Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass. It’s a second-best argument. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.
It bears repeating that Dr. Gruber has made a very good living as a liar. Consider once again his own personal payoff:
• “One of the key voices for Congressional health care legislation, MIT economist Jon Gruber, is taking fire … over the fact that he is on contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s been paid $297,600, according to federal documents, to produce ‘a technical memorandum on the estimated changes in health insurance coverage and associated costs and impacts to the government under alternative specifications of health system reform.’ The contract, which was awarded June 19, wasn’t widely known or regularly disclosed.” (Ben Smith, “Gruber responds: ‘Completely consistent,’” Politico, 01/08/09)
• “Jon Gruber, the MIT economist, defended himself this morning after criticism that he’d spoken publicly in favor of the administration’s health care plan without disclosing a nearly $300,000 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to model the plan’s costs and effects.” (Ben Smith, “Gruber’s disclosure,” Politico, 01/08/09)
Yes, the country’s in the best of hands.