Week in Review: Shared priority

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

I was overjoyed this week to read that Gov. Brian Sandoval has dedicated his second term to helping Nevada’s children succeed. It just so happens that providing solutions to make that happen is NPRI’s top priority for 2015, too.

And, with Republicans in full control of Carson City for the first time in 85 years, the opportunity to bring school choice to Nevada has never been greater. In case you missed last week’s column amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Geoff Lawrence, who had served as NPRI’s director of research and legislative affairs, has left the Institute to counsel the Nevada Republican Assembly caucus as its new policy director. While Geoff’s departure from NPRI is certainly a loss, the majority party, if it wants to bring school choice to Nevada, couldn’t have a better individual directing its policy efforts.

I trust that Gov. Sandoval has already read Geoff’s last two NPRI publications — 33 ways to improve Nevada education without spending more and Solutions 2015 — in which he details what it means to truly make Nevada children our top priority. It means taking steps to improve educational opportunities, and equipping students with the tools they need to create a brighter future for themselves. Contrary to what liberals repeatedly claim, it doesn’t mean throwing more money at an education system that is plagued not by insufficient funding, but by inefficiency. It means enacting genuine reforms to that system.

I’ve disagreed with Gov. Sandoval on multiple issues, but I know he’s sincere in his desire to improve educational quality in our state. The policy ideas contained in those recent NPRI publications — such as Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), charter school reforms and alternative routes to teacher licensure — would be a great place for him to start.

Education Savings Accounts were first implemented in Arizona to bring hope to students by giving families more choices in education. Through the program, the state puts money it would already spend on a student’s education into an account designated for that student, to be used for educational purposes. Parents can spend the money on private-school tuition, homeschooling or tutoring, among other options, to ensure their child gets the education that fits best. 

Improving existing charter schools and removing roadblocks to opening others is another proven way that Gov. Sandoval can make kids his top priority in the coming year. Because they operate outside district-level policies, charter schools are free to innovate and find better ways to educate. Traditionally, they have existed to serve more at-risk students, and the evidence shows that students who win lotteries to participate in charters do significantly better than those who do not. Charter school reforms that policymakers should pursue include implementing a parent trigger law and establishing an incubator system for charter school startups.

And reforming the teacher-certification process would remove a chief obstacle that currently keeps many qualified educators out of the classroom. The research has shown that traditional licensure has no impact on student achievement, whereas allowing for alternative paths to licensure has indeed produced educational gains. The reason should be obvious: Under the current system, many highly skilled professionals dismiss the idea of pursuing teaching as a profession because they find the process of getting credentialed far too onerous.

For too long, the interests of Nevada’s children have been put on the back burner, as state policymakers have allowed the teacher unions and other special interests to dominate the education agenda. Whether you consider yourself a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative or a liberal, or something else, it’s time for us all to acknowledge that the status quo has failed our kids.

The voters spoke loudly and clearly in November. They’re tired of business as usual. They want real change and proven solutions. And there’s no better proof of that than their overwhelming rejection of the margin-tax initiative, the goal of which was to address Nevada’s education problems by simply throwing more money at them. Nevadans want, and deserve, better.

In the coming weeks, NPRI Executive Vice President Victor Joecks will relocate to Carson City so that he can share with incoming and returning policymakers the real solutions to Nevada’s educational challenges. And you can be sure he’ll be reaching out to Gov. Sandoval to thank him personally for his commitment to putting children first, and to share with him some of our ideas on how to make that happen.

Until next time,

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Week in Review: The future

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Each new year brings with it a number of changes, and it’s no different here at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. Often the change is good — it’s a chance to set new organizational goals for the year ahead, and to turn the page on the occasions in the previous year when you might have come up short.

But there are also those times when change can be hard to swallow, even if you know, from a big-picture standpoint, that the change is necessary to produce s a new and exciting opportunity. And we’ll be facing a couple changes here at NPRI this year that fall into that category.

This week, we at NPRI said goodbye to two members of our team who have provided immeasurable value to the Institute in recent years.

