Obamacare: An Example of How Politics Makes Smart People Stupid

Ezra Klein argues that five years after its passage, Obamacare is “increasingly, evidence of much that’s right” with American politics.

“Much of what Americans know about Obamacare is simply wrong. A plurality, for instance, think the law is costing more than originally estimated. Only 5 percent know it’s actually costing quite a bit less:”

“Obamacare is an example of a depressing fact of American politics: more information doesn’t change minds … The more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become. When it comes to politics, people reason backward from their conclusions. Politics makes smart people stupid.”

“Even as it is often irrational for elected officials to look at the facts and come to a conclusion that puts them at odds with their party, it is rational for them, when in power, to come to conclusions that will help them govern well.”

“Governing has feedback loops that press releases don’t. Parties that want to stay in power — and they all do – have an incentive to do a good job.”

“In that way, voters discipline the system even if they don’t know much about individual policies, and even if they don’t regularly update their opinions on how various laws are working. Most people aren’t experts on politics, but they are experts on their lives and the lives of their loved ones … They eventually punish the politicians they think responsible.”

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