Fleeced by Dick Morris

November 26, 2009

fleeced Summary: Fleeced, by former (now disgruntled) Clinton administration adviser Dick Morris, carries the very long subtitle of: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us … and What to Do About It. That title just about sums up the various subjects that Morris discusses in the book, revealing how these different entities are fleecing the American public out of billions of dollars. He presents evidence, facts, and figures to back up his assertions, and proposes ways that we can help stop the bleeding.

Morris spends a great deal of time showing how lobbyists for foreign countries are detrimental to our policies and well-being as a country, and also talks about the ways credit card companies take advantage of hard-working Americans by charging usurious interest rates and using deceptive practices to get people to sign up, transfer balances, or take out cash advances.

Politicians bear the brunt of Morris’ ire, but some private companies are dragged into the fray as well. In particular, Morris tells how Halliburton has charged the government for unaccountable billions in fees for their “security” work in Iraq. Also, a couple of government agencies get called out, such as the Defense Department for awarding a record-setting contract to a French firm instead of keeping the money and jobs in the U.S.

Liked:

  • Morris talked about a lot of things that I never really gave much thought to. For instance, I had no idea that foreign governments hire Washington lobbyists to promote policies favorable to their countries. That’s a questionable practice at best, and I definitely agree that we should be wary.
  • I thought Morris was right on the money (no pun intended) when he complained about the way credit card companies are allowed to charge exorbitant interest rates. In particular, I was struck by the story of the financial services company that offered a card to a low-income woman. They charged her an application fee, a processing fee, and a membership fee before they even issued the card, so by the time she actually got it, she was already $175 in debt against a $250 limit. Insane!
  • I liked the chapters regarding the way the media downplay terrorist threats. I believe what Morris said is true, and that these threats actually are/were much more serious than the NY Times, Washington Post, and others care to admit. I’m sure if the Obama administration foils an attack, it will be praised for having prevented the next 9/11. But because these things happened on Bush’s watch, they were discounted.
  • Why is Halliburton still receiving government contracts and money after the way they’ve been fleecing us out of billions? They destroy vehicles rather than make minor repairs because, hey, Uncle Sam is paying for it, so why not. And Morris made a pretty good case for Halliburton getting so much business because of the Cheney connection. The differences in their contract dollars before Cheney was VP and after is astronomical. Even conservatives can’t deny that.

Disliked:

  • Morris’ hatred of the Clintons came through whenever he mentioned them. I’m no fan of Bill and Hillary either, but the author’s inability to talk about them dispassionately led me to feel that the whole work was tainted with some bias.
  • Morris claims that he’ll tell us “what to do about” the fleecing, but offers no real solutions. He just tells people to write to their congressmen. How effective would that really be?
  • This is not really on Morris, but since I didn’t know much about any of the topics he discussed, I was in no position to judge how accurate his claims are. Obviously, I can’t take everything on face value, but what can be believed and what should be discredited? I have no idea.

My Rating:
I thought Fleeced by Dick Morris contained a lot of interesting information and really opened my eyes to the wasteful practices in Washington and elsewhere. I mean, we all know that the government wastes money, but this book puts some staggering figures out there. Despite the interesting content, however, I couldn’t get past the fact that Morris sounded so overtly biased in many of these chapters. Furthermore, I have no real way of verifying the truth of his statements. Taken together, I can’t justify giving this book more than 3 stars out of 5.

Leave a Reply