Sunday, October 21, 2007

Team Hillary...

I have to admit that I have become increasingly distracted in the last few months by the debates surrounding the upcoming 2008 presidential election. (I'm beginning to think that my involvement with Kennedy School has pushed me pretty far towards the policy wonk end of the spectrum, and I've decided that I am okay with that.) I even went so far as to spend an hour on the phone with my mom trying to convince her not to be a Repulican (sorry Mom). I get that the majority of (academic) economists are diehard Republicans, and I don't disagree with any of the "free markets are king" models of Econ 101. That said, most of those models rely on at least one of two assumptions: first, that a dollar to one person is the same as a dollar to another person (and that some transfer of surplus could/would be executed to compensate the losers in a free market), and second, that people have the information that they need in order to make utility-maximizing decisions. (I am not even going to get into an argument over whether people are rational when left to their on devices.) I don't think these assumptions are very realistic in practice, and thus I am open to at least considering various left-wing market interventions (not to mention social policies, since I do believe that many right-wing social ideals generate considerable negative externalities, among other things). So there.

Going one step further, I am firmly planting myself on Team Hillary. While I don't dislike Obama or even Edwards, I think Hillary is, well, better. (Full disclosure: I did defect from Team Obama - as people have pointed out about Hillary, the ability to change one's mind based on new information is a strength, not a weakness.) Maybe more on that later. For now, this was a long-winded introduction to a NYT blog post about Hillary that I found pretty interesting. Specifcally, I found the comments to give an insightful feel for what people are thinking and what they care about. (General gist: it sucks to be middle class.) My favorite excerpt is the following:

"And please, don’t call her health care policies progressive. What’s progressive about requiring poor people to buy overpriced health insurance?"

I don't know- someone should ask Mitt Romney.

(P.S. On a more trivial note, for those of you who watch The Hills- I know, I know- I'm squarely on Team LC. It's important to know what you stand for. =P)

Follow up: Maureen Dowd gets at, albeit accidentally, my Hillary crush:

"And on the trail, Hillary comes across more as a pile of diligently digested data than a joyful flesh-and-blood creature."

As an economist, I have to admit that I have a particular fondness for diligently digested data...

UPDATE: I...I don't even know what to say other than I feel like Hillary has punched me in the metaphorical stomach repeatedly...for example, "let's give a gas tax holiday and fund it by taxing the oil companies"? Really? What economic advisor actually let her out of the house believing this was reasonable?