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As we have learned from many fights before, using the language and framing of our opponents when communicating with voters plays perfectly into their hands.  

Unfortunately, it appears that the "Fiscal Cliff" catch phrase has become the deceptively framed phrase to describe the expiration of the Bush Tax cuts and a package of other economically impactful, expiring policies including the debt limit, automatic spending cuts, and unemployment benefits.

My counter-offer for a progressive version of the "Fiscal Cliff" is to call it the "Fiscal Bluff". Geologically, cliffs and bluffs really aren't that different, in that they both start with a very steep incline.  A bluff, however, has a flat top. But that's not the important difference between these phrase.

Of course, the important difference between these phrases is the double-meaning of the word bluff to also include a definition of what gamblers do or generals do on the battlefield... projecting strength in an attempt to force your opponent to fold or misplay their hand because they think you have more resolve, a stronger hand or that you are just crazy enough to go down burning.

And bluff is exactly what this is. The Republicans know after the shellacking they just took in 2012 that they don't have the leverage they pretend that they have in this grand negotiation. The voters have backed President Obama and his priorities for paying down the debt with a balanced approach.  Democrats are all too happy to let the Republican's try to bluff us with their 3 of a kind hand when we have a full house with the voters.

Every time you call it the fiscal bluff, make sure you say it with a smile, and get in your reasons why you think the Repubs are bluffing. And let's see if this new messaging battle can get some traction.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    ~ Nothing insightful to say ~

    by EagleOfFreedom on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:23:41 AM PST

  •  Awesome! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As I see it, your new frame of "Fiscal Bluff is not only effective it is very accurate!  I hope it catches on in a big way and that people like Rachel start using it.

  •  someone needs to ask the wingnuts how (0+ / 0-)

    increasing revenue and decreasing spending, thereby reducing the "deficit" is not a good thing.

  •  yeah -I was looking for a new phrase (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EagleOfFreedom, BruceCA

    If someone would just do a graphic to go with this it could go viral on fb.

    YOu know: someone hanging by arms on the edge of a cliff, and the cliff is short, and the ground is two feet beneath their feet...


    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" - F.D.R.

    by biscobosco on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:04:31 AM PST

  •  The cliff may be a bluff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but the grand bargain is a grand betrayal and the deficit and debt scare, like every piece of bipartisan agreement we've seen in the last decade, is bullshit.

    The public debt is also the measure of private sector wealth, dollar for dollar. It is a mathematical identity. And with a $600 billion trade deficit, a balanced budget (words I keep hearing) would mean a drain of $600 billion a year from our economy. All the people trying to cut down their debt would find it growing again. During the Clinton surplus debt went to 500% of GDP (nearly double the debt as at the beginning of the great depression). Historically, Fed government budget surpluses have always been followed by a depression or a great recession.

    The private sector cannot sustain deficits for long. The public sector can because we have a fiat monetary system and the government is the issuer of the currency. Any amount the government owes in dollars can always be paid. The government creates money by spending, and drives the value of money by imposing taxes, fines and fees payable in the state's money.

    There is a whole belief system about the economy and the money and debt that is widely held in politics and the media and a significant part of the economics community. It is a wrong headed system that is founded on scrupulous avoidance of facts. I call it Theoeconomics, because many hold to it with religious fervor.

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