The attacks on Social Security and Medicare — never far from sight in the GOP playbook — are being brought out in predictable response to the deficits brought on by the GOP’s deficit-exploding tax scam.
The GOP, much of the media, and too many Democrats refer to these programs as “Entitlements.” Yes, they are in the sense that after working hard all our lives we are indeed “ENTITLED to the benefits we EARNED. The word “Entitlement” used to be neutral. It is no longer a neutral word, and the GOP doesn’t use it as such.
The GOP has spent years if not decades turning the word “entitlement” into a synonym for “moochers looking to live off the hard working taxpayers. . . .sort of like “Welfare queens”. . . .
We can keep expending energy trying to EXPLAIN that “entitlements” are not “freebies” or “handouts”. We can keep putting “entitlements” in quote marks and repeat the statement “we are entitled to them because we earned them.” But EVERY time we use the GOP’s term for these programs we cede the framing, and the low information voter or the millions of people who have no idea how these programs started or how they were funded or even how they work (because they don’t need them yet) will hear the GOP-chosen term ‘ENTITLEMENTS” and subconsciously hear all the negative baggage the GOP have added to what should have been a neutral or positive term.
I know that many Deomcrats and Progressives resist the idea that framing an issue determines outcome, so I won’t repeat the arguments here.
But now is the time for the Democrats FOR ONCE to get ahead on the framing and take the fight against the GOP framing to the GOP and the media. A Democratic lawmaker did just that this morning, but I can’t find his name or the link, so I’ll update later. Let’s help this guy by all of us speaking with ONE voice on this ONE issue. Every time you hear “entitlements” push back and reframe them as ‘EARNED BENEFITS”.
I’ve said it before and will continue to say it: Whoever frames the issue controls the narrative. The GOP are going to pull out all the stops to lie and say they are seeking to “SAVE” Medicare and Social Security by ENTITLEMENT REFORM. Too much money spent! Too many people getting benefits! Too high deficits! Must “save” Medicare by cuttiing “entitlements”. Reform! Tax Savings! You know the drill. They drag it out at every opportunity.
Don’t get dragged into the discussion trying to explain how the GOP are lying and this isn’t “saving” entitlements etc. Just call them EARNED BENEFITS and you won’t need to EXPLAIN anything. Any attempt to “cut” or ”reform” an “earned benefits” program is automatically sailing against the wind.
Here’s my promise. If we succeed in establishing the media framing as EARNED BENEFITS we will win, and it will be an EASY LIFT.
If we fail to resist and pushback and the media takes up the GOP framing and calls them “entitlements” and the discussion is whether or not “entitlement reform” is needed to “save Medicare and Social Security” the GOP will control the narrative and find some way to push the lie that “entitlements” are synonymous with “moochers” who want lots of “free stuff” from the taxpayer. Saving these programs will be far more difficult and we stand a far higher chance of losing. Words matter. Framing matters.