Quotes of the day

Allahpundit Posted at 10:41 pm on November 12, 2014

A third video emerged Wednesday of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, insulting voters and suggesting their ignorance was exploited by those pushing passage of the health care law

“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…

Asked for reaction to the video, Senator-elect Thom Tillis, R-NC, told The Lead that it sounded like Gruber was arguing that “the ends justify the means…That is exactly what the American people are tired of. They want transparency. They want to be treated with respect. We did a lot of very difficult bills since I’ve been speaker of the house (of the North Carolina legislature). Some of them were controversial on both sides of the ideological spectrum. But we took the time to explain it to people and not do this sort of bob and weave.”

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David Tuerck, head of the Beacon Hill Institute and chairman of Suffolk University’s Economics Department, calls it “damning” that a “gleeful” Gruber “brags” about making the law’s less palatable parts intentionally obscure to get them past the American public.

“What you see is breathtaking hubris on the part of Gruber,” Tuerck said. “He has a cynical disregard for the opinions of the voter. He is happy to call the public gullible.”…

Mark Pauly, a UPenn professor and co-panelist, said, “I thought it was a poor way of explaining what he was talking about — political expediency and the idea of reducing the subsidy of employment-based health insurance. If you explicitly said that people would tax your health benefits, that would be political dynamite. It was not really about voters being stupid but about the political process.”

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He 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…

And so even I have to admit, as a supporter, that Obamacare was built and sold on a foundation of lies. No way around it, unless you’re willing to accept a political system that colors its lies—the reds, the whites, and the blues.

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A list of administration lies might be a good topic for a book. But to just hit a few of the health care related highlights, we were told that the public option was not a Trojan horse, that it was about choice and competition. This was a bald faced lie. We were told we could keep our plans and doctors period, end of sentence. That was a lie. We were told Obamacare would reduce premiums by $2,500. That was a lie. That Obamacare was not a tax. Lie. That the VA was a model of socialized medicine. True, but not in the way they meant. All of these lies built upon one another, creating a vision of health reform that was all upside and no downside. And the Democrats barely, despite the obvious displeasure of citizens, forced it through, though only just barely.

What followed was several more years of various lies being told to adjust and protect the program. We were told, still incredible, that the White House had no idea what a disaster the launch of the federal exchange was going to be. We were told it was off to a great start, when in fact it only managed to enroll 6 people on the first day. We were told the problem with the site was too many excited customers when in fact the site crashed under just over a thousand users. We were told HHS had no enrollment targets when in fact there was an enrollment target memo. We were told the figures on enrollment were not available when in fact HHS was collecting data from insurers. We were told the rollout was just like the one in Massachusetts when in fact it was not. We were told the rollout was just like Medicare part D when in fact it was not at all. We were not told about a hidden Obamacare exemption that could have applied to almost anyone (it was finally added to the website after a WSJ report about it). On and on the administration and its allies in the media just lied about what was happening.

And slowly, slowly under the weight of all these lies and lies to cover up other lies, people got the message. The government isn’t being honest with us.

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And you know what?  They knew they were lying.  They savagely attacked the people who were telling the truth.  Nothing Jon Gruber has been caught admitting to is news.  ObamaCare’s critics warned about all of this – the cheesy games played with CBO scoring, false promises, and a destructive hidden agenda that will climax with a push for single-payer socialized medicine after the planned and anticipated failure of the Affordable Care Act – since before Obama entered the White House.  There isn’t much difference between the truth Gruber disclosed, and the assertions to be found on countless conservative white papers and blog posts from 2009.  The important revelation is that Gruber and the rest of the ObamaCare con artists were clearly aware of those criticisms and knew them to be both factually valid and politically devastating, to such an extent that they knew ObamaCare couldn’t even get past a Congress completely under Democrat control unless the chilly midnight of its passage came after a blizzard of lies…

This wasn’t just a matter of a few little campaign promises by Obama, inflated with the sweet-smelling but toxic fumes of Hopenchange mysticism.  It was a deliberate campaign to misinform the American people for the purpose of imposing an authoritarian scheme upon them, ostensibly for their own good.  Gruber makes it clear this was done because the bill, presented honestly, would never have been accepted by the people who are now sternly lectured that it’s the “settled law of the land” and can never be repealed.  He’s crowing about the subversion of representative self-government to force Americans into submitting to a regime they would not have accepted voluntarily.  In what universe is that not tyrannical?

Fraud is a form of compulsion.  False choices are not free choices.  If you promise someone bountiful goods in exchange for their signature on a contract, and then fail to deliver the goods, they did not make a “free choice” that turned out badly.  You robbed them, as surely as if you stuck a gun in the poor sap’s back and took his wallet.

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Apparently Dr. Gruber thinks it’s OK to lie to American voters when his allies are in power to enact policies that he wants but the voters wouldn’t. He then says American voters are “stupid” both for not agreeing with his value choices and for not figuring out the deception.

I disagree.

