A political southpaw, that's good for the"Neo-Con"
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.
Parts of the book put forward Hartmann's criticisms of government bureaucracy when it fails (Hurricane Katrina), but also when it works (Florida during hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne). In this case, he ignores the fact that Florida had a long history of hurricane preparedness, one nearly rivaling Louisiana's long history of corrupt and inefficient government. 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 faced 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 discourse and deliberation if we are to preserve this experiment in democracy.
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