Lines of Causation

Paul Krugman does an excellent job of expressing something I was mumbling incoherently while walking around Chicago the other day:

And even if you believe Mrs. Clinton€™s contention that her positions could never be influenced by lobbyists€™ money €” a remark that drew boos and hisses from the Chicago crowd €” there€™s reason to worry about the big contributions she receives from the insurance and drug industries. Are they simply betting on the front-runner, or are they also backing the Democratic candidate least likely to hurt their profits?

This is the right point to make about candidates and their donors. Worrying about whether or not contributions are corrupting people is rarely going to provide a definitive conclusion and doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the merits of a proposal, either. The issue is that we should probably assume the people giving the money have some basic level of competence. The health care industry has, over the years, become a major financial backer of Clinton’s. It seems they feel that she doesn’t pose a huge threat to their interests. Maybe they’re making a huge mistake but, as Krugman says, given that she hasn’t committed herself to anything resembling a specific universal health care plan, we have to worry that they may be right.