Cal Thomas: Who are you calling stupid?

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Saturday, November 15, 2014 4:42pm
  • Opinion

“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 (aka 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 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, “… if 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.”

Recall the promise made by President Obama that his administration would be “the most transparent in history.” In light of Gruber’s revelation and many other examples of the secrecy of this administration, that is objectively untrue.

Not surprisingly, the video of Gruber’s comments, which began to draw mainstream media attention this week, 13 months after the comments were made, has been removed from YouTube without explanation, but do we need one? On Tuesday, 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, or other government official, from public scrutiny and accountability.

It isn’t that information about the negatives of Obamacare was unavailable. People should have paid more attention to sources other than those that promoted this monstrosity. The problem is too many voters tune in and read only those people who tend to reinforce views they already hold. 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. They sell their programs based on feelings and “fairness,” instead of substance and facts.

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. Although individual states could still provide subsidies, the overwhelming number of Republican governors and GOP-majority state legislatures are unlikely to do so.

Republicans should save the clip of Jonathan Gruber and run it over and over again in the run-up to the 2016 election. 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.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

More in Opinion

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: We’re at risk of losing our well-crafted constitution

Vote no for a constitutional convention in November.

Sticky notes filled out in response to the question “Why does Democracy and voting matter?” are photographed on Saturday, June 25, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alex Koplin)
6 words to define democracy

What words would you use?

File
Opinion: The latest gun regulation bill is nothing to cheer about

The legislation resembles the timid movements of a couple of 6-month old children…

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C. in this file photo. (File)
Opinion: The Alaskans with the power to defend America’s democracy

It’s well past time to publicly refute Trump’s lie

File
Opinion: Here’s what I expect of lawmakers in a post-Roe America

I urge lawmakers to codify abortion rights at the state and federal levels.

File
Opinion: Confusion over ranked choice voting persists

Voter confusion over ballot procedures will continue

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Voices of the Peninsula: A vote for Walker/Drygas is a vote for Alaskans

It’s easy to forget some of the many lost lawsuits, devastating budget cuts and general incompetence that defines Mike Dunleavy’s term as governor

This photo shows a return envelop for 2022 special primary. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Voices of the Peninsula: Learn how to access your ballot

The recent special primary election was the first time the state conducted an all mail-in ballot election

Most Read