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Dean Baker is one of the economists we pay great attention to. He likes John Edwards, a lot.

John Edwards may not end up as president, or even as the Democratic nominee, but he is having far more influence on the substance of this campaign than any other candidate. His strong opposition to the Iraq war (reversing his Senate vote in support of the war), has pushed the other leading Democratic contenders to also highlight their opposition to the war.

His proposal for universal health care, which allows businesses and individuals to buy into a government-run, Medicare-type system, was largely lifted by Senator Obama, and will certainly have a large impact on the plan that will eventually be put forward by Senator Clinton.

Last week, Edwards put forward a proposal on prescription drugs that is likely to set another benchmark for the other top candidates. Edwards proposed setting up a prize fund that would be used to buy up the patents for some important breakthrough drugs. The patents would then be placed in the public domain. This will allow the drugs to be sold as generics. With new drugs being sold in a competitive market, they will cost just a few dollars per prescription.

Baker on Edwards at Truthout