Jill W Klausen

The Romney Loopholes: He's No Patriot

romney_yacht.pngWhile no one likes paying taxes, and while we all avail ourselves of the reasonable exclusions and write-offs allowed by law to lower our personal tax burdens—which, for average Americans, have been instituted as a means toward providing sufficient income after taxes for a family to survive on—no true patriot goes to the kind of extremes Mitt Romney has gone to, to hide income from the People of the United States of America, and deny us the ability to operate our country safely and securely.

Mitt Romney is telling us he built his fortune by re-organizing failing businesses; that's a lie.

Mitt Romney built his fortune by engaging in complex financial manipulations that no ordinary American citizen has access to, so that he could cheat the People out of tens, or even hundreds, of millions of dollars of revenues that could have:

  • Educated students.
  • Repaired failing bridges.
  • Improved aging and inadequate infrastructure.
  • Found cures for deadly diseases.
  • Protected us from terrorist attacks.
  • Fed hungry children.
  • Provided medical care for the elderly.
  • And much, much more.

But Mitt Romney chose self over patriotic responsibility to country. Mitt Romney chose the sneaky and manipulative path over the just and the righteous path.

Stop Doing 'This' And It Will Stop Hurting: Redefining The Role Of Businesses In Society

cryingchild.JPGRemember when you were a kid and you said to your mother, “Mom, it hurts when I do 'this',” and she would respond with all her motherly wisdom: “Well then stop doing 'this'!”

Well that’s what I'd like to say to our Republican leadership and Big Business leaders when they whine that "It hurts to have to pay so much in taxes on the vast wealth we've hoarded from our businesses instead of paying workers with it!" The mom in me just wants to peer over my reading glasses and say:

“Well then stop hoarding all the money!”

It’s really just that simple; exactly as it was when we were kids.

Dear President Obama, Here's How To Save Social Security For Generations

Correctly framing the issues that face this country is critical to getting good results that work. The Right Wing has been honing their skills at getting us to use their frames for decades, and if we don't recognize how they've gotten us to change the subject, we risk losing Social Security altogether.

But I can't necessarily blame you for falling for it; most everyone else across all political spectrums have fallen for it, too. The Right Wing agenda here is to get you to turn the subject away from how they've decimated the Social Security fund by instituting tax policies that favor the wealthy over the working class, and narrow your focus to what they want you to talk about: reforming the Social Security system itself.

Why? So they can make it so toxic for any politician to touch ("tough choices"), that they'll be in a strong position to profitize it, all for the benefit of the 1 percent, of course.

I know you know all these facts about how the Social Security system works, but please allow me to lay this out starting with the basics for the benefit of all our readers, so we have a better understanding of how, where, and why the Right Wing have intentionally misdirected us.

There's a cap on the level of income that is taxable for the Social Security pool.

Every dollar of corporate profits that goes to people above that line doesn't get taxed at all for Social Security.

Workers have been increasing their productivity on a steady incline for about three quarters of a century now. But somewhere around the mid- to late-1960s workers' wages stagnated, sending 100 percent of corporate profits above that line!


Had workers been paid a thriving wage for the decades since this split between productivity and wages took place, billions if not trillions of dollars would have gone into the paychecks of those who will be needing to rely on Social Security, and it would have been taxed for the purposes of Social Security.

Fix the problem of corporations depriving workers of thriving wages, and there won't be anything to worry about with Social Security.

published All Politics Is Emotional in Articles 2012-07-29 12:09:00 -0700

All Politics Is Emotional

pledgeallegiance-man.pngProfessional linguist, Dr. George Lakoff, says, "All politics is moral." As he explained to AlterNet's Joshua Holland in a recent interview about his new book with co-author Elisabeth Wehling, "The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic":

All politics is moral at the base. Any political leader who gives you some sort of prescription of what to do does it because he says it’s right, not because he says it’s wrong or doesn’t matter. Everybody thinks it’s right.

But all this talk of morals can be confusing and frustrating. We tend to think of morals as gauges of "goodness," as much as "correctness." If a person is "moral" they are "good"; if they are immoral, they are "bad." And if someone has more morals than another, they're thought to be a "better person" than one with fewer morals.

So when scientists such as Dr. Lakoff, Dr. Jonathan Haidt, or Dr. Drew Westen try to teach us about the morality of politics, and describe Conservative morality as broader, more complex, or containing more elements than Progressive morality, we bristle. "Conservatives are not more moral than Progressives!" we shout. And we have a tendency to shut out what we don't believe (or don't want to believe), and instead of learning from it, we start arguing against it. Oops!

