“Stupid is as stupid does”
— Forrest Gump
Unless you regularly follow conservative media, you may not have heard what one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) thinks about you.
Jonathan Gruber is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology health economist who helped craft ObamaCare. In a rare moment of unvarnished candor, Gruber told an audience last year at the University of Pennsylvania that the law passed because of the “stupidity of the American voter.”
In what can only be described as a smoking gun — meaning there is no way to spin his remarks as “out of context” — Gruber told his audience, “The bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK, so it’s written to do that.” Gruber added, “(I)f you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money — it would not have passed.”
Gruber continued digging his hole even deeper: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”
Not surprisingly, the video of Gruber’s comments, which have drawn mainstream media attention 13 months after the comments were made, has been removed from YouTube without explanation. But do we need one? Recently Gruber said he “spoke inappropriately,” which falls short of a genuine apology or explanation.
This is what a lot of politicians think of voters. Citizens are to serve them, not the other way around. Government officials and their big-media toadies can lie, obfuscate and cover up, and if people complain, they are denounced as partisan, bigoted or whatever other label serves to protect the politician from public scrutiny and accountability.
It isn’t that voters are “stupid.” Rather, too many aren’t paying attention, and that’s how politicians are able to pick their pockets.
After the administration argued that ObamaCare was not a tax, the Supreme Court narrowly ruled that it is and that because Congress has a constitutional right to impose taxes, the law is constitutional. The court now has a chance to redeem itself and help people whose insurance is being canceled, or premiums raised, or coverage reduced.
The Supreme Court has accepted a case challenging a provision of the law that prohibits people from receiving federal subsidies to buy insurance unless they live in states that run their own markets and offer coverage. Just 14 states and the District of Columbia handle their own enrollments, with the rest leaving it to consumers to access an exchange run by the federal government. The court will decide whether insurance subsidies can be granted in states that do not have their own markets. If the decision eliminates subsidies in those states, ObamaCare could be gutted. That is, the people now receiving those federal subsidies outside the state exchanges likely would no longer be able to afford health care coverage — the basis of the Affordable Care Act.
This attitude that government is better at making decisions than you are because you are too stupid to know what is good for you is a hallmark of patronizing, arrogant and condescending liberalism.
Cal Thomas is a columnist for USA Today.