Forrest Gump, Ph.D.

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Maybe it’s easier to get tenure at MIT than we thought. At least that’s our reaction to the Forrest Gump routine put on Tuesday before Congress by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who sounded for all the world as if he knew nothing more about politics and health care than the lovable bumpkin who always showed up when history was being made.

That wasn’t the way Mr. Gruber sounded in his now famous videos—including in a University of Pennsylvania appearance last year—when he credited the enactment of ObamaCare to a “lack of transparency,” the gaming of Congressional rules intended to measure the law’s fiscal impact, the “stupidity of the American voter,” and a lack of Democratic candor about the redistribution of wealth embedded in the new insurance scheme.

But on Tuesday before the House Oversight Committee, Mr. Gruber distanced himself from his remarks while refusing to say if they were true. He apologized for the tone, arrogance, glibness and the inappropriate nature of his remarks. But his response to substantive questions suggested that he is mainly sorry for getting caught on tape.

He even insisted on Tuesday that ObamaCare had been debated and passed in a transparent manner. But this position is 180 degrees from the one he expressed on tape. So he simply dismissed his taped remarks as “conjectures” about a political process he now claims not to understand.

Mr. Gruber also declined to say how much he was paid by states and the federal government for assisting in the design and implementation of the law. While ObamaCare was debated and enacted, Mr. Gruber served on the Panel of Health Advisers to the Congressional Budget Office. In one of his more candid moments on tape, Mr. Gruber revealed that “this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”

Mr. Gruber appears to have been sitting on both sides of the table as the CBO made this crucial decision. It isn’t clear how much interaction he had with the staff at CBO, but did this association afford him insights that helped Democrats draft a deceptive bill that avoided acknowledging that it included a tax?

ObamaCare has bigger problems than Mr. Gruber, but as Professor Gump liked to say, “stupid is as stupid does.”

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