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250 of 280 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Briliantly Weaves History and Constitutional Vision with Contemporary Politics and Economics
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--...
Published on August 28, 2006 by Robert Kall

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72 of 90 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A political southpaw, if your a lefty this book amounts to preaching to the choir, if not, read it anyway it'll be good for ya'!
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...
Published on May 6, 2007 by Ryan Fisher


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250 of 280 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Briliantly Weaves History and Constitutional Vision with Contemporary Politics and Economics, August 28, 2006
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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176 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Thom Hartmann, August 23, 2006
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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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book true conservatives and liberals can love, September 23, 2006
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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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Powerful, October 17, 2007
By 
Kenneth Brosky (Milwaukee, WI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents (Paperback)) (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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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts into words what many of us always thought, May 22, 2007
This review is from: Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents (Paperback)) (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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72 of 90 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A political southpaw, if your a lefty this book amounts to preaching to the choir, if not, read it anyway it'll be good for ya'!, May 6, 2007
By 
Ryan Fisher (Santa Maria, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents (Paperback)) (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.
He touts Roosevelt's WPA and other works projects, but fails to consider the windfall contracts Roosevelt handed out to Halliburton predecessors like the Morrison-Knudsen Company, W.A. Bechtel, MacDonald & Kahn Ltd., Union Carbide Corporation and enough others to fill the margins of this review.
On healthcare, Hartmann uses Great Britain as a shining example of cradle to grave medical coverage. He fails to grasp that many in Great Britain now seek treatment for common in-patient procedures in nations like India, Thailand or (believe it or not) the U.S. due to gross inefficiency or cold hearted bureaucratic inflexibility in England(See 60 Minutes, CBS, Sept. 4, 2005). Hartmann suggests that health care is a right, I would say that access to healthcare is a right, but not the care itself. I'll also add that a village shaman does not constitute a modern equivalent of "health care."
Hartmann's anti-union, anti-Taft-Hartley litmus test is like saying a person is an atheist because they are pro-choice.
I will agree with Hartmann on many of his thoughts about a living wage, stopping privatization (especially in the military, public utilities and prisons), and increasing tariffs that are punitive to big corporations growing fat off cheap foreign labor.
I commend Hartmann's attempt to reach across the aisle of party lines and his call to become involved in politics. Many of the works Hartmann cites in his arguments are important tools for Americans to begin anew a proper political discourse and deliberation if we are to preserve this experiment in democracy.
REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ, WRITERS AND PUBLISHERS NEED TO KNOW WHAT WE LIKE, PARTICULARLY IF WE WANT MORE GOOD BOOKS!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate defense of the middle class against corporate power, July 26, 2007
Since the early 1980s, American politics have been meshed with the interests of large corporations. The result is a new form of "corporatocracy," which Thom Hartmann links to the woes of the middle class. He believes that the political Conservatives who pushed for privatization and special corporate tax breaks intentionally harmed the American middle class, which he calls the bedrock of democracy. While the U.S. government has helped corporations and wealthy citizens, it has increasingly taxed the public and killed social programs that fostered the middle class. Hartmann focuses on the U.S.' future, which, he says, depends on having a healthy middle class. He adds a historical perspective by quoting America's founders, who predicted the dangers of creeping corporatism, economic elitism and an incipient aristocracy. Although he is very assertive in his attacks on Conservatives and corporations, his approach is refreshing. We found this impassioned analysis interesting, but - fair warning - you won't like it much if you're a corporate lobbyist or a Bush supporter.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War on the Middle Class and Constitution, November 13, 2006
By 
Kenneth Sumerford (Ft. Worth, Texas area, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Congratulations to Thom Hartmann on his new book Screwed; The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class. I saw him on Book TV several days ago and purchased the book. This book connects the dots between political, social and economic events in the United States from 1750 through 2006. Most Americans realize that there are grave injustices in our society and much of those injustices are caused by big government, big corporations, and a small group of high ranking politicians.

The book carefully describes several fundamentals of good government fought for by our early patriots--especially from 1770 to 1800. The new government born in 1775 and 1776 was a government of "We the People of the United States . . . [to] establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty . . ." [The Constitution of the United States of America, from the preamble.]

Without a large, prosperous middle class a democracy will decline and end in tyranny, as it did in the Roman Republic when the Republic became the Roman Empire during the reign of the first Caesar. As he pointed out, the current middle class in the United States: had its roots in the Depression and WWI; was established during 1946 through the 1950s; and started a steady decline around 1981 during the presidency of Ronald Reagan (President, 1981-89.)

