This year, it seems as if angry populism is a major force in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.
One driver of rage seems to be some people’s sense that a hidden conspiracy, not open disagreement, makes the government do stupid things.
On the one hand, I think one piece of evidence against that idea is that it seems as if the executives of MetLife Inc. (NYSE:MET) and American International Group Inc. (NYSE:AIG) apparently have to get a lawyer to help them go through the Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) regulations before they can get a pen out of the office supply closet.
On the other hand, maybe they will somehow escape from the Dodd-Frank SIFI standards intact, but it doesn’t look as if they can easily go into an underground bunker near the lab where government scientists keep alien corpses in pickle jars to get around the requirements.
If MetLife and AIG aren’t big enough to run efficient, secret conspiracies, how can any other U.S. company be big enough to make much more effective use of the bunkers in the alien pickle jar labs?
On the third hand, I think the obvious conclusion is that, even if conspiracies and hidden financial influence exist, they don’t work all that well. They probably aren’t any more effective in health finance policy than in any other policy sector.
If Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump somehow got every bit of iffy money out of U.S. politics, and required candidates to get all of their funding by looking for spare change on city sidewalks, chances are we’d end up roughly the same people where we are now: Health finance policy questions are complicated and painful.