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Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It Hardcover – September 1, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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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.

About the Author

Thom Hartmann is the award-winning, best-selling author of fourteen books currently in print in over a dozen languages on four continents. He is the former executive director of a residential treatment program for emotionally disturbed and abused children, and has helped set up hospitals, famine relief programs, schools, and communities for orphaned or blind children in India, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, and the United States.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; First Edition edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576754146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576754146
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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