STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “sense of entitlement”

Paul Ryan’s crusade to “Raid the Railroad” is being framed as an attempt to “save” taxpayers money. Where have we heard this language before?

Paul Ryan, Republican chair of the House Budget Committee, is attempting to Raid the Railroad Retirement fund by introducing a ‘poison pill’ that would effectively steal the hard earned money that Railroad workers have been putting aside for years. Many people may be familiar with Paul Ryan’s current budget plan for our nation, which he calls a “path to prosperity.”  What many people may not be aware of is that his plan for the nation is similar to his plan for local railroad workers, which is to create a “path to prosperity” for the top 1% that is being paved by a “path to poverty” for the rest of us.

Paul Ryan added a little something extra this year to the conservative’s immoral budget proposal for America.  In addition to devastating our social safety net by gutting social programs that benefit the most vulnerable populations among us, including the working poor, sick, disabled and elderly populations, Paul Ryan is extending this destructive crusade to include middle class working Americans who contribute to the railroad pension fund.  It should be noted that the money saved from this crusade will be transfered up to the wealthiest among us, who believe they are entitled to it!

According to the Railroad Retirement Board “An accompanying report (House Report 112-421) to the House of Representatives’ version of the federal budget for fiscal year 2013 includes a list of reforms that could impact government income security programs.” According to this report, conservative politicians in Washington are actively trying to “conform Tier I so that its benefits would equal those of Social Security, with an estimated savings to taxpayers of $2 billion over 10 years.”  What this means is that workers will be forced to alter their existing pension plan, which has been working to benefit retired and disabled railroad employees for years.

What Paul Ryan is not telling the American people is that the railroad pension fund has absolutely nothing to do with taxpayers.  The Railroad pension fund is completely funded by railroad workers themselves.  Not one dime of taxpayer money is used to fund this pension plan.  So, why would a conservative politician in Washington say otherwise?  The short answer is that Paul Ryan is operating under a radical ideology that seeks to transfer wealth from average working Americans to upper class members of what Vice President Joe Biden referred to as the “privileged sector.”

Despite the fact that Railroad workers fund their own pension plans, NOT TAXPAYERS! it is important to point out that this language of “saving taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years” will soon be the focus of attention by the majority of conservative politicians in Washington, not to mention Fox news, and all of the radical right wing talk show hosts.  Soon, they will all be on the same page, so to speak, and join forces to endlessly repeat this talking point of saving taxpayers money.

When viewed through the lens, or “frame” of saving taxpayers money, Paul Ryan’s comments appear to make sense.  This is how framing works.  Specific language is used to create a “frame” that represents how people see an issue.  In this case, the endless repetition of “saving taxpayers money” that will shortly occur will start to make sense to viewers and listeners of this right wing echo chamber because of the sheer repetition of this nonsensical frame.  This strategy works in a similar fashion to advertising.   The more a message is heard or seen, the more readily available it becomes once this topic is brought up.

With that being said, the sad, but ugly truth is that some of us will begin to view the Railroad Retirement pension fund through the lens of this frame, and believe that this issue is primarily about saving taxpayers money, and not about the fact that it really involves stealing money from working Americans.

The great thing about framing, (for conservatives who seek to manipulate us), is that any fact that doesn’t fit the frame is rejected, and only misinformed opinions that reinforce the frame are accepted.  They’re pretty slick aren’t they!

Since the ‘poison pill’ language above has not yet been used to amend the Railroad Retirement Act, the Railroad Retirement Board, who oversees the fund is not able to comment on what changes to tier I benefits will actually take place for current railroad employees.  I guess now would be the time for people who work on the railroad, as well as concerned citizens who care about threats to our current social safety net, should begin to take action by calling their local and state representatives to protest this immoral theft taking place by radical conservatives politicians.

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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.

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.

 

 

Marco Rubio attempts to “frame” our social safety net as weakening our nation. Who really has a sense of entitlement?

Ed Shultz pointed out the other night on his show how Marco Rubio accused our cherished Government institutions such as Social security, Medicare and Medicaid, as weakening our nation.  This is an example of an Orwellian style frame designed to convince us of the opposite of reality.  In reality, these programs are examples of social safety nets originally put in place by President Roosevelt shortly after the ‘great depression’ to protect the citizens of this country (all of “us”) from exploitation by a select few of “them”.

We pay into programs like social security with our own money, and thus are ‘entitled’ to receive this money when we retire from working our entire lives.  Programs like this help make us stronger as a nation due to the financial security it provides in later years, not to mention maintaining a vibrant middle class.  It also serves to protect us from a select few at the top who seek to do us harm.

But this is not the story you may have heard or are being told by advocates of the top .1% in this country, such as political pundits and right-wing radio talk show hosts, who pander to the richest among us.  These individuals are actively trying to convince us of an alternate reality, a framed version of reality that involves a belief that Government programs are making us weaker as a nation.

Programs that help strengthen and protect working families, the sick, the poor and the elderly are presented as being inefficient and ultimately rewarding laziness.  We are being convinced that protecting and caring for our sick children, and providing a social safety net for our grandparents must be cut down in size in order to stop those who feel ‘entitled’ to something they didn’t earn.

This frame is also used to justify the current austerity measures being inflicted across the nation by implying that those benefiting from these programs (nearly all of us) are somehow contributing to the moral and cultural decay of our nation.  In reality, the real cause of our nation becoming weaker is a direct result of the sense of entitlement felt by the top .1% in this country, which produces income inequality, and truly represents the weakening and moral decay of our social fabric (see about section).

The newly elected extreme right-wing state Governors are telling us that we are broke and need to cut vital public services that we each depend on daily.  In addition, our jobs are slashed, our wages reduced, our work hours extended, our benefits and pensions cut, all so we can transfer wealth up to the ruling class, who believe they are entitled to receive it! The plain, but ugly truth is that there is a class war in this country, and “they” do not care about all of “us”.   The super-rich in this country are extremely selfish and believe they are entitled to all of the wealth created in this country.  Take a look at this trend.

As can be seen in this graph, nearly all of the wealth generated in this country is going straight to the top .1%.  In order to continue this trend, and extract wealth from all of us, they spend billions of dollars in think tanks and language experts to devise appropriate frames to convince all of us to believe in the opposite of reality, or what I call a framed version of reality.  In this sense, the poorest among us are literally framed for the actions of the richest among us, and the rest of us are framed linguistically to believe it.

The bottom line: The poorest among us are blamed for having a sense of entitlement instead of the richest among us, and this belief is repeated over and over on the corporately owned media with the sole purpose of convincing us of this framed reality.

So, are we weaker as a nation due to a sense of entitlement?  Actually, yes!  However, as indicated above, there are two versions of reality.  In the framed version of reality, the poorest among us are causing all of our problems, and in plain old reality, the richest among us are to blame.

The key to stopping this madness is to first recognize that we are being framed!  The Government institutions discussed above are vital to our strength as a nation and should be upheld and fought for, just as they initially were when implemented.

Second, we should call out the political pundits and right wing talk show hosts whenever they use these frames against us.  Simply turn on fox news on any given day, or listen to right-wing talk radio and post a comment, or send me an email (stopframingus@gmail.com) and let’s get the discussion going.

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