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June 10th, 2008
05:21 PM ET

Is the American dream dead or just wounded?

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Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The American dream is becoming more of a mirage these days.

54% of Americans say their standard of living is no better today than it was five years ago, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. And only 45% expect their children to live better than they do. That's not the way it used to be in this country.

Today more and more Americans are struggling thanks to the housing crisis, the credit crisis, gas topping $4 a gallon, rising food prices and unsettled financial markets. From the end of the 2001 recession through last year, average household income actually dropped almost every year. That's the first time since World War II that the typical family was worse off at the end of an economic expansion than at the beginning. That's an ominous sign.

Economists say there are lots of reasons for the financial headaches including weaker unions that can't fight lower wages and more global competition. There's also been growing demand for skilled workers at a time when the typical American worker has fewer years of education.

The term "American Dream" actually was born during the Depression. Economists now refer to the period from 1945 to 1973 as the "golden age" when both the rich and poor prospered.

But that has changed. These days it's almost always been the rich who benefit from economic growth. One expert says the top 1% of American families – those earning more than $382,000 – received about three-quarters of the nation's overall growth from 2002 to 2006.

This suggests that the other 99% of the country may no longer be able to count on the idea of better times ahead. And if that's the case, we are in big, big trouble.

Here’s my question to you: Is the American dream dead or just wounded?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Economy
June 10th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Should Bush worry about McClellan testimony?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Bush probably isn't looking forward to next Friday – that's when former White House Spokesman Scott McClellan is set to testify before Congress.

McClellan will appear before the House Judiciary Committee, publicly and under oath, concerning the White House's role in leaking the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame in 2003.

In his new book, McClellan writes that he was misled by administration officials, possibly including Vice President Dick Cheney, about the role of Scooter Libby in the leak. McClellan has said that both the president and vice president "directed me to go out there and exonerate" Libby. The Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Henry Waxman, is also trying to get his hands on more FBI documents about the leak.

Meanwhile, here's something else President Bush may want to keep his eye on: Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against the president last night. Kucinich believes Mr. Bush deceived the country and violated his oath of office by taking the U.S. into war in Iraq. He introduced a similar resolution last year calling for the impeachment of Cheney – that measure was killed.

With so little time left in Bush's term it's highly unlikely the Democratic Congress will do anything with this new resolution either. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that impeachment is "off the table." I still wonder who authorized Nancy Pelosi to make that determination. Something else we'll probably never know.

Here’s my question to you: How concerned should the Bush administration be about Scott McClellan’s upcoming testimony before Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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June 10th, 2008
01:55 PM ET

Should Obama help Clinton pay off her debt?

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Sen. Hillary Clinton lent $11.4 million of her own money to her campaign.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Hillary Clinton is out of the race for president, but she's not out of the red. Far from it.

In fact, it's believed Clinton has the largest presidential campaign debt in history. Recent filings show Senator Clinton loaned her campaign $11.4 million of her own money, and she also owes vendors about $9.5 million. That's at least $20 million.

Other wealthier candidates, like Mitt Romney, have loaned themselves more money... but they don't always plan on getting it back. Clinton also has to deal with both the personal loan and the unpaid bills. One campaign finance lawyer tells the New York Times that Clinton's debt is "unprecedented." Other candidates who have lost have owed less than half the amount she owes to businesses.

So what exactly are Clinton's options? The good news for her is her campaign says it's raised about $1 million since the final primaries last week. That suggests some supporters may be committed enough to help out with her bills.

The other possibility floated around is for Barack Obama to pitch in. Although campaign finance laws prohibit him from transferring money from his campaign to hers... his campaign could ask supporters to chip in or he could hold fund-raisers on her behalf.

But not everyone is sure this is the way to go. Some Obama fund-raisers say it will be tough to help out Clinton because they're already raising money for Obama and for the DNC. Others say the tensions from the primary race could make it more difficult. But if Obama does help Clinton, it could go a long way toward getting her – and her supporters – on board his run for president.

Here’s my question to you: Would it be a good idea for Barack Obama to help Hillary Clinton repay her campaign debt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton