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Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents (Paperback)) Paperback

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Product Details

  • Series: BK Currents (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2nd Revised edition edition (April 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576754634
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576754634
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beginning with the Reagan administration, the U.S. government has steadily instituted policies and legislation that favor corporations over citizens, argues Air America host Hartmann (The Ultimate Sacrifice). Analyzing the rhetoric and policies of the current administration's "compassionate conservatism," Hartmann goes on to detail the ways in which safety nets for working people (from progressive taxation to antitrust legislation to Social Security) have been steadily weakened, and argues that an empowered, educated middle class is crucial to a functioning democracy. Chapters detail the ways in which what gets called "the free market" is not really free (for good reason, he notes), how "We the People create the middle class," how the policies of the Founding Fathers and figures like FDR still have a lot to teach us, and ways for "Leveling the Playing Field." Though far from comprehensive, and despite its sensationalist title, Hartmann's latest is an intelligent critique of the contemporary plight of the middle class.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

National radio host Thom Hartmann is the award-winning, best-selling author of fourteen books currently in print in more than a dozen languages on four continents. Hartmann is also an entrepreneur, an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics. The former executive director of a residential treatment program for emotionally disturbed and abused children, he has helped set up hospitals, schools, famine relief programs, and communities for orphaned or blind children in India, Africa, Australia, South America, Europe, Israel, Russia, and the United States. His national radio program, syndicated by Air America Radio, is carried on more than eighty stations across the United States and on Sirius Satellite Radio. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Louise, and his attack cat, Higgins. You can find him on the Web at

More About the Author

Thom Hartmann is the four-time Project Censored Award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of 23 books currently in print in over a dozen languages on five continents.
Hartmann is also an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, an author, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics.
The co-founder (with his wife, Louise) and former Executive Director of The New England Salem Children's Village (1978) and The Hunter School (1997), he has led national innovations in the areas of residential treatment for abused children and private/public education for learning-disabled children.
He has helped set up hospitals, famine relief programs, schools, and refugee centers in India, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, Russia, and the United States through the German-based Salem International program. Formerly rostered with the State of Vermont as a psychotherapist, founder of The Michigan Healing Arts Center, and licensed as an NLP Trainer by Richard Bandler (who wrote the foreword to one of Thom's books), he was the originator of the revolutionary "Hunter/Farmer Hypothesis" to understand the psychiatric condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
A guest faculty member at Goddard College in Vermont, he also synthesized the "Younger/Older Culture model" for describing the underpinnings - and possible solutions - to the world's ecological and socio-political crises, suggesting that many of our problems are grounded in cultural "stories" which go back thousands of years.
Leonardo DiCaprio was inspired by Thom's book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" to make the movie "The 11th Hour" (in which Thom appears), and Warner Brothers is making a movie starring DiCaprio and Robert De Niro from the book Thom co-authored with Lamar Waldron, "Legacy of Secrecy."
Talkers Magazine named Thom Hartmann as the 8th most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in their "Heavy Hundred" ranking. His radio show is syndicated on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial-Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, across the entire North American continent on SiriusXM Satellite radio, on cable systems nationwide by Cable Radio Network (CRN), on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in realtime into nearly 60 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide.
His evening TV program, The Big Picture, is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US, and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries via broadcast and cable by the RT TV network, and distributed worldwide on the web on Hulu.
As an entrepreneur, he's founded several successful businesses which still are operating, and lived and worked with his wife, Louise, and their three (now adult) children on several continents.
He was born and grew up in Michigan, and retains strong ties to the Midwest, although he and Louise have lived in New Hampshire, Vermont, Georgia, Germany, and Oregon...and now live on a boat in Washington D.C. with their attack-cat, Higgins.

Customer Reviews

Everybody needs to read this book.
L. Dutilly
Thom Hartmann is one of the most eloquent voices on the middle class and the importance of a strong labor force in America.
The book is well written with many notations and is well laid out for an easy read.
Rowdy P. Scarlett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

247 of 277 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on August 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Thom Hartmann has hit another grand slam homerun. This book nails the truth about how the right wing-- in both parties-- have been screwing the American people, except for the one hundredth of one percent who earn over $6 million a year.

The book walks through so many of the big lies (taxes, big government, trickle down economics) of the faux conservatives-- which he calls, so appropriately-- "Cons."

As a publisher of a progressive website, I kept reading stretches of chapters and saying to myself-- "Wow, that would make a great article." While the book is a non-fiction book, it started off in the first two pages touching my heart, bringing tears to my eyes. (watching inconvenient truth brought tears too.) It is a very fast, smooth read. You do have to put it down every now and then, to deal with outrage build-up.

