Posted by Timothy McBride on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Under: ACA
In the latest attempt to attack Obamacare, opponents think they have a juicy new target, Prof. Jonathan Gruber, from MIT. In addition to pulling his quotes from academic musings out of context, the opponents have a new line of attack: that supposedly Gruber "netted" millions of dollars in contracts from the federal government (the Obama administration) to do his work. The impression left, often said directly, is that Gruber himself was paid these dollars, or that the total dollars from the contracts flowed directly into Gruber's wallet.
Of course this is a total misunderstanding (on purpose?) of the federal grantmaking process. For example, as shown here, and as cited in a FoxNews article, Gruber was the principal investigator on over $2 million in federal grants from 2008 to 2014. But this of course does not mean the money flowed directly to Gruber. In fact, like nearly all federal government grants and contracts, these grants flowed to Gruber's institution (or his firm), and most likely were used to fund the research expenses for Gruber (for example, research analysts, assistants, computer and other costs) in addition to covering a portion of Gruber's salary (in other words, reducing the amount MIT paid him, and paying for it out of federal grants), with a significant portion going to the University as "overhead".
Of course all research universities follow this same model to fund the research work of their active faculty, funding research on medical, science, and social science topics. Does the media now want to start complaining about medical researchers, who bring in million-dollar grants to study crucial research questions, funding the costs of that research Attacking grants that cover the costs of research teams (research assistants, research analysts, statistical consultants)? Let's surely hope not, because this would be an attack on research and development itself, our intellectual future.
In : ACA