I've met a lot of people in my life. Motorists, crime victims, drug addicts and alcoholics. I've worked with hundreds of cops, school district employees, merchants, and various members of special interest groups. I've played in golf tournaments, poker tournaments, and softball tournaments. Hell, I've probably dated at least 50 women. I've known thousands of people.
And in all of my 53 years, there are probably only two people who I would feel quite comfortable knowing and describing as assholes. So getting into the FG Hall of Fame is no easy task.
Assholes, by my definition, have to possess the following qualities. They have to be completely self absorbed and self centered. When an issue arises, they will always do what is in their best interests- they are not concerned with anyone else's interests although they may pretend to care about others. Assholes genuinely believe they are better or smarter than other people. Their egos are so dominant that the sense of personal superiority that they possess- will simply leak out in their speech and deeds. At no time does an asshole possess any sense of humility or luck. In fact, assholes often believe they are members of some entitled, superior class of people. Rarely do they express gratitude for anything or even simple luck, rather they attribute their success to their vast intelligence and uncanny decision making. Now if all of that sounds bad, and it surely is, that still won't get you to the FG promised land of assholes. The piece de resistance, or crowning quality wherein I feel comfortable declaring any given person an asshole- is that they must purposefully deceive others and then belittle them. Rather than tell the truth or help people understand something- they deceive people in order to take advantage of them. This attribute satisfies my requirements for the Asshole Hall of Fame.
It's been a long time since my last Asshole Hall of Fame induction ceremony so I suppose I was over due. I found a worthy nominee this week. His name is Jonathan Gruber. Gruber is one of the architects and facilitators of Obamacare. In fact, he helped write the bill. Gruber has recently come under a lot of fire for calling people stupid and admittedly taking advantage of them on several levels and now confessing those sins publicly. Absolutely shameless. You must read this piece before you get the full sense of what a real asshole is. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2014/11/13/MIT-Prof-Proves-Obamacare-Was-Built-Elites-Stupid-People
There is a misconception in this country, generally among professions and people that exploit others, that somehow duping people or taking advantage of them is acceptable and intelligent. Or something to celebrate.
I have seen people who believe this and even laugh about it. Personally, I think that it's kind of sick.
I spent all week researching Jonathan Gruber, M.I.T. economist and watching his videos. Gruber received 300k from the government and then set about the task of promoting the ACA without telling anyone that he was being paid by the government to do so. Instead, he pretended to be some independent source of credible information having been the architect of Romneycare in Massachusetts. Because of his credentials, the government was more than happy to spend our tax dollars to enlist his impressive resume.
Under controversies, in his Wiki bio, comes the following:
In November 2014, a series of videos emerged of Gruber speaking about the ACA at different events, from 2010 to 2013, in ways that proved to be controversial. Many of the videos show him talking about ways in which he felt the ACA was misleadingly crafted and/or marketed in order to get the bill passed, while in some of the videos he specifically refers to American voters as ill-informed or "stupid." In the first, most widely-publicized video taken at a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber said the bill was deliberately written "in a tortured way" to disguise the fact that it creates a system by which "healthy people pay in and sick people get money." He said this obfuscation was needed due to "the stupidity of the American voter" in ensuring the bill's passage. Gruber said the bill's inherent "lack of transparency is a huge political advantage" in selling it. The comments caused significant controversy. In two subsequent videos, Gruber was shown talking about the decision (which he attributed to John Kerry) to have the bill tax insurance companies instead of patients, which he called fundamentally the same thing economically but more palatable politically. In one video, he stated that "the American people are too stupid to understand the difference" between the two approaches, while in the other he said that the switch worked due to "the lack of economic understanding of the American voter." In another video, taken in 2010, Gruber expressed doubts that the ACA would significantly reduce health care costs, though he noted that lowering costs played a major part in the way the bill was promoted.
One other thing I'd like to add about the ACA that most people are unaware of. Your government, with your health or tax dollars (depending on whose definition we use) promised to backstop health insurance companies so that they would not suffer any catastrophic losses under the ACA. That way, with just a little math and some actuaries- they could come up with a pretty good idea of what their profit margins would eventually look like thanks mostly to you and I. Source here. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-19/a-guide-to-obamacares-backstop-for-anxious-insurance-companies
I would like to refocus on Jonathan Gruber. Gruber was essentially paid by the government to advocate for Obamacare and to keep his mouth shut regarding his paid status. Source. (I know its HP, pls read the link) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-hamsher/how-the-white-house-used_b_421549.html He facilitated the ACA 's passage while misleading and deceiving millions of us. Gruber who had every opportunity to inform the public of what was actually in that bill and failed to do so, referred to us as ill informed or stupid voters. Thanks in no small measure to liars like himself.
Instead of feeling the extreme shame that any of us with a conscience might feel- Gruber does not. Gruber apparently gleans some measure of delight from duping and deceiving "stupid" taxpayers like me. And he doesn't even really take responsibility for writing this bill. For years I have scoured the internet trying to figure out the names of the people who actually wrote the ACA to no avail. Gruber is as close as I have ever come to an actual suspect. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/14/obamacare-architect-mouths-off-again-as-videos-cause-problems-for-dems/
There is no honor in misleading people and then calling them stupid.
By every measure, Jonathan Gruber hit the jackpot. He was born with exceptional intelligence and the money or means to attend M.I.T. and Harvard. He made all the right connections and wound up with a resume and credentials that have allowed him to glean hundreds of thousands in tax payer money, a nice salary, a nice job, and some pretty good health insurance I'll bet.
Instead of waking up each morning and giving thanks for hitting the birth lottery, Jonathan Gruber wakes up every day with a sense of entitlement. Rather than educating people- he chose to dupe them instead and now calls them stupid. His efforts will cost me thousands of dollars and will certainly muck up my health care. For all of that, Mr. Gruber does not show a sense of remorse or shame. Instead he celebrates his accomplishments like stealing an old lady's purse is a noble pursuit.
We all decide what kind of men we are going to be. I've spent my life trying to help others. I will not get any 6 figure government checks for "consulting" but I'll sleep well at night knowing that I didn't deceive anyone while stealing their money and calling them stupid. To hear Gruber talk, none of that matters- he doesn't even mention it. I find everything about Jonathan Gruber to be reprehensible and...
...we didn't use words like reprehensible when I was a kid growing up in Montana.
Instead, we just called people like Gruber, "assholes." I think that pretty much captures it. Nobody says, "When I grow up I want to be an asshole!" Some people it seems- are just over achievers. Welcome to the FG Asshole Hall of Fame, Jon. It's a small but special group and you certainly earned your spot in here.
*Update. President Obama is now claiming Gruber had nothing to do with the ACA. All of those lies and confusion are a perfect example of why people are "stupid." It's impossible to tell the true from the false- primarily when delivered by non credible, proven liars. I still tend to believe Gruber- only because I don't have a 7 year proven track record of lying from him like I do with Obama- maybe the greatest liar to ever work a shift in Washington. Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/16/us-usa-healthcare-gruber-idUSKCN0J00UJ20141116