Austerity "savings" are built on "blood money."

Austerity measures aren't just a bad idea for our economy... it turns out that drastic cuts are also a death sentence for many of the people they impact. According to a recent article on TruthOut.org, a slew of academic reports have found that people are literally dying in nations that have imposed the harshest cuts. In Greece, for example, suicide rates increased 45 percent since 2007, and the infection rates for diseases like HIV and tuberculosis have more than doubled just since 2012.

The drastic cuts to municipal budgets reduced mosquito-spraying programs, and malaria has re-appeared in Greece for the first time in 40 years. Austerity measures have slashed unemployment benefits and medical coverage in that country so badly, that even prenatal health services are no longer available to many woman. Since 2008, stillbirths have increased by more than 20 percent, and the infant mortality rate has jumped by 43 percent. These numbers show that the problems with austerity go far beyond economics. Cutting budgets on the backs of those who have the least to spare has sent many to an early grave.

Austerity has done so much damage that a well-known Greek economist said that any savings that result from budget cuts are built on “blood money.” That pretty much sums it up. Austerity is already killing people in Greece, and it will do the same in our nation if we don't reverse extreme budget cuts. No nation, in the history of the world, has ever cut its way to prosperity. People all around the world are refusing to accept this economic death sentence, and we must do the same here at home.

Comments

ckrob's picture
ckrob 6 years 13 weeks ago
#1

The VA has been much in the news lately for unacceptable waiting times for services. The party that claims they can run government better, knew that two wars (off the books) would swell demand at the VA and they could have used that knowledge to prepare for the inevitable flood. Instead, a monomania for cutting government and it's financing was priority number one for the Rebublican controlled House. Can we believe that the result was unforeseen or was the problem due to a callous indifference to the needs of our vets? Austerity is not something just occurring in other countries like Greece; we just don't usually call it that.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 13 weeks ago
#2

The IMF is saying to the Ukraine "look what wonderful things we did for Greece. We can do the same for you." Of course, they are not saying it. The only person that benefits from the IMF's helping hand is the banker they appoint after they dispose of the democratically elected Prime Minister.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee 6 years 13 weeks ago
#3

Catastroika is a documentary on the neoliberal privatisation of Greece that is linked to the blood money Thom is correctly referring to. Pinochet was the precursor to Catastroika.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 6 years 13 weeks ago
#4

The blood money comes from the Koch Brothers. The neotards are getting their wish. Death panels are our next adventure. If neotards steal the house, senate and presidency with the Koch Brothers blood money, they will plunge the nation into another Great Republican Depression and we will wish we were dead. I heard today that the Koch Brothers will give their operatives $125 million to steal the 2014 election. If they steal the 2016 election as well, it will be time for change in America.

N Z Sarah's picture
N Z Sarah 6 years 13 weeks ago
#5

All these things and more are already happening electronically with the roll out of smart meters. Download the multi award winning film TAKE BACK YOUR POWER to see how this insidious new technology will affect you , your children and community, and poses serious risks to our health, safety and security. To find an organisation near you to prevent installation or help remove a smart meter google stop smart meters.

PLEASE LOOK INTO THIS THOM.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 13 weeks ago
#6

Off topic, but I have three things bugging the hell out of me. They're all about how we progressives answer to our critics. I listened to a progressive talk show individual, "fill in," field a call from a right wing imbecile today. The subject was minimum wage and the caller defended not raising it because he considered minimum wage earners as simply unskilled workers learning on the job. Wow..it takes 20 seconds of training to empty garbage or turn on the deep fryer. Beyond that the radio show host needed only reply that...fine let's keep the minimum wage...but the current minimum wage, when adjusted for inflation, is almost $22 per hour ... ...for god sakes just freaking keep repeating that...WTF!

Why do we keep arguing with people who believe society should be based on the biblical word of god, words written down by humans thousands of years ago who never spoke with god anymore than you or I have. Why don't we all rewrite the god damn bible? I spoke with god today too, and I can tell you this, the right wing sure as hell aint gonna like what he had to say. I'll just create the book of 2950-10K! and relay the info!

Lastly...the college debt being incurred by working class students has obviously deterred many from this income bracket from seeking higher education. However college expense for the 1%ers offspring is of no consequence.....how nice, this cuts the competition for jobs involving money and power, irregardless of talent and morality......just saying!

