We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… 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….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

– Professor Jonathan Gruber, “one of the key figures in constructing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare”, via Reason, via David Thomson.

30 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Patrick

    I thought the Supreme Court ruled that it was not poosible to force people to buy insurance unless the said insurance was deemed to be a tax. So, legally, in the USA compulsory Obamacare premiums are tax.

    Does this suggest that an incoming republican president wcould kill Obamacare without even legislating by simply getting his Treasury Secretary to adjust the tax rate to zero for compulsory insurance purchases?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    So saith the unperson Gruber.

  • Paul Marks

    Like the other government interventions over the last several decades, Obamacare will increase costs and dependence on government – and it will do so, over time, in a dramatic way. This is the effect of government mandates, other regulations, and subsidies – they increase costs and dependence on government, in healthcare or anything else.

    The people behind Obamacare were not innocent makers of an intellectual mistake – they did this on purpose, it was their intention to increase costs and increase dependence on government – in short, they are evil.

    They used evil tactics, lying and so on, for any evil cause – the cause of increasing health costs, dramatically over time, and increasing dependence on government.

    It is classic Saul Alinsky style tactics – evil methods, for an evil cause.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the origins of creatures such as Gruber in academia – it goes back a long way.

    Long before Saul Alinsky, long before Karl Marx, long before Francis Bacon and his collectivist “The New Atlantis”.

    It goes all the way back to the founder of academe – Plato himself.

    With the so called “noble lie” for the cause of collectivism.

  • Siha Sapa

    Only the acolytes are surprised.

  • Gene

    Patrick: No. Insurance premiums are insurance premiums. What the SC said was that the penalty a person will pay if they do not buy insurance is a tax.

  • RogerC

    Same result, though. The next administration could effectively kill the act by dropping the tax-for-non-compliance (I thought those were called “fines”, but whatever) to zero, then winding up the bureaucracy involved when the takeup rate drops to almost zero.

  • David Crawford


    Another way to kill it is to not fund the insurance company loss subsidies. There’s supposed to be a fund where health insurance companies can get mostly reimbursed for their losses during the initial years of O-care. Congress has not appropriated any money to that fund. Keep it that way and see how the insurance companies respond.

  • RRS

    Last night George Will identified (on Fox, of course) by references to the many (not just the one cited) comments of Jonathan Gruber, principally in academic venues, the basic underlying issue of the politically dominating influence of an academically derived “Clerisy” (which Will linked back to Malcolm Cowley)that is convinced, and operates (profitably) on the theory that only they, an anointed few, can know and understand what the social objectives should be and what means should be used for their attainment.

    Jonathan Gruber did not falsify or deceive. What he has done is to point out the necessity for political deceit and falsifications as justification for implementing the determination of an academically derived clerisy.

  • William Newman

    “I suppose when the boots on the other foot…”

    A marvellous book for many reasons is Macaulay’s _History of England_. (It’s free on Project Gutenberg. Read it!) One marvelous thing about it is that it’s a time capsule, holding commentary that we can see in hindsight without much current politics. I really should write my first full blog post in years about the several parallels between executive legalization of favored immigrants and James II trying to use the dispensing power to legalize favored religious sects. But one parallel fits in this blog comment: James II and his supporters energetically yammered about how this cynically selective handing out of favors was lovely religious tolerance, and Macaulay rips him and them a prodigiously literate new one by describing James II’s simultaneous vicious religious persecution in Scotland where he had the full legal authority to control it.

    And today, the left are the anti-racists! And 40+% of the most qualified applicants for US colleges are Asian, and somehow less than 20% of them are admitted. Because true anti-racism require picking certain heavily overrepresented minorities and discriminating heavily against them!

    And the left likes to remind us that Fox News and other right-ish outlets are insidiously and incompetently and grossly dishonest. And meanwhile, curiously, the really mind-blowing stuff, the stuff that would shatter credulity if Rand had put it in _Atlas Shrugged_ — Journolist (“take one of them—Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares—and call them racists”), Rathergate, the _Arming America_ lovefest — seems to occasionally, just occasionally, appear in media outlets that are less obviously right wing than that.

    And Sarah Palin is only the most recent of the long tradition of Republican politicians who are famously too stupid to live. (And even two of the people I play Go with, no dummies, blew my little literal mind by repeating to each other a quote from a Tina Fey SNL spoof as a factual quote from Palin which illustrated her cluelessness.) And Biden? Telediagnosing intelligence is an inexact science. And I am not overimpressed with Republicans, or with Palin in particular, except for the necessary wary respect for someone who can unseat a sitting governor even in an ultramarginal state like Alaska. But that said, and that said, it’s pretty damned unambiguously revealing to look at the US Presidential election and say the embarrassingly dim one is Palin, Palin, shout it to the skies, quote Tina Fey literally, Palin! And did I say Palin?

    And the brutal greedy dysfunction of private agriculture starves the poor. (And for more in this general vein, _Capitalism and the Historians_ and _Cowboy Capitalism_.)

