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March 20th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Worried about losing your quality of life?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the recession drags on, Americans are growing less confident that they can maintain their current standard of living, especially when it comes to long-term goals.

Your quality of life: Is there anything you fear losing?

A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 39 percent of those surveyed say they're very confident they'll be able to keep up their quality of life over the next year; but that's down from 45 percent who felt that way a year ago.

50 percent of homeowners with a mortgage say they're very confident they can keep making their house payments; again, that's down from 58 percent just a year ago. Also down is the percentage of Americans who are confident they can pay other debts - like credit cards and car loans.

And people are even more pessimistic when it comes to saving for long term goals. Only 24 percent of parents say they're very confident they'll be able to pay to send their children to college. And only 22 percent of those who are still working feel they can save enough for retirement.

These are pretty scary numbers. The U.S. used to be a place where every generation hoped for a standard of living that was better than what their parents had. And for the most part for more than 200 years, that's the way it's been. It was all part of the American dream; but as these poll numbers suggest, that dream may be just that - a dream - for the generations coming up.

Here's my question to you: What do you fear losing most when it comes to your quality of life?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Matt writes:
I work for a large paper mill that has (since the first of the year) laid off 20% of its workforce. We are constantly under the threat of losing our jobs. I'm 51 and 11 years away from retirement. If I lose my job, there’s no one that will hire me with my experience that pays anywhere near what I make now. Got to be afraid to buy anything other than groceries and gas. It's hard to sleep at night.

Jim from Chicago writes:
Jack, What I fear losing most is my self-respect in trying to cope with such a major setback this late in my life.

Michael from Panama city, Florida writes:
I'm a public school teacher and what I fear losing the most is the future awaiting my students. My school is closing due to budget cuts, class sizes are increasing, hundreds of teachers in my district are out of a job. Only a fool believes that students aren't the ultimate loser.

Janet from New Jersey writes:
I am recently divorced after 38 years of marriage. Currently I am employed, but I worry that if I should lose my job at my age (60) I won’t be able to get another one. Also, being alone now, I'm afraid I won't have enough savings to live on for the next (hopefully) 20+ years of my life. The 401(k) plan I have been saving into is now a joke.

Pete from Alexandria, Va. writes:
As painful as this type of adjustment is, I think it will have a positive overall benefit. America has become way too entitled over the last 25 years, and lost the edge that made us a world leader. It's become all about stuff and "me, me, me". What do I fear most? An artificial economy where we're propping up ridiculous institutions that are clearly failed – this is going to kill the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that comes from taking the credit and the blame for trying something new, and building something great.


Filed under: Economy
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack
    What fear most is some sort of catostrophic event that would cost me my freedom.Such as a government meltdown due to a Congress full
    of bafoons with no leadership skills.Or a medical situation that health insurance could not reach.Something major that would cost me or
    all of us our freedom.
    Davi Bebeau

    March 19, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  2. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    What I fear losing the most is my ability to travel to visit my kids and grand kids whenever I want to instead of only when I can afford to.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  3. Susan

    Our freedom, costitutional rights and the morality of our country. We can no longer trust our President, while he is out in California partying with Jay Leno the Country is in an economic downhill spiral. The Congressman continue to lie and pass laws behind closed doors. They lie on camera "Dodd" and the people give him a pass. Wake up, the Obama people including Congress has to pay back favors since they recieved large amounts of money for their campaigne. Get used to this type of politics, there is a long list of people Obama has to pay back for that big campaign money he had!

    March 19, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  4. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    My future. I can fight through the toughest of times now, so please let them come now, rather than later. Lets solve our problems for a change, instead of delaying them.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  5. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    Our Health.... We cut back on the groceries, but we still eat healthy. We don't spend as much for receration, but we go to the parks instead. When we have our health, we can still enjoy life without spending a lot of money.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  6. Sue Austin Texas

    Freedom Jack. The freedom to do what I want when I want without checking to see if I have enough cash. Everything is going up except my income.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  7. Simpliticus

    Basic essentials! But we typically do well during downturns and this time is no exception!

    March 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  8. Sharon L Hill, Deltona, FL

    My dogs. If I have to give them up I lose everything. They are my children, my only companions, the only ones left that care about me.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  9. william fitzwater

    If you loose your employment you cease to be a wage earner you loose the abilty to fully participate in the economy. What I fear most .

    F false
    E evidence that
    A appears to be
    R real

    Well thats about it.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  10. Liz

    Jack, It has already happen to me. Even though I am 10 years cancer free. My health is the # 1 thing I lost. Chemo destroyed my body and even my brain.
    Liz in Metairie, La.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  11. TennesseeFrost

    When people get desperate, they do stupid things that in the end.. put many at risk. I fear this.. if something doesn't come to the people directly soon.. No more bailouts.. they have used us enough.. give the people the money.. make them go with legal ID to get it from a government office. Let us make the choices where we want to spend our money.. be it in a home, a store, a car or education.. let it be our choice..

    I fear most for the children of our country. They always pay the price and I'm not talking about the future.. today.. parents trying to feed them.. If the parents don't survive neither will the children or our future..

    Tennessee Frost

    March 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  12. Maureen Lanctot Malone, NY

    I fear losing my way of communicating with the world via TV, Internet and Phone. Money, or lack of it has made its mark on our family. We are losing any extras we have always had. We had to file bankruptcy in January of this year. We thought things would get better...they are not. It is impossible to pay our monthly bills.

    The quality of life we once knew, will end soon. Guess we'll have to spend our time gardening.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  13. Jonathan in Virginia

    What I probably fear the most is the loss of my individual liberties – the right to free speech, to worship my God, to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, protect my family by owning a gun – you know, all those funny little antiquated notions they put in the Constitution a long time ago. Now I see a government on the rise that is pro-censorship, pro-gun control, pro-abortion, anti-faith, pro-illegal immigration and pro-grabbing people's assets, all in the name of "fairness". That is a vision of America that truly frightens me.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  14. Nanci McClellan

    As a 40 something in the pharma research field, I fear going back to the insanity of the past few years. The down turn in the economy has lead me back to a more simple was of life. It has taught my 18 and 16 year old kids a thing or two in the process. My parents were always careful with money, clipping coupons and buying items on sale. My mother kept the household budget and balanced it each month. Somewhere along the way these life lessons were abandonded by me. I can tell you they are back to stay no matter how unfashionable they may grow to be in the future. There is no excuse for waste.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  15. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    I fear losing my mobility,any of my senses or my mental faculties. I work hard at exercise and diet to prevent any problems and I also come from pretty sturdy stock. I've lost people I love and look at every day as a gift – that's why they call it the present.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  16. bruce smith

    Paying more taxes, they are already to high. I fear losing my retirement income due to the give aways from our congress.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  17. Lance Schumacher

    Jack, I don't live in the "fear zone". I plan, adapt, adjust, and make the best of the results. It is called optimistic personal responsibility. If there is a fear in my life, it is that I could become physically disabled to the point where I could not make the decisions and execute the plans. At that point, I would sincerely hope that they would "pull the plug" and let me go. Everything else is just a challenge that has any number of solutions, and it is up to ME to make the right/best decision, and live with the consequences. I'm positive there are millions of others out there that face life every day with the same attitude, just as there are millions out there that want somebody else to "fix" their problems.

    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    March 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  18. JD in NH

    What I fear losing most is my life . . . period. Or the lives of my family members. If you are unable to afford health insurance (or have a pre-existing condition that makes you ineligible) and are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, your very existence is at risk. Many of the uninsured I've talked to who are in a similar boat feel as I do that we'd rather succumb from lack of treatment than send our families into a bankruptcy that would leave them living in a box on the street. After decades of hard work, paying taxes and never accepting a dime of government money, I feel abandoned and I'm mad as hell about it.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  19. Barbara Norman

    Health care quality! It would be heartbreaking, as a caregiver for both my mother and my husband, if the good quality of health suppport my family has now were to end due to changes in the health care system.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  20. mark in az

    I've always been amongst the working poor, so I don't really know how much farther down I can go short of homelessness.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  21. NANCY M.- Colorado

    I fear that all this will not change the way things are done in this country. The shame will be if we allow ourselves to slip back into the old spiral that got us into this mess. Many, many things need to be regulated and held in check, from credit cards to large corporations and lending practices.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  22. Jeanette Cox

    I fear the loss of quality health care, which I now enjoy through private insurance.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  23. Patti Williams

    Our pension and healthcare from GM.If they go under we will lose our home and maybe our car as the monthly payments would be too high .
    There will be many more foreclosures and a high cost to taxpayers from people seeking assistance with food stamps,housing and medicaid. Our pension isnt that large (so many people that think GM retirees are rich)f it gets cut in half on the government pension program many will have to find a job in states that have over 10% unemployment and most are too old to go back to work.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  24. Peg

    Dear Jack,

    I fear my spouse losing his job.
    Peg from NY

    March 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  25. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    I mostly fear my loss of pride and self esteem if I am rendered unable to care for my loved ones by ensuring that they have a roof over their heads, food to eat and access to adequate health care.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  26. Barbara - NC

    My independence. I'll give up cable and a lot of other non-necessities before I'll move in with someone else.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  27. Mariaelena Raymond

    My healthcare and home.