Why don't we as progressives repeat talking points with truth, the same way the night of the living foxmerized do?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 13 weeks ago
#7

2950-10K -- I think the $22 per hour number is what the median wage would be if we had kept track with productivity and inflation. Other than that I agree with everything you say, and wonder why we do not do more repeating of our facts.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 13 weeks ago
#8

chuckle8...If our standard minimum wage had kept pace with overall income growth in the American economy, it would now be 21.16 per hour...stat from 2012, so I adjusted figure upward to account for the Koch's manipulating energy costs.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 13 weeks ago
#9

A clarification in my last satement/? in reply #7....Why don't we progressives repeat truthful talking points in the same manner the night of the living foxmerized repeat untruths?

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 13 weeks ago
#11

Austerity? America is going into debt over a trillion dollars a year. Obama has spent over seven trillion more then he has taken in Since becoming President. The money is being spent in the wrong places maybe but it is certainly being spent.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 13 weeks ago
#12

Back on topic : Let's not forget besides reduction of the surplus population, austerity is also breaking the labor unions. Cutting teachers and other public sector workers everywhere serves to create dysfunction and impossibilities in those workplaces, in other words austerity builds a, "failure timebomb," into public education and elsewhwere. This all to justify takeovers by the for profit scoundrels. As a result, taxes will continue to increase on the local levels while at the same time those with the extreme wealth will continue to see additional business tax breaks and loopholes by convincing light thinkers like Andy Cuomo to believe in the trickle down economic fairy.

One final thought on unaffordable higher education....Educated citizens tend to be progressive and thus it's in the best interest of the billionaires to make education unaffordable. How is it... that the rest of the developed world has figured out how to make cradle to grave education and healthcrare a citizens right and a functional reality? Places like Kend's socialist Canada...look how well socialism has worked for him....financially anyway. The answer obviously is Democratic Socialism, where wealth is shared, and citizens tend to be the happiest on the planet.

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 13 weeks ago
#13

10 k. I live in Alberta a very right wing province the same party in power for 43 years. not all of Canada is like this. Quebec for example is very socialist. Highest taxes in the country but also the highest unemployment. So Kend's Canada is very different then you think. Alberta's population is growing at a unbelievable rate. There is only 3.5 million here and it is expected grow by 1.5 million over the next ten years the cities are scrambling to keep up with building permits.

Why is it so good here? The answer is simple, very low taxes. More money in the our pockets the more we spend. The provinces that believe the government knows how to spend your money better than you do are hurting. It is just that simple.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 13 weeks ago
#14
Quote Kend:Obama has spent over seven trillion more then he has taken in Since becoming President. The money is being spent in the wrong places maybe but it is certainly being spent.

Kend ~ Good point Kend. I agree, the money must be going somewhere. But where. Maybe to support all the massive layoffs incurred by free trade? Maybe to fund all our military activities all over the world? Maybe to subsidize minimum wage so Corporations can continue raping their employees? It certainly isn't going where it is supposed to be going and austerity certainly isn't helping the national debt. I've never seen such mismanagement of money since I saw my ex's credit report.

If you ask me the first step to solving our money problems is restoring our manufacturing base. Since the federal government destroyed it by instituting free trade it seems to me to be the responsibility of the federal government to reinstitute free trade to resolve it. Until that is done, the only other solution is to pay the expensive consequences. Weaseling out of that responsibility is not an option; and, if done would be a disaster. Like Thom says, you cannot cut your way to prosperity--all you end up doing is victimizing the poor so the rich can continue receiving higher than normal profits. It doesn't work. It is a recipe for disaster.

You should appreciate the value of good business more so than many. I'm sure you would agree that good business is the best way for everyone to enjoy profit and prosperity.

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 13 weeks ago
#15

Marc just curious was you ex a Republican?

i agree restore the mfg. base sounds good but how when you can pay someone in China a dollar a day. to build the same thing. When I was in Phoenix I saw a coffee pot in Walmart for $5.88. It has a element, glass pot, plastic everything and a clock and timer not to mention all the packaging and freight. The Chinese dollar must be artificially low even at a dollar a day you couldnt build it that cheap. With it that low priced you will never have a mfg base again. The worst part is that crap in filling your dumps because it only lasts a year or two And they where lined up to by that crap. I think you need to tax or put tariffs on that junk As well.

America is subsadising your mfg base a lot in the solar and wind business. The problem is there is no money in them. They are shutting down every day it seems. I guess from this blog you do the same with oil companies but at least the show a profit and hire millions of people And pay well.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 13 weeks ago
#16
Quote Kend:Marc just curious was you ex a Republican?

Kend ~ No! She wasn't political at all. She was a gorgeous blond who couldn't see past her curls. Hence, my ex.

Quote Kend:i agree restore the mfg. base sounds good but how when you can pay someone in China a dollar a day. to build the same thing.

