Framer Reads the News: Complicating Issues of Budgets and Taxes

FrameWorks senior researcher Eric Lindland recently stumbled upon this advertisement in a local DC newspaper.

What’s the problem we want to solve?
The imminent destruction of the planet.

  • As strategic framers, we know that using crisis to get the public interested in your issue will generally backfire. Crisis as a frame can encourage a sense of helplessness. In FrameWorks’ research on Budgets and Taxes, we found that the value of Prevention, on the other hand, was effective in moving policy support. Prevention allows people to see that by making responsible budgets, and paying into the system now, we can head off future problems.

What’s the solution?

You giving more money than you are now.

  • By putting the burden of problem and solution on the individual, and more specifically, in their wallets, we allow people to default to consumerist ways of thinking. Our research shows that using the household budget as an analogy for federal and state budgets is not generally successful. Instead, we recommend that framers use the simplifying model of Forward Exchange, which communicates our shared responsibility in budgeting for the public goods that we’re going to need in the future. This helps people to consider the larger systems that we all rely upon and pay into for future use.

What’s the directive?

Cut budgets now.

  • If you’re going to make a conditional statement, it’s best to make sure you are clear about what the conditions are! The authors of this piece have missed a huge opportunity to help readers have a better understanding of the causes and consequences of budgeting for their issues, which range from global hunger to poverty, climate change, conservation, and disaster relief.

For more information about FrameWorks’ research on Budgets and Taxes, please click here.



One thought on “Framer Reads the News: Complicating Issues of Budgets and Taxes

  1. Interesting phrase at the bottom of the ad “cut now…pay later”. This has more impact for me than the %. 1% ,!5%,10% figures don’t mean much when you don’t know the sum or budget we are biting into. . I do see some value in their phrase though .


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