This week we have been treated to videos of Dr. Jonathan Gruber telling about how he and others had to mislead the Public (and Congress, by the way) in order to get them to accept some of the controversial aspects of ObamaCare. Dr. Gruber should know since he was paid about $400K for his help in crafting the bill.
According to Gruber, the bill was worded in a “tortured way” so that the Congressional Budget Office would not “score” the penalties for not having insurance (aka the “mandate”) as a tax, because that would “kill the bill” – i.e. it would not be cost-effective. The same sort of deception was also used to try to hide the fact that the bill’s bloated minimum insurance requirements for young, healthy people was just a way to justify charging them higher premiums even though they would never use many aspects of the coverage. These excess premiums were important to the bill because so many aspects of its operations and bureaucracy would definitely lose money. Again, this was done in order for the CBO to “score” the bill as self-sustaining and cost-effective.
Dr. Gruber basically blames the “stupidity of the American voter” for the deception, which, I believe, does not really account for the deception of members of Congress, the CBO, and, perhaps, even some in the Administration. This is truly fraud on a grand scale. Dr. Gruber’s justification for the deceit is “I would rather have this bill than not” stated with the self-righteous fervor of a zealot. This is an amazing statement, because there are millions of us who could say “I would rather NOT have this bill” with the same fervor. Somehow Dr. Gruber thinks his voice and opinion outweighs ours.
Gruber has now attempted to walk back these comments, which were made in an arrogant, almost bragging manner – ‘what clever liars we are-‘ His explanation was that he made these remarks “off the cuff” and that they were not well thought out. It now turns out that Dr. Gruber made similar remarks a several times and that they represent sort of a routine that he would trot out at appropriately obscure professional wonk venues.
The bigger story, though is how the President himself vehemently and repeatedly denied that the “mandate” was a tax in his 2009 interview with George Stephanopoulos. There is little doubt from this interview that the President had been rehearsed by his aides on how to refute any claim of taxation. You can see the video here, although it is painful to watch at this point in time
Did the President know he was being less than truthful or is he just another victim of Gruber’s lies? Certainly, from his unusually insistent manner in this interview he knew this was an important issue. Advisors, including Gruber, had probably told him that bad things would happen to the bill if he didn’t sell the story that this was not a tax. Did we know that we were being lied to? I suspected it on many levels, and so did a lot of others, but we were painted as outlier conspiracy theorists – a merely routine dismissal from an Administration that fights its way thru the news cycle every day with almost the same level of false propaganda.
There is, however, one little silver lining for one person in Dr. Gruber’s rant – Chief Justice Roberts can now be given some measure of absolution for reaching the conclusion that the mandate was indeed a tax that the Feds could levy. That was the way that Dr. Gruber and others fashioned the bill in the first place – so it would be understood as a “mandate” by the Public, economists, and the media, but would be understood by a lawyer as truly being a tax. With this in mind, let’s recall the President’s background … yes, he was a lawyer … which makes the Stephanopoulos interview a little more damning.
Aren’t they so very clever? And aren’t you glad they are looking after you so carefully that they won’t let you know the truth when it wouldn’t be good for you to know it?