When you strip away all the complexity, economic policy is ultimately an expression of elected officials making difficult value choices. If over time these officials make value choices that do not reflect the values of the people whom they represent, they can, should, and will be replaced.

When these same elected officials, and those who advise them, deliberately construct policies to hide value choices that would be unpopular were they transparent and explicit, we end up with two terrible outcomes. We get policies that do not reflect our values, and we re-elect representatives who are lying to us.

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[P]eople don’t like being insulted and misled, as many feel they have been by this administration. This is not just a feeling but a demonstrable fact, especially vis-a-vis the Affordable Care Act. And it’s not just the far-right fringe who object to the strategic misrepresentations along the way.

These obfuscations include telling the American people that they could keep the insurance they had if they liked it and also writing the law in such a way that the ACA’s mandate to purchase government-approved insurance was not a “tax,” despite the Internal Revenue Service’s role in policing its compliance.

The keep-your-insurance ruse is history now, but the memory still lingers in the minds of voters, who, contrary to what the Obama White House thinks, are not stupid. There’s no dishonor — and it certainly isn’t stupid — to not understand the ACA. The then-Democratic-controlled Congress that passed the thing didn’t even understand it. I’d wager that most still don’t…

We also know that once trust is gone, it’s very hard to restore. Over time, and not just during this administration, we have lost trust in one institution after another. But when we have lost faith in our government, we have lost faith in ourselves.

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And does anyone doubt that this is exactly what people drafting the bill were thinking? They were trying to slip something past people they believed were too stupid to know what is good for them … and the country.  It’s the sovereign way of doing things in Washington. Think Johnson and Vietnam. The people were too stupid to understand either the necessity of the war or the wisdom of waging it in a way that assured we would lose.  Best and the brightest, don’t you remember, in top form.

One point. The sleight of hand in drafting and selling the ACA certainly was not meant to fool only those who would have been opposed if the thing had been subjected to some truth-in-advertising scrutiny.  

Gruber and his co-conspirators also meant to hoodwink supporters – both in and out of Congress – as well.

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Are any of the things that the Affordable Care Act’s loquacious architect Jonathan Gruber has been caught saying really that shocking? Did anyone truly believe that Obamacare was primarily about bending cost curves, lowering deficits, or easing the growing premiums of middle-class families? Did anyone but the most zealous disciple ever accept that this was about anything other than expanding Medicaid and creating bureaucratic mechanisms to better control the insurance market?…

But Gruber also implicitly admits the first eternal truth of all liberal experiments: money is no object. It is the moral objective that matters most. And now, when all the rosy charts from explainer sites are exhausted and all the pundits who’ve endlessly repeated that “Obamacare is working” have failed to move polls in their direction, we are left with another unadorned truth. If you dispute that government is the best way to underwrite decency, you are cruel, depraved, and possibly an accessory to murder.

“All I know is that it’s important for people to have health insurance,” Maine’s Angus King tells a Fox News host who asks him a completely legitimate question about the corruption that helped get Obamacare passed. “Are you that cruel?” he asks in an attempt to circumvent answering for the lies and ineptitude that made the legislation possible.

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Weinstein, back at home, was stunned at the reaction. Why did he keep finding Gruber gaffes? Why didn’t the press glom onto this stuff first?

“It’s terrifying that the guy in his mom’s basement is finding his stuff, and nobody else is,” he says. “I really do find this disturbing.”…

“When Obama said ‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period’—frankly, I believed him,” says Weinstein. “He very often speaks with qualifiers. When he said ‘period,’ there were no qualifiers. You can understand that when I lost my own plan, and the replacement cost twice as much, I wasn’t happy. So I’m watching the news, and at that time I was thinking: Hey, the administration was not telling people the truth, and the media was doing nothing!

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Liberals want to make Americans eat differently and to travel differently. They want taxes to be higher, because they think Americans waste their own money and that experts in government can spend it more wisely. They don’t believe that Americans should have more choice when it comes to saving for their retirement, because they think Americans are too stupid and irresponsible, so they’ll blow it. They don’t think that they should be able to have more choice over where to send their children to school.

Liberals don’t think that state and local governments should resolve most issues, because there are some states they think are dominated by dumb and unsophisticated people. So, to mitigate this, they support giving more power to the federal government, so that the smart people can impose their preferences on the whole country.

The truly pernicious part about liberalism is its successes breed more success. As more decisions are made for Americans by the central government, each generation grows up becoming more used to the government making decisions for them.

And this is why seizing control of the nation’s healthcare system is so crucial for the long-term goals of liberalism.

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“The dirty secret is the American voter doesn’t actually care about the uninsured,” Gruber said. “The dirty secret is: You can’t really get a law passed by saying, ‘We’re helping the uninsured.’ You have to make it about cost control to get it passed. Because that’s what the American public cares about. So they had to make this law not just about the uninsured, but about cost control. That was a challenge,” he added.

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Via the Free Beacon.