THE CONSERVATIVE NANNY STATE. There�s a new book from Dean Baker available as a free PDF download or in paperback if you're so inclined. It's fantastic: "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."

As everyone now knows, the New Right built this big infrastructure and now liberals want to do the same. But one of the big things that infrastructure did was take formerly marginal "wacky" ideas and push them onto the mainstream agenda as things people needed to seriously debate. The new liberal institutions have done very little of that -- almost none at all. Baker's book, however, is absolutely chock full of such ideas. It would be a wonderful thing to start getting attention to some of the issues he raises. At the end of the day, the current Democratic agenda of raising the minimum wage and re-establishing pay-as-you-go budget rules is a bit unambitious.

--Matthew Yglesias

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