Jonathan Gruber – the Democrats’ very own Ed Snowden

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In the macro, we knew the administration lied to us about ObamaCare – adding 30 million patients to a now-shrinking doctor-pool simply can’t result in better quality care at lower cost while adding to neither deficit nor taxes. That‘s magical thinking (read: child-like fib). We found out that President Obama lied directly to us about the law affecting only those who needed better [or any] insurance – “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan” was named “Lie of the Year” by the Tampa Bay Times’ PolitiFact unit. That wasn’t just a bad guess because the administration knew at the time that ObamaCare only works if it causes all people to hold “approved” policies. It was a lie. But it wasn’t until Jonathan Gruber’s series of speeches surfaced that we found that a principle practice in writing the bill was to obfuscate various features of ObamaCare from the American people, and in the case of the mandates, from government itself[1]. The writing and selling of ObamaCare is, and was based on, a pack of lies.

In a bit of irony, the current dust-up concerning ObamaCare is over one of the few coherent clauses in the 1,700 pages of plain text. Jonathan Gruber[2] stated “that the Affordable Care Act was written so that states that didn’t set up insurance exchanges would also not get tax credits … If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”  The section dealing with the creation of state exchanges and the provision of subsidies states, quite clearly, that subsidies are only available in exchanges “established by a State,” which the law expressly defines as the 50 states plus DC. True to their nature, the administration is holding that it was just a poorly worded bill and that they [the administration] meant that all exchanges, regardless of who hosts them, are eligible for the tax credit. That is a lie. It was intentionally written the way it was in order to incentivize the states to set up their own exchanges. When only 16 states did so (down to 13 now), the administration just generalized the tax credits to all exchanges. That’s black letter law illegal.

Now, knowing that the incomprehensibility of the bill was intentional, let’s consider the late Lon Fuller, a renowned legal scholar, and his dictum for a law to be legitimate. “A law cannot be considered to be legitimate if those expected to obey it, can’t understand it.” He had seven other criteria for a legitimate law – the people must know that it exists, it cannot contravene an extant law without addressing the conundrum, and so forth. But being understandable by the average citizen is enough to condemn ObamaCare to illegitimacy.

It’s instructive that the authors of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act felt it necessary to obfuscate key features of the bill because they knew the American people wouldn’t want them. They were, in other words, preparing to foist something upon the people that the people didn’t want, and they were going to do it by hiding things and lying about it. This exemplifies the arrogance of today’s liberalism – it must force the unwashed masses (e.g., non-liberals) to “eat their spinach,” because they (liberals) know what is better for them (the unwashed masses). Liberalism has drifted so far left that they now acknowledge that their programs don’t enjoy popular support, so they must resort to subterfuge in order to pass them into law. That’s the antithesis of the democratic process.

If we have learned anything from “comprehensive” healthcare reform and the pending 2,000-page “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, it’s that incrementalism is superior to “comprehensive” for reasons of efficacy, but most importantly, for reasons of veracity. It’s harder to hide stuff in shorter, simpler bills that average Americans can understand. Ideas, if superior, should welcome honest debate. Ideas, even if superior, should not be imposed on an unwilling public in a democracy. An administration should be trusted, even by those in the minority. An administration that casually lies to the people hasn’t earned the peoples’ trust, even those in the majority.


[1] The bill was purposely written in such convoluted language that the authors could hide from CBO the fact that the “fees” for not getting an “approved” policy were actually taxes.

[2] Professor, economics, MIT; principle architect of RomneyCare/ObamaCare, and consultant on how to write the bill.

Iranian Reset

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In a burst of openness and transparency, President Obama is trying to trade direct involvement with Shi’ite Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in combating Sunni ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, for Tehran’s signing of a secret nuclear deal.

This would be wrong on so many levels.

The deadline for a nuclear deal is late November (conveniently, after the November 4 elections), meaning that if the administration is to get a nuclear deal – a serious piece of the “Obama Legacy” he’s desperately trying to stitch together – time is of the essence. A “good” deal is probably in the rearview mirror, so Mr Obama must settle for a bad one. Thus, it must be done in a back ally somewhere, and Congress must not be allowed to see it before it’s signed, sealed and delivered.

