Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Robert Reich on reframing

Excellent FB post. Quote:

How choices are presented makes all the difference. The following false choices lead to false conclusions. We need to reframe the public debate around the real choices facing us:

1. “Entitlement” versus “non-entitlement” spending. This false choice makes it seem as if Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries are spoiled children who demand what’s not theirs. It enables opponents to argue “entitlements” should be cut back. In fact, beneficiaries have paid into Social Security and Medicare through their entire working lives, which is why they’re truly entitled to them. A more accurate way of posing the choice: “Promised” versus “unpromised” spending.

2. “Free market” versus “government.” This false choice suggests the market is liberated when government shackles are removed. It enables opponents to argue that government should be shrunk and regulations removed. In fact, government defines and enforces the market. There is no “free market” in nature. Without government, there’d be no “market” at all. A more accurate way of posing the choice: “Organized market” versus “chaotic market.”

3. “Right” versus “Left.” This suggests a moral equivalence – the Right wants less government and the Left wants more -- implying that both sides are equally extreme, and reasonableness lies in the center. In fact, the real issue isn’t the size of government but who government is for -- the privileged and powerful, or for the rest of us. A more accurate way of posing the choice: “Moneyed interests” versus “public interest.”

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