Dean Baker’s my kind of guy–a progressive with a wicked way of wielding the sword of economics. His book The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Get Rich and Stay Richer is available free online. He writes:

“One key economic fact that the nanny-state conservatives understand very well, and that confuses many progressives, is that one person’s income is a cost to another person. Nanny-state conservatives clearly recognize that when they make the wages of auto workers and nannies lower, they make themselves richer, because the goods and services produced by autoworkers and nannies will cost less.  The exact same logic applies to the wages of professionals. When their wages fall, the goods and services they produce will cost less to everyone else. Lowering the wages of doctors, lawyers, economists, and journalists is not just beating up on relatively well-paid workers, it is also increasing the real wages of dishwashers, autoworkers, and nannies.”

That’s (whisper it) class warfare! He recently drove the point home on his blog, Beat the Press:

“It is illegal to hire a foreign doctor[,] because they are willing to work for a lower wage than a native-born doctor. While Wal-Mart is free to buy its toys and clothes from whoever sells them at the lowest price, an employer is supposed to certify that they were unable to find a U.S. citizen or green cardholder for a position before they are allowed to hire a foreigner. While this rule is not tightly enforced, it certainly precludes the possibility of a Wal-Mart Hospital that quite explicitly seeks out the lowest cost doctors from anywhere in the world. The government would throw the operators of Wal-Mart Hospital in jail. That’s because doctors have more political power than the workers who make toys or clothes.”

Republicanism is not about the free market, and never was.