Revealing to all the world the contempt for the American people that Washington insiders possess might garner for Prof. Gruber a future Medal of Freedom.
Perhaps by a president elected by the Irony Party.
What Gruber is unlikely to get, however, is a Nobel Prize for Economics.
Benjamin Zycher, writing at The Hill, questions Gruber’s astuteness as an economist. The MIT professor surely has the wit to sucker those representing American taxpayers out of six million bucks for his consulting, but, otherwise, reveals some blind spots about where incentives should be figured in.
“Economists may disagree about many things,” writes Zycher, “but absent among them is the central role of incentives as determinants of behavior,” a principle that “applies fully to government.”
To reward one constituency at the expense of others, health care bureaucrats will quickly come to regard limits to spending as a kind of “savings.”
From this type of rationing, Zycher suggests, there will be “a reduction in the flow of research and development investments in new and improved medical technologies, yielding fewer new medicines, devices and equipment.”
This means that the most negative effects will be seen down the road. While the easier-to-publicize positive effects of more people covered by insurance can be pointed to right now, as a “benefit.”
However, even that upfront goody isn’t what we might pretend it is. “Gruber seems actually to believe that an expansion of insurance ‘coverage’ is the same as an expansion of actual healthcare,” Zycher notes, with apt incredulity.
By ignoring negative effects of his convoluted program, and concentrating on a few dubious upfront benefits, Gruber proves himself more con artist than economist.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.