Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Middle Class Safety Net, Your Pre-Paid Public Benefit, Joint Committee Surprise, Lobbyists Active, The Blame

Terminology to Protect Medicare & Social Security

Miles Mogulescu says "To Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid & Social Security, Call Them 'The Middle Class Safety Net,' Not 'Entitlements'."  "Every time someone else in a discussion starts to talk about 'Entitlements', they [Liberals and Progressives] should say, 'Oh, you mean the Middle Class Safety Net.'  Whenever someone talks about the need for 'Entitlement Reform' or 'Entitlement Cuts' they should say, 'Oh, you mean shredding the Middle Class Safety Net.'"  He makes a number of good points.

"Words have meaning in politics.  The language that's used to frame a political issue can impact the political outcome.  Conservatives and Republicans tend to be much better at coming up with simple catch phrases that reframe the political debate than liberals and Democrats are."

Your Pre-Paid Public Benefit

Working people already have paid into Social Security and Medicare through payroll taxes (and "into" Medicaid via income taxes).  Their entitlement -- our entitlement -- is bought and paid for with our own money.  It's not free, and it's not unearned, and it's not a privilege.  It's not some magical gift from "the government" -- as if government had nothing to do with America.  You're entitled because it's yours.

I'm not sure that "Middle Class Safety Net" is catchy enough or clear enough to communicate what we're talking about here.  How about "pre-paid public benefit?"  If anyone has ideas about the best phrase for what once were called entitlements, I'd like to hear them.  Simply email me or post a comment.  In the meantime, I'm going with "pre-paid public benefit."

Republican Pledges to Protect Benefits

"Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) surprised many when he appointed a Republican widely perceived as a moderate, Rep. Fred Upton (MI), to serve as one of six GOP members on the congressional 'super committee' . . . .  Conservatives are worried that Upton will not toe the GOP’s hardline stance against taxes because he’s expressed a willingness to raise revenues by eliminating tax loopholes."

"Yesterday at a public forum in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Upton gave another glimmer of hope that he would be willing to divorce himself from Tea Party dogma to do what’s right.  Upton came out as a strong defender of entitlement programs, and vowed to protect current beneficiaries in the super committee’s deliberations."

This may be a bit of good news for people concerned about the deliberations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and its impact on the aged and disabled.  It's not a matter of "winning" or "losing" so much as finding common ground for the common good.  We don't know whether Rep. Upton has his own agenda or is feinting, but his public remarks bear watching and remembering.  At worst, it's a trap; at best, it's hopeful.  His constituents need to keep track of what he says.

Lobbyists Working Overtime to Preempt Committee

"Now that the members of the supercommittee have been named, lobbyists have begun strategizing in earnest.  And they’ve got their sights set beyond just the elite 12.  Several lobbyists said they are focused on the committees of jurisdiction that have until Oct. 4 to send their recommendations to the debt panel as the first line of defense to keep their clients’ interests off the chopping block."

Makes sense.  If you can prevent the recommendation or suggestion for a cut, then you may be able to prevent its consideration at all.  We haven't heard much about the health care lobbyists, but you can be sure they are among the first in line -- mainly to protect their clients' reimbursements.

Who's To Blame For Our Woes?

From Kaiser Health News.  Similar to the "blame the messenger" approach, it's the "blame the victim" approach.  We've seen it before.


Tomorrow, Thursday, August 18, 2011, at 1:00pm EST:  Max Richtman, President/CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare will take your questions about Washington proposals impacting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  For more information / further details.

Republican Reality-Free Zone


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