Geoff Lawrence, who for the past few years has quarterbacked NPRI’s policy research efforts, has accepted a new position as the policy director for the Nevada Republican Assembly caucus. Those of you who follow the Institute’s efforts closely are well aware of the incredible contributions Geoff has made to our body of work. His most notable publications have probably been the first two installments of our Solutions series, sourcebooks on dozens of policy issues that are designed to assist policymakers in crafting free-market-oriented legislation.

But that, of course, hardly scratches the surface. Geoff has authored a number of other exceptional works for us, including an alternative state budget (2009), our legislative report card (2009, 2011 and 2013) and our Piglet Book (2010, 2012 and 2014), among many others. He has also served as NPRI’s point man at the legislative session, and in 2013, in a historic development for the Institute, Geoff was stationed in Carson City full-time, giving us a permanent presence throughout the session’s activities.

Eric Davis is a name that might not be as familiar to you. But it’s a name you should know. Eric has held a number of positions at NPRI since joining us as an intern back in 2007, most recently serving as our web developer. He’s had many roles with us, but his greatest contribution has been the design, development and management of NPRI’s transparency websites — transparentnevada.com and transparentcalifornia.com.

These two sites, which rank among the most successful projects we’ve ever undertaken here at NPRI, have garnered 30 million page views combined during their lifetimes, with over 21 million of those page views coming this year alone. More important than the numbers, however, is the impact — the way the government-spending data on these sites has shaped the debate over public financing. Eric has been more of a behind-the-scenes man here at NPRI, but his work has certainly not gone unnoticed, and he has been offered, and has accepted, a new position as a systems engineer with the web-development company eResources.

It may go without saying that we hate to see Geoff and Eric go. In addition to being highly productive members of our team, they’ve been very dear friends to the rest of the staff here at the Institute.

But it’s important that we all recognize these developments as the success stories they are. One of the things we’ve always prided ourselves on here at the Institute is our success in identifying and cultivating talent — bringing in hard-working and skilled individuals and then giving them the chance to develop their skills and achieve greatness. Geoff and Eric have done exactly that, and as a result, they have both earned tremendous opportunities for further career growth and advancement. Congratulations are in order to both of these gentlemen.

And even in their new roles, both will continue to serve the cause that is at the heart of NPRI’s mission. He’ll be wearing a different uniform, but Geoff will still be fighting hard in Carson City to advance the kinds of free-market reforms our state needs. And eResources, the company where Eric will now be working, hosts our flagship website, npri.org, meaning we’ll continue to work closely with him in keeping our site up-to-date with the Institute’s latest work.

Still, these departures do present challenges. And fortunately, we’ve built a team here that has the strength and the versatility to meet them. You’ll learn a lot more about what that means in the weeks and months ahead, but in particular, I’d like to share with you that Victor Joecks, NPRI’s executive vice president, will be running the show for us in Carson City during the session this year. You’ve no doubt read plenty of Victor’s work over the years, and if you have, you’ll agree with me that our policy efforts are in very good hands.

Like I said at the outset, every new year brings change, and every year has a way of throwing a lot of surprises at us, too. But one thing you can count on to remain constant is NPRI’s unyielding commitment to our mission and our principles. Whatever the future holds, that truth will always persist.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Week in Review: The holidays and freedom

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Everyone has his or her favorite aspect of the holiday season. And there are certainly a lot of things to appreciate — there’s the great food, the gift-giving, the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and, of course, the celebration of faith.

Each of those is special to me, but there’s something else about this time of year that has always made me feel grateful. It’s easy to forget sometimes that in many parts of the world, people aren’t free to observe their holidays the way you and I are. The freedoms to associate with whom we choose, and to practice our faith as we want — we often take these things for granted here in America, even as so many on this planet go without those rights.

So I hope you’ll join me this year in taking some time to reflect on those freedoms — and to appreciate the opportunity to live in a country that, while not without its problems, is rooted in the idea that those freedoms are inherent to humanity.

We can each celebrate this holiday season however we wish, based on whatever it means to us. For me, that means celebrating Christmas with my parents, who are flying out here to Las Vegas from Massachusetts, and my brother, who’ll be joining us from San Diego.

Whatever your plans for the holidays, I want to wish you happiness, peace — and a much-deserved break from the anxiety and drama of the political world.

