STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “Mitt Romney”

The Solyndra Frame Exposed! How Mitt Romney and the GOP are Framing reality.

In a speech given last Thursday, Mitt Romney broke out the GOP Solyndra frame once again, but this time while standing in front of the now vacant plant in Freemont, California.  His of way of giving people a visual image to go with the framing, perhaps.  In a nutshell, the Solyndra frame involves the literal framing of President Obama for actions that both former President Bush and the ‘wannabe’ president Mitt Romney are guilty of committing, such as giving taxpayer money to wealthy donor friends (ie, Bush tax cuts) and engaging in ‘crony capitalism’ or Mitt Romney’s specialty (ie, vulture capitalism). This type of immoral behavior regularly practiced under the Bush administration and characteristic of Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital days were projected onto President Obama during this brief speech.

The very first question asked after three solid minutes of misinforming the public was, “In 2005, President Bush signed the energy policy act that created the government loan guarantee (ie, putting taxpayers on the hook when companies fail) doesn’t he get the blame for this?”

Instead of answering the question, which is based on facts, Mitt Romney continued framing this issue by deflecting attention away from who is truly responsible by making it appear as if President Obama was to blame for the failure of this single company. The untold reality is that the circumstances that led to the use of $535 million dollars of taxpayer money (a mere 1.3% of all loan guarantee amounts) was implemented by former President Bush, hurried along by GOP politicians, and backed by the super-wealthy Walton family, who have donated millions to GOP politicians over the years.

As reported by Stephen Lacey and Richard Caperton, It’s often claimed that the Solyndra loan guarantee was “rushed through” by the Obama administration for political reasons” In fact, the Solyndra loan guarantee was a multi-year process that the Bush administration launched in 2007.”  They go on to note that “Rather than “pushing funds out the door too quickly,” the Obama administration restructured the original loan when it came into office to further protect the taxpayers’ investment.”

This reporting is backed up by Politifact, who noted, “The Energy Department’s loan guarantee program was created as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by Bush.”
 To make matters worse, President Bush touted the bill as a success at the time, while using many positive sounding words to provide the illusion of responsible governing.

President Bush: “This bill will strengthen our economy and it will improve our environment, and it’s going to make this country more secure. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is going to help every American who drives to work, every family that pays a power bill, and every small business owner hoping to expand.” What President Bush failed to tell the American people is that this positive sounding language is an intentional act of deception that conceals the GOP’s true intentions of minimizing the risk made by wealthy investors who donate to his campaign, while maximizing the risk to unsuspecting taxpayers. This two-faced political strategy of the GOP involves taking credit for initiatives they frame as strengthening our economy and helping Americans, while blaming the opposition for any market failures that occur as a result of gambling with our tax dollars.

This win-win strategy is a product of the memo Frank “The Liar” Luntz crafted with the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, in the mid 1990’s, called Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.  Ever since then, the GOP began using positive sounding language when describing any social, economic or political position advocated by the GOP, regardless of any immoral or devastating consequences to the public, while simultaneously using negative sounding language when describing any social, economic or political position in opposition to their ideological agenda.

So, when Mitt Romney breaks out the Solyndra frame and says that “It’s a symbol not of success but of failure, and that “the president was taking money from the taxpayer to give freely to his friends”, he is partially correct.  It just so happens the serious conflict of interest and the decision to line the pockets of wealthy donors was a result of the immoral actions committed by Bush, not President Obama. This is what the modern day George Orwell Party (GOP) does.  They literally frame the opposition for actions they are guilty of committing.

When the market fails, or when the immoral and reckless behavior of a select few causes catastrophic conditions for the rest of us, people like Mitt Romney and other corrupt politicians step in and use it to their political advantage by framing the issue, and focus media attention and blame on the very people who are trying to protect the public from the abuses of crony capitalism.

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The Bain Approach: Mitt Romney’s Plan to Profitize America!

