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M.H. Clements: The price of ignorance

By M.H. Clements

Special to the Salisbury Post

One of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act, known popularly as Obamacare, has on at least three occasions referred to you and me as either stupid or ignorant. Jonathan Gruber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has admitted (and even declared) that deceiving the American public, members of Congress and the Congressional Budget Office was necessary to pass the bill into law. 

Videos of these have surfaced and have been played on Fox News and on CNN. They are easily found by entering his name into a search engine. He is absolutely correct about “ignorant”, and may be close to the truth about “stupid.”

Mr. Gruber describes the “tortured” language employed to accomplish the deception, and declares that the resulting legislation is so valuable as to justify the means employed. And all who suffer from pre-existing illness(es) might agree, for they are the true beneficiaries.  However, all who believed that this administration would be the most transparent one in memory might just become a little cynical.

As to his reference to us as ignorant: There is an undeniable lack of teaching of the most basic principles of economics. How many understand that our economy is built on the foundation of a tangible product sold at market for a profit? Or that such profit is then taxed to provide the revenue for government programs? Or that when we are told that insurance companies will be taxed on elaborate programs, that the taxes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums or higher deductibles?

As to his reference to us as stupid: Is it news that the protection of free speech afforded by the first amendment to our Constitution allows politicians to lie during campaigns? Or that if these same politicians are elected that they really laugh at those of us who voted for them? And should these same politicians be surprised to recognize cynicism among constituents?

There is a tradition in our history that news media make up the “fourth estate” to whom we have entrusted the responsibility to investigate and protect society from dishonest politicians. But who protects us when the revered fourth estate is hypnotized by politicians?  If not for media efforts to vet individuals and proposed legislation, how are we to make informed decisions based on facts?

We now have irrefutable evidence that some members and close associates of our federal government are quite willing to deceive (defraud?) the electorate in order to achieve their political goals. They seem to justify their actions as being necessary for the good of the ignorant masses. Perhaps more telling is how society will deal with exposed deceit. We will have to wait and see.

M.H. Clements lives in Cleveland.

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