Tuesday was a difficult day on Capitol Hill for the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction — the simple idea in logic that the same thing cannot be both true and untrue at the same time.
The occasion of this philosophical crisis was testimony to the House Oversight Committee by Obamacare architect and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. Gruber, who was deeply involved in developing the Affordable Care Act, is now best known for praising its lack of transparency as “a political asset” and cheerfully attributing the law’s passage to “the stupidity of the American voter.”
But his problems in Tuesday’s hearing went far beyond unpopular opinions or bad word choices. Gruber also had to explain away very explicit and substantive, videotaped comments he had made about the healthcare law in academic forums.
He found even basic facts difficult to acknowledge. For four painful minutes of questioning, he refused to tell the committee how much money he had been paid for his work on Obamacare (it’s $6 million). He denied being an “architect” of the healthcare law — that is, someone who helped design it — which contradicts both journalistic reporting and his own public comments. (One example: In a January 2012 appearance, Gruber responded to one man’s question about Obamacare by stating, “That’s the exactly the kind of wonky detail that we spent a lot of time [on] in writing this law.”)