During his CEO days at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney engaged in vulture capitalism (not to be confused with venture capitalism). Vulture capitalism, or private equity as it is otherwise known is nothing more than legalized corporate raiding.  The Bain approach is to seek out healthy companies with sizeable pension plans for their employees, and lure them in with false promises of ‘strengthening’ these companies while hiding their true intentions of ripping them apart.  Under the guise of expanding revenues and cutting costs, the Bain approach is sold to investors, management, and employees of companies they prey upon as a means of promoting growth and making them more efficient.

Despite this rosy sounding language that’s sure to resonate with companies that seek to expand their business, the Bain approach of increasing revenues and cutting costs has a more sinister meaning.  The Bain approach only involves increasing revenues for shareholders of Bain Capital, at the expense of shareholders of the companies they seek to devour.  The costs they are cutting come in the form of employee layoffs, reduced benefits, lower wages, and out-right theft of worker funded pension plans.  For a better understanding of how the Bain approach works, Ampad provides all the evidence needed to understand the true intentions of vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney.

While CEO of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney bought American Pad & Paper Co. (Ampad) for $5 million in 1992.  The Bain approach of bleeding this company dry was very successful.   Revenues in the form of dividend checks (ie, un-earned income) were substantially increased for shareholders of Bain Capital, while investors of Ampad lost millions, along with employees who lost their livelihood and life savings.  In fact, Mitt Romney continues to live large off of the un-earned income he stole from people during his Bain days.

When Mitt Romney and other vulture capitalists claim that they are in favor of rebuilding companies by expanding revenues and cutting costs to make them more efficient, this is what they mean.  The costs they are cutting are people’s jobs, wages, and pensions, which make up the expanding revenues (un-earned income) for the super-wealthy shareholders of this vulture capitalist firm.  This siphoning of wealth to a tiny group of super-wealthy people is a result of adopting the Bain approach.  This Bain approach is what has led to the Great depression, the savings and loan crisis, the housing crisis, and the near financial global meltdown and big bank bailouts witnessed recently that amounted to the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the United States.

Mitt Romney made himself, along with his privileged wealthy investors huge fortunes at the expense of workers losing their jobs and life savings. This is what Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP mean when they say capitalism produces winners and losers.  This is also why Frank “The Liar” Luntz alerted a room full of GOP politicians not to use the word capitalism any longer.  The reason for this advice is because many people are starting to figure out that capitalism no longer works as intended.  The Bain approach has taken over and turned capitalism into a Wall Street Casino, where only the house wins! The house, of course, represents the vulture capitalists that are destroying our democracy, and preying upon us to feed their addiction for more wealth and power.

The Bain approach involves racking up enormous debt so a select few privileged shareholders can reap mind-boggling profits.  Why does this sound eerily familiar to the problems facing American today?  The unfortunate reality is that we have been following the Bain approach ever since Ronald Reagan was elected into office.  It’s safe to say that this approach to governing our nation has failed miserably and represents the source of the political and social divide currently taking place on important issues affecting our lives.

This new breed of capitalism is seeping its way into our daily lives by influencing our most valued and precious institutions, including our health care and education system, our social safety net, and the vital public protections that exist to ensure we all have safe food to eat, clean water to drink, and non-polluted air to breathe.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize our healthcare system by denying care to those in need in order to maximize profits for insurance companies at the expense of our health.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize our education system by using taxpayer dollars to fund the education of rich kids.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize the water we drink by reducing our reliance on public sources of drinking water.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize the food we eat by eliminating safety inspections in order add unsafe chemicals and by-products.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize our energy policy by eliminating public protections and preventing the development of clean, safe, fuels of the future, while advocating for a continued reliance on dirty, unsafe fuels of the past that will run out and are polluting our lungs and the environment, not to mention jeopardizing our national security.

In essence, Mitt Romney’s Bain approach to governing our nation, if elected president, will seek to profitize America! Romney’s recent claim that 80% of the Bain Capital deals grew their revenues may actually be a true statement.  The part he left out is how this occurred and at whose expense.

Mitt Romney literally “frames” President Obama for his own actions of supporting out-dated and failed policies

What would you do if you were running for president and it was becoming clear to voters that all you offered were old ideas, and failed policies, while your opponent was getting traction on his theme of introducing new ideas, and sound policies? Pinning it on the other guy sounds like a good place to start.