    MariaElena

    Brunswick,MD

    March 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  28. Clementine from Fort Bragg, NC

    Actually my family's quality of life will not change because of the good decisions made by my husband and myself. We have always lived on a budget, we didn't buy a house we couldn't afford and we didn't run up credit card debt we couldn't pay. I think people are beginning to realize that they can survive on a lot less than what they had, I just hope that people learn and don't start the cycle all over again by buying meaningless junk when times become better.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  29. Charlene

    I am not rich so expensive material things aren't an issue. Taking care of my family is where it hits me hard. Making sure they get what they need – a roof over their head, food to eat, medicine to heal. Everything else is a luxury.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  30. Terry from Montana

    The only thing that matters: health, health, health.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  31. KarenB, centralFlorida

    I fear our losing our basic freedoms and rights.
    Those who hate us want to see us stripped of our "way of life" (freedom of speech, ability to live/work/survive – have what we feel are basic necessities – decent home/dwelling, food, our dignities, income to support those things)...there are those who would like to see us dead or busting rocks, eating dirt, living in squalor in primitive settings – those people are actually what I fear most.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  32. Tony from Torrington

    My freedom to socilaism.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  33. Beverly-NYC

    Jack:

    I have nothing to fear. I am employed, bills continue to be paid, and I have saved for a rainy day. Should I lose my job tomorrow, I still have my education, experience and ingenuity to get another. My personal econony is just fine. While I am loathe to agree with Phil Gramm, we have become a nation of whiners. Everything is the government's fault all of a sudden. Did Bush,Obama or government tell anyone to buy a house they couldn't afford, max out credit cards, buy stuff to keep up with the "rich" neighbors, invest life savings with one person, save nothing for a rainy day? NO!!!! Now that the Gov't is handing out "free" money we all feel entitled to be taken care of. I hope these "hard" times last a while longer, most Americans need a mental reset. If it gets one person to re-evaluate their life, and what they really need to make their lives happy it will be worth it. Some hard heads will go back to business as usual, but others will have learned their lesson.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  34. Jackie in Dallas

    I have nothing left to fear. I've already faced mine. I've twice come close to being foreclosed on for my very modest VA-backed home that I've been paying on for 20 years. I spent most of Bush's two terms in and out of jobs while the rich GOP were making a fortune and ruining the middle class. I've had to go through bankruptcy, lost all my savings (yes, I did have some), and even had to sell treasured possessions. I still wouldn't have made it without the help of friends and even a couple of strangers. I don't know what a new car is, have to do my own home repairs (try that as a 58-year old woman!), and have given up most of my outside the home activities. I survived.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  35. Dan G from Alliance, OH

    The ability to afford fixing my home which will keep the value up. I am on very limited income and the prospects in the near future are very limited as I move toward retirement sometime this year. I still have 3 years before medicare.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  36. Kevin in Taxachusetts

    Freedom, It seems as everyday the government gets more involved with taking things away that I have enjoyed. Our freedom and values are disappearing right before our eyes. The American dream will become a nightmare.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  37. Jim/NC

    What I fear most is government intrusion into most every facet of our lives. Freedom is not free but government can, and it appears that it is on its way, to controlling heathcare, education, business, energy, plus, our state goverments through the stimulus package. Be careful for what you wish for...it can come back to snare you in a web that will be very difficult to overcome.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  38. Doug Price

    Jack, My biggest fear is that my constitutional rights will be the next main target to be taken away, abridged, or ignored. The present situations that are coming to light, from borders, finances, jobs, security, and the like just scare the hell out of me! These people in power and control have absolutely no intention to protect any Americans rights or liberties if it gets in the way of them grabbing MORE control, money, power, or right to oppress the citizens of this Great Nation to further their agendas. The American Voter has to wake-up and see this travesty for what it is before it becomes a mute point and OUR COUNTRY disappears in history!
    Being from the south, my daddy taught me that if it looks,smells, and acts like manure, IT IS!!
    Doc
    Moore,Ok

    March 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  39. Donna Wisconsin

    My health and insurance. Money will never make anyone happy or content, but being in good health and having the sercurity of insurance is important. Then you can accomplish anything. So I support the President and his healthcare initiatives.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  40. Ed Reed

    My wife and my health.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    March 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  41. WilliamTell

    Jack, Quality of life? what is that, most Americans don't even know what that is anymore. This joker in the White house believes hope and change will bring quality.. Change we can count on... Food stamps please.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  42. Thom Richer

    It is rapidly becoming obvious that working for a LIVING will soon become a thing of the past. That frightens me more than anything. Good or bad, unions made that possible for the working class but like everything else, they too became tainted and abused to the point of losing usefullness. However, the greatest danger facing workers now and for many decades to come, is the fact that working for someone else will not allow a worker to make a living wage for his or her families. Corporate America, small business and government no longer respect, acknowledge, value, or feel an obligation to the American worker to provide them a living wage. Nor do they care about the health, education or well being of the working American. Bottom line is the main focus of employers and government now. Low wages, little or no benefits, part-time employees, "flex-jobs," and no long term employment to deal with retirement or medical benefits, is their goal. The right to making a living in America is what I am afraid of losing the most. But I fear it has already been lost.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    March 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  43. Richard from Florida

    Jack : i 'm 57 years old .Quality of life ? i have no fears I have already
    lost my quality of life. I 'm just waiting for my time to go.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  44. Anthony Smith

    It is already happening. I'm losing sleep from the stress. I'm losing money from being laid off. Therefore, the refrigerator is nearly empty and the kids go without food. The bills are late and the same companies bailed out by our government DO NOT want to give us a break. We are losing peace, prosperity, sleep, and our minds. Many thanks to George Bush, Obama, and greed in this country!

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    March 19, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  45. Rosemary

    I fear losing my "zest for life", I am trying so very hard to hang on to it !!
    My ability to have "spontaneous fun" is WAY OVER SHADOWED by my uncontrolable need to HORD what I have left. This in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM is or will ever help the economy recover, I know...there is no way I am in the minority here. Though it is so very sad, welcome to the new way of life. Thank you for allowing this forum for me to "cyber vent"

    March 19, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  46. Richard

    My home

    March 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  47. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    Being able to cook hot wings for myself once a week... Oh, and living in a house is nice too.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  48. George, Dunedin, Florida

    At 73 years of age the one thing that I fear most of losing in my pulse, or maybe my breath. If that happens there won't be any quality of life to worry about, so that makes worrying about the economy kind of secondary. Now that we've had a laugh, my real thoughts are that Americans are the most hard working, and resilient people on this planet, that is why we have been so successful over the years. We will just go back to work, rebuild our way of life, but this time we will keep it out of the hands of the financial people, and more in the control of the average people like you, and I Jack...

    March 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  49. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    Quality of life is very personal. I fear losing the financial flexibility that I now have, if my investments are mostly lost to this economic crisis. I worked for 30 years, as did many people, to provide a secure retirement for myself. With this crisis, I fear losing my invested funds, or even my pension if the economy continues to worsen.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  50. Melissa

    My husband and I already have very little. We live with family because we can't afford to live on our own. We have a car and really really don't want to lose it. What I fear most is that his aunt will lose her job. If that happens, we're all out on the street. It might not be so bad since my husband just found a job after nearly 5 months looking, but its still not going to be good since we can't even afford a one bedroom apartment, never mind a place for all three of us, and the whole bunch of pets his aunt has.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  51. Ed

    Hmm, food water food water.. definitely cigarettes, have you seen the price of those things?

    March 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  52. Roy

    Jack given the amount of Greed, hate, job losses, the morgage crisis, the big bank fiasco, the health issue and all the rest of the negative impact issues the last eight years have had on the American dream I would venture to say that for the average worker and their families they have and still are losing the battle for any kind of quality of life so with them this is a moot point at best. They can't lose what has already been taken from them.

    Roy
    Olympia, Wa.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  53. walt Utah

    Jack,

    I'm 62 yrs old and have been retired for over two years and at this stage of the game I do not fear losing anything.
    I am however very concerned for my children and grandchildren.

    Walt

    March 19, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  54. Tina Texas

    I can live without keeping up with the Joneses but I cannot survive without decent insurance. That is what I fear the most that I will loose my insurance and have to sit at the county hospital for days to get seen.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  55. Frank W. New Mexico

    I fear losing my country to Socialism the most. I like our country the way it is and I sincerely believe if the politicians had left it alone we would all ready be pulling out of this recession.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  56. Judie from St. Augustine, Florida

    Jack,
    The thing I fear most is not being able to leave an affordable house to my adult disabled daughter. All the equity has been depleted by the foreclosures in our area so all I will be able to leave her is a place she will not be able to afford to keep and will not be able to sell. I hope I can live long enough to see this turn around for her sake and my peace of mind.
    Judie
    St. Augustine, Fl

    March 19, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  57. Chuck in Warren, Ohio

    Jack: When your sitting in the middle of an economic war zone and every thing around you is gone, I don't think Quality of Life is a worry. I think it's more like, can we make it the rest of the month??

    March 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  58. Rose in Az

    Our quality of life has already diminshed and is going down hill faster each day. I don't mind cutting back and doing things to obtain the green enery plan but if the taxpayers can cut back why can Washington. That includes Obama, he loves his new ride (Air Force one) way too much. His frequent trips cost of an awful lot of money, he needs to cut back too.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  59. Ardis

    My health, my home, and my pets. And I worry about my kids and grandkids. Being unemployed for the first time in my 50's is nerveracking. Not being able to help my kids as this economy hurts them is devastating.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  60. Bill in Beaverton, Oregon

    I fear losing the ability to provide my family with a home, food, clothing, a sense of secrurity. I've never been so scared of anything in my life. This scares me so much, I can't sleep.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  61. BRUCE, ST PAUL, MN

    My house, definitely. I have been in it for over twenty years, and have accumulated so much crap that I don't know if I'd be able to clean it all up.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  62. Geri

    It states in the book titled A Course in Miracles, "To the degree that you are fearful you are not fully alive." Since I choose to be fully alive and fully aware, I choose not to be fearful about losing anyone or anything. Did you know Jack that among the seven deadly sins, despair is considered to be the biggest sin of all? Fear and despair are the opposites of faith. We get what we concentrate on. There is no other main rule.

