Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thom Hartmann: Fighting for the middle class

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently interviewed Thom Hartmann, who's show has long been carried on local affiliate WPTT. He's on a tour to promote his 18th and latest book, "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It," a tour which will bring him to the Steel City.

Hartmann has an extensive and varied resume that includes a Ph.D. in homeopathic medicine and a license to practice psychotherapy, as well as being an expert in the field of Attention Deficit Disorder. Most of his books are about ADD.

In "Screwed" he makes the case that our government has turned its back on our founding fathers' intentions of protecting the middle class from the aristocracy. As evidence, he points to the decrease in inflation-adjusted median household income between 2000 and 2004, the sharp decline in manufacturing jobs and the 45 million Americans living without health insurance.

"Increasingly, I'm seeing the middle class of America wiped out," Hartmann noted in an e-mail exchange from his home in Portland, Ore. "That, in and of itself, is a humanitarian problem. But, more importantly, it creates a political crisis, because in order for there to be a functioning democracy in this nation there must be a strong middle class. As the middle class vanishes and is replaced by the working poor and the indebted, political freedom is vanishing, too. America has historically been a beacon of democracy to the entire world -- literally the hope of the world, the 'American Dream' -- and if we don't recapture that, I'm concerned that the future of the entire world is at risk."

Those who listen to his show know that one thing Hartmann does not do is play the role of doomsayer. He's much more proactive and at the conclusion of the book, he lays out the steps that need to be taken to strengthen the middle class, including better public education, a national single-payer heath-care system and progressive taxation.

"We've been at the brink before -- once even nearly sliding off the brink with the Civil War -- and we've always pulled back toward democracy," he notes in the e-mail. "The Founders of our nation and the Framers of the Constitution did something really and truly brilliant. They created, quite literally, something that both had never before existed in an agricultural or industrialized nation, and something that could stand progressively taller and grow richly deeper throughout the ages. They created a constitutionally limited representative democratic republic. It was a great gift to the world and to humankind, and we must reclaim it."

Read the complete interview at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


  © Blogger template Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP