STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “social safety net”

Paul Ryan’s “Path to prosperity” for the upper class is being paved by a “path to poverty” for the rest of us.

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.

 

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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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