The Balanced Budget Amendment Frame: A Rational approach to balancing the budget, as the name implies, OR A Dirty little secret “they” don’t want all of “us” to know about?
If one were only to look at the title of the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution, one might be convinced that this is the way to go, especially since we have also been convinced that we have a budget crisis and our deficit is out of control, right? Wrong! The far right-wing conservatives in this country are actively trying to convince us all that we are spending money like its going out of style (on the sick, the elderly, and the poor) and that this balanced budget amendment will ensure we are put back on the right track (i,e, to continue spending all of our money on the top .1%).
Rep. Bobby Scott D-Virginia, a member of the Budget Committee, sums up the ‘Dirty little secret’ of the Orwellian balanced budget amendment in this short clip.
It was pointed out by Rep. Scott that the Balanced Budget Amendment would actually make it harder to balance the budget. Not only that, but it would almost certainly guarantee continued deficits and more drastic cuts to social programs, including cuts to job training, education, clean water, transportation, more layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc. This is due to the provisions of the Balanced Budget Amendment that make it possible to cut taxes on the wealthy with a simple majority vote, but to raise any revenue to pay for all of the above would require a 2/3 vote in both the House and the Senate. Surely, this is an impossible feat, and will inevitably lead to more ‘austerity’ and ‘pain’ for the average American, while the top .1% continues to get a tax cut, that all of “us” pay for.
Rep. Bobby Scott draws our attention to the fact that the nice sounding title or frame is nothing more than a means of perpetuating the very problem they claim to be preventing. Why would Republicans be advocating for such an amendment if it makes things worse? It’s very simple. The Republican Party advocates on behalf of the corporations, and those who own them, or approximately, .1% of voters in this country. If this Balanced Budget Amendment were to pass, then “they” (top .1%) will be able to work in conjunction with the Government (Fascism anyone?) to ensure all of our social safety nets, (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and consumer and environmental protections (EPA, FEMA, Wall street regulations, etc.) will be eliminated under the guise of “it exceeds 18% of GDP”, thus, firmly placing the framed rhetoric of “we can’t afford it” into LAW!!
Putting it into perspective, the far right-wing conservatives in this country want “us” to suffer. It’s the only way “they” can gain! This is why it is essential to frame issues and debates in such a way that conceals their true ideological agenda. Think about it, who is going to vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says, “we will make it more difficult to balance the budget, give more of the people’s money to the top .1%, and slowly but surely phase out any and all social safety nets and Governmental protections for everyone who is not in the top.1%. The only way to garner support for this type of immoral ideology is to use Orwellian style language to describe their plans, and convince us that such actions are for the good of the country.
In summary, Bobby Scott says,
“We should not be distracted by misleading titles, we should notice that the legislation will make it harder to actually balance the budget because it increases the number of members who might have to cast career ending votes, makes it virtually impossible to raise revenues or close loopholes, it will compel deep cuts in social security and medicare, and you can’t cure that with a simple, nice little title”.