Kend ~ You raise the tariffs to the point that the shelf price here on foreign goods is only slightly lower than domestically manufactured goods. You know like it was in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. That way American's will have the choice, buy American and get something built to last while supporting your own economy; or, save a few dollars, buy foreign, and get junk. There will still be a market for foreign goods; however, with higher incomes per capita because of the return of our manufacturing base, Americans will have those extra few dollars to invest in America. It would be a win win for all Americans. Only China will feel a drop in exports. Who cares? That's their problem!

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 6 years 13 weeks ago
#17

As I say almost every week in Outside Agitator's Notebook (my blog), "austerity" is nothing more than a euphemism for genocide: the deliberate extermination of the Working Class. albeit without the odium of death camps.

Such is capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us. In other words, fascism.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 13 weeks ago
#18

Thanks Loren! I concur. - AIW

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 6 years 13 weeks ago
#19
Quote Kend:

10 k. I live in Alberta a very right wing province the same party in power for 43 years. not all of Canada is like this. Quebec for example is very socialist. Highest taxes in the country but also the highest unemployment. So Kend's Canada is very different then you think. Alberta's population is growing at a unbelievable rate. There is only 3.5 million here and it is expected grow by 1.5 million over the next ten years the cities are scrambling to keep up with building permits. Why is it so good here? The answer is simple, very low taxes. More money in the our pockets the more we spend. The provinces that believe the government knows how to spend your money better than you do are hurting. It is just that simple.

No Kend, it's not nearly so simple. The reason your northwestern provinces are doing so well is because they are less developed and thus have much more economic opportunity and many more resources for the taking. It's like the Old West in the United States where anybody could come, stake their claim and work the land. That's, in large part, where the American work ethic came from, it's the frontier mentality. There were so many resources and there was so much land that there was little excuse for not being prosperous. Your northwestern provinces have less taxes because they need less taxes. Our Alaska is still like that.

That's in stark contrast to the crowded European continent or to Quebec that is highly developed, has no frontier and everyone depends on one employer or another. There are far fewer means to be a self made man or woman there. You'll always find that places like the American West or northwestern Canada that are sparsley populated and less developed have much more of what is called "conservative" thinking than the eastern United States, for example, or southeastern Canada or Europe that are much more urban, crowded and developed.

That's my observation but long before me that was corroborated by the Henry George school of economics.

ChicagoMatt 6 years 13 weeks ago
#20
Why is it so good here? The answer is simple, very low taxes. More money in the our pockets the more we spend. The provinces that believe the government knows how to spend your money better than you do are hurting. It is just that simple.

That's the same reason any company that can is leaving Illinois and heading south. The news here treats it like a victory when a company like Caterpillar decides not to leave, even though they had to get special tax breaks to stay. Tax breaks which put them more in line with what they would be paying in a redder state.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 6 years 13 weeks ago
#21
Quote ChicagoMatt:

That's the same reason any company that can is leaving Illinois and heading south. The news here treats it like a victory when a company like Caterpillar decides not to leave, even though they had to get special tax breaks to stay. Tax breaks which put them more in line with what they would be paying in a redder state.

Capital flight and capital strikes `and `such are indeed `a `problem and underscores a need for a more centralized Federal tax policy. The reason states like Illinois and cities like Chicago are hurting is Grover Nordquist's tax policies which were designed to shrink the government to the size that he could "drown it in the bathtub" and "make a few of the states go bankrupt just to teach them a lesson". The Feds cut off the states so then the states cut off the cities. This made it necessary for the states to generate some revenue or stay in misery (or, for the common people of those states to remain in hardship, not their business and other wealthy elites). A tax policy of healthy Federal revenue to adequately fund the states and a system of tariffs to prevent capital flight to lower wage, lower tax and lower regulation parts of the world from the United States (like before Reagan and Bush I and II) is what is necessary.

ChicagoMatt 6 years 13 weeks ago
#22

Thom often calls "right to work" states "right to work for less" states. Many of those states are in the South and less-populated areas of the MidWest and Rockies. For the both areas, a lot of the desire for individualism can be traced back to the actual geography and population of the area. That is, it's a whole lot easier to want to be on your own if you're literally living on your own. And the the South, there is also an element of backlash against the Civil Rights movement that is still present. Note that I am not saying racism. I am from the South, and I can tell you that all races got along just fine. The resentment came from outsiders telling us what to do. Thom has said many times that LBJ knew he would lose the South when he signed the Civil Rights Act. But I don't think LBJ realized just how long the effects would last. "Yankee go home" doesn't just mean the person should go home, but the pro-union ideas should go too.

