Political strategists often refer to “framing” as the way in which the edges of an argument define perceptions of its core. The term also has an older, sharper meaning that implies miscarriage of justice – as in “he was framed.”
In the debate over the budget deficit and debt ceiling, the American people have been framed in both senses of the term. They have been given a misleading picture of the possibilities, and they have taken the blame for unrealistic attitudes.
Nominally, the budget debate focuses on spending cuts versus tax increases, with Republicans in one corner and Democrats in the other. What I see is a three-way tussle among the rich, the not very rich and the not rich at all over who should pay the costs of balancing the budget.