In a campaign speech yesterday in Michigan, Mitt Romney literally “framed” President Obama for his own actions of supporting out-dated and demonstrably failed policies.   This was accomplished by the linguistic framing he used when he repeating the word “liberal” in a derogatory fashion several times in relation to our current president.

In fact, judging by the repetition of the L-word, perhaps Mitt Romney’s communication team reached out to the well-known GOP pollster and spinster, Frank Luntz for precise instructions on how to use this language most effectively.  By most effectively, I mean in a way that packs the biggest emotional punch to stir up our emotions and blame the wrong person!

As reported in the Business Insider, here is a snapshot of this framing effort in action.  To illustrate the reality of what is occurring, as opposed to the framed version of reality team Romney is trying to create, I made a side by side comparison reflecting both versions.  This way, the truth behind what Mitt Romney is trying to do becomes clear, provided we are re-direct the frame in order to assign proper blame.

Framed version of reality: “President Obama chose to apply liberal ideas of the past to a 21st century America.  Liberal policies didn’t work then, they haven’t worked over the last four years, and they won’t work in the future. … ”

In Reality: Mitt Romney will choose to apply conservative ideas of the past to a 21st century America.  Conservative policies didn’t work then, they haven’t worked during the eight years of Bush’s presidency, and they won’t work in the future. … ”

Framed version of reality: Old-school liberals saw a problem and thought a government-run program was the answer. Obamacare is the fulfillment of their dreams. …

In Reality: Old-school conservatives saw a problem and thought a corporate-government run alliance was the answer. The Romney loop-hole is the fulfillment of their dreams. …

Framed version of reality: The liberals of the past raised taxes, often with little thought of how they would hurt small business, and the economy. …

In Reality: The conservatives of the past lowered taxes on the super-rich often with little thought of how they would hurt everyone else and the economy. …

Framed version of reality: Old-school liberals envisioned government guiding and providing every need of every citizen. …

In Reality: Old-school conservatives envisioned the corporate-government alliance as guiding and providing every need of the privileged class. …

Liberalism once taught that unions would ensure lasting prosperity for workers. … (This was and still is true today!)

What does it say about the fiction of old conservatism to insist that good jobs and good schools and good wages will result from policies that have failed us, time and again?

It says, we should become aware of framing, and realize whenever we hear Mitt Romney and other GOP members discussing “liberals”, they are really describing themselves!

David Cay Johnston sheds light on two critical “frames” conservatives use to manipulate us: Government “Picking winners and losers” and a “Transfer of wealth.”

David Cay Johnston wrote an article entitled, “Taxed by the boss” where he discussed the implications of the more than 2,700 companies in the Unites States that are keeping the state income taxes they are collecting from hundreds of thousands of workers for themselves.  So, in case you were wondering why states are laying off teachers, firefighters, and police officers, among other drastic cuts to social services that affect millions of people’s lives throughout the country, look no further than the corporate socialism taking place, as pointed out by David Cay Johnston.

To make matter worse, big banks and businesses like Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan, and Mitt Romney’s former company Bain Capital, are enriching themselves by a process known as “job piracy”, where one state diverts taxes in order to lure an employer from another state to relocate if they promise to create jobs.  The problem is that no jobs are ever created.  Instead, the money is transferred in an upward direction from workers to the corporate bosses in the top 1%, as indicated in the report by the taxpayer watchdog organization, Good Jobs First.  This report also discovered that “deals cut with states over the past two decades diverted $5.5 billion from public purposes to private gain.”  Talk about a transfer of wealth!!

Big businesses are getting away with diverting the taxes they collect from workers to enrich themselves because radical right-wing Governors like Chris Christie, who tops the list, has personally transferred a whopping $251.2 million from average workers to those in the “privileged sector”, who believe they are entitled to it!  No wonder why Chris Christie was being groomed for a spot in the Whitehouse.  He has done the most to enrich the privileged few at the expense of everyone else.  David Cay Johnston calculates that this transfer of wealth amounts to $80 per household in corporate welfare average families are spending to subsidize shareholders of the big banks and large corporations in the United States.