  • lowlylowlycook

    Keep in mind that when he talks about “the stupidity of the American voter” he is talking about the supporters of the Democratic party. Republicans and independents were not fooled. Which is, for instance, how Scott Brown got elected in Massachusetts.

  • RRS

    “-the arrogance of an academic liberalism that rules in the name of a citizenry it mocks, disdains and deliberately, contemptuously deceives.”

    Charles Krauthammer, 11/13/2014 on the cynicism of Gruber

  • Patrick


    Thanks for the correction. Even easier to kill then, just set penalty for non purchase at zero.

  • Jerry

    NOTHING will change.
    This type of behavior will continue and, I suspect, will get far worse until &/or unless there is, hopefully, SEVERE punishment.
    and some other actions I would rather not post here !!

    Look at our beloved leader.
    He has flaunted his ‘power’ for, coming up on six years.
    Repercussions ?

    There are continual attempts to explain ‘his behavior’.
    He’s trying to do things right.
    He simply doesn’t understand the problem.
    He means well.
    ON and on.

    Horse hockey.
    He ( and his minions ) know exactly what they are doing and are not about to change one bit until they are stopped with consequences of some kind !!

  • RRS

    Sorry, I cited the wrong person in George Will’s comments.

    That should have been Herbert Croly

  • I don’t even have the stomach to read this whole thing, although I probably should.

  • PeterT

    Congress think they voted for A. SC says they actually voted for B. At that point the correct thing to do is for Congress to vote for or against B. But no, a law was passed on to the books without anybody actually voting for it.

    The SC subverted the democratic process with this judgement. Impeach the chief justice?

  • Clovis Sangrail

    I write as an academic [pause for boos and catcalls].

    Some of my colleagues are not like Gruber but…
    Thomas Gibbon’s Western Awakening trilogy, anyone?

  • staghounds

    The whole thing tells us that Dr. Gruber’s end for health care consulting has been about 2.5 million federally and 3.2 from states.

  • staghounds

    Actually, health care bill cost concealing.

  • NickM

    It has to be said. I went to a STEM university and did a Physics degree. There was no Frankfurt School Marxism because I studied physics, shagged birds, smoked dope and drank beer. If you choose to study utter shite like Eng-Lit then you get what you pay for. I can’t stand this crapola from the BA (not Mr T) crowd about “Marxists”. Ilearnt QMech and Fluid Dynamics and Disrete Maths. I never heard a fucking thing about Karl Marx. You do a BA – you build your own pyre. So don’t and learn some fucking Calculus.

  • Or, in other words, “I wish the people wanted this, but they’d never stand for it. So we lied through our teeth.”

    It’s hardly a unique attitude. And as long as the marks keep falling for it, it’ll continue to be.

  • Now thinking some more about this whole sudden emergence of Dr. Gruber as the arch-villain behind Obamacare: is it just me, or has someone finally found someone to throw under the bus?

  • NickM

    Not Lt Gruber! And you’d have to throe him under his leetle tank”. He knows where the copy of the copy of the “allen Madonna with the Big Boobies is”. I watch a lot of “Allo Allo”. But, really seriously, why go on about the likes of Eric Frogspawn and his Markist wankfest? Why? Why not study Chemistry or Mech Eng or Physics? Why complain about “Marxist Intellectuals” whilst attending their courses when you could do a STEM degree or no degree or whatever…

    Why? Why? Why study shit?

  • Robbo

    @ Paul Marks

    Gruber is of the Cathedral. It knows best.

  • Mr Ed

    NickM you stole two themes out of my mouth, you are spot on. You can only fill a subject with Marxism if doing so has no ramifications in reality. Chemical engineers building a Marxist refinery would either go boom or bust, but in the Arts, their Marxist counterparts are not tested by reality.

    As for Lieutenant Grüber, he was a character in a British sitcom set in occupied France in WW2, here is a random clip.

  • staghounds

    Nick M, the arc of a steel bridge is not the only art, the poetry of numbers is not the only rhyme, and we cannot learn from the mistakes of the past unless we learn about them.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Leave us not forget that MIT is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which up until a couple of decades ago (for some value of “a couple”) was focussed on the physical sciences. I don’t know how Econ sprouted there. Do people remember the scandals surrounding Business Schools and their product, a bunch of MBA’s whose guiding ethics apparently consisted of “whatever it takes, and the hell with ethics”? Wharton (B-School of the U. of Penn.) especially came in for criticism and revilement; students had been openly plagiarizing, and even removing other students’ work from the files. But it seems to me that Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia were also producing students with this mindset.

    Which obviously found its way to MIT, along with numerous other Halls of Higher Learning, of course.

    So Gruber, apparently, doesn’t see anything wrong with it — with deceiving the public “for its own good.” Or if he does, that little fact is so trivial as to be unworthy of notice.

    (We may take it as given that the higher-ups in this plot couldn’t care less whether it’s ethical. Honesty is not a virtue to them. And certainly not to the Liar-in-Chief.)

  • John R S

    Rmember 0 republicans voted for the bill, and were never likely to vote for it. They lied to convince their fellow deomcrats to vote for it.