You are right - the only way to fix this is at the Federal level. And that is very, very unlikely to happen anytime soon.

In all of my time in Chicago - about 16 years now - it seems like everyone I know does something to avoid paying taxes: Mostly by shopping in a different area whenever possible. (By the way - that doesn't work if you're buying a car. They send you the tax bill when you register it to your address.) Anyway, it only seems normal that companies would want to do the same - avoid taxes whenever possible.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 6 years 13 weeks ago
#23

Quote ChicagoMatt:

Thom often calls "right to work" states "right to work for less" states. Many of those states are in the South and less-populated areas of the MidWest and Rockies. For the both areas, a lot of the desire for individualism can be traced back to the actual geography and population of the area. That is, it's a whole lot easier to want to be on your own if you're literally living on your own. And the the South, there is also an element of backlash against the Civil Rights movement that is still present. Note that I am not saying racism. I am from the South, and I can tell you that all races got along just fine. The resentment came from outsiders telling us what to do. Thom has said many times that LBJ knew he would lose the South when he signed the Civil Rights Act. But I don't think LBJ realized just how long the effects would last. "Yankee go home" doesn't just mean the person should go home, but the pro-union ideas should go too.

The South has values we have difficulty understanding, you might say, or maybe we understand them only too well. You seem to admire slavery, either industrial serfdom or wage slavery or outright agricultural enslavement. The races "got along just fine" as long as you could enslave the others and the others stayed "in their place".

"Yankee go home!" wasn't a cry of American southerners but of Latin Americans and others who had to live under American imperialism. If you want to be enslaved you're welcome to it, it's your BDSM fantasy but if you want to enslave somebody else you've got nothing to say if somebody intervenes. Just like you wouldn't let somebody get robbed on the street if you were there and could do something about it.

ChicagoMatt 6 years 13 weeks ago
#24

The way you describe slavery makes it sound like anyone who has less than someone else, or has a boss, is a "slave". I'm not a "slave" to the principal at my school. I work for her willingly. I'm not a "slave" to Visa - I bought those things willingly.

The only thing I don't have a choice about is taxes. If there is any "slavery" going on, the government is the master.

A Progressive may think they are doing everyone a favor by trying to "free" them from their own ignorance about how crappy their lives are, or how the cards are stacked against them. But they're just like any other fringe group - they think they have the answers, and anyone who disagrees is wrong/misled.

That being said, I don't think anyone here is ignorant. You all seem very smart, and I'm enjoying the conversation. We all seem to be looking at the same data and arriving at different conclusions.

If they really wanted to affect a change, the Progressives would be wise to stick with the "poverty is immoral" argument, rather than the "elites have screwed everyone over" argument. They'd get more done with the first one.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 12 weeks ago
#25

Chi Matt --

Quote Chi Matt:But they're just like any other fringe group - they think they have the answers, and anyone who disagrees is wrong/misled

We look at the policies of the new deal to reagan and think the economy was much better with them. We look at the policies of reagan to the present and think the economy is terrible. I think you are wrong and misled because you offer no counter-argument.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 12 weeks ago
#26

kend -- This is just a lesson in economics. The same lesson again and again. The 17 trillion is the equivalent of bright lights and shiny objects. The thing that everyone should quote is the debt/GDP ratio. The reason for this is that government spending that is investing in our future will raise the GDP faster than the debt.

ChicagoMatt 6 years 12 weeks ago
#27

My counter-argument is that there are many reasons for the current state of the economy (which isn't nearly as bad as Progressives want people to believe), and Reagan's policies are only a small factor. Too much labor because of dual-income households and illegal immigration, automation, the breakdown of the nuclear family, fewer resources, and increased demand for those resources from other countries are all also contributing factors.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 12 weeks ago
#28

Matt, here are the holes in your argument: (1) "Too much" labor. This is a direct consequence of raygunomics, NAFTA and the outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs to foreign countries, major factors conservatives conveniently ignore. (2) Illegal immigration (primarily from Mexico). That is a direct consequence of NAFTA destroying Mexico's farm-based economy. Reverse NAFTA and I guarantee, those folks would be overjoyed not to have to tear up roots to come here to this hostile environment where they must learn another language, while endureing all that scapegoating and abuse from angry Americans who like blaming Mexican "illegals" for all their problems... problems for which American politicians are directly to blame.

The many reasons for our economic meltdown boil down to toxic trade deals, the elimination of tariffs, for-profit healthcare, student debt, so-called "Citizens United", deregulation of banks and a slew of other policies favoring corporate interests over the interests of the people. Most politicians are to blame, along with the ignoramus voters who keep them in office.

