STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “upper class”

The Ricketts use of Taxpayer Money to Enrich Themselves and Attack President Obama in the Process: Priceless!

The headline from the Washington Post on Thursday read Rahm “livid” at Ricketts.  Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, is supposedly not returning calls from the Ricketts family after he discovered Joe Ricketts intention to launch a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign against President Obama.

The issue surrounding the Ricketts family demonstrates the need to shift our priorities from protecting and enriching a few privileged Americans, to protecting the most vulnerable among us, as well as provide an equal playing field for everyone to become prosperous.  As it stands, our political system is set up so that members of the privileged class like the Ricketts are able to use our taxpayer money to launch attack ads against those who seek to put an end to their number one priority, which is paving the path to prosperity for the top 1%, at the expense of the rest of us.

In the case of the Ricketts family, they plan to use taxpayer dollars to fund their smear campaign against our current President.  How do they plan on doing this? Simple. They are legally able to lobby our elected officials for taxpayer money to the tune of $100 million to make so called “renovations” to their privately owned stadium, Wrigley Field.  The planned attack ad campaign is expected to cost $10 million dollars, a mere 10% of the people’s money that will be transferred to the Ricketts family, courtesy of GOP members holding positions in public office.  According to the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, David Cay Johnston, this form of corporate welfare is nothing new.  He claims that taxpayers are spending $2 billion dollars per year to subsidies the four major sports leagues (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey).

In an interview with Democracy now, David Cay Johnston reveals how the super-rich are getting away with transferring wealth from all of us to a select few at the top. He notes, “We have created in the United States, largely in the last 30 years, a whole series of programs, a few of them explicit, many of them deeply hidden to take money from the pockets of the middle class and working poor and funnel it to the wealthiest people in America.”  This interview was conducted shortly after the release of his new book Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and stick you with the bill). As described in this interview, one of the key ways of doing this is to use taxpayer’s money to build sports stadiums so the super wealthy in the privileged class can profit from them.

David Cay Johnston describes how George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, received over $600 million in taxpayer funding to build the new Yankee stadium.  The owners of the New York Mets also received over $600 million in taxpayer money, as well as an additional $50 million dollars in taxpayer money courtesy of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, so these wealthy owners could lobby our elected representative for more “free” money.

He also reported that the new owners of the Washington Nationals baseball team paid $450 million dollars for the team, but actually got the team for free!  We actually paid these people to buy the team, and gave them a bonus of over $161 million in the process.  He points out that taxpayer funding is the key to what makes these sports teams profitable.  That’s right, without taxpayer-funded money, also known as corporate welfare, the privileged folks like the Ricketts family would not be able to turn a profit! At the same time we are doing this, David Cay Johnston says that we are starving our public parks for money.  Due to the lack of organized activities in local communities, he says, we are seeing a rise in urban, and now suburban gangs, as well as an increase in violence.  This is what happens when we focus our priorities on transferring wealth to the privileged in this country, as opposed to ensuring prosperity for all.

As it turns out, we are literally taking money from everyone who is physically able to contribute to our common wealth and giving it to the privileged class, who believe they are entitled to it! To make matters worse, families like the Ricketts, who benefit from our tax dollars are also using the power of our Government to prevent anyone else from being able to own sports teams, such as other competitors, non-profit groups, etc.  The so-called “free market” is really nothing more than what David Cay Johnston describes as Corporate Socialism for the super wealthy, and true market capitalism for everyone else.

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!

The “Slush fund” frame: Cover for the GOP efforts to raid the Public health and cancer prevention fund in order to transfer it up to the ‘privileged’ in America.

What John Boehner and the rest of the GOP are calling a “Slush fund” is the Public health and prevention fund that provides critical health services that all Americans depend on, especially women. The GOP is actively trying to convince the rest of us that we should be in favor of supporting an immoral bill that would eliminate 600,000 cancer prevention screenings for women across the country in order to prevent the student loan interest rates from doubling for college students. This stands in direct contrast to what Democrats are proposing, which is to simply end the taxpayer funded subsidies the oil industry receives. As it stands, the student loan interest rates are scheduled to double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, 2012, and so our elected representatives are faced with a moral choice.

This issue is fundamentally about the priorities we hold as a nation, and involves the choices our elected leaders make about what we value in America.  Do we value the health of women in this country?  If given the chance, would we choose to prevent our wives, mothers and daughters from getting cancer?  Or, do we value profit over people?  Do we value protecting the privileged in this country by placing a higher priority on oil subsidies for billionaires like the Koch brothers rather than preventing women from getting cancer?

Unfortunately, the choice that an overwhelming majority of conservatives in the House of Representatives made when faced with this choice was to continue protecting oil subsidies for people like the Koch brothers.  After all, the Koch brothers were born privileged, and believe they are ‘entitled’ to free money from all of us, so their children can be born privileged too.

Why did the GOP pass this bill?  The obvious reason is so they can continue protecting and enriching the ‘privileged’ members in society, who fund their re-election campaigns.  More importantly, however, the GOP passed this bill because it is in line with their ideological vision for America.  This vision involves the pursuit of one’s self-interest to the dismay of everyone and everything else, including the destruction of the environment.  To make matters worse, conservatives are making sure we continue to use taxpayer dollars to rely on dirty, unsafe fuels of the past, even at the expense of preventing women from getting cancer!

It’s obvious that no one would be in favor of denying potentially life saving screenings for women to prevent cancer.  This is morally wrong, and goes against the values we hold dear in this country.  This is exactly why the GOP created the “Slush fund” frame to make it appear that Democrats are being selfish and are engaging in corruptive practices in order to line the pockets of special interests.  When viewed through the lense of this frame, who is going to support the use of a “slush fund” for private gain?

The incredible irony here is that this is exactly what members of the GOP are guilty of doing.  The GOP is literally “framing” Democrats for their actions, since they are completely selfish and are engaging in corruptive practices in order to line the pockets of special interests.  The GOP “Slush fund” is enormous in scope and was set up to purposely transfer wealth from all of “us” to a select few of “them.”  This and other frames are being used to justify inflicting draconian budget cuts on all of us, while they laugh all the way to the banks that they own with their latest tax cut.

For a visual of what this transfer of wealth into the GOP “Slush fund” looks like, take a look below.

This is the what happens when we vote for conservative politicians in Washington. Our choice to vote for the GOP leads to a “path to prosperity” for the top 1% that is being paved by a path to poverty for the rest of us.

Framing our unconscious: How language can be used to influence your thoughts, actions and beliefs beyond what you could ever expect (consciously)

Theoretical physicist, Leonard Mlodinow appeared on the Dylan Ratigan show today to discuss his new book Subliminal: how your unconscious mind rules your behavior.  Prior to introducing this guest, Dylan stated, “Revolutionary new neuroscience is proving that the way that our brain perceives so called facts in front of us dictates our emotional and overall experience in reality” Leonard Mlodinow discussed the implications current neuroscience research has on our very thoughts, actions and behaviors.  Since most of what we do is essentially determined unconsciously, the author notes, the brain is using whatever data it has available to inform your conscious mind about what decisions to make.  This readily available data, in the form of current topics in the news, for instance, combined with our previous experiences impacts the way we see the world, what we believe, and how we relate to others.

According to the author, the way you see the world isn’t the way the world actually is, it just so happens to be the way you feel about things based on your previous experiences, and the information you are exposed to.  Therefore, being able to tap into these feelings by controlling the information that is readily available for people to consume, according to current neuroscience research, has the ability to impact our entire belief system.  It just so happens that the radical right wing has spent billions of dollars in think tanks to figure out exactly how to tap into these feelings.  This is why they hire people like Frank “The Liar” Luntz to craft specific language that is purposely designed to influence us on an unconscious level, so that the “frame” becomes the reality we see.

To make matters worse, the media itself, from the newspapers we read, radio shows we listen to, and news stations we watch are almost entirely corporately owned and controlled.  Taken together, the influence of the “corporate media” combined with the “frames” Frank Luntz uses to manipulate us, is having a major detrimental impact on our culture.   Ironically, those in the “privileged sector” who are responsible for this pure and utter immoral manipulation are successfully using framing language to also convince us that we should blame “illegal immigrants”, “welfare recipients”, and “latte sipping liberals” for the problems they are responsible for creating.

When we accept the right wing “frames”, we tend to believe that those who are born ‘privileged’ in this country actually earned their money, and so we shouldn’t “punish the rich.”  We tend to believe that a healthcare system that would actually provide healthcare for all is somehow a “Government take-over of healthcare.” We tend to believe that asking people in the privileged class to contribute to our Democracy by helping to fund the very public services and resources that they utilize more than the rest of us is “class warfare.”  As an alternative, we tend to believe that giving more of our tax dollars to the privileged in this country is providing “tax relief” to those we tend to believe are “job-creators.”