    Geri – Oklahoma

    March 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  63. Tony in IL

    Jack, What quality of life. I am married with 3 kids, unemployed, living on food stamps and my wife's part-time job. It's the third time in a little over a year that I ended up on the unemployment line again. I am suffering from depression and the worse thing that can happen now is end up homeless.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  64. Tina L. (Los Angeles)

    I'm worried about losing the roof over my head, not being able to afford to eat – let alone take care of my two kids.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  65. Bill in Sacramento, CA

    Jack, there's no quality of life without a job! I'm 55 years old and have been actively looking for a job for almost a year and have no health insurance. I've been frugal all my life and I'm able to make my home payments on the unemployment Insurance that I recieve. Thank God for the helping hand of extended unemployment benefits that the Democrats pushed for. I'm close to losing everything through no fault of my own.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  66. John from Alabama

    Jack: Yes I fear losing control of my body. I do not mind dying, but I do not want to be a nuisance. The fasted selling insurance is for long term care. If I can walk, drive a car, and communicate to others in coherent speech I will feel like life is good. The fasted growing service are nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

    John from Alabama

    March 19, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  67. Doris/St. Louis

    Jack, when it comes to losing my quality of life I can only go up, therefore, I would be grateful to lose my fixed income and move up to a liveable wage.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  68. Ken in Pinon Hills, California on the Left Coast

    I fear losing most is is the Middle Class. Its demise means goodbye to the quality of life we once enjoyed and possibly the end the United States of America. Every thing comes to and end Virginia, we seem to be in a hurry to meet that end.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  69. Sandy in Arkansas

    I've done without for a lot of my life and will doubtless do so a lot more. It is when you lose the people you love to death or something like Alzheimers that the important things in life become apparent. In fact, many people long ago lost the quality of life trying to put quantities of "things" into their life. I worry that we lost the quality of life when possessions and greed became more important than people.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  70. Judy

    I fear - though I'm probably more angry than afraid!! - the loss of my financial security as I age (I'm a 62 yr. old divorced female, with a MA earned at nite while I worked much unpaid overtime), who's worked all my adult life to establish myself as a marketable and valuable employee, to be a self-reliant person who wouldn't have to live in poverty nor lose the quality of my life that I I had worked and saved for.

    I paid off my mortagage within two yrs. of purchase and kept socking away lots of my earnings in CDs and my 401K. I've never allowed myself to get into debt - in spite of some temptations.

    I've never been so furious and frustrated in all my life as I watch this soap opera of the rich and powerful and greedy as they spit on us average Americans. I am among the fortunate these days who won't lose my home, etc. - so search your heart for the others.

    Are the rich and greedy good Americans? I think not . . . .

    Judy

    March 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  71. odessa

    my life because i wonder how i going to live on earth. having materials things doesn't save you when you die. what i want to do is have a roof over my head, provide income for my family, affordable healthcare and putting food on the table.that what really matters to me.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  72. Pablo in Tejas

    Jack
    the only thing we have to fear is .... losing our medical coverage, which it ain't that good and costs us more than a grand a month.
    This country will never be right until we have a single-payer health care system similar to Canada's. That, above all others, is the one institutional reform I hope the Obama Administration will be able to accomplish.

    Pablo
    Arlington Texas

    March 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  73. Mike in SA

    Looking at my children and and feeling that they will be able to meet their potential some day.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  74. Arlene

    Jack,

    I worry about losing the bed I sleep in, if I lose my house, if I lose my job.

    Arlene in Atlanta

    March 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  75. Matt Lord

    Matt, Cedar Springs GA, Jack I work for a large papermill that has since the first of the year laid off 20% of it's workforce. We are constantly under the threat of loosing our jobs. I'm 51 and 11 years away from retirement. If I loose my job ther are no jobs in this area that will hire me with my experience that pay anyway near what I make now. Got to be afraid to buy anything other than groceries and gas. It's hard to sleep at night.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  76. Bob in Indiana

    The ability to feed, house and provide the necessities for my family. The more worrisome issue is how to pay for my daughter's college education on one income.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  77. Rachel in Tennessee

    I fear of not having enough money to live on the rest of my life. Like so many baby boomers, I took a cash buy-out, early retirement and belived my financial adviser when he said I was set for life. Luckily, I didn't take all of his advice. I paid off my house, took my money out of the stockmarket, stopped paying a broker, rolled it over in CD's at my bank. 9 years later, I have half of what I had at retirement and not knowing if I'll ever draw a penny of my social security scares the @#LL out of me. I'm now back at work full time, making a fraction of what I made when I retired and saving every penny I can get my hands on. I'm most scared of loosing the middle class all together.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  78. Nick Obrenovich, Cutler, WI

    Jack:

    With a meager retirement income, plus medicare, plus a supplemental
    medical plan, there is no one loss that wouldn't drastically change my lifestyle for the worse. I'd lose a lot of coverage if my wife passed away so I guess I'd have to say her loss would be the most devastating in every way.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  79. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    I already lost my quality of life. After I graduated my job went to India.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  80. Jenna Wade

    What do you fear losing most when it comes to your quality of life?

    Losing the health care insurance we have now. If my husband loses his job then we will have none.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    March 19, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  81. Kathleen Parker

    As the US sinks further on every indicator, I fear that we as a country and as individuals will have the same control over any facet of our lives as other second (possibly third) world countries. The days of nice homes, good-paying jobs, college education are gradually being replaced by fear and subsistence living for many. We have failed to realize that we are in a rapidly sinking life boat and we are arguing about whether we should bail to the right or the left – such idiocy will only end in disaster!

    March 19, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  82. Amanda

    I could probably live under a bridge, so long as I still had my hearing so I could rock out to some tasty jams. Music it what makes me feel good.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  83. katie

    Hi Jack,
    Time that I don't have. I don't have a quality of life right now with all this economic crisis going on, I'm afraid by the time it comes for me to enjoy life l'll still be working to enjoy the simplest of pleasures.

    Katie,
    Orlando,FL

    March 19, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  84. J Georgia

    As far as I'm concerned, if the fools we employ at the federal level don't destroy our monetary system and can somehow refrain from starting some foolish war, I can handle my own quality of life. So yes.....I'm fearful.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  85. David of Alexandria VA

    Freedom of choice, no doubt. That may come from some debilitating illness or simply growing older. Probably more troubling to me, though, is that it may come in the form of not being able to choose my own health care, or dare to earn more than $250K a year without feeling like a pariah, or not being able to leave my money to whom I choose, or having a government with the audacity to consider passing tax legislation against a few people as a vindictive act to compensate of their own oversight.

    Our quality of life is being eroded. I fear that in our haste to make everyone's glass seem half-full, most people will find that it is really half-empty for everyone.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  86. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    I do not believe in living in fears. In fact, many years ago when I started writing I did write I am writing without fears and I am writing with total freedom! If we cannot live freely and without fears then we are a very sick society..and that is putting it very mildly and politely!

    March 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  87. samir from florida

    I wont loose it, however it might be downgraded. It just gives me more of an incentive to try harder. Success isn't easy and now most people realize that.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  88. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Not being able to pay property taxes, health care costs, etc., like everyone else in this country.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  89. bob z.from pa.

    after obama breaks the u.s. he will have no trouble making this the north american union

    March 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  90. Jim from Chicago

    Jack, what I fear losing most is my self respect in trying to cope with such a major setback this late in my life.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  91. Ethel , San Jose, CA

    As a plus 65 person, the thing I fear most about continuing the quality of life I now enjoy is the loss of good, affordable health insurance. If health costs keep esculating it will become increasingly difficult to pay my premiums. Even with Medicare, supplemental insurance costs are very high.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  92. Katie

    I'm actually in a really good place because of the economy. I was promoted in February, got a 17% raise, and I'm now ready to start looking for and buying a house. Also, with stock prices so low, I'm getting a lot more for my money when I deposit into my 401k. I'm just glad this economic mess happened now, when I'm 27 rather than later down the road. I count my blessings daily.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  93. Michael Durham Signal Hill Ca.

    I have worked 30 years at a school district. I fear having to work 15 more. I fear having to spend the years after that setting on the couch counting my pennies listening to people on Television tell me about people like Madoff, Milken, AIG. I am tired of listening to people who tell me that interest rates are low to help people with mortgages. However to qualify for these rates your credit must be perfect. So by and large they help wealthy people get to a 4% mortgage who has a 5% mortgage. I have paid a house payment for 10 years on time. But I can't get a loan to lower it because I don't qualify to make a payment that is lower. This is the logic of our financial structure. It is the logic of corp america. It was not the logic at america's beginning but I can assure you it will be there at its end.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  94. Pugas-AZ

    Optimisim in the future. Do we as a country have the smarts and the foritude to pull ourselves out of not only the financial tailspin we are in, but the mirad of problems facing this country. Only time will tell-but is time on our side?

