STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “welfare recipient”

When the facts don’t fit the frame! Republican Congressman Kip Smith is a “welfare recipient”

Republican state representative Kip Smith was recently charged with a DUI.  What does this have to do with framing?  Well, he happens to be a sponsor of H.B. 464, a bill that will force people currently in need of state aid (welfare) to undergo mandatory drug testing in order to be eligible to receive the state funds needed to sustain their daily living.  To make matters worse, if those seeking help don’t fork over the money out of their own pocket to pay for the drug test, then they are automatically cut-off, according to this new draconian law.

Simply put, this bill is designed to further stigmatize those who are receiving state assistance, and puts radical conservatives one step closer to ending welfare.  This is accomplished through the “welfare recipient” frame that was specifically crafted to convince Americans that poor people, particularly people of color are lazy, no good, irresponsible, selfish bums, who would rather stay at home and feed off of the Government than get a job and work hard like the rest of us.

This is the intended meaning of the frame, and it is repeated over and over by right-wing talk show hosts, Fox news commentators, and other corporate controlled media outlets through what is known as an echo chamber.  The hope is that enough repetition will firmly plant this message into the minds of those who hear, see and read about it. (This of course, stands in direct contrast to the true cause of poverty, which is due to the fact that the United States has the highest level of income inequality in the developed world. But this is an inconvenient fact that doesn’t fit the frame!)

The frame implies that people on welfare are dependent upon state funding.  But, aren’t politicians also dependent upon state funding.  Does this make them “welfare recipients”?

Interestingly, another state representative, Scott Holcomb introduced a similar bill H.B. 677, which would require politicians to undergo the same drug testing.  After all, they too are “recipients” of state funding, and arguably use this money to sustain their daily living as well.

This is absurd, of course, to Kip Smith, and other Republican state representatives, since the frame is not intended for them.

Why the double standard?  Because the “welfare recipient” frame is reserved for poor people of color and thus, anyone not meeting this description simply does not fit the frame.  Therefore, the glaring double standard isn’t even acknowledged by believers of this frame, since the congressman is not expected to engage in this type of irresponsible behavior.  Plus, he’s white!




The deeper meaning behind Jim Demint’s (R-SC) hypocritical vote against the veteran’s jobs bill. HINT: it involves a new twist on an old “frame”.

The VOW to hire heroes Act of 2011, which was part 3 of President Obama’s jobs bill passed the Senate 94-1.  Who was that one person voting against helping our veterans?  The same person seen here in this clip, which he uploaded himself.

Talk about blatant hypocrisy!

More importantly are his comments for why he voted NO on the Vow to Hire Heroes Act.

“I cannot support this tax credit because I do not believe the Government should privilege one American over another when it comes to work”

So, what he is effectively saying (with the help of right-wing think tanks) is that poor, and middle-class veterans (ie, the out-group) are meant to fend for themselves, while he and other Republican legislators focus on protecting and privileging the ‘elite’ class (in-group) that makes up the top 0.1% in society.

This is evident in the rejection of two previous jobs bills by put forth by President Obama by EVERY Republican senator.  The first dealt with putting hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers back to work, and the second bill focused on fixing our crumbling infrastructure.

Both of these bills would have been paid for by raising taxes on income over and above $1 million in annual income.

What class of people makes over $1 million per year?  How many people are included in this ‘elite’ group?  How much was the proposed tax increase on this group?

Would it surprise you to know that the amount of people in this ‘elite’ class, or in-group making over $1 million per year is less than 0.1% of Americans.

The amount being asked of this ‘elite’ group to help our economy recover, create hundreds of thousands of jobs to educate our children and keep us safe is less than 1% on every dollar above and beyond the first $1 million.   Who is the group being privileged here?

Want more proof?  As indicated in a recent PBS article, Democrats told the press that this veteran’s bill would cost $1 billion, and would be paid for by adding a fee for VA home loans.  In essence, veterans themselves would pay for this bill, as opposed to asking those in the top .01% to spare some change.  No wonder Republicans overwhelmingly supported it.

The burden is once again placed squarely on the out-group, while protecting those at the top by not raising taxes a single penny on the privileged in-group.

Since it is obviously unpopular to privilege the ‘elite’ class at the expense of everyone else, specific language must be created, via numerous right-wing think tanks to come up with appropriate Orwellian style frames, so it makes sense to the majority of people.  This way, people are more likely to vote in favor of such a position.

For example, an oldie but goody is the “welfare recipient” frame, or the idea that Government is privileging those on welfare (ie, those who are characterized as sponging off the system). Makes sense right?  Why should we support people that are lazy and who are intentionally living off of the system? This is what makes frames so attractive.  What people do not realize is that the exact opposite is actually true, as indicated above.

The new twist on this old frame is that veterans are now included in this “welfare recipient” frame.

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