(this is the full post from the truncated version published at http://www.thegovlab.org/govlab-editorial-board-meeting-links-81613/)
Today’s theme was “how can you have open governance if we don’t agree on the basic parameters?”
The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” But what if people dispute the facts, or find their own facts hidden in the open data? How can we have open governance when we can’t rely on evidence to frame our discussions.
A late addition – not shared prior to the Ed Board meeting, but sent to me afterward by my colleague Rod Dobell – does a much better job than me of discussing the issue from a different angle:
In a well-known paper with a discouraging title, “It Feels Like We’re Thinking,” the political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels reported on a 1996 survey that asked voters whether the budget deficit had increased or decreased under President Clinton. In fact, the deficit was down sharply, but a plurality of voters — and a majority of Republicans — believed that it had gone up.
Last week, the Obama administration announced that it would postpone until 2015 enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s so-called employer mandate, which will require employers with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance or face significant financial penalties.
To the critics of the health-care law, the real lesson of the announcement is clear: OBAMACARE IS A DEBACLE. And to those critics, that is the real lesson of essentially every development in health-care reform.
No one should doubt that the implementation of the health-care law is creating serious challenges. Reasonable people have objections and concerns. But as with Durning-Lawrence [see the full post to understand this reference, and extension by analogy to the current setting], so with many of Obamacare’s critics, whose conclusions are motivated and preordained.
The same phenomenon can be found among people with diverse political views; it is hardly limited to those on the right. When public officials reduce regulatory costs imposed on the private sector, or decline to issue environmental or other regulations, left-wing critics often conclude that BUSINESS INTERESTS CONTROL GOVERNMENT. This is so even if the regulatory costs are likely to hurt workers and consumers, not merely some abstraction called “business.”