Jonathan Gruber: Speaking the truth about American politics and voters


LOS ANGELES, November 19, 2014 — There is nothing more refreshing than truth in politics.

Jonathan Gruber, while demonstrating a remarkable lack of self-awareness, also demonstrated a candor about the linguistic manipulation of the American people by legislators authoring the Affordable Care Act. As the curtain is pulled it back it confirms the suspicions of many critics of the bill have had but which were not owned up to by the bill’s defenders.

We now know that key elements of the bill were mischaracterized to be less troubling to the American people than the real substance of the bill would have been.

In remarks delivered as part of an academic panel at MIT, Gruber basically said exactly that.

Gruber’s comments really weren’t anything new to people who are familiar with the routine ugliness and deception of the legislative process. Nor is this type of manipulation is solely a Democratic problem; it is a problem with politics generally.

But for Democrats in congress who authored and promoted the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Jonathan Gruber’s assertion that the “stupidity of the American voter” justified political manipulations shows hubris unforeseen.

The lack of transparency in crafting the bill made it possible to pass as a mandate what was in fact a new tax on Americans for health care. On different occasions, Gruber asserted that the ignorance of the American voter also allowed the authors of the bill to effectively eliminate tax breaks for “Cadillac” health care plans.

In addition they were able to conceal the fact that health insurance costs would be raised for healthier individuals in order to reduce costs for sicker individuals. All together this is an embarrassing window into the way that lawmakers, Democrats in this particular instance, are able to take advantage of the ignorance of the American people in order to implement a political agenda.

Naturally, some defenders of the law have sought to undermine Gruber’s credibility by claiming that he was not close to the administration or the authors of the bill, implying that he might not know what he is talking about.

But it is known that Gruber was paid $400,000 as a consultant to the Obama Administration to help them to craft the legislation. He was also credited as having worked for the administration in an official Obama campaign video during the 2012 election.

Gruber is a reliable source of insight into the crafting of Obamacare. But the real lesson here is that the American people need to be better educated than we have been on the gory details of the legislative process and the real substance behind what politicians tell us so that we might be better advocates of our own interests.

Maybe you like the Affordable Care Act and maybe you do not, but it would be nice to have Congress present things to us as they actually are, rather than relying on diversion and manipulation to compel the American people to accept for legislation what they would not accept if the truth were plainly spoken.


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