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.
All players see all of the questions through different eyes. Just about all possible actions (and decisions to act by “not acting”) will lead to unpleasant, and probably unfair, problems for someone.
The best we can hope for is that the lobbying organizations that do exist continue to try to explain their views on the issues to the public, so that at least voters understand that, whatever the faults of our political finance system may be, they aren’t powerful enough to give conspirators the ability to hide simple, cheap, painless solutions to all of our health finance problems in the underground pickle jars.
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