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July 2nd, 2008
02:30 PM ET

Why are we happier than 25 years ago?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As we head into the long July Fourth holiday weekend and prepare to celebrate our country's independence, here's something worth noting: Granted economic times are tough here in the U.S. and many countries around the world are grappling with serious issues like food shortages, but it turns out the world is a happier place than it was 25 years ago.

A new government study of 97 countries finds that Denmark is the happiest place on earth followed by Puerto Rico and Colombia, while Zimbabwe ranks last. The United States ranks 16th.

The survey is a pretty simple one, asking people how happy they are and how satisfied they are with their lives as a whole. By this measure, a so-called "Happiness Index" rose in 40 countries – and fell in 12 others – between 1981 and 2007.

Researchers say that the overall rise in happiness in many countries is due to economic growth, the move toward democracy in many countries, and an increase in gender equality and tolerance of minorities in more developed nations. A director of the study says there's a strong correlation between peace and happiness as well as between democracy and happiness.

Money also seems to play a role in the equation: researchers found people living in rich countries tend to be happier than those in poor countries. Almost all of the countries at the bottom of the list have histories of dictatorships along with widespread poverty.

Here’s my question to you: Why are we happier today than we were 25 years ago?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Happiness
July 2nd, 2008
02:10 PM ET

Concern about sharp decline of dollar?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. dollar just isn't what it used to be. In fact, the dollar has been declining in value for 6 years now against other major currencies.

And, if you look around, it's hard not to see the signs: hordes of vacationing Europeans are picking up bargains in the U.S., while Americans traveling overseas are hit hard with sticker shock. Canadians now flock here for shopping bargains, instead of the opposite. A Belgian company is attempting a hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer in the U.S. If the takeover goes through, it might be the first of many foreign takeovers of American companies.

While everything made in the U.S. is so much cheaper to foreigners, Americans are paying more for imported goods, while most are also grappling with rising food and energy costs. Since oil is bought and sold in dollars, the devalued dollar makes gasoline that much more expensive for Americans.

Some even suggest the continued decline of the dollar could one day lead to it being replaced by the Euro as the so-called "primary reserve" currency. There are stores right here in New York that now accept euros as payment.

Meanwhile, the message from Washington doesn't seem to change much. President Bush has often talked about his support for a "strong dollar", just last week saying “We're strong-dollar people in this administration." Really, Mr. President? You have presided over the most precipitous drop in the value of our currency in our nation's history.

Here’s my question to you: How concerned are you about the sharp decline in the value of the U.S. dollar?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: US Economy
July 2nd, 2008
02:01 PM ET

How should McCain deal with Pres. Bush’s negative numbers?

 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:

Many Americans are worried that a John McCain presidency would be just like another term of George Bush.

Two thirds of Americans are concerned that McCain would pursue policies too similar to President Bush according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. 49 percent say they are "very concerned."

This creates a real dilemma for McCain. The conservative Republican base is less than thrilled with McCain as the GOP nominee. And that's where the few remaining people who think President Bush is doing a good job reside.

McCain can't separate himself too much from Mr. Bush or conservative Republicans will tell him to take a hike. But if he doesn't separate from Bush, he's going to have trouble attracting those voters who think President Bush is the worst thing to happen to this country in a good long while. And there are lots of those.

A new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll focuses on President Bush's disapproval rating and the unprecedented role it could play in the campaign. None of this is good news for McCain. The survey puts the president's disapproval rating at 67% among older voters, 71% among women and a whopping 75% among independents.

These are all groups McCain desperately needs to have any kind of a chance. One Republican pollster points out that in order for McCain to be elected president, at least one-third of McCain's votes will have to come from people who disapprove of the job President Bush is doing – most of them independents.

Here’s my question to you: How should John McCain handle the problem caused by President Bush’s huge negative numbers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: John McCain • President George Bush