Revising History to Fool Taxpayers

After Joseph Stalin took the reins of power in the Soviet Union in the mid 1920’s, his image suddenly appeared in paintings of important meetings of the Bolshevik revolutionaries – which was odd because he had attended virtually none of them. Later, after each successive Stalinist purge, group photos that included previously prominent, but now ostracized, imprisoned or executed communists, would be scrubbed, so as to appear that they had never existed.
Of course attempts by politicians to rewrite their history go far beyond just doctoring paintings and photographs.In Washington, D.C. we have the curious case of Jonathan Gruber. During the run-up to Obamacare, both then Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama sang the praises of the roll that MIT professor of economics Jonathan Gruber had played in crafting the legislation. Gruber has been described as the architect of Obamacare and, before that, the similar Romneycare in Massachusetts.Recently, videos surfaced online showing economist Grubber telling groups that the healthcare law had been written specifically in a way to deceive the “stupid” American public so that it would not be clear that it actually contained massive tax increases.When confronted with this evidence, now Minority Leader Pelosi, who famously said that lawmakers had to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it, did her best impression of a deer in the headlights and denied any knowledge of Jonathan Gruber. The president acknowledged Gruber, but dismissed his influence as an insignificant. Both Pelosi’s and Obama’s efforts to downplay Gruber’s role in drafting the Obamacare is so easily disproven by the facts that even the most left leaning journalists are incredulous.

In the recent California General Election, we saw almost humorous efforts by some candidates, who in the past opposed Proposition 13, to recast themselves as champions of the taxpayer protecting measure.

Perhaps the most egregious example occurred in Orange County, where former Assemblyman Jose Solorio was seeking a state Senate seat. Knowing the district included many homeowners, he tried to campaign as a protector of Proposition 13. He was even able to persuade Jerry Brown to record political ads intended to verify Solorio’s Proposition 13 credentials.

Sadly for Solorio and his band of revisionist historians, the Assembly keeps careful records and it was easy for taxpayers to document that he had voted more than once for measures that would have undercut Proposition 13’s taxpayer protections. With the truth out, his candidacy was overwhelmingly rejected by voters.

The lesson here is that when any politician makes claims about his or her record, because of the internet, voters can quickly check to see if they are being told the truth, or if, like Jonathan Gruber, the office seeker believes the public to be stupid.

Revisionists rely on deception and obfuscation. To expose them, it is therefore necessary for the majority of voters to have access to the truth and have the skills to discern its importance. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

This piece was originally published at HJTA.org