As usual with Hartmann's books (amazingly, Amazon lists over 200 results in a search for Thom Hartmann) he offers great solutions as well as unique, insightful perspectives on the problems.

I'm recommending this to my readers (300,000 unique visitors a month) at opednews dot com as the best book they'll see this year.
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174 of 199 people found the following review helpful By O. Johnson on August 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've read a few of Thom's books, and I'm about half way through with his latest one, Screwed. As usual with Thom's books, it's great, well written and researched, and the type of book you can't put down. the only down side is that as far as I know Thom didn't put out a Books on Tape version, which I would prefer as I spend more time driving during the day then I have time to read.

I'm also a big fan of his radio program, for 3 years now, and I've yet to hear Thom say that "a living wage" would be the equivalant to 18 bucks an hour. He has demonstrated that if you stimulate demand you improve the health of the economy, thus why the unemployment rate has dropped every time we've raised the minimum wage, short of those times when we had serious oil shortages, like in the 70's.

Even if we did raise it to 18 bucks an hour, the wage/productivity ratios at your average McDonalds would be still be better than 1:1, meaning McD's would still make a profit. As it is, it's a 1:4 ratio (meaning one week of sales pays for a month of labor), which was the same wage/productivity ratios in domestic industry immediately prior to the Republican Great Depression.

For anyone wanting to read a fine book, and to get familiarized with Thom Hartmann and his ideas, this couldn't be a better place to start....although What Would Jefferson Do? is great too.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Wayne on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
History repeats itself (mainly when you flunk it) and Hartmann is just the historian to explain the current attempt to overthrow our constitution and democracy in terms of our history.

This book is in no more a liberal volume than conservative one. It is a book about the American promise and American dream.

The neocons in charge are not true conservatives and I found this easy to read book points to the reason why.

True conservatives and true liberals want America to work the way it was founded to work and this book reminds us makes America great.

Reading it has made me feel good about America again. We still have a chance to recapture our real values.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Brosky on October 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Those who listen to Thom Hartmann should already know that anything he writes is well-researched and founded on the principles that the framers of our constitution held near and dear to their hearts. Thom has never been one to shy away from debate with conservatives, and in SCREWED he makes a point of confronting the most popular arguments in favor of free market economics and corporatocracy, using detailed research to thoroughly debunk claims that our country is headed in the "right path."

Thom Hartmann's point is one that 99 percent of Americans can agree with: people working full-time should be able to live comfortably. This means establishing and protecting the middle-class, an idea that no longer holds true and hasn't since the early days of Reagan. Thom highlights what needs to be done, and what we the people need to do about it. Highly recommended for anyone isn't currently making over $3 million a year.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Dykstra on May 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book practically in one sitting. It is well-written and easy to read. It's one of the best books I've read on this subject in a long time. I've thought for a very long time now that problems have been gathering for the middle class. This book puts it all together in an eloquent and readable fashion. There are some interesting facts and tidbits that serve as good background information for anyone wanting to discuss these topics, but perhaps the best part of the book is the no-BS approach in confronting certain topics. If you are a true believer in conservative "truths" like trickle-down economics and free market superiority, then you will probably find fault with this book. If, on the other hand, you are genuinely concerned about the plight of the middle class and the future of democracy in this country, then this book will help you solidify your thoughts.
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Format: Paperback
First off, shame on those reviewers who haven't read the entire book!
In "Screwed," Thom Hartmann reveals a fuller picture of liberal issues that have conservatives pulling out their own hair trying to understand.
This book is a valuable and relevant read that both sides of the political spectrum would be well served by reading. If you don't dig Hartmann's politics, buy one secondhand or get one from your library, take it at face value there is an agenda here. Hartmann mixes a pinch of brilliance, a scoop of thoughtful revelations tossed heavily with a share of some absurd left-wing craziness. Some points he makes are fairly well cited, some others, not so much.
Hartmann tackles many subjects that embroil partisan politics in name calling and foster general voter malaise.
Much of Hartmann's criticisms blame the Reagan Administration for the current tide of economic chaos. To do so assumes American economic soundness through the Carter Administration, an assumption I challenge more than a handful of people to embrace.
Much of this book is Hartman's call for big government, or at least considerable bureaucracy and government oversight. But he tries to blame the federal government for failures during Hurricane Katrina while dismissing its successes in Florida (hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne) as political cronyism between the Bush brothers.
In this instance, he ignores the fact that Florida had a long history of hurricane preparedness, one easily rivaling Louisiana's long history of corrupt and inefficient government. Sorry Thom, you can't have it both ways.
Hartmann seeks to vilify a political system (no less deserving of such a label), by targeting his frustrations consistently with his well established anti-conservative ideology.
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