We at the Winning Words Project agree completely with the experts on this issue, but we'd like to put it in a new frame for you:

All politics is emotional.

Retired Republican Bill Frist Makes The Case For State Exchanges Under Obamacare

[Editor's Note: With the re-election of President Obama securing the future of his signature health care law, implementation of State Exchanges under the Patient Protection Act has returned to the national media spotlight. They got a lot wrong when this was first under debate; will they continue to do a disservice to the public by not explaining the importance of this part of the new health care law? We hope not, but we aren't confident, so we're re-publishing this earlier post wherein we break down — let's call them what they are — the lies the current Republicans in the House are spreading, the truth about how this program works, and how to talk about it when the subject comes up. Let us know if you have any questions in the Comments section below.]

"Helping more Americans find and compare the private insurance they need and can afford should be an easy principle both political parties agree on." ~ Former Republican Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist

With all the noise and screaming, and the 33 (or is it 34, or maybe 40 by now?) votes by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Patient Protection Act, and the irresponsibly dismal media coverage of this critical issue to all of us; you, a member of the People of the United States of America, have been prevented from learning the truth about how the Patient Protection Act will actually benefit not only you, but your state and everyone else in it, as well.

Bill Frist is not only the former majority leader in the Senate during George W. Bush's presidency, he also has his share of bona fides in understanding how the U.S. health care system operates. Frist is a Harvard-graduated cardio-thoracic surgeon, having specialized in health care policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

And he wrote an impassioned op-ed, imploring us to actively work to support the implementation of the state insurance exchanges that the Patient Protecton Act is making available in every state.

We bring you both the truth about these exchanges as explained by Dr. Frist, and the absurd letter that 73 Republicans in Congress sent to the National Governors Association that is made up entirely of lies about what the exchanges are, how they'll work, and what they mean for health care administration across the country. ...

billfrist.pngFormer Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist op-ed: 'Why both parties should embrace [the Patient Protection Act]'s state exchanges'
Published at The Week
July 18, 2012
  congressionalrepublicans.pngCurrent Republican Members of Congress
In a letter to the National Governors Association
June 29, 2012
  WWPTeam157high.pngThe Winning Words Project Team

Bill Frist explains:

Originally a Republican idea, the state insurance exchanges mandated under the [Patient Protection Act (PPA)] will offer a menu of private insurance plans to pick and choose from, all with a required set of minimum benefits, to those without employer-sponsored health insurance.


His former colleagues say:

As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation.


The Winning Words Project reminds you:

You know what "a  menu of PRIVATE INSURANCE PLANS to pick and choose from" is and isn't. Don't let them deceive you with political talking points designed to gin up rejection of this law.

Bill Frist explains:

These exchanges are expected to bring health insurance to an additional 16 million Americans. Unlike the Medicaid expansion, these Americans will gain private insurance, and can choose the plan that's right for them.


His former colleagues spin:

Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the president's discredited health care law. (Emphasis ours.)


The Winning Words Project reminds you:

We know we've pointed this hypocrisy out before, but we implore to to ask yourself why Republicans are so vehemently opposed to a Republican idea that they would encourage state governors to oppose it now that it's been implemented? Can you come up with an answer that would satisfy the question, "what is in the best interest of the people of the United States of America, not the best interest of party politics?"

My Plea For The Privileged Among Us To Remember How Blessed We Are

Jill-fullsize.pngA message from our founder

I've had some emotionally disturbing encounters in social media over the past few days. Some old friends looked me up and invited me to join them in some conversations about some really important issues we're facing in this country. And in the course of those conversations I met with some of the most derisive vitriol I've ever encountered anywhere ... and this was coming from the privileged people I grew up and went to school with for years.

You're NUTS. The wealthy bankroll this country and you try to make them the evil ones. You're so backward it would be funny if it were not scary.
Employers PAY the workers. Without them the workers are unemployed. Get off your horse trying to make the employers out to be bad guys. They PAY you and me and everyone else. People who try to denegrate successful businessmen are jealous. ... Stop coveting your neighbor's stuff. It really makes you look stupid. Stop drinking the liberal Koolaid and use your own brain.
In the real world, wealthy people start businesses and hire others to do work for them. Those workers gladly take the jobs at the pay rates offered. ... If those workers don't want the job, because they are jealous of their boss, they don't have to take it. There are others there who will.

It was so stunning in its hateful disregard for the average working person, it inspired me to write this.

