The Conservative Nanny State

Discussion in 'Politics' started by georgephillip, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. georgephillip

    georgephillip Gold Member Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Los Angeles, California
    Conservatives favor market outcomes while liberals prefer government intervention. This is one of the dominant political frames of our time. How accurate is it?

    Dean Baker's online book The Conservative Nanny State makes the argument it's completely deceptive:

    "This description of the two poles is inaccurate; both conservatives and liberals want government intervention.

    "The difference between them is the goal of government intervention, and the fact that conservatives are smart enough to conceal their dependence on the government.

    "Conservatives want to use the government to distribute income upward to higher paid workers, business owners, and investors. They support the establishment of rules and structures that have this effect.

    "First and foremost, conservatives support nanny state policies that have the effect of increasing the supply of less-skilled workers (thereby lowering their wages), while at the same time restricting the supply of more highly educated professional employees (thereby raising their wages)."

    Baker goes on to posit this issue is at the center of who wins and loses in today's economy.

    "If government policies ensure that specific types of workers (e.g. doctors, lawyers, economists) are in relatively short supply, then they ensure that these workers will do better than the types of workers who are plentiful.

    "It is also essential to understand that there is direct redistribution involved in this story.

    "If restricting the supply of doctors raises the wages of doctors, then all the non-doctors in the country are worse off, just as if the government taxed all non-doctors in order to pay a tax credit to doctors.

    "Higher wages for doctors mean that everyone in the country will be forced to pay more for health care.

    "As conservatives fully understand when they promote policies that push down wages for large segments of the country’s work force, lower wages for others means higher living standards for those who have their wages or other income protected."

    Lately there has been some trolling about "fact" vs "opinion" in discussions on this board. Possibly one way of dealing with this is an online source we all have equal access to.

    The Conservative Nanny State has nine chapters plus an introduction and conclusion. It appears to be adequately sourced and footnoted. If nothing else it represents a common starting point for wherever the debate leads.

Share This Page