    March 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  95. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    Jack, standard of living and quality of life are two different things. For me, the thing I fear losing most is my ability to take care of myself, to be independent. I'm talking health here. I fear becoming a vegetable from a stroke and/or being a burden to my children. My standard of living has changed over the years and will likely change again. But the quality – the ability to live well (not monetarily) – could change, quickly and forever.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  96. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Everything but my social security is gone. The criminal raiding of the trust fund by our self-serving legislators is an abomination. Forget AIG. The real scammers are in Washington.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  97. Ron from SF

    Three letters J. O. B. I remember a time that in exchange for hard work and loyalty, you'd always have one. Then we got creative CEO's and all that went out the window. CEO's are a bigger threat to this country than terrorists are. Then again, if you fear for your job–you are Terrified. Let's empty out Gitmo and restock it with CEO's and Financial Products Traders, that sunk this economy.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  98. Ralph Nelson

    I already lost it. I am a 100% disabled veteran and I do not have nor can I buy health insurance. Everybody needs health insurance! Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  99. Bob

    Jack,
    Fortunately I have recently retired and did not have any assets tied to failing institutions. So I count myself lucky. Because my wife and myself always lived within our means and eliminated debt along the time span as fast as possible, we are debt-free. It takes a lot of discipline to live that way. Many did the same as we did but had their retirement nest egg tied up in Company 401Ks or other faster earning vehicles tied to failed firms. I think the old wise tale of the tortoise and the hare. It took the tortoise a longer time to get to the finish line but ended up winning.

    With that said, I am worried for all Americans not that fortunate. Especially, my grown children who are facing much more difficult times now and in the future. At this point in their life, they cannot even think about retirement. All their money is being used for daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Savings is not an option for them.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  100. Alice

    What quality of life? I make 60,000 a year and I'm getting further and further behind every day. I live a very ordinary life but I can't save for my kids college or my retirement. My son needs about 4000 in dental work and I can't pay for that either. We live day to day waiting for some large expense to knock us out of kilter. This is no way to live.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  101. Linda

    Having enough money left in saving at the end of the recession to make it the rest of our lives.
    Linda
    Franklin, NC

    March 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  102. LUCY - ILLINOIS

    We are in our 70's and been through ups and downs in the economy. The younger people seem to want to have too much. They need to cool it and go slow.
    We had no phone, inside bathroom, TV, credit cards or anything when we got married, only used furniture. We still only buy what is needed, not big spenders.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  103. Lynn, Boise, Idaho

    I am scared of losing my house the most. We have not fallen behind and don't plan to, but when I think that we are just one job loss or one medical diagnosis away, it scares me to death. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen to a couple of people and it was brutal how people (including their family and church members) treated them. Maybe if there is one thing we can gain out of all of this, it should be the importance of helping others in a time of crisis, rather than kicking them when they're down.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  104. Mike - Hot Springs, Arkansas

    The biggest threat I see to my quality of life are the actions of the Republican Party. They are doing everything they can to prevent Obama from doing what is necessary to save the country. If the country survives I can spend my final years in relative security but I am very worried about the Conservative agenda.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  105. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    My home ! There`s nothing that gives me more peace of mind than having my own home.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  106. Robert davie

    Jack, first and foremost my health and health insurance. I was laid off after working 20 years working for a major Appliance manufacturer with a 30 second phone call. I am on State Disability as I ruined my back giving this Company my all for so many years and now besides trying to keep my home Cobra Insurance is ridiculously expensive and so far I am NOT getting the 65% help from the Feds as they say they don't know how to administrate the discount, even though it is way past March 1st. These are very Scary and Unsettling times!!

    March 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  107. Jay in Texas

    Since I live a simple lifestyle, I don't fear anything that an economic collapse would cause as I made arrangements long ago for that eventuality. What I used to fear the most was losing my freedom to travel and vacation around this country. Big Oil made that fear come true several years ago by manipulating the prices of oil and gasoline.
    Brownwood, Texas

    March 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  108. Tom Interlachen,Florida

    Jack, face it, quality of life left years ago along with all the good paying jobs that went overseas (Thank you Global Economy). Everybody will lose everything, thanks to the inepitude of the former and present members of the Banking Committee,NAFTA and of course Big Oil aka Bush/Cheney. Our homes are worth less, along with the value of the dollar. Everything will cost more ie. food,gas and clothing. Yet, we only started to enter this depression. But look on the bright side, we still have deflation and inflation to go thru, it will be a hell of a ride.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  109. Norah

    I fear losing my good health, because – while you can't put a price tag on that – you can put one on health insurance, and I don't have any. I'm also some years from Medicare, so I'm going to be wafting about in that uncomfortable gray zone for another eight years. Not a good feeling.

    As for housing, food, clothes and transportation, we're covered. My husband and I have always lived within our means – in our case, that means his Social Security, plus a part time job. Our home and car are paid for, and we never rack up credit card debt. We're doubly glad we chose to live this way, given today's economy.

    Norah
    North-Central Florida

    March 19, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  110. Curtis Wampler, Udall, KS

    What I fear most is my retirement. Right now I can figure out how to get by day by day, but if this legislation passes that allows the government of the United States to tax income after the fact we have no reason to believe any of our money is safe.

    Yes, I am speaking of the AIG bonuses – I hate it that our government was too corrupt or too inept to prevent payment of these bonuses, but if we decide it's okay to go after someone's legally earned money just because we don't like the way they got it, what is to stop congress from going after pension plans, 401(k)'s, individual retirement accounts, savings accounts, or even checking accounts?

    All Americans should be concerned.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  111. struggling taxpayer

    Much fear over being able to make ends meet on my disability income while the rich get richer at our expense. My annuity is disappearing (I am not even drawing on it) and no one is replacing that money. I have no idea how I will live the rest of my life.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  112. Sherri Illinois

    Quality of life is for the folks at AIG that got those MILLIONS of dollars in BONUSES! The average middle-low income Americans like myself are in SURVIVAL mode and have been for several mos because I have been jobless for 10 mos and soon my Extension of Unemployment will be running out so I just want to stay healthy because of no health insurance, and pray that I'll be employed soon. Quality of life is a thing of the pass, can of like the Ward & June Cleaver days. in this day & age its SURVIVAL of life not quality! Washington & the big Corporations are clueless as to what is going on in this country with so many MILLIONS of Americans trying to make it day to day and have to see this AIG fiasco & the political parties posturing for brownie points!.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  113. Terry

    I fear losing my health and losing my home after twenty-one years. At my age (60) that is a hell of a position to be in. The programs are out there for health care, but when it comes to saving your home from a predatory lender, the web sites and Hope now can't help because no one knows a damn thing. Help us all, when Senior Citizens, after working 40 years, must re-enter the work force to survive.
    Terry
    Illinois

    March 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  114. Eric Bracke, Fort Collins, CO

    Health and Family, Jack. Everything else is just stuff and not that important in the grand scheme of life.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  115. Mark in OKC

    My cable t.v., what else is there? I have to be able to keep up with my reality shows. Without them, my reality would be pretty dull.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  116. Esther , Massillon Ohio

    the quality of life what is that? I have no job I am a renter I have maybe 90 dollars a month for food a month after i pay for all the things like light and heat and its been awfully cold in ohio. My husband went to Iraq came back sick and AIG racked us though the coals before they gave him one dime of compansation. you all talk about the soldiers every day but you forget that they have translators embeded with them cause we are fighting a war with people with whom we have no common language. my husband went over there and worked with our troops awaiting a sniper fire at any time, was seen as a traditor to his religion and fellow arabs. quality of life what is that seeing how the world economy has had the bottom drop out and is all over the globe people suffering. Jack I got a place over in Jordan 90 minutes from the Sea of Galilee come see how they live and ask about the quality of life.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  117. johnathan

    I worry about my health insurance. Thank God I only have less than 20k to pay off on my home, but my health insurance, which I hardly use, has shot up to nearly $1,000/mo

    I dropped it, and I pray that nothing happens to me.

    Healthcare MUST be dealt with, and not by some weak, watered down version of a bill that is as ineffective as what we have today.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  118. Independent for Obama

    I fear losing our "American dream".....the opportunity to achieve goals beyond our current station in life. This is what sets us apart from all other countries where the Class you are born into is the class you die in. Think of Oprah-a poor black woman born in the racist South, abused by male members of her family....through education and hardwork she is a famous,self-made millionaire and role model to millions. No where else in the world is her story possible........I just hope she is'nt the last to achieve it.
    Katie, Springfield MA

    March 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  119. Jeff Crocket

    Losing Our freedom to the government!

    Jeff Crocket
    New Britain, CT

    March 19, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  120. Gigi

    My greatest fear is the integrity of business and government today. We are retired and healthy. We have a modest but good retirement. But the dishonesty in banking/mortgage and government worries me greatly.
    The past eight years I think we were sold a bill of goods (the war) just to gain self interest for a few (oil). We have the advantage of having family living in several different countries who keep us posted of world news. Our integrity as a country is low. Our quality of life depends on our being able to trust in the banking/mortgage and government .

    March 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  121. globalreflections

    Nothing. My quality of life is not tied to money and the reason so many feel like their quality is shrinking. Trying to maintain the car, retirement, health care, mortgage, college, and a job is all tied to currency. You can go to the library for free. You can get a free or cheap bicycle and use it for your errands. You can rent or buy with multiple people so the burden is not too much for one person to live in a home or apartment. And community bulk cooking thats rich in nutrients cuts down on food costs and helps cuts health care costs too. And all that saving helps with retirement if you live moderately as well. Seems to me that having shelter, using your body to get around, having food to eat, and getting knowledge isn't all that effected and therefore what quality are we really missing? Or are we missing the convenience and quickness and mistaking it for quality?
    Santee, Chicago, IL (hyde park)

    March 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  122. Mary Texas

    I am one of the elderly and have beeny frugal with my spending. I have put money in safe investments which now make less than 1% interest. Prices have gone up and taxes will probably go up too. It seems like there is no way to get ahead. Only hope my pension holds....pretty scary stuff. When you are in your 80's there isn't a lot of time to make new plans for the future.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  123. Bob

    My self respect Jack. Unemployment is demoralizing and humiliating. Even in these tough economic times, creditors, and others treat you as if your sub-human if you're unemployed, even if you were laid off through no fault of your own. Jack, it's totally demoralizing to have to stand in line for a government handout. That's what I fear most, losing faith in myself, and the loss of faith my family had in me.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  124. Tina Texas

    Why is mine always awaiting for moderation? Does CNN need to hire more people?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  125. Nabeel

    Jack,
    My parents are refugees and taught us how to take care of ourselves in the event that we had to. The only thing the modest fear losing is their health.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  126. judith juselius, Pittsburgh,pa.

