Cutler is very smart, tenured at Harvard, arguably the leading health care economist, and yes he is an advisor to Barack Obama. He says mandates are not the way to go, and no I do not think he is just "falling in line" here. Read the whole thing. Yes, the key is to make insurance cheaper, not more expensive. Yes, mandates are a political loser. Yes, ex post fiddling can make up for a lot of the problems in the "no mandate" approach and there is going to be lots of ex post fiddling anyway.You know, I might come out for Obama, even in the worst case scenario, if I knew that he actually listened to his economic advisors.
UPDATE: Mickey Kaus worries like I do (via Glenn Reynolds):
Remind me again, what is the evidence--in terms of policies, not affect or attitude or negotiating strategy--that Obama is not an unreconstructed lefty (on the American spectrum--a paleoliberal or a bit further left)? For example, would he roll back welfare reform if he could?UPDATE: And Shelby Steele, has this, as much as I doubt his doubts (via Ron Paul fan Don Luskin):
Determinism automatically blames and obligates white power for black problems, so it becomes the central faith of the black identity. When a black argues against it, he invokes the Uncle Tom label...
The point is not that Barack Obama is a blind and true-believing follower of this identity. Few blacks are. The point is that he is accountable to it. If, for example, Obama broke with this determinism by saying that blacks themselves were largely responsible for closing the academic achievement gap with whites, he would likely be seen as an Uncle Tom for letting whites "off the hook." So, in order to be black, he must pay tribute to a determinism that makes whites ultimately responsible for black uplift, even when it is obvious that only black responsibility will make a difference.