Please Don't Tell Us the Facts

Remember all that BS about the Obama administration only being ruled by facts and science?  This is a mythology at the core of the progressive movement, that it is possible to have a wise dictator who uses the heavy hand of government coercion only for the best interests of the country, driven only by science and not by political influence.

This is of course a crock.  It was a popular point of view in the early 20th century, and at the heart of efforts like Mussolini's fascism, which in turn was much admired by FDR and emulated in US efforts like the NRA (the blue eagle, not the gun organization).  Over time, history has demonstrated folks like Hayek right on the knowlege problem (no one can possibly be smart enough to make optimum decisions for everyone, particularly when everyone has different preferences) while we have plenty of evidence to demonstrate the incentives for politicians are skewed so badly as to make good decisions almost impossible.

But the myth persists, even in the face of obvious counter-examples, like this (emphasis added):

The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama's health care "reform" law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius's staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken."The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote," says an HHS source. "Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think."

The analysis, performed by Medicare's Office of the Actuary, which in the past has been identified as a "nonpolitical" office, set off alarm bells when submitted. "We know a copy was sent to the White House via their legislative affairs staff," says the HHS staffer, "and there were a number of meetings here almost right after the analysis was submitted to the secretary's office. Everyone went into lockdown, and people here were too scared to go public with the report."

In the end, the report was released several weeks after the vote -- the review by the secretary's office reportedly took less than three days -- and bore a note that the analysis was not the official position of the Obama administration.

Wouldn't want to influence a vote with actual facts.

  • Tristan Sloughter

    Nice, you get one right ;). Except, as a socialist I'd prefer you used the term liberal in the place of progressive to describe these folks.

  • James H

    "people here were too scared to go public with the report.”

    Yeah, great. And now we're all stuck with this monumental piece of crap.

  • Dan

    Don't know all the facts here, but just to point out that Bush and the GOP did the same thing when they expanded Medicare.

  • tribal elder

    “people here were too scared to go public with the report.”

    Isn't the whole point of having CIVIL SERVANTS who can't be easily discharged that they can't be fired for political reasons ? Federal managers should be able to be bold (and maybe even innovative) because they have such a de minimis 'downside'.

  • Roy

    Don't expect to read about this report in the MainStreamMedia.

  • Pat Moffitt

    Dan-- So its okay when Democrats do it because Republicans did it. And its okay when Republicans do it because the Democrats did it. Most voters are independent- what do you tell them?

  • JohnF

    The Actuary has denied the story, for what it's worth.

  • Not Sure

    So its okay when Democrats do it because Republicans did it. And its okay when Republicans do it because the Democrats did it. - Pat Moffitt

    Exactly. Our elected representatives are the moral and intellectual equivalents of six-year-olds.

    "But Mom! *He* started it!"

    And the voters- Republican and Democrat alike- eat it up.

    *sigh*

  • http://CoyoteBlog Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas

    James H. You are right. We are stuck with "that monumental piece of crap," but not for long. Not for long.........

  • IgotBupkis

    > Isn’t the whole point of having CIVIL SERVANTS who can’t be easily discharged that they can’t be fired for political reasons ?

    a) The phrase "career suicide" is well known, and obviously applicable to this case. "Not being easily discharged" does not mean one cannot be reassigned to button counting and snowplowing in Greenland -- especially when the people you piss off include the PotUS.

    b) Remember R.A.Heinlein's equivalence:
    "In a mature society, 'civil SERVANT' is semantically equal to 'civil MASTER'."

    > Most voters are independent- what do you tell them?

    I can't say for sure about the GOP, but for the Dems it certainly appears to be "F*** off!".