Plenty to be unthankful for this year
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, November 20, 2014


“This bill (“The Affordable Care Act”) was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If (the Congressional Budget Office) scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money — it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

— MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who was paid almost $400,000 for his consulting work on Obamacare, speaking at the University of Pennsylvania, October 2013.

This week I’m creating a new holiday, Unthanksgiving, to uncelebrate some things I’m not thankful for, so I can focus on Thanksgiving next week.

Let’s begin with Obamacare. I’m ungrateful for the arrogance of liberal academic and political elitists who think we are all stupid because we don’t understand that we’d be better off if only they could run the country without having to explain anything to us. Poster boy for said elitists, now and probably forever, is professor Jonathan Gruber, who was showing off his deceitful cleverness at an academic forum; it took a year for this admission of trickery to reach said stupid public.


I started getting the YouTube video of Gruber’s remarks on Veterans Day; it was soon picked up by talk radio and Fox News and eventually even CBS host of “Face the Nation” Bob Schieffer said he was “dumbstruck” by Gruber’s remarks. The other networks have barely mentioned ObamaGate, though.

Odd that most of the mainstream media hadn’t noticed before that the Obama administration lied about specifics of the new law. I wrote about this myself in October 2009:

“I got through Congressman Tierney’s town meeting on health insurance last Saturday, where we in the audience were told the same impossible combination of ‘facts’ that the president keeps telling us: All of us can keep our present insurance if we like it; the new government involvement won’t increase the national debt; there will be no rationing.”

Having watched the entire congressional debate, I also heard the lies about the funding mechanisms, now heading for the Supreme Court. Republican opponents brought up multiple concerns that were dismissed, we now learn, as part of the Obama administration’s deliberate attempt to deceive the voters by way of the Democratic congressmen who didn’t read the bill, figuring they’d find out what was in it after it passed. Now we’re finding out what’s in it, and why they hid the facts.

I have to admit I’m grateful for a chance to see the healthcare law’s supporters, including President Obama, scrambling to distance themselves from professor Gruber and his contempt for us.

Remember how the Republicans tried to repeal or defund Obamacare in 2013, which led to a partial government shutdown that Republicans were blamed for and supposedly fear being blamed for again? You’d think it would be the Democrats who’d be afraid; they’re the ones who just lost the Senate and several seats in the House.

Now the issue of government shutdown arises again in the context of a threatened presidential executive order to grant visas to illegal immigrants, which Republicans are expected to resist. Looking at the results of the election this month, if I were a Republican leader, I’d suggest he go ahead and make my day.

That challenge sounds pretty positive for an Unthanksgiving holiday though, as it reflects awareness that the “stupid American voters” are starting to pay attention.

So let’s be unthankful in Massachusetts for the scathing indictment of the patronage culture in the state Probation Department from U.S. District Court Judge William Young as he meted out light sentences to former probation commissioner John O’Brien and his co-conspirators.

Somehow Judge Young felt that harsher sentences would be inappropriate because the defendants were just operating in an arena where corruption has become the norm. “What we have here in this court’s considered judgment is fundamentally decent people utterly without a moral compass at sea on a field awash of political patronage… Today, every judge in Massachusetts must stand ashamed and appalled at the extent of corruption within the Probation Department of the Massachusetts judiciary.”

Let’s all be appalled with them. Forgive me for being unthankful when our state government is deemed so corrupt that no one can blame its practitioners too much for just fitting in with the culture. However, our recent choice of governor suggests that a slight majority of Massachusetts voters are also paying attention.

Gee, I’m starting to sound thankful again. Maybe it’s time to start shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.

Walking down the aisle at Stop & Shop, I try to find some items that are now located behind the portable display shelves blocking the fixed shelves and half-blocking the aisle that was originally designed to allow carts to pass each other.

Am I the only one feeling overwhelmed with so much stuff? And wishing everything would please slow down a tad? I watch news stories rush by, one subject flowing into another before I can absorb the first one: sometimes a final sentence from a reporter is cut off as the anchors move quickly on to something else. Interviews with experts are combined with a half-screen of action video, maybe somehow relevant to what the expert is saying. Other news rushes past at the bottom of the screen.

In-depth analysis is almost impossible: I have to go to the Internet to find follow-up, and there I am besieged with ads for more stuff popping up on my screen because that’s how being overwhelmed is funded.

OK, that’s it for Unthanksgiving. Thank you for letting me vent.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle-Tribune newspapers.

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