According to David Cay Johnston, “these deals typify corporate socialism, in which business gains are privatized and costs socialized. They also mean that Government picks winners and losers, interfering with competitive markets.” So, it turns out that radical right-wing Governors, in support of an ideology that advocates corporate socialism, are actively “picking winners and losers” (big business is always the winner) which amounts to a “transfer of wealth” from all of us (ie, workers) to a select few of them in the privileged sector (ie, CEO’s and shareholders).

Those of us who watch Fox news or listen to Glenn Beck, or some other radical right-wing talk show host are being framed to believe that Government is “picking winners and losers” in an attempt to benefit lazy people on welfare programs, which serves to create a society of dependency on Government.  Following this logic, believers of this frame are further inclined to believe that a “transfer of wealth” is occurring from the so-called successful people in the top 1% to those who are lazy and don’t want to work hard in order to carry out a socialistic agenda.

The problem with this logic and the rest of the radical right-wing frames is that the opposite of what they say is true!  In this case, Socialism is alive and well in America, as indicated by the Good Jobs First report and David Cay Johnston’s take on this issue.  However, the problem is that it’s only being applied to the top 1% instead of being used to benefit all of us!

The irony here is that the fear of socialism is being used to scare people away from supporting policies and programs that will benefit us all.  A prime example is the current ‘Budget for All being introduced by the progressive caucus in the House of Representatives.  This budget is more in line with our nation’s moral values, and will benefit all of us, as well as help prevent the abuses of power that lead to examples of corporate socialism mentioned above.

As expected, Allen West (R-FL), a conservative member of the tea party, initiated the latest socialism scare by telling people in a town hall recently that there are approximately 80 representatives in the House that are members of the communist party.  Although communism and socialism are not the same, they are used interchangeably as if they were in order to increase the fear effect, I presume, so people will not vote for it!

Unfortunately, if we continue to believe the conservative “frames”, we will never know the benefits that other nations currently enjoy, such as living longer, happier and healthier lives, not to mention being better educated, less stressed, depressed and anxious, as well as having the safety and security of knowing our family members will be taken care of if they get sick, or become disabled for any reason.  All of these benefits are not fantasy, but reflect the reality of countries that adopt moral budget priorities, and implement a system based on socialism for all, not a select few.

Why Mitt Romney is ‘out of touch’ with the rest of us: His role in keeping the Legacy of Trust Fund babies going!

Mitt Romney is a classic example of a trust fund baby.  He began life with everything handed to him on a silver platter, including a million dollar (or more) trust that he was able to use to get ahead in his adult life.   Similarly, Mitt Romney is dusting off that silver platter his daddy gave him in order to put $100 million on it, which he will then hand to his children, (while avoiding his tax obligation, of course).  Talk about an un-level playing field, but then again, this is what life is like for members who are born ‘privileged’ in America.

These spoiled brats use daddy’s money to make more money and then use daddy’s influence and connections in Washington to rig the tax code in their favor so they don’t have to join the ranks of the working folk.  Instead, their days are filled by sitting around the pool with other trust fund babies waiting for the next dividend check to arrive.  This is how the top 0.1% makes their money.  They are nothing more than a collection of trust fund babies, who are catapulted into positions of leadership and power, all while attempting to convince the rest of us that they actually worked hard for it!

Their definition of working hard is hiring people with daddy’s trust fund money to come up with creative ways to feed off of the living wages of those who actually work hard for a living.   This is how Mitt Romney made his money, by firing people and stealing their pension funds.  It’s ironic how one group of people (bottom 99.9%) earns their money the hard way, and another group (top 0.1%) comes along and finds ways to steal it from them because they believe they are entitled to it!  We shouldn’t be surprised, however, since they are spoiled brats!

Where have we heard this language before?

“sense of entitlement” = “welfare recipients” = “no work ethic” = “feeding off the system” = “entitlement programs” = “European style Socialism”

This group of ‘privileged’ members of the lucky sperm club, who collect un-earned income checks have the audacity to turn around and “frame” the millions of people who actually work hard in this country for low wages as being “welfare recipients”, who they claim are sitting around and collecting a free (ie, un-earned) check.

