Dec 17, 2014 0
From Jonah Goldberg in Townhall, Jonathan Gruber Should’ve Been Time’s Person of the Year
For similar reasons, I think Time missed an opportunity in not putting Gruber on the cover. Tea partiers and Wall Street occupiers disagree on a great many things, but there’s one place where the Venn diagrams overlap: the sense we’re all being played for suckers, that the rules are being set up to benefit those who know how to manipulate the rules. The left tends to focus on Wall Street types whose bottom line depends more on lobbying Washington than satisfying the consumer.
But Gruber is something special. He was supposed to be better, more pure than the fat cats. Touted by press and politicians alike as an objective and fair-minded arbiter of health care reform, the MIT economist was in fact a warrior for the cause, invested emotionally, politically and, it turns out, financially through undisclosed consulting arrangements. The people who relied on his expertise never bothered to second-guess his conflicts of interest because they, too, were warriors in the same fight.
In speeches and interviews, Gruber admitted he helped the Obama administration craft the law in such a way that it would seem like it didn’t tax the American people when it did. Using insights gleaned in part from his status as an adviser to the Congressional Budget Office, Gruber helped construct an actuarial Trojan horse that could smuggle a tax hike past the CBO bean counters — because if the individual mandate had been counted as a tax, it would’ve been a big political liability for President Obama. (Fortunately for Obamacare, the Supreme Court saw through the subterfuge and called it tax, rendering it constitutional.)