From all of us at NPRI, Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Until next time,

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Week in Review: Powers still need to be separated

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

On Tuesday, the Nevada Supreme Court made a decision in our three-year-old separation-of-powers case.

As you may recall, in November 2011, NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation filed a lawsuit against Sen. Mo Denis for holding employment in the executive branch, while also serving as a senator in the legislative branch.

Denis’ simultaneous employment in both the legislative and executive branches violated Article 3, Section 1 of Nevada’s Constitution, which clearly states that the branches of government must be separate:

The powers of the Government of the State of Nevada shall be divided into three separate departments,—the Legislative,—the Executive and the Judicial; and no persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any functions, appertaining to either of the others, except in the cases expressly directed or permitted in this constitution. [Emphasis added.]

This prohibition is one of the key structural provisions that protect our liberty and prevent abuse of government power. Thinkers and leaders including James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington have fought for this principle, because they recognized that the separation of powers is necessary to prevent tyranny.

We created our litigation center to defend essential constitutional principles like this one, which is why our separation-of-powers lawsuit was so important.

Three years ago, on the day NPRI served Denis with the lawsuit, he resigned his executive branch job. This was a de facto acknowledgment that he had been violating the Constitution, and rather than fight a losing battle in court, he stopped violating the Constitution.

That was a victory in a battle — one legislator stopped violating the Constitution — but our goal is to win the war by getting a Supreme Court precedent that prevents similar violations from occurring ever again.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court failed even to address the public-interest exception to the mootness doctrine we had cited in our appeal and ruled instead that Denis’ resignation mooted the lawsuit.

It’s important to note that the Supreme Court didn’t rule on the constitutional issue at the heart of this case. Rather, the Court simply affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss the case on mootness grounds, given the fact of Denis’ resignation.

While this ruling is disappointing, because it means another case will have to be brought before the court again, the decision does create the opportunity to educate Nevada citizens on this important constitutional protection held dear by conservatives and liberals: separation of powers.

Know for certain that NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation will remain vigilant in protecting your constitutional rights through our current cases and the ones to come.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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If education reform requires 'money, money, money' you're doing it wrong

An amazing story in today's Las Vegas Review-Journal shows how some people think about education reform. The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel discussion that was reportedly on education reform, but turned into a discussion of how to get more money from taxpayers.

From the Review-Journal:

Panelists promoted pursuit of all kinds of programs: Creating a system awarding extra pay to high performing educators, making full-day kindergarten standard, providing incentives for teachers venturing into high-poverty schools and those with few English-speakers, creating more advanced computer science and technology courses, and reinventing the state’s nearly 50-year-old funding system currently providing schools a flat rate per student.

A bill draft request under consideration for the 2015 session would provide up to twice as much for students in special education, living in poverty or learning English.

All of these plans have one thing in common: a price tag above and beyond what’s currently paid for in Nevada public schools.

“We continue to talk about money, money, money,” said John Cole, a community member and former Clark County School Board member, questioning the panel and noting how voters overwhelmingly quashed the state’s two recent ballot measures to increase education funding.

This is a microcosm of the problem that's been plaguing Nevada education for the last 50 years. The education establishment demands more money for ineffective government programs, and then when those programs don't work, they come back and demand more "money, money, money."

Real reform involves taking the money Nevada's already spending and using it more effectively, as explained in NPRI’s 33 ways to improve Nevada education without spending more study. Improving education doesn't require more money. It requires using the money we already spending more effectively, because spending more simply doesn't work.


Week in Review: Tax reform

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Did you hear? Liberal Nevada legislators are thinking of abolishing the modified business tax and just taking control of business owners’ bank accounts.

OK, OK, that’s not really what they plan to do — I hope — but I can’t help thinking of that joke when I read incoming legislators and media speculating about what “tax reform” in Nevada might look like in the coming session.

It seems that many — be they elected officials or liberal political commentators — don’t want to acknowledge that “reform” isn’t synonymous with “hike.”

This is an important distinction, because knowing that tax hikes aren’t popular, many politicians try to disguise their intentions to raise taxes by talking about how they want to change or update the tax structure.

