Author Anat Shenker-Osorio Critiques the Lingo of the Fiscal Cliff Soap Opera; Columnist Ray Buursma of Holland, Michigan on Radical Republicans and Right to Work Laws

by Peter B. Collins on December 14, 2012

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Communications expert Anat Shenker-Osorio talks about the misguided language that fuels the economic debate in our country;  teacher and columnist Ray Buursma on Michigan’s tricky, deceptive RepublicansDon’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense About the Economy is an interesting new book that explores the language and framing of our debate about budgets and deficits, and Shenker-Osorio is amusing and persuasive in her critique, especially of progressives.  By enabling this conflict and calling it a “crisis”, Obama and Democrats play into the hands of the right–they are more disciplined about their language, and it shows.  She describes how “the economy” is seen as an amorphous blob that impacts us, but we don’t have much impact on it.  We talk about Obama’s habit of negotiating with himself, and how we have permitted “taxes” to become a loaded term, even when we talk about taxing the rich–taxes are seen as a penalty or punishment, when they just pay for the services we expect.

42 minutes into the podcast, Ray Buursma returns.  He is a school teacher and columnist in Holland, Michigan, and gives us his views on the quick passage of union-busting laws in one of the states that’s been a bedrock of the labor movement.  You can read his column here.  He tells us about the stealth tactics of Republicans in Lansing, and the deceptive statements about right-to-work by Gov. Rick Snyder.  We talk about how cruel this is to the Auto Workers, who have given back a lot of ground in recent years.  And we talk about Google, which evaded $2 billion in US taxes via a Bermuda shell company; and about how Google contradicts the GOP message that Michigan’s labor laws are hostile to job creation–Google has a large, non-union workforce in Ann Arbor.

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