The only reason you think the state of our economy "isn't as bad" as we progressives "want" everyone to believe is because of the good fortune you've enjoyed in your own life, Matt, which thus far has insulated you and your family from the consequences of these disastrous policies. - Aliceinwonderland

ChicagoMatt 6 years 12 weeks ago
#29
"Too much" labor. This is a direct consequence of raygunomics, NAFTA and the outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs to foreign countries, major factors conservatives conveniently ignore.

Specific numbers for outsourced jobs are hard to find, because companies don't have to give that information out. The highest estimate I've seen is 10.5 million. Not good, but bringing all of those jobs back (which I support, by the way) still wouldn't be enough to employ the 12 million or so undocumented workers, and 11 million or so able-bodied-but-unemployed Americans. Although, I suppose one could argue that bringing back those manufacturing jobs would have a ripple effect and add more peripheral jobs.

Most politicians are to blame, along with the ignoramus voters who keep them in office.

I think we both agree with this statement, but draw different conclusions from it. My conclusion, if politicians are to blame and my countrymen are ignorant, is to become as individualistic as possible.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 12 weeks ago
#30

Chi Matt -- The only politicians to blame are republicans. My conclusion is to get a filibuster proof democratic senate. Then we can pass card check and the economy will boom. The only problem is mother earth will suffer. That thing about competition for resources comes straight from faux news. Do you know the US's number 1 export is refined petroleum. Automation effect on labor can be corrected the way it has always been solved. Strong labor reduces the length of the work week.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 12 weeks ago
#31

Matt says "My conclusion, if politicians are to blame and my countrymen are ignorant, is to become as individualistic as possible."

I am all for individualism; always have been; just not the conservative version of it. When it comes to the necessities of life, and how these should be accessed or made available, the conservative "you're-on-your-own" type of "individualism" is just bogus nonsense. To me, individualism should be about things like the style of clothes one wears, the extracurricular and recreational activities one prefers, each person's aptitudes and temperament and so on. When I was a a kid, this got me into all kinds of trouble at school, since I was inclined to ignore the fads and trends of the times and "do my own thing" while peer pressure is such a big deal at that stage of life. (The closer we got to puberty, the worse it got.) At times I've paid a heavy price for my non-conforming ways, although I've always been fiercely independent when it comes to my quirks and idiosyncrasies.

Individuality has its place. But when it comes to those things we all depend upon just to function day-to-day and survive, the conservatives like hiding their privatization crusade behind "individualism", which is just a euphemism and nothing but crap.

I vividly recall Max Baucus's lame speech a few years ago, when he attempted to justify the privatization of healthcare in this country, calling it "uniquely American" and characterizing it as a "go west young man" sort of thing. That's a brand of individualism we'd all do better without. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 12 weeks ago
#32

Chuck- only Republicans to blame?! I strongly disagree. Some of those Democrat senators ("Blue Dogs") have been as worthless as any Republican. The way they vote, they might as well BE Republican. Here in Coos Bay, Oregon where I live, many people in the Democratic party support the liquified natural gas export faciility proposed for this area, oblivious to the health, safety & environmental issues it raises, and the property rights of those facing "eminent domain". I agree that the two parties are not identical; nevertheless, I can't get too excited about the Dems, and this is why. - AIW

P.S. Max Baucus was a "Democrat". Gag me.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 12 weeks ago
#33

AIW -- I did say the repugs were the only ones responsible for the bad economy. I did say mother earth would be in trouble e.g. LNG.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 12 weeks ago
#34

Yes Chuck, the Repugs trashed this economy, along with those "blue dogs" in sheep's clothing. And to echo Ptg0's sentiments, it's time we "flush the toilet" in Washington DC. - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 6 years 12 weeks ago
#35

AIW -- Every blue dog voted for card check, Every blue dog voted for eliminating tax deductions for sending jobs overseas. Every blue dog voted for the disclose act. Every blue dog voted for imposing penalities on China for currency manipulation. Not one repug voted for any of these acts. I still say it is the repugs and only the repugs that are responsible for the bad economy.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 6 years 12 weeks ago
#36

WOW Chuck, that I didn't know! I'm stunned. Thanks for enlightening me to these significant, uh, details... Okay, I guess they're not quite worthless...

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 6 years 12 weeks ago
#37

chuckle8 ~ Yeah, I agree with Aliceinwonderland, thanks!! I didn't know that either, and am too stunned. Plze, keep the insight coming.

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