That’s why the release this week of an executive summary of a report prepared by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is so important.

While the Chamber will release its full report in the next few weeks, the executive summary contains an important recommendation.

Nevada should consider fixing what is broken with the current tax system instead of pursuing a brand new tax to layer on top of the narrowly based, complex existing taxes.

It then gives some broad-stroke reform ideas based, in part, on recommendations NPRI first put forward in our One Sound State, Once Again tax-reform study.

As NPRI’s Director of Research and Legislative Affairs Geoffrey Lawrence laid out in a column for the Nevada Business magazine, the Silver State needs revenue-neutral tax reform that:

  • minimizes revenue volatility so officials know what to expect when budgeting
  • minimizes distortions in economic behavior
  • minimizes compliance costs
  • protects tax equity
  • reflects the character of the economy

As the Chamber notes, that doesn’t require new types of taxes, but reforming the ones we already have in place, including a broadening of the sales tax base while lowering the rate.

It is still worth keeping a close eye on the Chamber’s final recommendations, because it hasn’t announced whether it wants to pursue reforms that are revenue-neutral or reforms and tax hikes.

Regardless, these substantive recommendations have liberals changing their tune on tax reform. For instance, a liberal columnist at the Las Vegas Review-Journal seems flummoxed by the idea that tax reform might include something other than implementing a new tax, like a corporate income tax. 

So, when liberals claim free-market conservatives are against tax reform, they’re simply wrong. There are plenty of tax reforms — like those we’ve set forth — that would garner the support of fiscal conservatives.

Conservatives oppose tax hikes, because tax hikes hurt individuals and families, and also because they’re unnecessary to provide government’s core services.

Nevada needs Solutions, not more spending on failing government programs.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.


Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Week in Review: Projections

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

I had a chance to see John Fogerty in concert a couple months ago, and while I always enjoy live music, I always come away with that one song that gets stuck in my head, usually for several weeks after the show. In this case, it was “Bad Moon Rising,” one of Fogerty’s old hits with Creedence Clearwater Revival, that simply refused to go away.

Since yesterday, however, I’ve had a different CCR tune on the brain — the old classic “Fortunate Son.” There’s one line in particular that keeps playing over and over in my head:

And when you ask ’em, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”

It’s highly unlikely that Fogerty, when he belted out this line at the Palms a few weeks back, intended it as a preview of the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session. And I hope it turns out not to be — though history provides little reason for optimism.

Yesterday brought the news that Nevada’s Economic Forum is projecting the state will bring in $6.3 billion in tax revenue over the next two fiscal years. Traditionally, the Economic Forum projections are greeted by much of Nevada’s political class with cries that the revenue figure is insufficient to run the government for the next two years — and that, therefore, taxes will need to be raised.

There will certainly be those who clamor for higher taxes once again this time around. And this will happen despite the fact that the $6.3 billion revenue figure is the highest amount ever projected for a single biennium. That’s because government agencies have submitted budget requests totaling $7.7 billion, resulting in the appearance of a significant shortfall.

But as NPRI’s own Victor Joecks pointed out yesterday, this is an old trick designed to stack the deck in favor of tax hikes. “State agencies have again submitted spending wish lists — which normally allows them to cry that receiving less than they wished for is a dire ‘cut,’” said Victor. “But receiving an increase smaller than you desired is not a cut. It’s just a smaller helping of ‘more’ than you wanted.”

Exactly. It’s akin to asking your boss for a $10,000 raise, and then, when he gives you a $5,000 raise instead, complaining that your salary has been “cut” by $5,000. No one would get away with that in the private sector. So why should our politicians?

There’s a presumption among liberals that the natural course of things is for government to keep growing, and to keep costing more money. This they define as progress. Yet in nearly every other walk of life, “progress” means the exact opposite. Products get better and better, while the cost of them, in real dollars, goes down over time.

It’s long past time for government to follow suit. Nevada’s citizens deserve it and, if last month’s elections are any guide, they’re demanding it. They shot down, by a 4-to-1 margin, a measure that would have raised taxes on businesses in order to throw more money at our structurally flawed education system. And they handed the reins of power to the major political party most closely aligned with small-government principles. The message from voters couldn’t have been clearer.

