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March 7th, 2008
05:53 PM ET

Home equity at lowest level since WWII?

 A sale pending notice posted in front of a home in San Rafael, California.

A sale pending notice posted in front of a home in San Rafael, California.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some more depressing news when it comes to our economy: Home equity for the average American has dropped below 50% for the first time since World War II. This means homeowners' debt on their houses exceeds their equity for the first time since the Fed starting tracking this stuff back in 1945.

For millions of people, this highlights the struggle to keep their homes as their mortgage rates keep going up and their property values keep going down.

Home equity has been declining for the last several years, but there are also other factors at work here, including low-and no-down payment mortgages and the increase in home equity lines of credit and refinancing during the housing boom.

Consider this: it's estimated that by the end of this month, 8.8 million homeowners, or about 10% of all homes, will have mortgage balances that are equal to or more than the value of their property.

Meanwhile, a new report shows home foreclosures skyrocketed to an all-time high in the last quarter of 2007. At this point, some 900,000 Americans stand to lose their homes to foreclosure.

Add in the Labor Department report this morning showing the worst job loss in five years last month (63,000 jobs) and you can expect things to continue to get worse on the housing front.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about the state of our economy when home equity is at its lowest point since World War II?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
March 7th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

How should next president tackle Middle East mess?

ALT TEXT
A huge plume of smoke rises from powerful explosions near the offices of the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Shiite cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, on February 11, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

One of the three remaining presidential candidates will have to figure out how to address the tinder box that is the Middle East, which exploded again yesterday.

In Iraq, twin bombing attacks ripped through a Baghdad commercial district, killing 69 people and wounding 120 more. It was the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital in more than a month. These bombings remind ordinary Iraqis that although this kind of violence has decreased, it's still a risk from day-to-day 5 years after the U.S. invasion.

In Israel, a gunman opened fire on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem killing eight people, including an American, and wounding nine more. It's believed the attack was planned by a group with ties to Hezbollah. Seems to lower hopes for that peace deal that President Bush is still holding out for before he leaves office.

The headaches in this part of the world are many. John McCain, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will have their hands full. Remember Afghanistan? More than 6 years after the U.S. invasion, President Hamid Karzai controls only 30% of the country. The tribes rule the rest of it and Osama bin Laden is still at large.

Iran's president continues to cozy up to the Iraqis while refusing to halt uranium enrichment and accelerating the country's nuclear program.

The Bush administration's policy in the Middle East has been nothing short of a disaster. There have been no consequences for him for all the problems he has caused there. Instead he will leave office and leave it all for someone else to clean up.

Here’s my question to you: What should the next president do about the ongoing crises in the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Uncategorized
March 7th, 2008
02:04 PM ET

Will pledged delegates decide the Democratic nominee?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's looking like Barack Obama will almost certainly finish up the primary season with more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton, although it won't be enough to clinch the nomination.

In a Newsweek piece called "Hillary's New Math Problem," Jonathan Alter writes how despite Clinton's three wins this week, the delegate math is working against her. He suggests Clinton needs very large margins in the 12 remaining primaries, an average of about 23 points, which is more than double the margin of her Ohio win.

If Clinton is not leading in pledged delegates come June, a lead in the popular vote might help her convince superdelegates that she is the stronger candidate. But right now, Clinton trails Obama there as well, by about 600,000 votes.

It all boils down to a pretty messy scenario for the Democrats where the nearly 800 superdelegates could be left to decide on the nominee. Clinton still leads Obama when it comes to the votes of these party insiders by 238-to-199. But, keep in mind, if Obama maintains a pledged delegate lead, he'll ultimately need fewer of these superdelegates to commit to him in order to become the nominee.

Alter adds that several prominent uncommitted superdelegates tell him there's no way they would reverse the will of Democratic voters... that it would shatter young people and destroy the party.

Here’s my question to you: How confident are you that the winner of the most pledged delegates in the primary season will become the Democratic nominee?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election