Corruptions big and small are being revealed daily among governing and academic elites (Congress, lobbyists, bankers, insurance executives, climate-change cabalists). If you live in North Carolina you have been treated to several years of embarrassing corruption scandals involving politicians (our most recent former governor, congressmen, state legislators).

You’ve also seen egregious behavior among academics locally (the Duke 88) and academic administrators (the ones who rolled over to give Mike Easley’s wife a sinecure).

“Conflict of interest” is a phrase that no one seems to understand anymore. Ethical myopia is a pandemic much more dangerous and widespread than H1N1.

Here’s the latest example. The MIT economist who has been used by the Obama administration as an unbiased source to prop up the numbers they’ve used to sell the health care takeover has been under contract to the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s made more than $300,000 as a paid consultant to the administration, while not revealing that fact in his columns for the national media, or in interviews:

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber raked in nearly $300,000 from the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services while frequently appearing in news accounts as a non-partisan analyst who supported Democratic health care legislation.

Gruber defended himself to Ben Smith at the Politico, arguing that HHS didn’t fund his “public declarations” and that he didn’t say anything that was contrary to what he believed. Gruber also told Smith “that he has told reporters of the contract ‘whenever they asked’ …”

What this country needs is a moral compass.