    We are worrying about making it to the end with dignity and some money so that we don't have to rely on our kids. It is a damn shame that you play by the rules and you live a good productive life and you wake up one morning and what you thought you had, you don't. When you are retired and not sure of the longevity of this crisis it is a little disconcerting to say the least.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  127. Maurice - Two Rivers, WI

    My freedom.

    Maurice
    Two Rivers, Wisconsin

    March 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  128. john j. grimes Watertown, Ma.

    The worst thing to lose is optimism. There are millions of people in this country doing very well but anybody with a conscience can't be happy when you hear of the misery encompassing so many lives.
    It's easy to tell people to live within their means......even if we have to borrow the money to do it.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  129. FRED STONE...pulp mill bottom wv

    Had to retire earleycause i got laid off...with my wife working we can keep our heads above the water...if she gets laid off, then were on the streets...Am i worried...no but my kids are

    March 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  130. Dee in Florida

    we've already lost our jobs. We are spending our retirement money like water.
    we may not have any place to go pretty soon, once all the money is gone. We gave away all our camping equipment, so really have no way to live in a hobo camp. We may lose our vehicle.

    Exactly what else is there to be afraid of?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  131. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Being a pensioner my quality of life won't likely change for the worse.

    Having said this as things start getting worse for those unfortunate people who have lost their jobs, homes and all hope of being able to feed, house and cloth their families will turn to crime for survival.

    Many people will tend to cling to their guns and religion and when they discover that only one of these will actually help them to change their status then they just might turn to taking what other people have to give their families what they can't get through any other means.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  132. OP George

    Our quality of life is diminishing. Having to help grown children, Food, utilities, everything is going up exponentially, so much for the golden years, seems like the coal years.

    Wife's IRA gone, lost over 60 thousand because of fraud, got 200 dollars as a settlement. Company execs made millions, they got the gold from the mine, we got the shaft.

    We are on 1099s with tax withholding, so have to pay income taxes, no escape like the cabinet nominees.

    I see 13 firms who got bailouts owe over 220 million in back taxes, no mention of how much the execs got in pay and benefits while they got bailout money and the company didn't pay their taxes. Glad we have elections coming in 2010, may be time to vote all incumbents out and start fresh. As Drew Pearson said in the 60s, US Congress, the finest money can buy.

    Ocean Park, WA

    March 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  133. Oregon Wally Las Vegas Nevada

    I'am holding on , barely, i lost my union pension, thanks to Enron, living on s.s. disability, i pray every month it isn't cut off, nothing would surprise me. To be honest i wouldn't care if the stock market go's under, let the rich thieves experience my way of life...

    March 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  134. john ........... marlton, nj

    My greatest fear is the trampling of the traditional family and moral decay of our society. We watch as flaming liberals proffer an age of entitlement and encourage irresponsibility. Our neighborhoods are awash with single parent families and never ending stream of abandoned at home children. Children characterized not by a measure of happiness, but by some sort of disorder which is more often than not an excuse for parental gross neglect and failure. What troubles us the most is not that we would not welcome a new neighbor, but the insistence that we are expected to pay for there houses.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  135. David, Tampa, Fl

    Since I've pertty much lost everything I can lose, I do not fear much. I am looking for my eviction notice in the near future so my home and what worldly belongings that will be thrown into the street. I guess "freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. Nothing aint worth nothing but its free." So I guess I'll "be free at last."

    March 19, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  136. dr. mario, Roseburg, OR

    Well Jack,

    I am more worried for others. Even in my tiny little town, I know people, who were already hanging on with both hands, who now have nothing, due to the current economic unpleasantness. What do I fear most? I fear that we will all be too complacent and selfish to help each other out, when the time comes. That time is right now. Don't talk about helping somebody. Actually help somebody. Government can't fix all our problems.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  137. Darren

    What I fear the most is the people who engineered this financial crisis will get away with it and years down the road when we let our guard down, other's will try to pull the same scam. Your government hard at work, thanks Sen. Dodd.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  138. RRH

    Not yet. There is hope with a new President who appears to have a good head on his shoulders. I have however, seen many lose jobs and exhaust benefits. It's scary just going to the market and look at the cost of food. How did we get here? How do we get out? If Obama can deliver on those two questions, the quality of life looks better already. Remember, Yes We Can! I do have two Senators I would like to trade, Dodd and Lieberman. Any takers? Didn't think so!

    Rose, Connecticut

    March 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  139. Karen - Tennessee

    Jack, losing the "stuff" isn't nearly as important to me as the other things that are going fast. Clean air, privacy, black skies at night – none of these things seem to exist anymore, but life goes on.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  140. Col. Michael McDowell, USA

    I am basically debt free so I don't worry about losing anything. What I worry about is the people around me who want what I have!! As more go without, those individuals will try and take for themselves and I will have to defend my property. It is the animal instinct to survive!!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  141. Richard - Knoxville TN

    I have no desire to see anyone lose their job, house or anything else, but people need to take hold of their lives and determine what's really, really important - Hell's bells - People need to get over this "live on credit entilement" mentality - If they don't the creditors will do it for them -
    RB Knoxville TN

    March 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  142. Laura/Indpls., IN

    My quality of life is already low. But, I sometimes fear it will get worse. I'm happy if I can pay the bills each month, and buy food. My oldest daughter and her family recently moved back in with me. Because they couldn't make it, when their work hours were cut to part time. I watch my grandchildren while they're at work, because they can't afford child care. We have very little, and can get no help. We tried to get foodstamps. But, were told that we should be able to live off of $800 a month. Which, also pays the rent & utilities, and buy food?? Now, whoever makes up that margin has to be crazy. We're pinching pennies so hard that Lincoln is screaming in pain. At one time I had hoped for better. But, everytime you turn around things get worse. Then, you've got the greedy people at AIG getting bonuses. It's not bad enough they almost took down the world economy. They want a bonus for doing it. How fair is that. When we have five people to feed, and can't even get food stamps. What quality of life, and I know there are many other families in the same situation. I just feel blessed that we will face whatever comes, as a family.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  143. LDG

    I am not seeing anything that really gives me hope that the cost of goods and services are going to come down to a reasonable cost. In the middle of this disaster I am still seeing cost as with food going up. I feel that when we do go back to work employers will use this disaster as an excuse to push wages down even lower.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  144. Steve B (york, pa)

    I'm most worried about paying my bills. Unemployment compensation is a big help, but there's an expiration date on financial assistance, and if I cannot find a job by the end of that sixth month, I'm in trouble, and the people relying on my income to help them with their own bills, are in trouble as well.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  145. Sheri in Tennessee

    I fear losing the art of face-to-face conversation.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  146. Arrah

    My indepence. I worked 20 yrs for it. I am reaching the point where I can no longer support my home. Retired, single, able, but less able to stretch limited income far enough. Will have to depend on my kids support.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  147. Jerry Harris

    My youth, I'm 68 and I am still very active, play golf, hike, do some inspection work and travel when time allows. I believe that staying busy and not becoming a couch potato will lead to a much longer life.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  148. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Everything. Absolutely everything, not that I have that much to lose. I have to decide whether to pay my utilities or my mortgage. What good is one without the other?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  149. ed in ri

    Jack;
    In lieu of the current political and economical situation, along with the climate change problems addressing world affairs; I'm most concerned about my constitutional rights, as a citizen of this country.
    A quick review of current legislative actions and impending, would enforce my feelings.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  150. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Our Health.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  151. Lisa Allen

    I fear for my retirement, which has been promised for all Americans that has worked on the books, pay into social security and you get it back. I've worked on the books since i was 16 yrs old just to maintain my quality of life. Now I'm working to maintain big businesses like AIG to stay afloat to make the rich richer and the poor (like me) poorer. It looks like I will be working until I'm 88 if i survive, but who care's about the little people, when AIG goes bankrupt their employees are still rich, from us.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  152. Michael Sparks, NV

    Fear is something I refuse to live with. Marie Curie tells us that, "Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." I understand our great nation is at risk, I understand our history is replete with facing great risk and I understand this great nation and its people have never met a risk it hasn't been able to overcome. I take great solace in the perseverance of this nation and its people. To quote Persius, "He conquers who endures."

    March 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  153. Chris from NY

    You first need to have to a life before considering the quality of it. Isn't that what's killing us? Thinking about tomorrow when most people are thinking of the next minute. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  154. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I fear the day will come when we have to pay for the air we breathe based on the number of times we breathe in a day. That's about the only thing left that could affect my quality of life.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  155. Terry in Virginia

    What I fear most is not what I may lose today but what I may lose in the future if the GOP gains control of Congress and the Presidency again. We've already lost most of our retirement. Everyday expenses have pretty much doubled. Raise? What's that? Considering the mess the GOP has made in the last 8+ years, I'm afraid to think of what they'd do if they get another shot at making the rich even richer. After all, the GOP has made it clear that when it comes to anything that benefits the middle class or poor, they are the Party of NO.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  156. Roy - Chicago IL

    I fear most, that MY quality of life has just been stratified into the 'lower' end of the economic spectrum....while executives who are spoiled silly and get absurd bonuses even in this economy are stratified into the 'higher' end of the economic spectrum.......and I will be told to 'live with less', while others will continue to live the deficit ignoring, deficit spending life that they have lived for the last eight years.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  157. Susie Quentin

    I am worried about keeping our house. My husband has lost his job. My company is going to have another round of lay offs. We can make it for awhile on unemployment for awhile but not long. I don't know if this stimulus is going to make it on time for many of us working families

    March 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  158. GreenWoman, central Illinois

    I worry most about being able to take care of my mother and sister, who both have serious health issues. After that, my own health and retirement.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  159. Monty Squier

    I'm 51% confident. Fortunately, my salary is primarily paid for with property taxes. President Obama, however, is striking the right chords...Americans are being told that improvements can and will happen. That's more than 50% of the answers to the problems.

