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Monday, July 28, 2014

Are we going to Abilene?

For John, BLUFCongress needs to start doing its job again and stop passing rules for execution, as opposed to actual execution, to the bureaucrats of the Administration.  They are becoming almost a Fifth Estate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This starts at a Federal Courthouse in DC, where the DC Circuit ruled that Federal Subsidies for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are illegal.

Then we move to The Instapundit,

TYLER COWEN:  The Real Import Of The Gruber Fracas.  I like this from the comments:  “All I can say is, if you’re going to pass a law with zero bipartisan support, you should be very careful in the drafting, since they aren’t likely to help you out if you muck it up.  In this case, haste and arrogance is biting them in the ass.”
(A little crass, but true.)

But them this moves to the blog Marginal Revolution, where Mr Tyler Cowen talks to "The real import of the Jon Gruber fracas".  Ah, Professor Jonathan Gruber of MIT and his quotes about Federal vs State Healthcare Exchanges.  From the Marginal Revolution blog post:

It would be much easier if (some) people would simply say “Of course this normally should be kicked back into the legislature for clarification.  But I don’t want to do that because I don’t regard Republican control of the House, and how that control is used, as a legitimate form of rule.”  One may agree, or not, but the nature of the case is pretty clear.

Instead we read irrelevant blog posts and tweets about how the experts meant to have subsidies at all levels all along.  Of course they did.  But did Congress know what it was doing in a detailed sense, one way or another?  Hard to say, personally I doubt it, and Alex says no.  The basic starter hypothesis here is that many of them knew this was a health care bill, it would extend coverage, it had a mandate, it had some subsidies, it had a Medicaid expansion, it had some complicated cost control, it was approved by leading Democratic Party experts, it met some CBO standards, and beyond that — if you pull out those who were confused on the details of the exchanges and the subsidies do you still have majority support?  I doubt it.  Most absurd of all are the tweets asking the critics to show Congress intended no federal-level subsidies.

Regarding the line "But did Congress know what it was doing in a detailed sense…", this is a key issue.  Are we going to have rule by representative government or by bureaucratic experts?  This leads to Arrows Theorem.

An easier explanation can be found here, where Wikipedia explains how the family ended up on the road to Abilene, when no one really wanted to go there.  Here is a video explaining the theory.

I am not saying Congress was on the road to Abilene with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but with regard to details they were.  They didn't have the time to argue through a lot of the details.  Frankly, it was all Scott Brown's fault.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The Fourth Circuit went the other way, as noted in the article, so a battle is teed up for the US Supreme Court.
  City Life host George Anthes prefers ObamaCare.  I would go with Reid/Pelosi Care.
  Well, if you are a Registered Democrat, or a fellow traveler, you should blame Attorney Martha Coakley.

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