July 25, 2014

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE — ME, OR YOUR LYING EARS? Gruber: My 2012 remarks were “a speak-o — you know, like a typo.”

This answer is not a “speak-o” any more than the statutory language on subsidies and exchanges was a “typo.” Gruber explained the coercive policy correctly and in detail, along with the stakes involved in seeing the coercion succeed. It’s not a case of just using the wrong terminology, like “market” instead of “exchange.” Gruber clearly understood the statute at this time — in January 2012 — to provide the arm-twisting needed to get states to launch their own exchanges by stiffing consumers in states without them, which would then create more pressure on those states to get them the federal subsidies that they were funding but not receiving.

That is exactly what the plaintiffs argued in Halbig, and what the court ruled to be the intent of Congress as well as the statutory reality of the ACA. Just because that arm-twisting policy failed in its goals doesn’t mean it wasn’t deliberate, rational, and very much a part of the ObamaCare strategy then, and it doesn’t make it a “typo” now — or a “speak-o” either.

You can watch the video and see if it seems like a “speak-o” to you. More background here.

UPDATE: And here’s Gruber saying the same thing on another occasion. Meanwhile, Vox has been spinning the “mistake” angle. Oops.

See, the problem with Ezra, Gruber, and these other lefty “wonks” is that a real wonk is supposed to (1) understand the policy better than anyone else; and (2) care about getting the policy right more than about partisan political posturing. Double fail, here. But then, Ezra’s having a bad year.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more on Gruber. “I’ll just add that for all the left-wing pundits who called the plaintiff’s arguments in Halbig vs. Burwell ‘ridiculous’ and such, I’ll gladly barbecue some crow for you.”

MORE: Making the rubble bounce.

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