    El Paso, TX

    March 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  160. Steve

    Nothing. My parents lived thru terrible times during the 30's depression & taught us to live frugally yet enjoy life. Live within your means, save for the lean years, hunker down, cut back and survive. We feel little panic in surviving this latest downturn.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  161. Nathan

    Independence. The nation's that is. Wonder where we are borrowing all this money from...

    March 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  162. Tom in Dubuque Iowa

    More worried about losing my health, and ending up in a nursing home; where every Tuesday is mystery mounds for supper:)

    March 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  163. Lisa

    Jack,
    I have cut down on a lot of stuff such as dining out, going to the salon, but I'm keeping my cable just to see you.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  164. steve in florida

    Peace of Mind, and that's already gone, done deal. Starting over at age 60 wasn't what I had in mind for my Golden years. Feels like I wasted a lifetime trying to play by the rules. At least I have my Health. But now I can't buy health insurance at any price, apparently because I "snore".

    March 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  165. Alex from Kansas City, MO

    I have a 5-month-old daughter who means everything to me. I have sleepless nights worrying about the screwed-up country we are dumping in the figurative lap of her generation. Essentially, I fear that she will live in a second-rate country, struggling just to obtain the basic necessities...something I never dreamed would happen to the USA when I was a child.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  166. Ben, NY

    I fear to loose memory about quality of life not mentioning living without dignity after 8 years of Republican terrorism.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  167. Pam

    My company has plans to lay off 75% of their US work force. I fear losing my home, which I"ve already lost $40K on, our health insurance if my husband is laid off, and being able to keep food on the table. We're eating just one meal a day now, trying to get our bills taken care of before the lay offs happen. It isn't easy... I feel for those with children in these tough times.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  168. Terry from Illinois

    Jack,
    SOCIETY – Americans have been losing the moral fight of the "family" and seen our society turn for the worse.
    PENSION – American workers have been losing the traditional pension plans to a 410k plan which depends on NYSE which has tanked with Wall St.
    OUTSOURCING – Americans have been losing good paying jobs to "outsourcing" and must take lower wages / benefits, if you can find a job now.
    GREED – Americans have watched the last 8 years while the rich get richer and workers get screwed.
    Losing HOPE is what I fear... Give Obama some time to change things, not going to happen over night...

    March 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  169. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    Being able to cook hot wings for myself once a week… Oh, and living in a house is nice too.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  170. dan davidson

    my trust in and respect for other people.
    when i was in college we learned to appreciate
    crackers, peanut butter, chinese noodles.
    shut-up and get on with life.
    when it is over you'll say what everyone always says after a fire/death/natural disaster – "we pulled ourselves together and we made it"

    March 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  171. Dayahka--Grays Harbor County, Washington State

    Quality of life seems to mean standard of living Ii.e., money), but for me it means civility, peace, security, and a sense of community. In my county (Grays Harbor), the unemployment is over 18 percent now–and going up. My concern is with social services–police and the like. Will violence and attacks begin and increase? Is there enough of a cushion to service the unemployed and those in need of food? Will older people like me be victims of assaults? These are some of our concerns.

    As for money and so-called quality of life, my sense is that it is time to stop worrying and start planning–because there isn't a chance of a snowflake in the oven of the next generation having more money than we have had. We are in a contraction that will continue. People are going to have to do with a lot less than they have had up to now. Instead of whining, they'd better plan and prepare.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  172. Sid...Texas

    Jack,

    The one thing that I fear most is my ability to maintain my good health, and being thrown to the mercy of insurance companies and overwhelming medical bills. Losing my independence, and living in an old folks home.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  173. Stephen Lepley

    I'm afraid that the socialism that Pelosi, Reid, and Obama are pushing on us will decrease our quality of health care, decrease our standard of living, give our children greatly reduced opportunity, and decrease our retirement.

    it was after all Obama who said we would not be able to eat what we wanted to eat, heat our homes the way we want to, or drive like we want to. He told us he was going to take our standard of living down.....why didn't people believe he meant to do these things to us?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  174. ABDUL BACHIRI

    The only fear I have is not affording my child's education.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  175. Georgia from South Central PA

    Jack, Luckily for us, my husband and I retired before the bottom fell out. We're able to live frugally on our two pensions and social security. The one thing that we haven't been able to do is any extensive traveling. We've been limited to taking short trips with our travel trailer to keep costs down. Our biggest concern is for our children who will have no pensions and may not have social security. They both have 401k's, but we all know what's happened to them. We just hope the economy rebounds before they have to retire. I remember reading several years ago that our children's generation wouldn't have it as good as we did, and it looks like that's true.
    Georgia from PA

    March 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  176. Andrea M

    I'm 20, I learned in econ class that things will get better. So long as I have my boyfriend, my friends, and good music to dance to, I will never be unhappy.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  177. Mari the Mom

    No, Jack, we are not. Because we live within our means, have no credit debt (a lesson we passed on to our children) and we do not compete with the "Joneses".

    Just read on the other blog that the Obamas made $2.5 million last year; primarily due to the sell of Barack Obamas books.

    GOOD for them! The conservatives will be attacking the Obamas, BUT... the Obamas are a great example of how anyone with brains, an education, and .......... drive....... can make it in the good old United States!

    Our family also is an example of living the American Dream, we are grateful to God for the brains, education, and drive to succeed!

    YES WE CAN RECOVER AMERICA..... AND YES WE WILL!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  178. charlie in NC

    I worry that with the stress of our money situation, I'll loose my wife from the arguments that come from the lack of financial security....

    March 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  179. David Dial

    I don't fear losing any part of my quality of life and I'm willing to bet that anyone who realizes that the quantity of "stuff" you can buy has little or nothing to do the quality of your life feels the same way. Most of what makes life a joy is free. It is just a matter of getting your priorities in order.

    Canton, Ohio

    March 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  180. American Patriot

    Of course, Jack, 99% of Americans in the working class will lose most of what they have worked for all of their lives. The other 1% in the ruling class will become filthy rich beyond their wildest dreams. This is not by accident, it is by design. This is the Capitalist dream. America....love it or overthrow it.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  181. Alec

    I do not think that Americans will settle for a reduction in their quality of life without major changes in our government, and I am not talking about Obama change. As more and more stories about bailouts, bonuses, and corporate corruption and greed air in the nightly news, the stage is being set for the kind of change that will make the French Revolution look like an Amnesty International convention.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  182. Patricia Dumas

    Jack, I've already lost the quality of life–
    Just want to make sure the bills are paid, and we eat.
    But, I can hunker down, and so can the rest. Hell! I'm still on the computer at home!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  183. RickMc

    Yes, I worry about the quality of life that in store for all of us. I am more concerned about my childrens future. The current state of government is so corrupt and power hungry. The Obama administration and the Democrat controlled Congress is taking us places that are very dangerous and put our freedoms at risk. We are on the quick path to socialism. We are losing our morals, values, and principles. We are less safe from foreign threats than we were even 6 months ago. So, yes, I am worried. Our only hope is to clean out the sewer in DC and start electing people that we can trust and people that are going to go to Washington for the right reasons... Serving, we the people.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  184. Jorge in NC

    Way I see it we haven't much too lose. Credit is soo tight I can get a loan to finance a pack of ground beef. The only fun left is watching you on CNN through the television at the local fast food restaurant.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  185. Mark

    My constitutional rights!! The current president & legislators feel that the government needs to have more & more oversight & control without regard for individual's rights.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  186. David

    I'm happy how things are going, the failing economy will force families to stick together and communities to either unite or fall. Also it will show that regardless of what race or party you are, you can still fail miserably. Bush didn't do a terrible job everyone is critical of the republicans cause they got us into a war, but it was a war that had to be fought. The democrats are making shifting focus to the economy and are worsening the situation by giving money to companies who have already proved irresponsible. Should have given them enough money to pay back the people who had accounts with them and shut them down. Other banks would take over. It's how things are supposed to work. The stupid shall be punished.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  187. Not2worried

    If my quality of life is solely or even primarily dependent on the size of wealth, God help me. I've taken a pay cut, seen my company cut 1/4 of it's staff and watched my home equity dissapear. Guess what? I'm still standing.

    I'll send my two kids to college. Maybe it won't be private college, but I'll manage and so will they. Maybe the BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes dealerships down the street will close. Then we'll have to buy a Chevy or Ford. What a disaster.

    Grow up, America. The boom of the last 30 years was built on credit. Never meant to last.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  188. Tino

    LOL That's funny. I would probably worry about losing my quality of life...IF I HAD ONE! LOL

    Tino, NYC

    March 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  189. Lon

    Fear, fear, fear! Where is the hope Jack. Nothing is guaranteed in life and we are entitled to nothing. God forbid my generation have to work harder than my parents. I believe this will only make us stronger. To me, it seems that our nation has become a bunch of entitled, spoiled rotten little brats. Hard work never hurt anybody.