I'm white; grew up in a solidly middle class family; went to top-notch, well-funded public schools that weren't surrounded by gang violence or other bad influences; had parents in a happy marriage who lived "'til death do they part"; who put a premium on a college education and saved so my sisters and I could attend without having to hold down jobs or take out student loans; I have a name that isn't a barrier to getting job interviews. And most of the people I grew up with had all those same advantages in life, and more.

published Dear President Obama in Articles 2012-07-14 09:51:00 -0700

Dear President Obama, The Bush Tax Cuts Were Fiscally Irresponsible

obamaspeech02.pngSay so!

You must start telling the country the truth about the Bush tax cuts and why they were made temporary in the first place so they understand why they must be allowed to expire. This ... is utterly insufficient:

"The debate on the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans will be decided by the next election," he said. "My opponent will fight to keep them in place; I will fight to end them." 

There is a fiscally responsible rule in the Senate that requires budget provisions that have any spending increase or tax cuts in them that increase the deficit without being "paid for" after a 10 year period, to automatically expire.

Framing The Tax Debate: It's About Ending Welfare For The Wealthy

taxdodgers.jpgOn Thursday, July 12th, after addressing a group from the NAACP, presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney made the following stunning statement:

“If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.”

1. That statement is grossly offensive.

2. He's dead wrong. He is the guy who's all about giving away free stuff ... to millionaires and billionaires!

Welfare for the Wealthy costs this country trillions of dollars a year, both in government handouts to Mitt Romney and his wealthy elite friends, and subsidies paid to billion dollar corporations and industries. Mitt Romney is actually asking us to elect him, in part, precisely because he wants to further increase the Welfare payments the wealthy are already receiving.

Here's how deeply conservative Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) described this affront in his scathing report titled, "Subsidies of the Rich & Famous" when he appears to have either gotten a pang of conscience or went off-script (emphasis ours):

Reframing The 40-Year-Long Wage Stagnation Problem In America


The title pretty much says it, but let's explain ...

We have a serious problem in America:  Workers in this country have not seen their level of compensation rise in 40 years in comparison with executive and shareholder compensation, the actual cost of living, or even their own productivity.

Our political leaders have focused on the disparity between worker and top executive compensation, referring to it as either "pay inequality," or "pay inequity," but  this has created an atmosphere of defensiveness on the part of those at the top of the corporate food chain. And this is not the atmosphere that Progressives want to engender. We know it's going to take all of us working togetherespecially those at the top—to get this problem solved.

And lagging worker compensation is a problem, not just a "discrepancy" issue or a "fairness" issue. And no one thinks the average worker and the most senior executive should be earning "equal pay" as one another. So what is the real problem?

Wage Stagnation.

From at least the mid-twentieth century until the mid 1970s, worker productivity and worker compensation traveled on the exact same path. Hard-working Americans saw their pay increase in direct proportion to their efforts. This made for a robust working and middle class in America, who had money to live on, money to spend, and money to save. When the middle class has sufficient money to live on, they only need to fall back on taxpayer-funded assistance if they hit a serious bump in the road, such as the loss of a job and the draining of all savings.

A Conversation With My Conservative Father: What We Can Learn

Jill_LenDebate.pngMy father and I had to agree a long time ago to never, ever discuss politics. The last time we tried to talk politics, it ended in a screaming match and a lot of hurt feelings. But it came up in conversation yesterday when I called to wish him a Happy 4th of July. He asked what was new, and I told him I was excited to have former Senior Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management, Bruce Judson, as a new contributor to my project. I really didn't want it to turn into a conversation about politics—I was just proud and wanted him to be proud of me—but it went there nonetheless. Only this time it ended with him asking me to email him a link to this website so he could read more.

The following are random snippets in no particular order (except the last one), obviously somewhat paraphrased since I didn't record and transcribe our exact words. Here's how I got my father to not only understand the Progressive position on a few issues better, but inspired him to want to find out more.

My Dad:

Progressives hate the Constitution and want to change it. They think it's an outdated document and should be completely rewritten.


What? (This, I admit, was an entirely new one to me.) Where on earth would you get an idea like that? Progressives love and respect the Constitution. Look around my site and you will see numerous references to our Constitution and quotes by our Founding Fathers. Many, if not most, of our Founding Fathers actually were Progressives! That's why they so often referred to "the common good," and enshrined the responsibility of Congress to act on behalf of the "general welfare" of all people above the interests of corporations or other interest groups, into our Constitution.


My Dad:

I'm not going to your site. If you're planning on turning your project into a business then you must be "on the side of business," then! (Unspoken but understood: HA - Gotcha!)

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