This is amazing! Members of the “privileged sector” are literally “framing” the working poor in this country for their actions!

What’s interesting about this phenomenon, besides the fact that it has largely gone unnoticed, is that everyone basically agrees that sitting around doing nothing and collecting a check, while others must work for their money is not right.  This is what makes this frame so effective, and it is working to convince millions of people that the victims of the immoral acts being committed by the “privileged sector” are somehow responsible for their own low wages, raided pension funds, less time off, and mandatory un-paid overtime hours worked.  How else can we explain the steady rise in productivity of our workforce, while wages are actually declining, or remaining flat, at best?

What people are missing is that the only reason why so many millions have to work for minimum wage and barely scrape by is because those at the top want more!  In order to keep those dividend checks flowing to the top 0.1%, as illustrated by Mitt Romney, who doesn’t even have a job, but yet deposited millions worth of dividend checks last year, ordinary workers must earn less.  This is characteristic of what has become known as the race to the bottom in terms of wages being paid to workers, so the difference can be paid to the top in the form of dividends.

In order to continue this bonanza for the next generation of trust fund babies, it becomes necessary to misinform the public with the help of their ‘pool buddies’ in the corporately owned media by using Orwellian language to convince the rest of us that the opposite of reality is true.  That somehow those at the bottom do not work hard and are feeding off of the system, so they can keep people looking down instead of up when casting blame for what’s wrong with our society.

Another prime example is “framing” Mitt Romney’s actions of cashing enormous dividend checks, for instance, as being the result of creating jobs.  Hence the “job creator” frame is readily applied to his behavior.

In reality he and other trust fund babies are sponging off of the rest of us by shipping our jobs overseas, and dismantling entire companies in order to continue the flow of dividend checks to fellow members of the “privileged sector.”  In this sense, Mitt Romney is actually a “job cremator”, who gets to live the rest of his life off of the pension money other people should be receiving for their hard work over the years.

Mitt Romney “frames” President Obama for his plan to “End Medicare as we know it.”

In an article written by Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, it was reported that Mitt Romney and a radical conservative group 60 Plus, simultaneously launched attacks aimed at President Obama and Senate Democrats for attempting to “end Medicare as we know it.”

Sam Stein pointed out that the most glaring omission in the Mitt Romney attack was “a mention of Romney’s own plan, which would create an optional voucher system for beneficiaries.”  A plan that is, “far more likely to “end Medicare as we know it” than what the president’s proposed.”  An optional voucher system is basically code for privatize it, which would mean that those who would stand the most to gain would be members of the “privileged sector.”

The conservative group 60 Plus focused their attack on the Democrats that are up for re-election in the Senate.  This attack consisted of a television ad accusing Senate Democrats of slashing Medicare benefits.   In reality, “the 60 Plus Association is spending millions of dollars to distract voters from the Republican plan to privatize Medicare which would make seniors pay thousands more for their coverage,” said Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”

The trick is to literally “frame” the opposition (ie, President Obama and Senate Democrats) for GOP actions to end Medicare, and then endlessly repeat the linguistic frame of “end Medicare as we know it” on Fox news in order to convince as many people as possible that this misinformation is accurate, or should I say “fair and balanced.”

Once this occurs, and enough people are convinced, or duped into believing the George Orwell Party’s lies, then the GOP is free to hand the purse strings of Medicare over to the “privileged sector.”   As a consequence, the money needed to provide for the sick and elderly in America to sustain their daily living will be used to create the latest feeding frenzy in the Wall Street Casino, where only the house wins!

David Cay Johnston explains why it pays to be a bus driver in Sweden: Made possible by the ‘S’ word – “Socialism”

You hear it every day on right-wing talk radio, Fox news, and even by Conservative politicians, who repeatedly say that we are headed down a path toward “Socialism”, or President Obama is a Socialist, and favors Socialist policies.  Republican Presidential candidates are also chiming in.  Mitt Romney accused President Obama of adopting policies based on what he called, “European style Socialism”, and Newt Gingrich claimed that the Obama administration is a “Secular Socialist machine.”

