STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “Right wing frame”

The consequences of not having an equal distribution of wealth in the U.S., and what the Occupy Wall Street movement can do about it.

The level of income equality in this country has been in a reversing trend since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  However, many people will not know this by listening to Fox news, or some other radical right-wing talk show host, including Glenn Beck, who had this to say on his blog.

This is Glenn Beck’s attempt to create further division among us by perpetuating the latest right-wing “frame”, which states that 47% of Americans pay no income taxes.  This of course, is another Orwellian frame designed to convince all of us to take out our anger and frustration on the poorest and most disabled among us.  After all, these are the people who make up the 47% Glenn Beck is referring to.

Instead of looking up at the upper class who are truly responsible for our economic hardship, this frame ensures we look down at the very victims of income inequality, and ignore the fact that we are currently experiencing the largest transfer of wealth in the history of this country from the working poor and middle class (all of “us”) to a select few in the upper class (“them”).

David Cay Johnston does a beautiful job of summing up what is really happening in this country, being led by those in the upper class, or the top .1%.

Although each of the 9 things David Cay Johnston discusses are enlightening, I would like to focus on #5, which states, “And (surprise!) since Reagan, only the wealthy have gained significant income”  This disheartening reality ties into what the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about, and why it is critical to understand there is a class war being waged against all of “us” (99%) by a select few of “them” (top .1%)

Now, why do I say the top .1% instead of the top 1%?  Well, this chart from the Economic Policy Institute says it all!

Between 1979 and 2005, households at the bottom fifth of the income scale have seen an average, inflation-adjusted income growth of just $200. Importantly, that does not represent an average annual increase in income of $200, but rather, an increase of $200 over the entire 26-year period. By contrast, a small number of households at the top 0.1% of the income scale saw average income growth of almost $6 million over that same period

Why is this important? Well, because the 26 year period prior to 1979 paints an entirely different picture.

“These latest patterns of extremely uneven income growth stand in stark contrast to the period between 1947 and 1973, when income growth was distributed roughly equally across income classes, with the poorest 20% of families seeing income growth at least as fast as the richest 20%.”

So, what does this mean to the average citizen?  Why should anyone care about the income inequality that is illustrated in this article, or by what David Cay Johnston has to say?

Here’s why –  Prior to the current trend that has taken place ever since Ronald Reagan took office, a significant portion of our citizens (1 in 3) held a high paying union job.  Everyone was doing well, including those at the very bottom.  During this time period, those in the bottom 20%, in terms of income distribution, saw their incomes grow at a pace equal to those in the top 20%.  As a result, 1 parent could work and earn enough to support the entire family.  People could afford to purchase a home, save for their children’s college fund, and retire with the comfort of knowing they were secure in their old age due to the pensions they were receiving.

Of equal importance, there was less poverty, crime, alcohol and drug abuse, imprisonment, obesity, teenage pregnancies, etc.  Why?  Because the more equal the distribution of income is in a society, the less social-ills seen in that society.  (See the about section of this blog).  Notice there is no Occupy Sweden movement taking place.

As a result of the increasing income inequality trend that has taken place over the past 30 years, our political system continues to favor the top .1% at the expense of the rest of us, not only in terms of our wages, benefits and pensions, but also in terms of the social-ills mentioned above.

The only chance we have to reverse this devastating trend is if the Occupy Wall Street movement is successful, and we go back to a time when all segments of the population grow at an equal rate.  After all, an equal distribution of income is what enabled the creation of the ‘middle class’, which is now being systematically destroyed.

Bottom line:  Income inequality is the problem, and income equality is the solution.  In my opinion, income equality ought to be the primary focus of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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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”.

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