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Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Lying or Ignorant?

pudge (3605) writes | more than 4 years ago

United States 21

A few days ago, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz incorrectly told her constituents, "We actually have not required in this law that you carry health insurance."

She went on to say it's a choice in how you file your taxes, not a requirement.

A few days ago, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz incorrectly told her constituents, "We actually have not required in this law that you carry health insurance."

She went on to say it's a choice in how you file your taxes, not a requirement.

She either didn't read and understand the law, or she's lying. Section 1501 of the law she voted to pass amends Subtitle D of the IRS Code, adding a new Section 5000A, which is titled, "Requirement to Maintain Minimum Essential Coverage." The very first words of 5000A are, "An applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable
individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month."

The law itself, that she voted for and supposedly read, says, unequivocally, that people (unless they are exempted, such as Indians and Amish and incarcerated prisoners) are required to have health insurance.

Ironically, Wasserman Schultz said on her Facebook page a few days earlier: "A FACT Check: Members of Congress and the health insurance reform bill? Apparently some people don't know that the health insurance reform bill we just passed REQUIRES that Members of Congress and their staff to obtain the same health insurance plans created by the law (some states might offer different plans) or through... the Exchange (market or purchasing pool) created in the law."

And, apparently, some people (ahem) don't know that the same bill REQUIRES all non-exempt people to obtain health insurance.

UPDATE: Just after I wrote this, Wasserman Schultz was on Crossfire with Chris Matthews and she repeated the same line: there is no requirement, it's simply a different way to file your taxes. She's an intelligent woman, she's had a few days to fix her error, and she's still repeating this clearly false statement, so I'm calling it: she's not merely ignorant, she's lying.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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21 comments

To be fair (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31784734)

The mandate came from the republicans. Obama and the rest went along. They know a golden goose when they see it. The "opposition" angle was played very astutely to keep that issue out of mind for the most part.

Re:To be fair (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31785008)

The mandate came from the republicans. Obama and the rest went along.

False. In the campaign, it was part of Hillary's plan. The current Republicans were almost completely against it, with a few exceptions. In 1993, a liberal Republican had a plan with a mandate (Senator John Chafee), but it was also in other plans at the time, and a MINORITY of Republicans signed onto Chafee's plan (and many of them would not have supported the plan if it ever went to committee, let alone a vote on the floor: they just wanted to see an alternative being pushed).

So, yeah, no. You're just making it up.

Re:To be fair (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31785290)

You're just making it up.

:-) As you wish... Personally I didn't think the acting was that convincing. Sure do wish you all kept the issue up front ahead of the other nonsense before they passed it.. You would've had a better chance of killing it. As it is, it's like taking candy from a baby. The industry got the bill it wanted, with very little effort actually. The money they invested will pay very nice dividends.

Re:To be fair (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31785680)

Sure do wish you all kept the issue up front ahead of the other nonsense before they passed it..

Shrug. I've been talking about it for ... years. And in regard to this bill specifically, for many months. (See http://slashdot.org/~pudge/journal/237661 [slashdot.org] and http://slashdot.org/~pudge/journal/237703 [slashdot.org] and http://slashdot.org/~pudge/journal/246218 [slashdot.org] for a few examples).

But many voters don't care, so it hasn't been one of the main "talking points," for better or worse.

You would've had a better chance of killing it.

I dunno ... I think it's one of the big reasons a majority of voters opposed it.

Re:To be fair (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31785956)

Well there you go. You made the mistake of framing this as a "democrat/Obama" issue, where in reality they(and the republicans of course) are simply reading from their scripts and advocating the desires of the industry, where the opposition should be directed. And by doing this, along with screaming "baby killer" and about "death panels" and "socialism", you do a disservice to the legitimate opposition that went unheard. It will all be "guilt by association" with the lunatic fringe now, which is probably the intention of those who think government doesn't pander enough to big business.

But many voters don't care...

Apathy and ignorance are all the rage these days..

Re:To be fair (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786080)

You made the mistake of framing this as a "democrat/Obama" issue

Shrug. Not when I criticized Romney for my former state's mandate [youtube.com] .

Further, I didn't frame it as such an issue. In the first link, I merely stated the fact that their plan had a mandate. I didn't make it us vs. them, I just identified the actual people trying to pass the bill. Seems odd to NOT do that.

In the second link, I never mentioned parties or individuals at all, but only gave a brief legal analysis.

In the third, the post was about deceptive claims of bipartisanship, so of course I made it about parties, since that IS the issue there. I just used the mandate as proof positive that the Republicans were not guilty of opposing the insurance bill for only partisan reasons.

where in reality they(and the republicans of course) are simply reading from their scripts and advocating the desires of the industry

Nonsense. It's quite clear that much of the Republican opposition to mandates is genuine concern for liberty, and that much of the Democratic favor of mandates is a genuine desire for socialist-like control. Are SOME of them reading from a script? Of course. But Tom Coburn isn't, and neither is Tom Harkin (to pick a couple). Coburn actually believes in liberty and the Constitution and protecting us from government; Harkin actually believes in the nanny state protecting us from ourselves by forcing us to do what we don't want to do, for our own good, and the good of the many.