Time of course will tell how it all unfolds (and you can be sure my NPRI colleagues and I will have a lot more to say about all this in the coming weeks and months). But this time around, when Nevada’s liberals issue their typical calls for “More! More! More!” responsible policymakers would be wise to tune them out.

Thanks for reading, and take care.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Week in Review: Thanks

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

We in Nevada have plenty to be thankful for this year.

In 2014, we saw hundreds of teachers and support staff claim their freedom by dropping membership with their union. More government agencies chose to be transparent by providing public employee compensation data to TransparentNevada.com. We witnessed voters overwhelmingly defeat what would have been a disastrous business tax. And now we’re about to enter into a legislative session that’s poised to be the most promising for free-market- and freedom-loving Nevadans in decades.

And none of that would have been possible without the generous donations from supporters like you, who value freedom in Nevada enough to support the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Because of your support, NPRI was able to inform educators and workers across the Silver State of their right to work, whether they belong to a union or not; we were able to spread the word through a video seen by over 38,500 people that business taxes are harmful not only to the companies that must pay them, but to the people they employ; and we were able to continue fighting to protect Nevada’s Constitution through our Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation.

For that, my NPRI colleagues and I are incredibly thankful.

This week, we at the Institute have something new to be thankful for. Going forward, Amazon.com shoppers will be able to contribute financially to the Nevada Policy Research Institute automatically and at no cost to them. We’ve partnered with the online retailer’s new website, AmazonSmile, which donates a portion of eligible purchases to NPRI.

And, contributing to NPRI through AmazonSmile is simple. All one needs to do is visit smile.amazon.com, select the Nevada Policy Research Institute as his or her charity of choice, and then shop as usual. Supporters will find the exact products at the same prices as they will find at Amazon.com, but by shopping through smile.amazon.com, a donation will be made to the Institute with each qualifying purchase. It’s that simple.

I told you last week about the ambitious, yet achievable plans NPRI has to change Nevada for the better in 2015. In case you missed my column, we will work to see universal school choice made a reality, reform collective bargaining laws and fix the broken NVPERS.

The coming year will provide great opportunity to make Nevada a freer state, but it can’t happen without supporters like you. As we enter the Season of Giving, will you make a tax-deductible donation to NPRI?

And, as you do your holiday shopping, please consider shopping through smile.amazon.com to support NPRI simply, automatically and at no cost to you.

Thank you for your support this year, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Week in Review: Solutions

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Election Day 2014 brought sweeping gains for the Nevada Republican Party, in the state legislature as well as the constitutional offices. The GOP now has a firmer grip on power in this state than at any time since before most of us were born.

While NPRI doesn’t get involved in elections, there’s no denying the significance of the Republican wins. The major political party that most closely aligns itself with the principles of limited government and free markets now has a historic opportunity to enact its agenda. It’s also significant because NPRI’s ideas — the ones you and I work so hard to advance — are positioned to receive more serious consideration than ever before.

Some of you joined me and other NPRI staff at our Reno office last night to hear a Session preview from Geoffrey Lawrence, our director of research and legislative affairs. As he explained, we will be in Carson City throughout the Session to share our ideas — all of them laid out in detail in Solutions 2015 — with policymakers.

As you can see from Solutions, we have plenty of ideas to solve Nevada’s many problems. But there are a few specific, key areas where we see a unique opportunity to shape public policy in a profoundly positive way.

One such area is education reform, where for too long bureaucrats — rather than parents — have been calling the shots on where and how Nevada students are educated. Policymakers should take bold action on school choice in order to address that problem and, while they’re at it, should also pursue alternative teacher certification and reforms that would strengthen the state’s charter-school system.

There’s also a major need for reform to state labor law, where the existing status quo has driven government costs astronomically high and has led to frequent calls for tax increases in order to pay for our growing public obligations. Policymakers can get spending under control by eliminating compulsory collective bargaining and repealing prevailing wage laws, among other things. Also, bringing transparency to the bargaining process would allow taxpayers greater oversight on the decisions regarding how exactly public money is being spent.

