The Corporate Nanny State

The cries of “End the nanny state!” can be heard from yachts, to mansions, to airport bathrooms around America. Where did people develop, or should I say “invent”, this idea that we live in a “nanny state”? I don’t have anyone coming to my home from the government to clean out my bathroom. Moreover, there is a paucity of day care in America, and isn’t that what nanny does, take care of kids?

Why use the term nanny? It’s because elitist Republicans want to label anything the government does to assist people in their time of need as elitist, and the term “nanny” invokes elitism. The term “nanny” also connotes anti-motherhood. If you can’t take care of your own children and you need a nanny, you are anti-family and anti-motherhood. Getting help from the government is bad in the eyes of simple-minded Republican voters, even those that depend on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Republicans promote the idea that they support families. However, they cut day care services, head start, early childhood education, nutrition programs, and pre-natal health, because these programs are part of the nanny state. Funding pro-family programs are part of the nanny state because they might help families that Republicans some how support by cutting programs that assist families.

What about assistance to the disabled? I thought health care workers, nurses, and their assistants helped the disabled and a myriad of other professionals. No nannies though. Nannies are off helping lazy mothers who can’t work forty hours a week, take care of their children, and cook for their husbands while servicing other needs all at the same time. No, the disabled don’t use nannies.

Republicans who reject the “nanny state” would cut all programs for the disabled, including Sarah Palin’s down syndrome child, if they could. Would they take care away from Ronald Reagan if he was still alive in a stupor from his Alzheimers? Is it just the disabled poor they hate, because they can’t afford to pay for their desperately needed care?

Dean Baker writes that we live in a Conservative Nanny state that protects the interests of the wealthy.

The reality is that conservatives have been quite actively using the power the government to shape market outcomes in ways that redistribute income upward. However, conservatives have been clever enough to not own up to their role in this process, pretending all along that everything is just the natural working of the market. And, progressives have been foolish enough to go along with this view.”

He accurately states that there is nothing “natural” in the way the markets have been organized and that they have been manipulated by moneyed interests for years.

“Political debates in the United States are routinely framed as a battle between conservatives who favor market outcomes, whatever they may be, against liberals who prefer government intervention to ensure that families have decent standards-of-living. 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.”

The truth is that corporations and their conservative shills in Congress love government intervention to open markets overseas, push back against local pollution standards and grant money for research and land to the Fortune 500.

Baker describes how the corporate nanny state drives down wages and pushes wealth upwards. Corporations are in favor of tort reform so they can shirk the responsibility for the deregulation of the food, workplace, and product safety they have pushed through Congress. As long as the government is working on behalf of corporations, they and their allies in Congress are fine with big government. But when the government spends money to help protect the public from economic downturns (thus reducing the pool of low wage workers), Congress, chief among them Republicans, can’t abide big government. For the Tea Party members of my audience, let me clarify the Republicans attitude: big government corporate welfare, “good”; big government help for workers, the disabled, the needy, “bad”.

So while the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats work to dismantle the social safety net by framing all help to non-billionaires as “the nanny state”, they do nothing to address the billions of dollars given to corporations and the tax evasion of these same companies.

Thanks to Economist Dean Baker for his clear and concise writing on this issue.

Go to U.S. Uncut to take action against corporate thievery:

Tex Shelters