    I payed for my own education and I am doing just fine. I am in my 30s and do not count on social security so I am saving diligently for retirement. If I need to work a few more years then so be it. Retirement is not a right so I enjoy my life now because now is ALL that is guaranteed.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  190. Mari the Mom

    One more thing........... to all who consider themselves Christians, FEAR is not from GOD!

    We have been through recessions before in our Nation, and we will again!

    FEAR does not help anyone, only common sense, faith, hope and love of neighbor does.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  191. arlene in iowa

    The roof over my head ,jack..

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  192. Patricia

    The quality of my life has little to do with the things I own. It has to do with my health, my family and my friends. If I had to live with less, I would probably appreciate those more than I do when I'm thinking about how to spend my money.

    Boise

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  193. Judy

    My dad worked over 40 years to save for retirement, when he and my mom passed away I got enough to retire comfortable at 70. NOW??? All that is now worth about what I will earn in 2 years. All I have is everyday living expenses. So cut those coupons and buy necessities only. Could use a roommate.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  194. Heather from WI

    I fear for my children and grandchildren being saddled with massive amounts of debt incurred because of corporate greed...and legislators who did not even take the time to READ legislation for which they were voting. These are the same legislators who are now crying foul against AIG and other bailout recipients. These legislators should have investigated and put conditions on how OUR money was going to be spent. Wake up, America. Start paying attention to workings of your government and begin making some phone calls.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  195. Jamie

    I don't believe my generation will be able to retire, period. That idea is going to go out of style along with this fall's fashions. We'll be working until we die.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  196. Jimi LaBonte

    No fear. No place for it. I've taken control of my own life and I am not dependent on the government or anyone else for my success. This is opportunity knocking. Everyone should open the door.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  197. Ali Khan

    Jack, forget about the American dream, let us get used to American reality. The American reality is that America has become a nation of liars, scammers, corrupts and terrorists are us. Until we accept the fact that we do not deserve anything unless we can pay for it from our savings (not credit cards), the omens are not looking good for this nation of ours. Truth eventually speaks and it has delivered a verdict on America and its dirty habits with a big and loud voice. Let us get used to the fact that the only necessities in life are water, food and shelter (and may be basic health and basic education). Anyone looking beyond these necessities should first earn the privilege to have them. Period.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  198. Fenarkleman

    My quality of life is a victim of budget cuts. It is now owned by AIG executives.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  199. Karen, Seattle

    Jack,

    I do not fear much for myself as I am 62 but I do fear for the quality of life for my children and grandchildren. I can only hope that they will have the same freedom we have enjoyed, and the ability to travel without fear.

    Karen

    March 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  200. John in Memphis

    My sister and I were tailking a few weeks back. We've been pinching pennies for a while now, long before the bottom fell out of the economy, so it's the same routine for us. Funny isn't it?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  201. Dick in Minnesota

    Jack,
    I don't fear my retirement because I will never truly retire until my last breath leaves my cold dead lungs. I am afraid that I may have to stop working because there is none.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  202. Jill

    I'm was due to retire in 5-6 years and very worried that I had enough in my 401K to do so. Now I don't know if I will ever be able to retire or pay down my remaining bills as groceries and other neccessities have skyrocketed in price. But sadder still, is when on my last visit to a Walmart I saw the door greeter, who was obviously well beyond his working years, was also toting his oxygen tank behind him as he worked. What has this nation come to?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  203. Maria

    I fear (some of) my fellow Americans. All you have to do is look at the Katrina violence or the trampling of WalMart workers over a mere Christmas sale to see how quickly "civilized' people descend into violence. If you can get shot over a traffic dispute, imagine what would happen if we had food rationing!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  204. Tom, St Paul, MN

    We are in our late 50s, so retirement doesn't look to us at all the way it did a year ago. But we have always lived below our means and bought our house long enough ago to see some appreciation still left in it.. Despite the huge losses in our 401ks, we both have pensions that still seem sound. Health care is a wild card, but I am optimistic that a fix will be made that'll at least assure us of catastrophic coverage. What I worry the most about is our 20-something childrens' future. Will they be able to affort decent housing , having children (if they choose to do so) and a dignified retirement, or is our generation the last?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  205. Dave Kunish

    My fear is that what we are trying to repair is an unfixable way of life. This idea that we must get credit rolling again, when credit is a huge part of why we're in this mess. I think what we've learned here is that if you don't have the cash in the bank for it, then you can't afford it. I think that even goes for a car, and a house. I've never owned a new car, always paid cash for inexpensive used ones, and always been a renter. I am no worse off now than I was a couple years ago. I have always lived within my means, and even kept at least 6 months savings in the bank as recommended. A society that exist on credit is always teetering on collapse, and my fear is we don't recognize that and we try to go back to the same old broken system of "buy it, and then assume you can pay for it".

    March 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  206. Jeff

    I fear that I will be taxed into a lower standard of life. Let's redistribute the wealth, not the hard earned money of the middle class.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  207. Chris from Missouri

    I am worried about the quality of life based on some of these comments. There are people posting on this board who are just fine with AIG employees receiving corporate welfare in the five, six, and seven figure range, but would be outraged at the welfare mother who wanted to take her kids to the movies and spend $50 of taxpayer money. Those are the attitudes that definitely have me worried.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  208. Joe

    My standard of living will never go down, no matter what happens to me financially.

    I eat lots of vegetables, read lots of free books at the library, save money, and spend lots of time with my family.

    I will always be more confident and happy than all the entitlement-minded consumerist sheeple in America who are buying cars & houses they can't afford and overusing credit cards, and then blaming it all on politicians and other people when they go through tough times.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  209. Chet

    I don't fear anything at all. This is just another recession not nearly as bad as an inexperienced joke elected president would have you believe. If everyone watched what they were doing with even a little brain power, all would be fine. Events to date certainly show that expecting anything positive from the Federal goverment is a very stupid expectation. As for those to stupid to make correct financial decisions, they should suffer the consequences.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  210. scott

    I'm worried we are losing our ability to fend for ourselves. We now expect the government to bail is out. If you think the Bush Administration was taking away our rights as a free society just wait and see what Obama and his boys are going to take away. Hello Socialism.......God help us all!!!

    March 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  211. eugene

    i am just 1/48000000 americans who doesn't have health insurance.i am just afraid of getting sick.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  212. Ryan

    Freedom and Opportunity. That's all we really had in the first place. Opportunity- to make a better life for myself, my family and loved ones, that's being destroyed as i write this. The freedom to be able to seize the opportunity is being taken away.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  213. Jarrod

    I worry some , but not alot. Im 35, and have saved very hard in recent years. Im also not too materialistic, I only earn $35,000.00 a year, but live well below my means: no home phone, no cable, going out to eat only once in a while. I also can do freelance work when needed to padd the savings if bills get too much.
    I do worry about our seniors tho. These folks played the game straight and got screwed. My elderly Aunt was shocked at her loss in the retirement account, and said she see's why my generation looked at the system so negative, we never placed trust in it that she did. Ive had a 401k since 2000, it bombed after sept 11, rose and is empty again. Not even worth my time. My generation is on our own... no pension, no social security, no 401. Just work, live cheap, and quit defining yourself by the stuff you buy. And you know what? Im happy. There is more to life than stuff. Go to a park, walk your dog, go hiking or biking, plant a garden. Theres lots to do thats fun and doesnt require much or any money. How do you think folks got by for centuries?

    March 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  214. Michael in Wisconsin

    My fear is that people so afraid of loosing their quality of life will support the ongoing trend to flattening out our progressive tax system due to the belief that someday they might be earning lots of money.

    Fortunately, people are mindless and fickle. We've already seen with the AIG bonuses how quickly people have turned against their belief that people work hard for their money and thus they shouldn't be taxed on it. The House wants to tax those earned bonuses at 90%! I guess its okay to bilk people when its the consumer paying for it in the cost of goods, but not okay if it comes from the consumer via the government tax dollars.

    I also fear the next bubble – education. With so many turning to student loans and looking to get into high-growth fields like health care. However, with unemployment dropping and insurance becoming more a "luxury" to cut, I wonder what jobs will be available when all these students get out of school.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  215. mark t

    Jack-
    I long ago gave up on anything that was a component of the American Dream. I am 54, my wife and I are on the second marriages for both of us. We have 2 kids in college; we both got raped in our divorces, we make in the very high 100's together, we have very secure jobs with health care and we have mid 3 figures in the bank....but I can't afford a home with confidence that something won't happen and I am not willing to sign up for a $4k month mortgage for a 30 year old house that needs 100k worth of work. My 401k is lost 1/2 its value....and being in CA, who knows what's next.
    For now, and for the past 10 years, we've rented a nice apt in a nice part of Nor Cal (San Ramon), and we wait, and wait, and wait, and pray and pray......