As pointed out by Peter Dreier, Distinguished professor of politics at Occidental College, there hasn’t been a significant socialist movement in this country for decades.   However, “After Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the word “socialism” started making a comeback. But it wasn’t because the socialists were gaining momentum. It was because Obama’s opponents — the Republican Party, the Tea Party, the right-wing blogosphere, the Chamber of Commerce, and conservative media gurus like Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh — labeled anything Obama proposed, including his modest health care reform proposal, as “socialism.”

The “Socialism” frame is one based on fear.   The modern day George Orwell Party (GOP) is trying to convince the American people that a distribution of wealth that disproportionately benefits the super-wealthy elite, (those in the top 0.01%) at the expense of everyone else is fine, but anything that remotely resembles a benefit to average working families is condemned as supporting the ‘S’ word.

The use of the word “Socialism” in reference to President Obama is intended to evoke the image of a totalitarian dictatorship, where the rights and freedoms of the people are not protected.

This is the image that the radical right wing wants people to associate with our current President.  However, as illustrated in a recent article by Peter Dreier, this strategy may backfire!

In reference to the Pew Research poll released in December 2011, it was determined that the majority of Americans (77%) agreed that “there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.”  In addition 83% of 18-29 year olds shared this view.

Joseph Schwartz, a Temple University political scientist made it clear that “Many young people associate capitalism with inequality, big corporations, and poverty,” and “If young people have any image of socialism at all, it is probably northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia. They know that northern Europe has less poverty, more equality, and more social mobility.”

For a realistic picture of what life is actually like in countries that adopt “European style socialism”, take a look at David Cay Johnston’s recent interview describing how it pays to be a bus driver in Sweden.

This is made possible, as David Cay Johnston points out in this clip because:

“They organize their economy to provide what Adam Smith said in the wealth of nations an economy should do.  Any policy that benefits the majority must be good policy.”

“We organize our economy on the theory that the very, very richest among us, the multi-billionaires don’t have enough, and unless we give them more our economy cannot grow.  That’s just nonsense!” Hence, the reason we are being “framed” to believe socialism is bad, and capitalism is good.

 

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.”

Government programs are working to benefit nearly half of all Americans, so radical Conservatives are trying to put a end to this by “Framing” them as “Entitlement programs” that should be eliminated.

Ed Shultz did a segment last Friday on the Ed show highlighting our lack of knowledge when in comes to the role of Government in providing benefits to average working families, called what Government programs?

As is turns out, 48.5% of Americans, nearly half of all people in this country benefit from Government programs.  The problem is that the very people receiving these benefits are not aware of it!

According to a New York Times poll, 44% of people receiving Social Security, 43% of people receiving unemployment benefits, and 40% of people receiving Medicare benefits claimed they have not used a government program. As correctly pointed out by Ed Shultz, “almost half of the people who collect these entitlements do not recognize that they are using Government programs, and Republican candidates feed off of their lack of awareness”

This is accomplished through “framing.”  The social safety net benefits described above, as well as other middle class benefits are being framed as “entitlements” in order to convince people to vote against their own well being by supporting the elimination of these so called, “entitlement programs.”  The “entitlement program” frame suggests that your hard-working tax dollars are funding the bad habits of lazy people who don’t want to work!  Even worse, this frame suggests that the Government is behind this effort to weaken our nation by giving people things they feel entitled to rather than requiring them to earn it like everybody else.

Let’s forget for the moment that entitlements like Social Security, for instance, are called entitlements for a reason.   Working people pay into this Government program their entire lives, and thus are ‘entitled’ to receive these benefits when they retire.  Despite this reality, the word entitlement is literally being redefined by the radical right wing in this country to fit the frame described above in order to justify the elimination of any benefit not going to the top 1%.

Watch how effective this framing effort has become.  Pay particular attention to how the rhetoric of the “entitlement program” frame is used to convince people that the benefits half of us unknowingly receive and depend upon are somehow destroying America.

Mitt Romney – “Even if we could afford the ever expanding payments of an entitlement society, it is a fundamental corruption of the American spirit.

Rick Perry – “I will work every day to try to make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can”

Newt Gingrich –  “It is the left, which has abandoned and betrayed the poor, because its safety net is actually a spider-web and it traps people in dependency.