And let’s not forget the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System, which is carrying an unfunded liability that, under a fair-market valuation, exceeds $40 billion. Major structural reforms are called for here, and a great place to start would be to shift our current defined-benefits system into a hybrid defined-benefits/defined-contribution model, which has been implemented successfully in Utah.

There are lots of other policy areas where fiscal conservatives should be able to make gains, such as tax policy, health care and the state budget. And bringing more transparency to government generally would help ensure that our elected officials are held accountable to our state’s hard-working taxpayers.

We heard a lot of candidates this year run on platforms rooted in individual liberty, limited government and fiscal accountability. And Silver State voters, in numbers most of us have never seen before, handed those candidates the reins of power. Those candidates — in their capacity now as elected officials — have an opportunity to turn that talk into action.

You never know when that opportunity may come again. So, if you haven’t yet had the chance, take some time to flip through Solutions 2015 to learn more about the policy recommendations we will be communicating to legislators in the coming months and throughout the Session. And, if you’re in the Las Vegas area, be sure to join us December 10 at our open house, where Geoff will give a preview of what we can expect during the 2015 Legislative Session.

Best regards,

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Week in Review: Stupid

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Have you seen this?

It’s a video of Jonathan Gruber, one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act, explaining the strategy employed in order to ensure that the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, would pass.

Those of us who saw the ACA for the train wreck it is have warned consistently, during the debate over passage and since, that its proponents were being less than candid about its true contents and likely effects. Now we have one of the key individuals behind the law acknowledging that deceit was indeed part of the strategy. In the video, Gruber admits that had the American people been told the truth about the proposed health care legislation, “it would not have passed.”

Even more breathtaking than this staggering admission is the justification Gruber offers for the bait-and-switch. In short: It’s because you’re stupid. But don’t worry — it’s not just you. No, it turns out that your stupidity is just part of being an American.

“Lack of transparency,” said Gruber, “is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

But wait. If “the American voter,” were he or she to have known the truth about Obamacare, would have responded by opposing it, how does it follow that said voter is stupid? Doesn’t it make more sense to assume that if individuals, given access to accurate information, will respond a certain way, then they are responding rationally, logically — even intelligently?

It makes sense to you and me. But to understand what’s driving Gruber’s assumption, one must understand something inherent to much of the progressive left. Gruber and his ilk start from the premise that most of us are stupid. And that, left to our own devices, we’re simply incapable of making the decisions that are best for us. What we need is for our intellectual betters (i.e. Jonathan Gruber) to take those decisions out of our hands altogether. This disdainful view of ordinary citizens is what, more than anything, explains the left’s constant push for bigger and more intrusive government.

So in the case of the Affordable Care Act, keeping voters in the dark about what was really going on was essential — because we’re too stupid to draw the right conclusions from that information. We’re simply not bright enough to see past what appear to be flaws in this scheme and recognize that, really, it’s all for our own good.

That’s why the open enrollment period for getting insurance through the ACA, which begins Saturday, had to be pushed back until after the election. If citizens were to gain some additional first-hand experience with the program, they might be reminded of just how frustrating that experience can be. And since they’re too ignorant to see that it’s really all for the best, they might do something rash — like express their dissatisfaction in the voting booth. Thus the decision to delay that experience until after the voting was finished. (How’d that strategy work out, by the way?)  

Of course, this theory — that our political elites know better than we do what’s good for us — has now been put to the test. The Affordable Care Act has evolved from merely proposed legislation into the law of the land, and we can now gauge how wise its proponents truly were. Has it been the resounding success they promised? Was it really good for us, even if we were too stupid to know it?

You know the answer. In reality, the law has been and continues to be an unmitigated disaster. Health care costs are up, access to quality care is down, people have lost insurance plans and doctors they had and liked — and that’s to say nothing of the Obama administration’s ridiculous bumbling of the ACA’s website launch.

Polls continue to show that American voters realize what a disaster Obamacare has been. And of course, last week they delivered a historic electoral rebuke to the party responsible for forcing it on our nation.

There’s a word to describe someone who sees something for what it is, and has the wherewithal to hold the appropriate people accountable. That word is “smart.”

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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Total Records: 1885

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