruber's "stupid" comments are summed up his contention that people don't want to pay more taxes, even when they want cheaper or better things. For instance:
- Want better public education?
- Sure!
- Want to pay higher taxes to improve public education?
- Eh...
This also applies to voting for the individual mandate "penalty," as the Obama administration refers to it, rather than a "tax," as the Supreme Court ruled in 2012.
And it turns out that Gruber always knew a tax on expensive insurance plans would eventually grow to hit almost every insurance plan. He admitted as much in yet another video that surfaced on Friday. The White House and Democrats, by the way, promised up and down that the so-called "cadillac tax" wouldn't affect most Americans.
The guy who thinks voters are 'stupid'
But the controversy over whether the mandate is a "tax" isn't news, right?
Nope. But it is giving Republicans' claims that the Obama administration misled voters on the "truth" of the Affordable Care Act more credence.
So why are Democrats trying to distance themselves from Gruber?
Democrats clearly don't want Obamacare tarnished anymore than it already has because of one guy. And they definitely don't want him to be the face of Obamacare or Democrats' view on the law.
What they're trying to do is downplay Gruber's role in crafting the law.
On Sunday, President Obama speaking from the G20 summit in Australia called him "some adviser who never worked on our staff."
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Gruber "didn't help write our bill" and claimed not to "know who he is."
She wasn't being entirely up front on that point. Pelosi actually cited Gruber's work approvingly in 2009 and even mentioned him by name in an interview that same year.
Obamacare architect discussed misleading public in 4th newly uncovered video
Was Gruber making a larger point here that we're missing?
Definitely. If you can get past his condescending tone and insults, Gruber's speeches actually offer some insight into how policy is impacted by politics.
"If you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in -- if you made it explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed, OK?" Gruber said.
And while the (impartial) jury on the Affordable Care Act is still out, the law has lowered that national uninsured rate and, so far, the law is proving to be cheaper than expected.
Either way, Gruber has said he believes the U.S. is better off with Obamacare than without it.
And if less transparency helps implement better policy, he's O.K. with that.
But am I? Are you?
ObamaCare - Health, Euthanasia, Life in Jeopardy!
(Part 1)
20 July 2009
(Part 2)
10 August 2009
(Part 3)
27 August 2009
The Last Word on ObamaCare - Maybe!
20 March 2010
Coming Soon - Death Panels!
23 August 2010
How is Obama's Healthcare Working Out?
14 October 2010
More about ObamaCare!
24 January 2011
ObamaCare is Still an Issue!
(Part 1)
03 April 2012
(Part 2)
28 June 2012
(Part 3)
08 August 2013
(Part 4)
27 October 2013
(Part 5)
19 December 2013
Will ObamaCare be Reversed?
(Part 1)
03 January 2014
(Part 2)
30 March 2014