The firebaggers are at it again:
Dear John –
For almost the entirety of the health care debate, the Obama Administration has relied on economist Jonathan Gruber to make the public case for its idea of reform – even the most unpopular parts. But as Firedoglake revealed on Friday, the Obama Administration has failed to disclose that it paid the same economist more than $780,000.
Jonathan Gruber’s work has been cited by the White House, Members of Congress, and countless media outlets, but not once did the Obama Administration disclose it was paying him more than $780,000 in tax dollars. This is a huge ethical violation that undermines the entirety of health care reform.***
The Obama Administation’s $780,000 “buy-an-economist” scandal threatens to shake the foundation of health care reform. We need to get to the bottom of this.
The truth is that this is no big deal. Gruber’s grant is from HHS, not the West Wing; it’s basically the same kind of thing as, say, an epidemiologist receiving a grant from the National Institutes of Health. You wouldn’t ordinarily say that this tarnishes the epidemiologist’s credentials as an independent analyst on infectious diseases, unless you want to say that nobody receiving a research grant can be considered independent.
The only reasons you might see this differently would be if Gruber were either receiving a sweetheart deal, or seemed to have changed his views to accommodate his sponsors. Neither is remotely true. Gruber is very much the go-to guy on modeling reform: it’s hard to think of who else could be doing the work better. And his position on reform has been entirely consistent.***
What the folks at Firedoglake should ask themselves is this: do you really want to become just like the right-wingers with their endless supply of fake scandals?
The bottom line is this: Jon Gruber is a technical expert, some of whose research has been supported — entirely properly — by government agencies. And we need his input into policy.
Actually, yes. They do thrive on an endless supply of fake scandals. Once we bring down the Obama administration and bring to power the vaunted teabagger progressive alliance, we are gonna party like it is 1994.
And that was noted O-bot Paul Krugman, whose open contempt for Obama and Obama’s health care plan were clear for all to see during the primaries last year, debunking the BS.