Belief in these frames enables the status quo of income inequality to continue without objection.  The danger in not objecting is that more of us are sinking into poverty, losing our jobs, our homes, and experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It explains why were eating too much, smoking too much, drinking too much, and committing more crimes, all while those at the top are being showered with the wealth that we all help to create.  Despite all of this evidence, and the fact that the United States is still the richest nation on the planet, the frame “we’re broke” that is being used to perpetuate all of the immoral and devastating effects of income inequality persists.  Of equal importance is the fact that any attempt by progressives to reverse this disastrous trend is framed as a “Government intrusion into your life.”

This is why we all need to understand the power of language in shaping not only who we are, but who we are becoming as a nation. America works together, not in isolation from each other, where one privileged class prevails at the expense of everyone else.

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.

A closer look at Governor Scott Walker’s budget shortfall frame: Dennis Kucinich pulls back the curtain on the so called “debt crisis” affecting Wisconsin and other states around the nation.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is in the process of being recalled after he used a fake “deficit crisis” to justify his actions of stripping workers of their rights to fight back when corporations decide to lower their wages, reduce their benefits and eliminate their pension plans.  This is known as the right to collectively bargain, and has been long established in unions across the country because of actions taken in the past by large corporations to purposely drive down the cost of labor in order to further enrich the super-wealthy elite who own the majority share in these companies.  So, clearly Scott Walker is not on the side of workers in Wisconsin. 

The average voter may not be aware of this judging by the influx of out of state money pouring into Wisconsin by the very folks who stand the most to gain if Scott Walker is successful in remaining in office.  These special interests groups, such as the Koch brothers, and ALEC, for instance are using poll tested, focus group approved language to frame Scott Walker as some type of hero for working class Americans.  

We have become so accustomed to believe the “framing” language, courtesy of unethical folks like Frank “The Liar” Luntz, who gets paid manipulate public opinion, that we are actually holding congressional hearings that support the radical ideology from which this language stems.  A perfect illustration of this can be seen in the congressional hearing framed as “choice or necessity” that was held recently regarding the alleged budget shortfall and the necessity or choice to eliminate the established rights of union members. 

As can be seen in the clip below, Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) asks Scott Walker simple questions about how stripping away collective bargaining rights from union members can possibly save the state of Wisconsin money.  These types of questions were directly relevant since the congressional hearing in which they took place was focused on the fictitious “debt crisis” Scott Walker claimed his state was facing that necessitated taking away workers rights.     

In response to this line of questioning, Scott Walker immediately began to regurgitate his pre-rehearsed frame of providing workers with the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union.  After all this language of having the ‘freedom to choose’ is intended to trigger the emotional response Frank Luntz discovered works to piss people off by making them think that Government and ‘big union bosses’ are taking away your freedoms.  This language is also being used in the ‘Right to Work’ legislation promoted by ALEC, who stands to gain enormous amounts of wealth at the expense of stripping away worker rights, eliminating pensions, and reducing the wages and benefits paid to workers.   In this sense, stripping worker rights to collectively bargain is only the first step in the process of transferring wealth from working Americans to the super-wealthy elite, who believe they are entitled to it!

Thanks to Dennis Kucinich we now know that the entire purpose of this congressional hearing involving Scott Walker was complete nonsense, since stripping the bargaining rights of union workers has absolutely nothing to do with the fiscal issues facing the state of Wisconsin.  In other words, the fake “debt crisis” that Scott Walker deliberately created was meant to serve as a distraction to convince people to vote against their own interests and well being.

Dennis Kucinich further pulled back the curtain on Scott Walker’s fake “debt crisis” by pointing out that the real budget issues facing the state of Wisconsin results from Scott Walker’s actions of helping corporations dodge their tax obligations.  This corporate tax dodging has led to a $2.5 billion dollar revenue shortfall in the past year alone that must be made up somewhere else.  That somewhere else is on the backs of working Americans.  In addition, Dennis Kucinich notes that under Scott Walkers watch, an overwhelming number of corporations are not paying any taxes at all!  (2/3 of all corporations).  This exemplifies how Scott Walker and other radical right wing Governors are able to continue transferring wealth up!  They must force ‘austerity’ on the rest of us in order to continue to protect and enrich the ‘privileged’ in America.

Governor Scott Walker receives the NRA’s ‘defender of freedom’ award: Proof that we truly are living in a land of George Orwell.

For those who may not have been paying attention to politics in Wisconsin in the past year, Governor Scott Walker is in the process of being recalled.  This has happened only twice in history!  Basically, Scott Walker attempted to strip workers of their rights, and once the workers figured this out, they decided to stage massive protests, and eventually decided to boot him from office altogether.