And by doing this, along with screaming "baby killer" and about "death panels" and "socialism", you do a disservice to the legitimate opposition that went unheard.

Please do not lie about me. You will get foe'd quickly if you persist. I've never shouted the former two.

As to the latter, there's nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. Pointing out that this health insurance law is socialism IS legitimate opposition. Perhaps you don't know what "socialism" means? Here's another link [slashdot.org] .

Apathy and ignorance are all the rage these days..

Which makes these days no different from any other days.

Re:To be fair (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786170)

You are aware of the editorial "you", aren't you? However you personally do seem to be quick to accuse others, it seems. On that note, feel free to foe. Means nothing to me, and I'll just friend you. If I remain interested, I can always create another account.

Now if you wish to believe deals are made in front of the cameras instead of the local pubs, and that these people are for real, knock yourself out. I know how movie magic is made, so, sorry if I can't believe everything I see on the screen.

Re:To be fair (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786278)

You are aware of the editorial "you", aren't you?

Yes. You did not use it. You might have intended to, but you didn't. You responded to my comments, where I discussed Obama and Democrats, saying You made the mistake of framing this as a "democrat/Obama" issue. Your very next sentence was, And by doing this, along with screaming "baby killer" and about "death panels" and "socialism", you do a disservice ...

I do not apologize for reading that as though you were talking to, and about, me. That is how it was written.

Now if you wish to believe deals are made in front of the cameras instead of the local pubs, and that these people are for real

They are. No serious person believes Tom Coburn isn't for real. Not a single one. You can search high and low and you will not find anyone.

This tells us what has become increasingly obvious: you're not -- on such issues -- a serious person.

I know how movie magic is made, so, sorry if I can't believe everything I see on the screen.

You're being dishonest. I never said you should believe everything. In fact, quite the opposite: I said about some people in Congress, you're right. But you're making the obviously false case that EVERYONE in Congress doesn't believe what they say, and no serious person believes that.

You're talking out your ass.

Re:To be fair (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786430)

Maybe you've heard of this little game [salon.com] . I can assure you that even your favorite puppet is playing it. And the republican party played it to the max, in reverse. It's very easy to play like you're* "for real" from a position of weakness where your influence is limited. But when it comes to brass tax, he will cave faster than Kucinich did after he got his little lecture on board air force one. Put him on some powerful committees and see what he does about ag subsidies, prohibition, the FCC, etc. It is downright foolish to believe an honest politician can prevail in Washington.

*editorial.. ok?

I do not apologize...

Accepted... Don't remember asking for one, but eh..

You are a strange bird, I must say.

Re:To be fair (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786462)

I can assure you ...

But you clearly have no idea what you are talking about, so your assurances are pointless. You're quite wrong, in fact, and you have no evidence of any sort to back up your assertion. You're just making it up because you want the world to fit neatly in the liitle boxes you've made for it.

Do not continue to assert that Tom Coburn doesn't mean what he says unless you have some evidence to back it up. It's dishonest.

Accepted

Stop lying.

Re:To be fair (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786748)

I just read up on some of the crap he's pulled. He's a vindictive asshole. There's nothing remarkable or particularly controversial about him. He's following the standard playbook. You can have him.

Re:To be fair (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31789448)

I just read up on some of the crap he's pulled. He's a vindictive asshole.

You're a liar. You did no such thing, and you're just making it up, and you've worn out your welcome with your lies.

Re:To be fair (1)

LinuxParanoid (64467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31856006)

I have a parenthetical aside regarding the word "you".

To take a step back, and at the risk of over-rationalizing this poster's intent, the sloppy language might be due to sloppy thinking, and the sloppy thinking is likely a fruit of a sloppy language-- Modern English. Although it happened before I was born, I've become increasingly aware the decline of the English language in one specific case... we've lost the words to distinguish second-person-singular "you" from second-person-plural "you-as-a-group"/"you all". Currently "you" could mean "just you" or it could mean "you and your community"/"you all"/"all of you".

In older english (e.g. Shakespeare or the King James Bible), there is "thee" if it's directed at a single person, and "ye" if its directed at you-as-a-group (Nobody ever explained that to me as a kid! I thought they were the same!) (And thou/you are used for objects of sentences.) And unfortunately, none of the modern multi-word alternatives for a plural "you" slip off the tongue easily or have a neutral connotation, e.g. "you all" or "the lot of you" or "you people". (Although "y'all" and "youse guys" are the regional equivalents of the old "ye".)

For the English-speaking Christians out there, this means if Paul is telling his listeners that "you" should do something, it might (as seen in the Greek or the Spanish or the ...) actually imply a command for collective action, when by default most people would assume he is just addressing you as an individual.

I have no idea if this loss of a distinct second-person plural reflects Western individualism, helped caused it, or is a coincidence, but I don't think its a complete coincidence.

