STOP Framing "us"

How a select few of "them" are Framing all of "us"

Archive for the tag “conservative vision for America”

Why Occupy Wall Street? A former insider reveals the ‘game’ Wall Street is playing with our lives!

In her article, “Why I Had to Get Out: Confessions of a Wall Street Insider, Alexis Goldstein says, “before I occupied Wall Street, Wall Street occupied me.”  This insider writes about the ‘cultural indoctrination’ that occurs once a person is hired on Wall Street, stating that “Most of the message revolves around how hard everyone works, and how hard you are expected to work in return.” This type of messaging ties directly into the “frame” that the privileged folks on Wall Street somehow earn the money they make, and we shouldn’t “punish” their success.  She goes on to note, “This dueling masochism/machismo brings with it a tremendous superiority complex.  People on Wall Street truly believe they work harder than anyone else.”  “When you are wealthy and successful, you have a choice.  You can believe your success stems from luck and privilege, or you can believe it stems from hard work.”

This so called, “hard work” ethic on Wall Street is nothing more than getting ahead by selfishly manipulating and betraying others, including one’s own clients, and the very firm one works for.  “Wall street employees quickly learn that even their company is an enemy. To the firm, employees are a cost to be minimized, or a producer to be exploited.”  The secret to what we are framed to believe defines “success” is to become a knowing and willing participant in a culture of corruption that involves winning at any cost!  This winning at any cost attitude is pervasive and involves a ‘game’ being played on Wall Street where everyone seeks to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.   This is in line with the Ayn Rand philosophy being embraced by Paul Ryan and the rest of the modern day GOP.

“What this environment did to me is that I began to see everyone as a threat. From that idiot two cubicles down from me, to the moron on the other end of the phone (the client), to—more than anything—the faceless, imagined people on government assistance that I assumed (incorrectly) were causing such large percentages to disappear from my paycheck.”  Despite the insidious nature of this immoral view of reality that is detrimental to society at large, there is something we can learn from this insider’s courageous exposure of this sinister culture.  She is proof positive that people can walk away from this framed version of reality and join the rest of us that live in non-gated communities and actually care about one another. “The true key to getting out was taking off my blinders: meeting others who were outside Wall Street’s bubble.”

This Wall Street insider eloquently points out the distinction between what the culture of Wall Street believes in and how this differs from what the Occupy Wall street movement believes in.  She mentions that Wall Street believes in and embraces a culture of scarcity, which breeds hoarding, distrust and competition.   Occupy Wall Street on the other hand, seems to believe the opposite, she says, which breeds sharing, trust and cooperation.

“On Wall Street, everyone was my competitor.  They’d help me only if it helped them.”

“At Occupy Wall street, I am offered food, warmth and support because it’s the right thing to do, and because joy breeds joy.”

It appears that we all have a choice to make regarding the direction we want our country to go in.  We can vote for radical conservatives who embrace this psychopathic mentality of only being concerned with our immediate self-interest at the expense of everyone else, (as this former insider admitted doing) or we can Occupy Wall Street and help progressives change the rules of the game!

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The top 1% took in 93% of all income gains in 2010. What does this transfer of wealth mean for our country?

The most critical issue affecting the majority of American citizens that is rarely discussed by political pundits, including those on the left, is the fact that in order for the top 1% to rake in 93% of all income gains in 2010, as illustrated in the chart below, a transfer of wealth must take place from all of “us” to a select few of “them.”  This is how it becomes possible for the top 1% to pile up such massive amounts of wealth to the point where just 400 households, (those at the peak of the pyramid scheme they have turned America into) can possess more wealth than 154 million people combined (half the U.S. population).

Startling figures like this is what makes radical right wing initiatives, such as Paul Ryan’s budget plan so extremely important, since the implementation of our budget and tax policy not only determines the moral values we set for our nation, but also who benefits in our society.  Should everyone share in the success we all help to create, as reflected in the past when we implemented moral budget priorities and a progressive vision for our future?  Or, should we continue to adopt radical pieces of legislation that further widen the gap between those in the top 1% and everyone else, as seen in the fat cat illustration above?

This chart from the Economic Policy Institute reflects how the growth in income was shared between those at the top and everyone else during what was known as the ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ (1945-1975).  During this time period, our political leaders recognized that higher tax rates on the super-rich were advantageous to our economy and nation as a whole.  This ‘Golden age of Capitalism’ led to the creation of a thriving middle class, where the majority of people (including those at the top) benefitted, as opposed to only a tiny minority reaping all of the income gains.

