Paulette Delcourt: We're Not As Dumb as Politicians Think We Are

Congressmen are convinced we communicate like high-schoolers, write like lawyers and speak 'cartoon,' but we're just trying to keep up with the information overload.

Congressmen speak to us at a 10th-grade level. This was the subject of an article I stumbled on this week. I found this surprising since about 25 percent of Congressmen—maybe even more—are lawyers.

Are they “dumbing down” for their audience (you and me)? Probably not. About 86 percent of Americans have earned a high school diploma, and more than half have college degrees. We are not so “stoo-ped” after all.

It’s not that we’re dumb—we’re busy.

In the last 15 years, the number of women in the workforce has increased by several percentage points; women in the workforce now out-number men. If you want proof, ask your yoga teacher. Attendance in the 9 a.m. class is probably down, and stress levels are proportionately up.

With two parents working full-time, there is little time left to examine important issues. There is no time to read the paper, weigh pros and cons, or read lines of legislation.

Single people aren’t much better off. They are working too many hours to fill the gaps left by their laid-off coworkers and thrust upon them by the brain trust of their company's upper management.

Perhaps Congress isn’t judging our intelligence but honoring our Jenga-esque overload.

I often joked that the healthcare bill would make more sense as a Power Point presentation. Then, as if I manifested it with the powers of my mind, the Life of Julia video was released.

The administration thinks grown, educated women like cartoons. Ouch—too far. Well, I suppose anything is better than this bit of legalese:


4(a) Establishment- There is established within the Health Choices Administration and under the direction of the Commissioner a Health Insurance Exchange in order to facilitate access of individuals and employers, through a transparent process, to a variety of choices of affordable, quality health insurance coverage, including a public health insurance option.

Did you stop reading after the first semicolon? I had to pinch myself. Let’s take a quick look. Section 201 means there are 200 more boring paragraphs before this one.

If there wasn’t a Health Choices Administration before—there probably is one now—or else Section 201, 4 (a) won’t work. By the way, this agency needs a commissioner if it doesn’t have one already.

While we’re going through the details, what exactly is a “transparent process.” I don’t see it here. Maybe that’s what the author meant by “transparent.”

Paulette Delcourt May 27, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I have to agree with you Jim--being busy is not an excuse. I do think we've been lulled into a dangerous collective submission and need to wake up.
Paulette Delcourt May 27, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Whatever happened to a common language? We need a government issued Rosetta stone! I'm not anti-government, or anti-anything--I'm trying to be pro-sense! I'm with you,
Paulette Delcourt May 27, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I want to be clear this isn't necessarily a judgement on the health care law only. If I wanted to earn a new customer, promote something, or plan a project the way they write, I'd be out of business before I could get it off the ground. It's about obfuscation, isn't it?
Paulette Delcourt May 27, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Thanks for your comments!
Ranatta Bazzini August 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Regarding Obama-care, health care needs to change. We all pay for those who utilize emergency rooms and have no insurance. Those costs are passed on to the insured. It is not perfect but a much needed starting point.


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