It certainly affects the nature of dialog between peoples, since the speaker, lacking a distinct multiple-person-second-person-familiar plural, typically will A) need to attach a label to the other party to (semi-)accurately describe them as a group, (rather than addressing them as "you all" in a more personal relational way), or B) just use "you" which can then lead to a situation as we all just witnessed where they are accused of an ad-hominem attack when that may not have actually been their intention. Their true intention was to lump you together with some unspecified other people, but that's a little different than attacking you personally. In any case, neither options A) nor B) lead to particularly friendly relationship-building outcomes among groups.

</rant>

If it walks like a duck... (1)

thing12 (45050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31788012)

Yes, it says it's required. But the law prohibits the government from taking you to criminal or civil court for failure to comply. Without a hearing or a trial, you can't be found guilty or be ordered by a judge to do anything. So for all intents and purposes, there is no requirement to have health coverage.

Sure, they could change all of this later, but her point that this is choice in how you file your taxes is valid -- you choose to have insurance or (optionally) pay the penalty.

Re:If it walks like a duck... (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31788668)

Sure, they could change all of this later, but her point that this is choice in how you file your taxes is valid -- you choose to have insurance or (optionally) pay the penalty.

We made this point on a previous journal entry, but it's a combination of semantics and execution. It's a requirement because you pay a flat penalty if you do not. If it were optional, you could choose to take a flat tax break.

Beyond the subtle difference in wording, this makes the tax cost of non-compliance the same, regardless of tax bracket. This means people get taxed proportionally more for not having insurance if they are not wealthy. So, the people who have less money to pay for insurance (whose cost the bill probably didn't do enough to reduce) get taxed a larger percentage for not proving they are covered than those with higher income who are probably already covered anyway.

This is beyond the privacy and liberty concerns, as Pudge will probably tell you. But the problem here is this congress-critter claims that the bill's section titled "Requirement to...", isn't a requirement. Either the bill is lying, or she is lying (through wordsmithing). If it's not a requirement, why not make it say and act like that in the bill?

Re:If it walks like a duck... (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31789708)

Yes, it says it's required. But ...

For the purposes of my point, there is no "but." The law says it is required. Therefore, the law requires it. Therefore, she was wrong. As a Congresswoman, who voted for the law, and had several days to fix her error, and repeated the incorrect claim anyway, she is lying.

There's no "but."

... the law prohibits the government from taking you to criminal or civil court for failure to comply. Without a hearing or a trial, you can't be found guilty or be ordered by a judge to do anything.

The IRS can legally withhold your refund from you in the amount of the penalty: in fact, you're found guilty of violating the law by the IRS without any need for a trial.

So for all intents and purposes, there is no requirement to have health coverage.

False. This sentence completely contradicts your first sentence, facially. You might mean there's practical and legal ways to get around the requirement, but ... not really, no, there's not. The best case scenario is that you don't pay the penalty for violating the law, and those penalties continue to accrue. You might say the IRS has no way to enforcement payment of those penalties, but they continue to accrue, and a small change in the law would make all those penalties retroactively enforceable.

To say there's no requirement when I can be hit with thousands of dollars in fines a few years down the road if they make one small change to the law, is nonsense.

Further -- and this is a very, very, important point -- what the law says matters, even if it is not enforceable. Even if no penalties could be collected now or retroactively in the future, what the law says matters. Imagine 15 years from now, the Congress says they want to force everyone to buy carrots. We reply, you cannot force us to do that. You have no right, and no precedent. Never before has government forced anyone to buy a product or service!!!

Except ... they have. They just did it. The law says everyone is required to have health insurance. Whether it is enforcable or not, the requirement is there, and establishes a precedent for future use by other requirements. And there's no doubt this is true, because we see it happen all the time. Social Security was a precedent for Medicare. Medicare is a precedent for our new health insurance reform law. And so on.

Sure, they could change all of this later, but her point that this is choice in how you file your taxes is valid

No. First of all, it's not a choice in how you file your taxes. That's another Wasserman Schultz lie: you are required to say whether you have health insurance, or whether you've violated the law requiring you to have health insurance. How you make this into a "choice" of anything other than whether to violate the law is baffling.

Second, whatever the laws are about how you file, it doesn't change -- or even in any way impact -- the undeniable fact that the law requires you to have health insurance.

Lying or Ignorant? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31789626)

Never ascribe to stupidity or incompetence that which can be explained by greedy self-interest.

So, I think she's lying.

Re:Lying or Ignorant? (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31789812)

Never ascribe to stupidity or incompetence that which can be explained by greedy self-interest.

How about, "never ascribe anything to anything unless you're damned sure." :-)

But that she continues to sell this lie means she's lying, at this point. Saying it and then spinning away from it or admitting your are wrong, fine, maybe you weren't lying. But continuing to assert a clear falsehood? When you're a Congresswoman who absolutely should know what the law says? Lying.

Re:Lying or Ignorant? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794234)

Well, it's kind of like occam's razor, in that it's not foolproof, only logical. But like I said, I think she's a gold-studded liar, as you point out. But then, how do you know a politician is lying? Their lips move.

Re:Lying or Ignorant? (1)

pudgetest (548119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31898990)

test

test (1)

pudgetest (548119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31898768)

ignore

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