Week in Review: Stupid

Andy Matthews

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

Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.