Paul Ryan and members of the GOP recently released their budget plan for America. They are referring to this plan as a “path to prosperity.” What they really mean is a “path to poverty” for everyone who is not in the top 1%. After all, in the land of George Orwell, the “path to prosperity” can only mean one thing, it’s opposite, or a “path to poverty.”
This “path to poverty”, or GOP inflected austerity, is destructive to the working poor and middle class in this country, since it transfers wealth from all of “us” to a select few of “them” primarily by eliminating our social safety net. This is accomplished by taking away guaranteed benefits currently being provided to protect the most vulnerable among us, including the poor, sick, disabled, and elderly populations, in order to give guaranteed benefits to the wealthiest among us, by permanently extending the Bush tax cuts for instance, which will add trillions more to a deficit “they” continue to pile on the backs of everyone else.
The irony is that the George Orwell Party has already “framed” the issue of taking from one group to give to another in their often-repeated “transfer of wealth” frame. The radical right wing constantly repeats this Orwellian frame to convince the rest of us that Liberal Democrats are somehow taking from the rich to give to the poor. In reality, the Paul Ryan budget plan and the rest of the GOP is in favor of what you would call Robin Hood in reverse, since their agenda is all about taking from the poor and middle class in order to protect and enrich the upper class.
Interestingly, the GOP’s plan for the money that will be generated by making drastic cuts to vital services affecting the working poor and middle class, such as ending Medicare, and handing over the Social Security trust fund ($2.6 Trillion) to the Wall Street Casino, will not be used to pay down the deficit, but rather to further pave the “path to prosperity” for a select few. In this sense, Paul Ryan and members of the GOP are not necessarily lying when they say their budget will create a “path to prosperity”, they just left out the part about who will prosper and at who’s expense.
In order to get people on board with taking away guaranteed benefits that have been enormously popular ever since they were first enacted to protect the people from the abuses of the “privileged sector” in the past, the GOP must hide their true intentions by using positive sounding language when describing their budget plan and vision for America, and negative sounding language when describing anything that conflicts with their agenda. It really is that simple!
In line with the memo Newt Gingrich crafted with the help of Frank Luntz, the GOP is using language such as “save” and “strengthen” in relation to Social Security and Medicare to present the illusion of being in favor of these programs. In reality, the GOP is adamantly opposed to our social safety net, and regularly refers to such programs that benefit disabled children, the elderly, and the working poor, as “entitlement programs” that should be eliminated. So, why should we believe Paul Ryan or any other Republican politician in Washington who claim they are in favor of helping our senior citizens, disabled children, and those who are trying to survive on non-livable wages? The short answer is that we shouldn’t.