Thursday, November 13, 2014

Republicans think voters are stupid

Jonathan Gruber sure stirred up a lot of talk lately. He suggested that voters are stupid and that the passage of Obamacare lacked transparency. I'll leave that last part to Brian Beutler to dismantle.

The essence of what Gruber said about voters is that the Democrats crafted the ACA in a way that hides its revenue (a "tax") by calling it a mandate for everyone to buy health insurance. In other words, they counted on voters being too stupid to not recognize that they amount to the same thing.

But that is actually a tactic that the "no new taxes" Republicans invented. I don't know about you - but this idea of calling new revenue "fees" instead of "taxes" is something local Republicans have been doing around here for years. For example, here's Tim Pawlenty making the case for why he should be the next GOP presidential nominee.
At every level, governments are facing big deficits as the weak economy diminishes tax revenues at the very same time that the bill is coming due on decades of irresponsible spending increases, entitlement promises and pension promises. As I proved in Minnesota, these problems can be solved without tax increases.
Ummm...just one problem, Tim. You must have forgotten about that $400 million in revenue from a cigarette tax fee you used to resolve your own budget crisis. Of course that was combined with a 2.5% tax fee on alcohol and 6.2% tax fee on rental cars. Pawlenty pretends he didn't raise taxes because a fee is obviously very different. In other words, he thinks voters are too stupid to recognize that the exact same amount is missing from your wallet - no matter what you call it.

When it comes to Obamacare, it was VERY clear from the start that those without health insurance were going to be mandated to buy it. But there was one big difference...the revenue would go to private insurers - not government. Even so, everyone knew that regardless of what you called it or where the money went, a requirement to buy insurance would mean money out of your wallet. If someone suggests that they were "lied to" because it was called a "mandate" instead of a "tax," perhaps they are stupid.

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