Streetwise Professor

November 12, 2014

Gruber Gone Wild!, or, Gruber Pyle, PhD

Filed under: Economics,Politics — The Professor @ 2:34 pm

For someone who has, at times, shot off his mouth (“you don’t say!” I can hear you saying), I am agape in amazement at MIT’s Jonathan Gruber’s lack of a filter between his brain and his trap. But this is a good thing, for we learn a lot when he unburdens himself.

He first came to the attention of most of us when he was caught on video saying that Obamacare had been deliberately written to limit subsidies to those buying insurance through a state-run exchange. This became an issue because few states set up exchanges, and people have been receiving subsidies through Federal exchanges. This is the reason for a legal challenge to Obamacare that has reached the Supreme Court.

The legal embarrassment this caused led Gruber to claim, subsequently, that the letter of the law regarding state exchanges was a typo, and that his statement had been a “speak-o.”

The latest episode in the Gruber Gone Wild video collection is his performance at a conference at U Penn, where he said that key elements of the ACA had been written in a misleading way to conceal deliberately their true intent and effect. Gruber said that the law was written in a “tortured” way to ensure that CBO would not score it as taxes, and to hide the fact that the healthy would be subsidizing the sick. If these things had been transparent, the bill never would have passed. But fortunately, sayeth Gruber, American voters are too stupid to see through this.

How Leninist of him. The ends justify the means. Who-whom (the Smart People giving it to the Great Unwashed, but only for their own good).

Gruber again sends his regrets for his incautious language. No apology needed. His ex post honesty is welcome, if his (and the drafters’) contemporaneous dishonesty is not.

And there’s apparently a third video, in which Gruber again insults American voters.

Quite the franchise he’s got here.

Gruber’s revelations makes it clear that Obamacare was a fraud, passed (by the thinnest of margins) using utterly dishonest means.

Hopefully, SCOTUS is paying attention and will consign the whole thing to the ash heap of history.

But of course the New York Times fawned over Gruber for his role in driving forward Obamacare. Another revealing thing, that. The NYT uses unethical and shoddy journalistic practices to heap outrageous slurs on academics who dare take positions that contravene its agenda, but gives journalistic tongue baths (I cleaned that way up-way up) to those who say anything-anything-that advances the progressive cause.

Update. The videos are from the collection of one Rich Weinstein, an investment advisor infuriated at paying higher premiums under Obamacare, who decided to investigate what happened. The good Mr. Weinstein says that there are many more videos in his collection. Great! Drip. Drip. Drip.


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  1. Not progressive. REgressive. From our once relatively democratic republic (building on the now on-tour Magna Carta?!) to a renewed love for the totalitarian state; as long as I get to Take YOUR money from YOUR work, talent & commitments for shopping preferences, all is good. Like the coopting of ‘liberal?’ 21st Century NewSpeak? The Road (fast track?) to Serfdom?! Thank you Mr. Weinstein and of course Professor (Very!) Streetwise. Sincerely. Cheers!

    Comment by SamuelCyrus — November 13, 2014 @ 4:55 am

  2. Jon Gruber is certainly a very strange fellow. The filters do not appear to work with him the way they do with most people. Take a look at this video of his principles of micro class available at MIT Open Course Ware. At the 5 minute mark he discusses the completeness assumption and makes a jaw dropping mistake. He defines completeness to mean that you can never be indifferent between 2 goods. This isn’t just a slip of the tongue, either. He carries on with this definition for over a minute – even consulting his notes – before realizing that this is really going to mess up his lecture on indifference curves. It took him a few tries to walk this one back and try to recall what completeness really assumes.

    I wonder if he was speaking off the cuff in a similar way when made his latest gaffe. He clearly doesn’t come to all conversations equally prepared. It is hard to believe he earned a PhD in economics and published journal articles without mastering the completeness assumption, yet here he is making a complete fool of himself. Similarly, did he really have conversations about how to get the law through congress? Was he on the political team or the design team? I can’t imagine anyone trusting him to figure out the politics or even be in the same room with the people who did.

    Comment by Ben — November 13, 2014 @ 6:33 am

  3. @SamuelCyrus. You’re welcome, and thanks for the kind words. Yes, the language is truly Orwellian, isn’t it? Re “liberal,” I often use the Schumpeter quote: “As a supreme, if unintended, compliment, the enemies of the system of private enterprise have thought it wise to appropriate its label.”

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — November 13, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

  4. At least a few weeks of court-ordered bona fide community service would do the bastard well. And if that requires some creative interpretation of the law by the judge – hey, we would rather have Gruber convicted than not.

    Comment by Ivan — November 14, 2014 @ 12:50 am

  5. apparently a new word has come into the lexicon – “gruberized”

    as in “you’ve been gruberized”

    Comment by elmer — November 14, 2014 @ 9:06 am

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