The US trade deficit hit a high in 2005 of over $700 billion and will probably be at least $700 billion in 2006. To get a street-level idea of those trade deficits consider the allocation of these amounts to 100 million US citizen workers. Multiply $10 by 100 million and the sum is $1,000M or $1 billion. So, a debt of $1B would be equal to 100 million people owing $10 each. Therefore a debt of $700 billion is equal to $10 x $700 for 100 million people, or $7,000 each! In two years that would be $14,000 per person owed to foreigners.

Reagan and Reaganomics almost tripled the national debt (already high from the Vietnam War and other deficit years) in only 8 years. It is important to debunk, set straight the Reagan Legacy and expose it as an economic failure.

The Privatizing Iraq section on pages 130-35 gives a few reasons why the war in Iraq is almost lost. President Bush gave US tax dollars (through direct taxes and borrowed money) to companies like Bechtel and Halliburton--insuring billions of dollars in profits and denying the Iraqi people control over rebuilding their own country.

You may be surprised to learn that while I like the book and voted against Bush in 2004 and against most Republicans in 2006, I am a Republican, conservative Christian, white, middle-class, small business owner. This election in 2006 showed that some of us "right-wing" conservative Christians have caught on about the true nature of the neo-cons. -- Kenneth S. from Texas
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely defense of democracy and regulations, October 14, 2008
By 
George Fulmore (Concord, California USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It (BK Currents (Paperback)) (Paperback)
"Screwed," by Thom Hartman
Book Review
October 13, 2008
By George Fulmore

With the recent financial turmoil (Oct 2008), the word "socialism" is being thrown around like the word "communism" was being used in the `50's. "Socialism" is being used in opposition to increased oversight and regulation by the federal government. But Hartmann uses the term "cronyism" as a retort to claims of "socialism." He says the former is much better in describing the economic policies during the George W. Bush administration.

I think that Thom Hartmann's book is all about the virtues of government oversight, involvement and regulation in a modern economy. He gives us the history of regulation, much of it being implemented in the New Deal. And his thesis would appear to be that the current U.S. economy puts profits before people, while in earlier times, it was the other way around. His thesis would be appear to be that government regulation is needed to keep the economy in balance and to maintain the presence of a strong middle class. His thesis would appear to be that Reaganomics gave government regulation a bad rap and that this led us to a widening between the rich and the poor, a significant increase in our national debt, and the shrinking of our middle class. He urges middle class Americans to take back its country.

Hartmann argues that the founders of our country based our form of government on the principles of the Iroquois Confederation. He says that up until the founding of our nation, the idea of a dominant "middle class" was considered "unnatural" by most pundits and philosophers. But our founding founders concluded that a democracy was a "natural" state of humankind. And the reason that much of the Constitutional Convention was held in secret was because most of the wealthy delegates were betraying their own class by moving in favor of a democratic nation. Per Hartmann, America was an experiment, the likes of which the Western world had never seen.

He thinks that our country has experienced two eras of a dominant middle class. The first was with the earliest settlers through the formation of the country and into the Civil War era. In the earliest times, land was taken from the Indians essentially for free, which allowed the settlers to become self-sufficient and relatively prosperous. The basis of America's first middle class was based on land and the Family Farm. But by the end of the 19th century, we had entered the "Gilded Age" of manufacturing and centralization that produced a group of extremely wealthy Americans, without regard for the maintenance of a middle class. It was not until the New Deal, per Hartmann, that a second era of middle class prominence began, created, primarily, by a government spending stimulus.
FDR used deficit spending to put people to work and to build public works projects that gave Americans a return on investment for decades: new roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

But two primary goals of the New Deal also were 1) to rebuild the middle class and 2) to establish tools that would KEEP the middle class as the dominant class, tools such as progressive taxation, Social Security, fair trade laws, and the vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws. Hartmann links these actions back to the philosophies of Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the Democratic Party, who felt that unless government sets the rules for business, there can be no middle class. ("Socialism" this is not.)

Additionally, Roosevelt established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and he imposed regulations on stock sales. Thousands were put to work by the Public Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration. Public education was supported and enhanced.

The New Deal worked. Well-paid workers bought goods and services from other workers. Returning veterans took advantage of the GI Bill. The economy recovered and thrived.

But the cons are winning the battle of late. In 2001, for the first time since the New Deal, Americans spent more than they earned. Pension plans are disappearing. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and too many Americans are just "holding on," says Hartmann. What drives many of the cons is that greed is good. What drives others is the simplistic belief that if government would get out of the way, everything would be just fine. These folks, he terms the "true believers," naming Ronald Reagan as amongst their midst.

