When the estate tax was re-labeled the “death tax” and the laws to allow corporate pollution were called the “Clear Skies Initiative,” Scott G began to think it was time for honest folks to fight back. With votes, sure, but also with better names.
Let’s say you’re a rich person who wants to avoid paying taxes. Or you and a group of like-minded fat cats want your corporations to be able to make obscene profits and avoid acting in the public interest.
How do you pull off stunts like that?
You hire a team of political consultants, the kind who have no moral backbone and will work for whoever pays them.
First thing they do is re-name your cause. The idea is to find terminology that creates a knee-jerk reaction that is helpful to achieving your nefarious goals.
That’s why the estate tax was called the “death tax.” Why the coalition for corporate pollution was called “The Clear Skies Initiative.” Why the program to gut the effectiveness of public schools was called “No Child Left Behind.” Why the unconstitutional laws that subverted the Bill of Rights were labeled the “Patriot Act.” And why giving corporations the right to destroy thousands of acres of trees was labeled the “Healthy Forests Initiative.”
While it’s easy to argue against the seedy and greedy aims of the wealthaholics, it is hard to tell average American voters why they should be in favor of a death tax or opposed to the Clear Skies Initiative. Their own best interests are being trampled by people who hold them in cynical contempt, but this is not seen by Mr. and Mrs. Joe Starbucks, apparently because it is just so comforting to trust in names like No Child Left Behind.
How the Name Game Works
You start with something that makes perfect sense, like a tax on an inheritance above four million dollars. Naturally, since it only pertains to people who are taking over a large estate, it’s known colloquially as the estate tax or the inheritance tax.
Billionaire Warren Buffett has pointed out that only about 2% of estates pay any taxes under this plan. In other words, you and I don’t have to worry about it. But among the families with tens of millions (or hundreds of millions) of dollars in their estate, some people want to hoard as much of that money as possible. So they get rich politicians to begin calling for an “end to the death tax.” That way, the average person thinks it is an onerous burden that will prevent their parents from leaving them the house and what’s left of the 401(k).
Everyone’s taxes will have to go up if there are no taxes collected on those ultra-rich inheritances, as Buffett stated in an interview with Lou Dobbs: “We raise, what, $30 billion from the estate tax. And, you know, I would like to hear the congressman say where they are going to get the $30 billion from if they don’t get it from the estate tax. It’s nice to say, you know, wipe out this tax, but we’re running a huge deficit, so who does the $30 billion come from?”
People who work for a living have limited options in terms of taxes; people who inherit a ton of money have many ways of shielding themselves from some taxes and don’t need another loophole that favors them, especially one that harms our nation. Yet bought-and-paid-for politicians and hack political appointees keep pushing for this odious change in the laws.
Warm and Fuzzy
Let’s also consider the greedwhores who want to get their hands on your Social Security funds. They tried for years to convince people to vote for “privatizing Social Security.” When that didn’t work, they switched the name (but not their game) and are now trying to get politicians and malleable media to call it “personalizing Social Security.” So much warmer and more comforting a phrase, don’t you agree?
Playing With Lives
The abortion issue gets a lot of people riled up. The two sides have embraced the terms “pro choice” and “pro life.” Which is odd, in a way, because the pro choice people are trying to improve life by ending unwanted pregnancies, while the pro life people are exercising a choice to avoid abortion. While it is tempting to play the Republican game and call “pro choice” something like “newborn protection,” in reality, the two positions might better be called “female freedom” and “pregnancy punishment.”
Can You Play the Name Game?
Naming — like branding, marketing, and positioning — is hard work. Plus, if you have a conscience, it is difficult to come up with effective (that is to say, misleading) names. Despite my being in the music business for many years, it is my belief that I actually do still have a conscience, which is why I struggled for quite a while to compile the list below.
* Let’s consider replacing “estate tax” with “America bequest”
* “Global warming” could be called “human extinction”
* Change “capital punishment” to “playing God”
* Think about the effect of altering “anti death penalty” to “pro life”
* Senator Sam Brownback’s “Profanity Amendment” should be re-named the “Anti Free Expression Act” (and Brownback himself shall henceforth be the “Speech Nanny”)
* Anyone in favor of ending alimony and reducing punitive child support payments should start backing “Operation Bootstrap” laws
* Like to see carpool lanes banned? Propose the “Open Freeway Initiative”
* Do you loathe corporations like Halliburton that are avoiding tax with offshore headquarters? These firms could be labeled “UShaters”
* Replace “drug legalization” with “New Tax Source” act
* Unless they suddenly find morality, let’s call “conservatives” what they really are: “con men”
* Change “liberal” to “humanistic American”
* Immigration laws, pro or con, can be called the “Defend Democracy Act” (there, I’m giving this one to whichever side wants to grab it)
* National healthcare coverage can become the “Healthy America Act”
* Anti-Iraq War activists should be in favor of the “Redeployment Act”
* Want to end war profiteering? Sponsor the “Corporate Accountability” legislation.
* To have our troops start hunting and killing terrorists, let’s start some committees of “Freedom Fighters”
* Are you in favor of science and against disease? Then help stem cell research by supporting the “No Disease Left Alive” act.
[tags]politics, deceptive laws, lobbyists, special interest groups, legislation, gman, Scott G[/tags]