By seeking Iranian cooperation in the fight against ISIS, we are placing Iranian personnel in close proximity to ours, and inside our command-level planning and tasking (and perhaps inside our local intelligence effort). Are these people who we want to have an intimate understanding of our operational military infrastructure, weapons systems and force tasking? They sponsor Hizbollah, an international para-military terror organization (who, prior to September 11 2001, had killed more Americans than all other terror organizations combined). They guide Hamas in its near-continuous assault on Israeli forces, population and settlements, and its dogged belief that it is an Islamic requirement to annihilate Israelis and destroy Israel. With whom, since their storming and occupation of our embassy, we’ve been at an unresolved state of war. They are invariably a bad-faith partner with Westerners (and non-Shi’ite entities, for that matter).

We, the Iranians and us, are at cross-purposes – we want to interrupt the Shi’ite Crescent, neutralize Sunni ISIS and isolate the Alawite (Shi’ite) Assad regime and its forces; the Iranians want to solidify the Shi’ite Crescent, destroy Sunni ISIS and revitalize the Shi’ite Assad regime.

The basis of any agreement to prevent this Iranian regime from acquiring an indigenous nuclear weapons capability is for them to demonstrably lack the ability to enrich U235. They have agreed to operate only 1,000 centrifuges, and that gives them the ability to manufacture bomb-grade enriched U235. The agreement itself runs counter to the stated reason for wanting the agreement – the denying Iran of obtaining a domestic nuclear weapons capability.

Any threat of even a slow-motion breakout by Tehran would ignite a nuclear arms race among largely tribal societies led by bloodlines, who still stone women for adultery and amputate limbs for felonies. It would instantly disorder an already volatile region.

The administration’s habit of bypassing Congress on actions that, constitutionally, require congressional advise and consent, is, on its face, duplicitous. There is no national security vector here that would require extreme compartmentalization – this is just the political hiding of an activity known to be vigorously unpopular. It is the complete politicizing of an event of profound importance to world stability and future generations.

And, being a meaningless agreement – it doesn’t accomplish its raison d’être, it won’t be rehabilitative of Mr Obama’s current legacy: the counterproductive stimulus, the incompetent arming of Mexican drug cartels, the obscene process and serial lies of ObamaCare, the bungling of Benghazi, the politicization of the IRS and DoJ, the self-inflicted border crisis, the fumbling around reacting to ebola in America, and so forth.

So many levels.

Election 2014

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As of this writing (0357 EST), the Republicans have unseated seven Democrats in the Senate, and kept Kansas and Georgia (two seats the Democrats desperately wanted to turn Blue). Alaska will go to the GOP, and Louisiana will too, after the December 6 runoff. Virginia is still virtually tied. New Hampshire didn’t fall, but the Republicans are close to a wave anyway (sitting on a net gain of nine seats without Virginia, ten with it). Republicans picked up at least 12 more House seats.

Exit polling was equally instructive. Democrats said that Obama’s policies were bad (politically), and that he was an ineffective messenger. Among all voters, the president’s job approval rating was 44% (“bad” at 55%); 65% said the country was on the wrong track; and 71% said the economy wasn’t good. Independent voters broke for Republicans 54% to 42%.

Many states elected Republican senators while voting to increase their minimum wage, but that isn’t as mixed a message as pundits claim. For one thing, ObamaCare has transformed the workplace into a 30-hour workweek, which gives more importance to higher hourly pay; for another, conservatives have always believed that wage levels should be determined at the state level, not nationally – there are too many differences between states and regions to have a national policy make sense.

There is no question that this was an anti-incumbent electorate – people are just fed up with government. Departments and agencies are running amok, Congress can’t get anything done, the president is intransigent – but Republicans faired those headwinds better than Democrats. They were seen as the lesser devil. That’s part of what makes the next two years a golden opportunity for the GOP.

Expectations are low, and when you’re starting from a low bar, improvement is easier to demonstrate. Republicans must show that they can govern. By moving the veto from Harry Reid to Barack Obama, they are setting up an already unpopular president to deny popular initiatives (e.g., Keystone XL pipeline, meaningful tax reform, overturning unpopular provisions of ObamaCare, etc). Republicans need to resist aping Democrats by overreaching – nobody got a mandate from this election, except to improve the status quo.

The Senate needs to put bills on the president’s desk that enjoy majority support. They need to stop the emasculation of the military and insist that they have a vote on any Iranian deal. They need to do what they can to restore civil relations with Israel and reassure Europe. And they need to develop a realistic program toward business that allows them to have the confidence to begin spending their two trillion dollars of pent-up cash – capital improvements and added jobs, both of which will help the economy below the stock exchange.

It’s up to Republicans do show that they can be the adults in the room.