Thursday, November 20, 2014

Doctor Strangecare

What's next? Will the people see the big board?

Videos from college conferences and Washington think tanks over the last few years show Gruber bragging about the law’s deliberate complexity and belittling American voters’ intelligence.

Now at least two colleges who hosted the professor have tried to scrub Gruber from the internet. The University of Pennsylvania removed Gruber’s October 2013 panel appearance — in which he laughed about “the stupidity of the American voter” — on November 10, but quickly reposted the video after withering criticism.

On Monday the University of Rhode Island took a page out of Penn’s book, removing a 2012 discussion where Gruber explains how the law was passed to “exploit” the American voters’ “lack of economic understanding.” URI offered no explanation on its webpage as to why the video was pulled.

You can't challenge conventional wisdom in here! This is higher education!

UPDATE: The deceptions from government are surely common. That's why I think the basic solution is to shrink federal government authority rather than futilely try to keep it from abusing authority.

But what really gets me is that the so-called press corps participated in the ridicule of objections to the provisions of the law and their refusal to highlight the obvious deceptions:

The net effect of this was that the administration could make claims that were impossible to effectively refute in debate, because doing so required voters to follow lengthy technical discussions, and the readers had whole lives to live and didn't have time to master the arcane art of CBO budget rules. So politicians gamed the CBO process, and then wielded the numbers as a weapon against critics. Many journalists also used the CBO score pretty uncritically, because that was a lot easier than walking readers through an abstruse argument. So stuff got done that couldn't survive public scrutiny, and highly contestable "facts" about things like deficit reduction entered the media stream. Jonathan Gruber comes along and tells us that this was deliberate, which was obvious to anyone who was paying attention, but not actually much remarked upon in many quarters.

That politicians should try to exploit the accounting rules was inevitable; that is what people do with accounting rules. I'm not saying that's what the rules are for, or that they do no good; I'm just saying that about eight seconds after your rules are made, some bright Johnny will start figuring out a way to game them.

What is not inevitable is that journalists should effectively sanction this by saying it's no big deal. We don't have to get elected, after all. And those politicians and policy makers aren't our bosses; the reading public is. We shouldn't act like we're part of the insider clique that decides what other people need to know -- no, worse, that decides what other people do know. If we knew this all along and voters didn't, that doesn't mean voters don't have a right to be outraged. It means that we've lost track of whose side we're on.

That's what frustrated me so much. The complete failure of our media class to explain what is happening. Which is supposed to be their job.

Obamacare's defenders, for example, would insist that the law reduced the deficit, yet the press never called them on this obvious deceit that relied on new taxes and assumed a full decade's worth of taxes while counting law expenses for just a little over half of that time period since the law didn't go into effect for many years (except for the taxes, which were immediate).

We'll see if the press does any better on immigration "reform."

I suspect that they've just learned to stop worrying and love the Obama.

UPDATE: Oopsy. Bad stats. Not a lot. But still worrisome. The errors never go the other way, eh?

And I've heard elsewhere that perhaps most of those actually signed up went to an existing program--Medicaid.

Yet we were told that 40 million people were denied insurance pre-Obamacare.