Contrast the ‘Golden age of Capitalism’ with the time period immediately following it when Ronald Reagan came into office in 1980, and ending when George W. Bush  left office in 2008.  During this period, our conservative leaders decided to drop the progressive vision for America that was working to benefit us all in favor of a radical right wing ideology that focuses strictly on what benefits those at the very top.  It’s no surprise, given the shift in priorities that an unconscionable amount of profits were captured by those at the top, while a mere pittance of 2% of all income gain during this time period was made available for the rest of the people (90%) to share.

The problem we face today is that the tiny minority in the top 1% has been very successful thus far at implementing this radical vision for America and getting what they want.   This is largely accomplished by consolidating and controlling the media (ie, corporate media) in order to develop a well functioning ‘echo chamber’ to spread misinformation and “frame” the public to believe conservative politicians are actually trying to “save” and “strengthen” Social Security and Medicare, and help create a path to prosperity for all.

If we continue to believe this nonsense, then the GOP’s “path to prosperity” for the top 1% will continue to be paved, which means the rest of us will be faced with drastic cuts to vital services that will initially affect the most vulnerable populations among us, (the working poor, sick, and disabled) but will eventually affect us all every time they seek to re-pave the “path to prosperity” in the future.  We must understand that this is the conservative version of morality, and their tax and budget policies will naturally follow from their moral principles, which are first and foremost to protect and enrich fellow members of the upper class at the expense of everyone else.

 

Vice President Joe Biden discusses the ‘vision’ of the modern day Republican Party or what he calls supporting the “privileged sector.”

In reference to the political strategy of obstruction and division the modern day Republican Party uses to divide this country, Vice President Joe Biden had this to say recently, “these guys, I don’t think their bad guys, but I think they really believe, they really believe as strongly as we do in the direction they want to take the country…”  He goes on to describe their vision of America by saying that they are not even trying to hide or pretend anymore about what they stand for.  He says, “Not only in their rhetoric, but their actions, how they vote, what they propose, what their budget is, it’s a stark, stark, stark, stark contrast, even a stark contrast of the traditional Republican party of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s…”

“The big difference between us and them, I think, can be distilled to a phrase, the difference between us and them is, we are strongly supportive of the private sector, they are supportive of the “privileged sector…”

For a visual of what happens when we support the “privileged sector”, take a look at the following chart.  It reflects the analyses offered by Economist Paul Krugman regarding what really happens when we enact Republican budget and tax policies.  Paul Krugman notes, “Because of movement conservative political dominance, taxes on the rich have fallen, and the holes in the safety net have gotten bigger, even as inequality has soared. And the rise of movement conservatism is also at the heart of the bitter partisanship that characterizes politics today.”

Notice that when we enact policies that favor the “privileged sector”, such as less regulation and lower taxes on the super-wealthy, look what happens.  These ‘Tea-party’ policies of less regulation, limited Government, and lower taxes on the so called, “job creators” not only led to the “great depression” in 1930, but also led to our current depression that began in 2008, which nearly led to a global financial meltdown.  Both of these periods are marked by vast poverty, needless suffering, and terrible economic conditions resulting from unnecessarily high levels of income inequality.

In contrast, the period in the middle of this chart from around 1940 to 1980, reflects a period in our nation’s history when we increased Governmental regulations on the “job cremators”, preventing them from killing American jobs, when we imposed higher taxes on the super-wealthy members of the “privileged sector”, making sure they participated in our Democracy, as opposed to their preferred method of ruling from above, and when we allowed the average working American to participate in the profits they helped generate in both the private as well as public sectors.

In reference to Presidential candidates of the modern day Republican party, Vice President Biden had this to say, “I think it’s more than about obstructionism for Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, I think they actually believe what they are saying.  When they say, let Detroit go bankrupt, let foreclosures happen, poor people have no habit of work, Barrack Obama is the food stamp president.  I think it’s not just political theatre, I think they are committed to it.”  He’s right!  They really believe what they are saying because it’s necessary in order to continue the status quo of income inequality, which coincidentally, further enriches the “privileged sector” at the expense of everyone else.

The “frames” used by Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other radical right wing conservatives are designed to focus our attention on those receiving food stamps, as opposed to the extremely wealthy, who are gaming the system to benefit the upper class members of the “privileged sector.”  What Vice President Biden was trying to express, I believe, is that the private sector has been replaced by the “privileged sector”, and that he is in favor of going back to a time period in this country when the tax and regulatory policies that led to the creation of a thriving middle class were firmly in place.  Policies that promoted income equality, as opposed to high levels of income inequality that we will surely experience under the direction and leadership of the modern day Republican party.  After all, as pointed out by Vice President Biden, the modern day Republican Party is no longer hiding the fact that they are in favor of the “privileged sector.”

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