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The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer Paperback – July 18, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 113 pages
  • Publisher: LULU (July 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1411693957
  • ISBN-13: 978-1411693951
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dean Baker has written extensively on the bubble economy over the last decade and was one of the first economists to recognize the stock and housing bubbles and explicitly warn of the risk of their collapse. Previously a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and a consultant to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. Baker now co-directs the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. His blog at American Prospect, 'Beat the Press,' features commentary on economic reporting. In addition to Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy (PoliPointPress, 2008), he has written The United States Since 1980 (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2006). His columns have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Guardian, American Prospect, and Truthout. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

Customer Reviews

Somehow I do not think that is the answer to America's problems.
Will Wilkin
The right wing-nuts continually blast the left accusing the left of being lazy, no-goods, who just don't want to work and are just looking for government hand outs.
As the book explains, it was never about that, as the two-face actions of self-proclaimed conservatives reveal.
J. L LaRegina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Dean Baker a PhD. Economist and co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) provides a brilliant, evidence-based, iconoclastic deconstruction of the myth that liberals like "Big Government" and conservatives favor the "Free Market". He documents the importance of government intervention on behalf of the rich and powerful in most of the important sectors of the economy. Covering such diverse areas as immigration policy, patient (monopoly) law, "Free" trade agreements, bankruptcy law, and Federal Reserve policy, Baker clearly demonstrates how these policies operate in the background (below the radar of public perception) to decidedly advance the class interests of the already powerful.

If you carefully examine his arguments you will be less likely to fall into the trap of believing the only way to advance a progressive agenda is through major government spending (not that he is opposed to this in principle). Several market-based solutions which powerfully elucidate the current bias against working class people are thoughtfully juxtaposed to policies which would be class neutral or enhance the well-being of the more vulnerable segments of society if they were to be implemented.

Finally, Dr. Baker walks the walk and has made his complete book available as a free download which can be found at the following web address: [...]. Given the economical cost of buying the book in paperback, you should strongly consider purchasing on line as it represents a valuable addition to the expanding body of literature to assail the growing economic divide. The practical solutions advanced in this book make it an important read for both activists and scholars willing to take an honest look at current economic policy.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a myth that the rich, or market conservatives in the author's lexicon, unremittingly favor the operation of free markets with absolutely no government intervention. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. The author examines several key areas that show the lie of the idea that the rich favor free market outcomes. What they favor is governmental protection of their status and privileges. For example:

1. Both the gov and professional organizations limit the numbers of doctors, lawyers, and other professionals including the entry of foreigners. At the same time, rampant and/or illegal immigration floods lower-wage employment markets and some technical jobs. On the one hand, wages are artificially high, but suppressed on the other to the detriment of the greater good.

2. The Federal Reserve uses monetary policy to increase unemployment and thereby lower wages of the lesser skilled, while limiting the inflation detested by bankers.

3. Corporations are entirely government creations, yet conservatives obscure that point which permits unchecked CEO pay. In actuality the government could mandate governance rules that would likely curtail CEO pay excesses.

4. Copyright and patent laws in essence grant monopolies to the detriment of the free flow of goods and services, which can in fact be harmful as in the case of restricting the availability of needed medicines.

5. Conservatives support legislation to restrict the ability of individuals to seek redress in courts for harm under the name of tort reform. In actuality law suits are a market form of regulation in lieu of government intervention. Obviously, protecting the rich trumps market principles.

6. Free market advocates supposedly advocate choice.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Doepke on August 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
You'd have to be the proverbial ostrich not to know that in i-pod America, the rich are getting richer, the poor poorer, while the middle class qualifies as an endangered species. What is not so well known is how redistribution is aided and abetted by government policy. Conservatives, as Baker notes, have been very successful in dressing up their windfall as the unbiased workings of the marketplace. Thus the citizenry accepts unfavorable results as the outcome of the glorified market god, in whose name things ultimately turn out for the best. Baker's slim volume (100 pps.) aims at showing how despite the smoke and mirrors, the god actually resides in Washington DC, in enumerated programs and policies directed toward funneling wealth upward. These measures and their rationale are kept in place by governmental machinery he dubs the "conservative nanny state" (cns).

Far from opposing government intervention in the economy, the cns uses intervention effectively in behalf of established wealth. The quarrel between liberals and conservatives is usually framed in terms of a liberal welfare state vs. a conservative free market. But, as Baker points out, these terms are seriously misleading. Both sides favor government intervention. Where they differ is over who gets the benefits, while the success of the cns lies in their ability to deflect public awareness from govn't actions that benefit the rich at the expense of the rest of us.

Baker examines a number of these biased policies showing how they funnel wealth upward. These prove to be enlightening discussions. However, what's unusual about the sections is his proposed remedy, which is essentially to let the markets operate free of the cns. For example, crippling health care costs have been sky-rocketing.
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