Category Archives: R

What Foes of Government Regulation Don’t Want You to Realize

As I’ve pointed out before, many government regulations are intended to protect the public from abuse or injury and to ensure ethical behavior by business. These protections help Us the People have confidence that we will be treated fairly and not ripped off.

Gas Pump inspection label
The State of Alabama inspected this gas pump to ensure that it measured gallons correctly. This gives buyers confidence. Photo Credit: Dystopos via Compfight cc

For example, state officials test gas pumps and grocery-store scales to ensure that they are measuring accurately. This frees customers from worry about being charged for more product than we bought. It also frees business owners from worrying about charging for less than was sold and from having to convince potential customers that they are measuring honestly.

This confidence is in the interest of both businesses and their customers and allows markets to function. Therefore, the rules are confidence-creators or confidence-builders.

Therefore, when extreme conservatives denounce government regulation in the abstract, Framologists can reply that good government regulations are confidence-creators that markets need to function. We then can invite them to help us ensure that specific regulations really do help create confidence.

Government regulation -> Confidence creation

What do you think? How much confidence should I have in this reframe?

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A Better Way to Think of Welfare Recipients

Welfare recipients. Social Security recipients. Unemployment recipients. The word recipients inaccurately frames the people involved as passive supplicants.

The truth is that Americans participate in these and many other social insurance and assistance programs and should be acknowledged as participants. For example, the program today known as “welfare,” TANF, requires most participants to get and keep a job, go to college, or to participate in a job-training program. Far from being a handout, it’s hard work.

We pay Social Security premiums all our working lives, and when the checks start coming, that money is the benefit we have earned. And should we need unemployment insurance, we have earned that benefit by working for our employers. Furthermore, those receiving unemployment insurance checks generally are required to document applying for jobs each week.

We should recognize people’s participation and avoid calling them “recipients.” They are TANF participants, Social Security participants (or beneficiaries), and unemployment insurance participants (or beneficiaries).

For Social Security and unemployment insurance, the term beneficiaries also is appropriate because those are insurance programs.

But what do you think? Am I splitting hairs, or does the distinction matter?