But the result of the "trickle down" economic system introduced by Ronald Reagan has been that the rich have gotten richer, while the middle class has shrunk, and the federal deficit has increased to record levels, making the United States the most indebted nation on earth.

Per Hartman, smaller government espoused by the "cons" is not really smaller government; it's a different government, one that is essentially government for the rich. And it is the aftermath of Katrina that exposed the gap between the rich and the poor and the lack of government readiness.

Per Hartman, the cons will not change on their own. Leadership needs to arise to take back the government for the good of a dominant middle class. There is nothing wrong with businesses making money, but it is not to be done via workers making less than a living wage. And, at the heart of Hartmann's arguments is that there are a plethora of services provided by government for the public good.

Privatization has not worked well in the health care industry, he would point out as an example, feeling that after Reagan deregulated the industry, only the wealthy could be guaranteed a good product. Public hospitals lost the support they had in earlier eras, when the dominant middle class was happy to pay taxes for these public facilities and services. The post-Reagan era saw the major health insurance companies prospering, with the giant pharmaceutical companies joining in on the high profits.

Per Hartmann, we're once again entered a new Robber Barron era, with a limited number of oil companies making record profits and the average middle class family finding their purchasing power stagnating. When people complain about the rising gap between the rich and the poor, the "cons" say that it is the fault of the workers, who are less educated and less willing to work as hard as others around the world. (An extension of this can be the current arguments that too many workers were able to buy homes in the subprime market and/or that the health care system cannot "afford" to cover everyone, especially the "illegals," or that not everyone can afford to own cars or live a middle-class lifestyle.) Thus, when systems fail, the cons continue to blame the workers, while they, at the same time, fight an inheritance tax and tax increases for those who earn the most.

On war, Hartmann says that even this has become a big business in America. But he points out that war is NOT an effective way to stimulate the economy. All money poured into armaments is lost once used. In contrast, building or rebuilding a bridge or road or levee or other public structure serves the public for a long time and gives us a significant return on investment.

As for the Iraq War, Hartmann claims that President Bush found this to be a way to funnel public money to Halliburton, Bechtel, Fluor and other large politically connected private entities. And by convincing many that the private sector would do a better job in supporting the troops than government employees, the Bush administration oversaw the elimination of public jobs in the hundreds of thousands, in favor of private-job replacements - and at a much higher total cost. Says Hartmann, "Privatizing the military is just another way for the cons to transfer hundreds of billions of tax dollars from We the People to the corporatocracy."

Hartmann covers too many areas to review in one swat. He claims that health care has been redefined as a privilege, rather than a right. He favors a single-payer, universal health care system and the strengthening of our labor unions. And there is an excellent chapter on the Social Security Trust Fund, with Hartmann pointing out the realities of a Trust Fund full of worthless IOUs. He claims the cons are purposely trying to destroy Social Security.

I think the only area that I disagree with Hartmann is in the area of foreign trade and immigrant labor. He calls for us to pull out of NAFTA, CAFTA and the rest. He is for enforcing the laws against hiring illegal immigrants. He thinks, in turn, the labor done by the illegals will be done by current Americans, probably at a better wage. In this area, I find his advice simplistic and without compassion.

In summary and conclusion, some other quotes from the book: "Our country has plenty of money, but the money is going to the corporatocracy, to the richest amongst us, instead of to the millions of people who - as Abraham Lincoln pointed out - actually make the country work....It's all about power....We've been conned (and screwed) enough. It's time to take back America."
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Complement to Lou Dobbs' Own Book, November 16, 2006
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Edit of 21 July 2009 to add links.

This book is a perfect complement to Lou Dobbs' own book on War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back and is also better in the single specific area where this author chooses to focus: on the middle class. The book by Lou Dobbs is the best book over-all, covering a number of topics related to the health of U.S. society and the economy, while this author focuses exclusively on the middle class.

If I were to recommend one other book, it would be Naomi Klein's No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs which discusses how individual citizens can track the abusive practices and behavior of corporations, and the multitude of individuals can punish them through simple boycotts of their products.

There is no question in my mind but that We the People will take back the power, this book, and Lou Dobbs' book, represent the end of an era of unquestioned repression and abuse of America's middle class and blue-collar labor force, and the beginning of a revolution that the banks and corporations will NOT be able to squelch.

See also:
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future - and What It Will Take to Win It Back
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography)
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