Michelle Bachman – “Were deluding ourselves if were embracing a dependency culture.”

Rick Santorum – “I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

If only the people in the NY times poll knew that these radical Conservative politicians were talking about them!

Ezra Klein pointed out in this segment that, in some cases, “The most expensive Government programs are not the one’s for the poor,” but involve other benefits such as home mortgage interest rate deductions, and not paying taxes on employer provided healthcare benefits.  These are benefits that most people don’t even think of as Government programs.

The problem is that we are not aware of these facts!  Instead, we are becoming aware of the frames, which are repeated constantly on Fox news and other corporately controlled media outlets for the sole purpose of convincing us to vote against our self-interest by supporting Government programs that will strip us of these benefits, and shift costs from big businesses and the super-wealthy to average working families.  If the frames are successful at convincing people, then we will soon have no social safety net, we will pay even more for healthcare costs, and we will not be able to deduct our mortgage interest during tax season, among other benefits we do not currently recognize as being a result of Government programs.

 

 

Mitt Romney reveals his party’s ‘moral budget priorities’ for America at the CPAC convention: More profit for the ‘privileged’ at the expense of the ‘public’.

Although budget and tax policy may not seem like very exciting topics, budgets are extremely important since they are essentially moral documents.  The budgets we set for ourselves and the tax revenue we use to fund them reflect our shared values as a people.  Just as our parents and grandparents budgeted and paid for the things we publicly share today, such as the paved roads and bridges we drive on, the public schools we send our children to, the hospitals we go to when we get sick, and the court system we use to protect the public by prosecuting those who violate the social norms and values we share.

These are just a few examples of what our ancestors thought were necessary and worthy values, so they decided to act on this information and budget our tax dollars to pay for these things in order to serve the common good.

Unfortunately, there is another group of ‘privileged’ individuals in society, who prefer to be separate from the rest of us by walling themselves off in gated communities, who choose not to send their kids to the same schools we do, and who don’t want to pay for the heavy use and abuse of the common good we all help pay for.

In fact, this privileged group of super-wealthy elites does not want to protect the rights, or support the values of anyone who is not a member of the “privileged sector.”  This is reflected in their adamant opposition to participating in our Democracy by refusing to contribute any tax revenue to help solve the problems they are responsible for creating.  The so called “debt crisis” Republicans constantly refer to was caused by the same two budget and tax priorities Mitt Romney supported at the CPAC convention.

The primary values favored by Mitt Romney and the Republican party are simple. Increase the size of Government through unsustainable military and war spending, and more tax breaks for members of the “privileged sector.”

In order to accomplish this goal of valuing profit over people, it becomes necessary to decrease spending and impose ‘austerity’ measures on the rest of us by eliminating or privatizing the social safety net (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), deep cuts to public education, to include mass layoffs of teachers, cuts to our health and safety systems, including denying access to healthcare for people in need, laying off firefighters and police officers, and eliminating food, air and water safety protections.  Basically, the destruction of our shared value system in order to satisfy the greedy needs of the “privileged sector.”

Mitt Romney admitted to supporting these values by favoring a budget and tax policy that is against raising taxes on the super-wealthy, ”Tax hikes are off the table”, his support for an unsustainable level of military spending, “I will not be cutting our military budget” and imposing austerity on the rest of us “without raising taxes, I will finally balance the American budget”.

In the end, Mitt Romney and other radical Republican politicians are getting away with their skewed immoral priorities by framing Democratic opponents for their actions.  Budget and tax policies that are designed to increase the size of Government in order to protect and support the “privileged sector” are being framed as “tax & spend” policies that increase the size of Government to protect and support “welfare recipients.”

Unfortunately, many people believe these “frames” and actively support policies and programs that they mistakenly think will uphold our shared values.  Instead, what tends to happen is that a belief in these frames leads people to support the very budget and tax policies that are detrimental to our health and well being.  Policies that reflect underlying values that are diametrically opposed to the shared values we hold as a nation, and only serve to further enrich the already wealthy and powerful “privileged sector.”

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