Like many other radical right-wing Governors throughout the country, Scott Walker is following an ideology that creates extreme environmental conditions for the vast majority of people, while showering the ‘privileged’ class with more taxpayer funded wealth and prosperity.  In fact, this transfer of wealth taking place from average working Americans to those at the top can only be carried out if these radical Governors are successful in convincing (ie, framing) voters to support them in their efforts to strip all of us of our rights, not to mention our ability to fight back once our freedoms are taken away as well.

Its important to point out that every frame being used by radical Governors like Scott Walker is Orwellian in nature, in that the exact opposite is true!  Take the example that Scott Walker runs with every time he makes a public appearance on a corporately controlled media outlet.  During every interview he makes sure to repeat the frame that ‘big union bosses’ from out of state are pouring money into Wisconsin in order to impact the recall election.

In reality, ‘big corporate bosses’ from out of state, including David and Charles Koch (aka the Koch brothers) are pouring millions of dollars into Wisconsin in order to prop up Scott Walker in the public eye as a defender of freedom, who supports worker rights.  It’s no surprise then that other special interest groups like the NRA have decided to give Scott Walker an award for being a ‘defender of freedom.’  After all, this fits the frame, and has the added impact of helping him overcome the backlash he is facing for attempting to strip away workers rights.

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.

Two visions for America: One Progressive the other regressive. Which path will our elected representatives choose?

In reference to the choices we make today that will decide the fate of our nation tomorrow, Jim Wallis mentioned in a recent article, the choice Paul Ryan and members of the GOP have made, (which they are calling a “path to prosperity”) is really a choice to hurt people who don’t have the political clout to defend themselves.  In addition to not paying down the deficit, which is what the GOP claims, or should I say “frames” their budget plan does in order to convince people to support it, Wallis notes, “Two-thirds of the long term budget cuts that Ryan proposed are directed at modest and low-income people, as well as the poorest of the poor at home and abroad.”

He states that, “Cuts of this magnitude for people of modest and low-incomes will result in a direct increase of poverty and misery in America.”  This is what happens when we pursue economic growth at all costs, which is proven to only benefit a select few at the top at the expense of the health and well being of everyone else, including the planet!

This regressive vision for America the GOP chooses to embrace will allow those at the very top to prosper, while everyone else slowly sinks into poverty and despair.  This is evident in the massive transfer of wealth from all of “us” to a select few of “them” Paul Ryan’s “path to prosperity” for the super-rich plan will generate.

As pointed out by Jim Wallis, “In dramatic contrast, Ryan has chosen to help the people who need help the least. Wealthy individuals and companies reap a windfall of benefits in Ryan’s plan — with tax cuts and breaks, continued subsidies and loopholes for every powerful special interest, and increased corporate welfare payments from the government.”

As you can see, the only prosperity being achieved is for the already affluent and super-wealthy in the top 1%, who use members of the GOP to advance their radical agenda by passing laws to the detriment of ‘we the people’ in order to continue to re-distribute wealth up by showering the “privileged sector” with corporate welfare (ie, more of our tax dollars).

The actions of the GOP mentioned above represent a regressive vision for America, which ultimately leads to further pieces of radical legislation being introduced, not to mention the proposal of immoral budget priorities like the Paul Ryan plan that serves to perpetuate the status quo of income inequality, which amounts to further austerity for all of “us” in order to provide continued prosperity for a select few of “them.”

In opposition to Paul Ryan’s immoral budget priorities and regressive vision for America, the Progressive caucus in the House of Representatives put forth their own plan last week.  This moral budget, called the ‘Budget for All’, represents a progressive vision for America, which puts an end to the corporate welfare the “privileged sector” feels entitled to receive, and focuses on improving the livelihood of the vast majority of the population.  The Budget for All plan focuses on putting Americans back to work, as opposed to putting the burden on the backs of Americans.  The Budget for All reduces the deficit by focusing on the true cause of our deficit and rising debt levels, (ie, the transfer of wealth that is taking place from all of us to a select few of them).  This transfer of wealth is primarily occurring in the form of unsustainable tax cuts for the super-rich, out of control military and war spending, and many other types of corporate welfare to sustain the high society, upper class lifestyle the richest among us have become accustom to.

Amazingly, this progressive vision for America was shot down in the House of Representatives in a 346-78 vote, while the regressive, immoral budget plan passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 235-189.

Now what?

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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