Jonathan Gruber, a key architect of Obamacare (and also of Romneycare), has been caught on camera by the Daily Signal offering up insights on the “stupidity of the American voter” and on the importance of using a noble lie (or lies) in passing Obamacare.
Gruber said of Obamacare:
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the [individual] mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”
President Obama publicly insisted the individual mandate was not a tax, and Obamacare’s own text describes it as a “penalty,” not a “tax.” Yet, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court held that the mandate was unconstitutional as a penalty levied under the commerce-clause power and could stand only as a tax — albeit a previously unheard-of tax that compels Americans to buy a product or service of the federal government’s choosing in order to avoid having to pay it. It’s an unprecedented federal tax on inactivity.
Unsurprisingly, the individual mandate remains perhaps the most unpopular part of Obamacare, and it’s also central to its entire design. Thus, delaying or repealing the mandate would badly wound Obamacare. One hopes that Republicans on Capitol Hill will soon pass legislation to do exactly that, while also passing legislation to end Obamacare’s bailout of insurance companies. Republicans would be much better off going after these parts of Obamacare — which are central to its design and its ability to function — rather than trying to make Obamacare better by doing things like repealing its medical-device tax or changing its definition of full-time workers from 30 to 40 hours a week. Republicans should be in the businesses of providing relief to Americans in ways that undermine Obamacare, not improve it.
Gruber, however, didn’t end his discussion with the individual mandate. He went on to say the following:
“In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are gonna pay in — you’ve made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Okay? Just like the...people — transparent — lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever.”
It’s time for Republicans to champion a conservative alternative that would transparently end the unfairness in the tax code for everyone, thereby providing tax relief for millions of middle-class Americans, instead of lavish taxpayer-funded subsidies for the chosen few.
Gruber concluded, “Look, I wish…we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have the law than not.”
Fortunately, most Americans would rather have repeal than not. They would rather repeal Obamacare and replace it with a winning conservative alternative.
It’s interesting to hear Gruber talk about the need to mislead the citizenry in the interests of empowering the state. In Plato’s Republic, a book depicting an all-consuming state in which the government controls essentially every aspect of human life, the Noble Lie is that people are born with gold (rulers), silver (soldiers), or bronze (working-class) souls. In Obamacare, people are compelled to buy either gold, silver, or bronze (or platinum) government-compliant health insurance. To be sure, Obama is no Plato or Socrates. He’s a rather conventional and unimaginative liberal who doesn’t seem to have much interest in the philosophical underpinnings of his own society or any other. Still, it’s intriguing to see how an architect of Obamacare, and that legislation’s own text, uses language that evokes the Western cannon’s greatest depiction of a society that is almost entirely subsumed by government.