- Library Binding
- Publisher: Center for Economic and Policy Research (2007)
- ISBN-10: 1411693957
- ISBN-13: 978-1411693951
- ASIN: B002ACFMXG
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,693,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer Library Binding – 2007
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In his new book economist Dean Baker debunks the myth that conservatives favor the market over government intervention In fact conservatives rely on a range of nanny state policies that ensure the rich get richer while leaving most Americans worse off It s time for the rules to change Sound economic policy should harness the market in ways that produce desirable social outcomes decent wages good jobs and affordable health care Dean Baker is co director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
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Baker's gift is his ability to identify how Public Relations firms/conservative think tanks manipulate opinion to spin agendas which are not in the public interest. My favorite one is "Tort Reform".. Baker points out how Mainstream conservatives push legislation which interfere/discourage citizens from obtaining lawyers. So much for allowing the free association of individuals to form a contract...
Many good reviewers for this one.
I highly recommend this book.
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. So why is there such fear on the part of private enterprise of people choosing Social Security and/or signing up with Medicare for both health care and prescription drugs? The fact is that private business is highly inefficient compared to those programs and can't really compete. Therefore they look to government to limit choice.
7. True conservatives have always had low regard for gambling and certainly insist on its being heavily taxed. But when it comes to Wall St speculation, which is what day-trading is all about, they turn a blind eye to taxing and thus limiting the undisputed harmful impact of speculative transactions.
There are a few more examples by the author, none of which can be seriously disputed. The book has the tone that things could be different: just point out the hypocrisy of the rich and reform will follow. Really?
The author can hardly be unaware that we live in a class society in which the major institutions with the task of inculcating the idea that markets are neutral and work for us all, namely educational and media institutions, are basically owned or financed by the rich. A few dissenting, fringe views are permitted here and there, but basically major dissent concerning the justness of our society is dealt with swiftly: removal or exclusion from school or job, or flagrant suppression.
The situation is more than just setting forth the facts before the public. Probably never before in our history has market ideology so permeated our society and given the rich so many effective tools to disseminate information favorable to their class interests. As far as any effective forces opposing this situation, can anyone honestly say that the Democrats at this point are willing or even want to reverse any of what the author points out any more than do the Republicans. The answer is "No".
On the plus side, Baker has a good point that Conservatives (nit - I'd say "corporatist Republicans" but whatever) won the language debate, and love to hide corporate welfare under pleasant-sounding names. Politicians of all stripes love to give government incentives and protectionism to their buddies, and at least half of those were mentioned. Baker also has a good point that immigration is a horrid mess. If you don't have much economic knowledge, then maybe these will be interesting for you. Even if the points are a review, maybe they'll revive some latent fire in your belly and you'll want to go beat down a Tea Partier. For me, they were disappointingly more of the same.
If you've read Libertarian propaganda from the past 20 years you've probably read every point in the book, and then some. Love them or hate them, the die-hard Libertarians are at least honest about welfare regardless of who is getting it. Still, different audience, I get why it could be interesting to some folks.
The most frustrating part of the book, and the reason I rate it so low, is that on many points Baker vacillates wildly. Protectionism is bad for doctors and lawyers, but not for dishwashers. Unions are good, but the AMA and Bar are not. Immigration is good, but only for "skilled" individuals. There are a few dozen examples of these inconsistencies throughout the book, running about the same frequency I might encounter with a thoughtless partisan friend. I was expecting more from an actual, published, edited book; I would love to have been able to recommend it to politically disagreeing friends, but frankly any corporatist Republican is going to be able to tear it to shreds without much trouble.
With respect to the Audible version of the book, the narrator is fine and does a good job. The Audible organization of appendices and text notes is beyond bizarre. I would greatly recommend getting the text version over the Audible version, especially if you suspect you will be familiar with some of the arguments.