    March 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  216. Karl from SF, CA

    I'm not in too bad a shape and flexible with the roof over the head and food in the stomach thing, as long as I keep my independence. I don't want to have to move in with my kids as they have their own lives to lead. So far, so good.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  217. Charlotte

    Not especially worried about the immediate future. As long as I can make my mortgage payments and cover the care of my animals, I'll be okay. I'm not one for needing (or caring about) TV, clothes (other than enough so I won't get arrested walking down the street), lots of toys. My horse's shoes cost more than mine do. I drive my cars until they fall apart and I almost never go to restaurants or shows (or the movies) so I'm not living on an edge that would have to be trimmed back.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  218. republicans hate america

    nope because i never lived a fantasy life

    March 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  219. Guy

    Loss of perspective on what "quality of life" means. I don't like the current situation at all but how many houses, cars, i-pods, clothes, etc can we have before we realize they don't make us happy but we'll sob like babies if we can't have them. P.S....not afraid of not getting Credit which by definition is the ability to buy a whole bunch of things we really don't need with money we don't have.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  220. Lois Gagnon

    What I fear most is that the majority of Americans have lost the will to confront the corrupt powerful elite who have spent the last 30 years undermining the public interest for their own narrow, greedy interests. It's become painfully clear they have taken control over every aspect of what we still like to refer to as our democracy. If we were still a true democracy, we wouldn't feel so powerless to confront these criminals.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  221. Carolyn in Illinois

    Jamie, my parents worked up until the day they died, I'd rather die at my desk then in some nursing home.........my quality of life changes as my life changes....I grew up in a household of 10 children, we didn't have allot but I survived and went on to college as well as my children.........
    quality of life is what you make out of what you have.........money doesn't
    by happiness.........you have to let yourself be defeated

    March 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  222. Deb Knox

    I fear losing my dignity most at this point. I've always prided myself on paying my bills on time and as the interest rates and minimum payments creep up, my ability to pay them down drifts away. Because my husband was out of work for nearly a year, we've struggled to keep everything paid but our creditors are taking advantage of the current economic situation and hurting not helping those of us struggling to keep it together.

    Shallotte NC

    March 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  223. Ken, Centreville, VA

    I only fear losing the value of my savings and investments because they are held by a system that runs a rigged game. I also fear America succumbing to politics that doesn't acknowledge the true state of the world and our role in it.

    America is at the leading edge of what is a planetary dilemma. That is, resources are finite but as world population grows, and emerging economies grow, various kind of stress will permeate: economic, political, environmental. We have lived for decades happily consuming 1/3 of the world's resources. We now have to look for a model that values sustainability as much as growth (perhaps more).
    And we have to be able to expect a reasonably safe financial system in which to trust our personal wealth.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  224. Mike

    Hello Jack,
    Thank God we still have our good health and I have a job at least putting food on the table. However, I got my first fore closer notice and it is scaring me to death. Even though I have applied for a Loan modification while being behind on my mortgage, its been two months and I still cannot get a straight answer from WaMu now owned by Chase. It is like they do not want to loan modify my house.
    The loan modification is there but when I call, all I get is a run around, no one can and able to tell me the status of my loan modification; they keep transferring my calls to the next operator if I am not hung up on. So thats life Jack!

    -m

    March 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  225. Richard

    The quality of life is lalready low. I am more worried about our furture generation and their American dream if the crisis is not fix now.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  226. Bob

    I fear the expansion of government to the point that it becomes a crutch we cannot live without and the servants have become our masters.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  227. Claudia, South Alabama

    I fear my family losing their quality time. My husband has a low paying job working 12 hour days in another state and currently relies on friends to let him sleep on their couch. Our sons and I will be moving in with my parents as we are losing our home soon. I have no job and will have to go back to school full time – if I can finance it – to be retrained, which will take time away from my boys. We will only see my husband a few days a month and the burden will be on my 80 year old parents to help out with 3 little boys. We're all exhausted and frustrated.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  228. Ty - Denver

    I'm worried that this will happen all over again in 10 years. We're seeing righteous indignation over corporate shenanigans now, but when things turn around again (and they will), I'm concerned that we'll let our guard down and allow companies to once again play it fast and loose in the heat of the moment, leading to another crisis.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  229. Dallan

    To not want to go through this tough time is one thing....but to be scared, fearful, and let it affect our actions.....have we become that weak....I am not excited to go through this tough time either, but I am not afraid of the future.....I know it will be bright....get he shades ready, because the sun will come out!!
    This generation is too pampered. We need to get out of the poor me syndrome and stop considering what we have lost.....get out of it and get movin'....it doesn't matter that's the past.... only we will make our future!

    March 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  230. Carrie in Seattle, WA

    I think the problem is the perception of quality of life. If you measure your life only by the "stuff" that you can purchase, then, yes, I think a lot of people need to be very worried. IMO, however, all that stuff needs care and maintenance, which drags down the quality of my life. I made a decision about 5 years ago to get a slightly smaller house - room for everything but no wasted room - fix it up better than I could afford to fix up a larger house, and live more simply. Guess what? I need less stuff, so I was able to get nicer things, and it takes less time to maintain and clean, but I enjoy it more. Overall, my standard of living went up. Cooking meals rather than going out made going out special again, and saved money. Setting "dream" goals and saving for them heightens excitement when you finally reach the goal, so I am more satisfied with the things I use to treat myself. And more recently, when the recession took a bite out of my income and increased my expenses, I was less impacted than my credit-using friends. Oh, and I'm still happier. Standard of living can go up, if you choose to let it.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  231. SDR

    I agree that everybody is struggling to make ends meet these days. I am from New Jersey the only folks who do not seem to have any problems are the state workers, they are planning to get a salary increase this year as well.

    I am all for going after the banking sector but has any seriour thought been given to reducing the size of the government and going after the crazy money that state/federal emplyees make.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  232. T.G>Rota

    My biggest fear is Pres.Obama continuing as he has been .The campaign is over.Stop the celebrity! Act presidential If at all possible and don't go on any entertainment show .It can only hurt America's image

    March 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  233. joe stlouis

    I am terrified that 95% of Americans will lose everything and our Politicians and CEO's will do even better than they are doing now.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  234. Michael Shores

    Jack:

    The only thing I worry about us losing is our liberty. The average American life style of recent decades was unsustainable. Our homes and our automobiles are too big, our toys too expensive and our clothes too trendy. We will slowly decline to a lower, more sustainable and quite possibly happier standard of living. What I fear is that we may be susceptible to demagoguery as we adjust and that could threaten our republic.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  235. Colleen from Idaho

    my job. I had to sell my brand new car because i could not afford my payments any longer. I cycle every day now so i don't have to pay for car payments, insurance, gas, etc...but times are getting tougher, and nothing is secure anymore. I am only 26 so i am still trying to get myself together financially but the way it is now, i don't see that every happening. The only good thing i have going right now is my job.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  236. Helaine, California

    Worried? Frantic is a better word. I am a 60 year old woman with no full-time job, (not by choice). I am a temporary worker in a Union that follows the alledged nepotism.

    I am alone, on disablity, lost all my retirement and terrified what will happen to me. I have stopped reading the papers and watching the news because it is too depressing. I don't even want to get out of bed but force myself.

    I am aware there are people much worse off, but I have fallen into such a horrible depression and because I don't have work covered medical insurance cannot get the help I need and as much as I need.

    I wonder what will happen to me if I get sick, can't find a job. Who will hire someone my age when I am able to return to the job market even with my extensive work background? The list goes on and on.

    I am alone and that is the worse part. I have no one or no one to turn to.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  237. Sonny in Washington

    Able to buy 62" Plasma TV is quality of life? Or able to afford your kids to go to college is quality of life? I am more than happy to give up 42" Plasma TV, not that I have one, for better education for our kids. It is now time for this generation to sacrifice for next generation and stop borrowing against their future.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  238. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, the thing I fear most losing is my mind, hearing all the pundits talk day in and out about the demise of our Country. Didn't hear many of them saying a word about any of this or the Wars or oil prices or overruling of laws, torture, you name it when Bush was in there.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  239. Grateful in Oklahoma

    Our company is alive but furloughing people. Our property taxes keep increasing. My salary has shrunk by 10 percent. But I'm still grateful to have a job, grateful for my continued remission from cancer and very grateful to still have a roof over my head. I'm grateful I can still give to my church, which helps many in our community. I'm grateful to be healthy enough to start a garden and help feed myself, family and whoever is in need. My long term goal has turned tino being grateful for each day I'm alive so I can help someone who is in real need–which is a lot in my area of the country.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  240. Jeff, Morgantown, WV

    I'm more worried about maintaining the materials I need to BEGIN to save and prosper. I'm speaking of course of an apartment, a car to seek a job, and of course the necessary insurance and gas costs. Getting a job to prosper in after those necessary items seems to be almost a "bonus".

    March 19, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  241. J. Norton

    The quality of my life has always been geared towards my children. I They are now grown, I am a retiree but.....I still think, "what can I do for my children?" Unfortunately, my pension & SS benefits are not enough to allow me to do anything for them....they have actually been helping me!! That's not what I wanted for 'quality'! As a retiree, I want to work but can't find it.....Quality....I guess it's all relative!!

    March 19, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  242. Debbie W. San Diego Ca

    I fear two things:
    1. Being able to keep stable employment anymore. I haven't been able to for 5 years now and I am a boomer approaching my 60's. Corporate America has been whitling away at wages and jobs for decades now. The last 8 years being the worst. Outsouring, insourcing, layoff to balance books every quater...and more have eroded jobs and pay so severely in this country. There is no loyalty to America or its workers by Corporate America anymore. We are tunring into a nation of unemployed, undermeployed part time contract workers.

    2. Being able to retire, keep a roof over my head and age with dignity.
    How do I get to that goal if my reitrement fund isn't safe anywhere? How do I get there if I can't count on a job? How do I get there when I can't afford medical or a home again? I'm petrified I'll be homeless in my old age and I have worked so hard my whole life. I have an IRA, I'm trying to do the right things. I sold my home and renting now but every day I hold my breath that I'll still be outproced in the housing market for old age.
    And it's a myth that we can keep working at the same pay and stress levels into out 60'70's and 80's. I'm exhausted at 55.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  243. Teri K

    Jack, I'm 50 yrs old & lost my job last month. My 401K dropped in value over 30% last year (only lost 2.4% this year-yippee). I have my house for sale and only had 2 people look at it. All I have left to lose is my health – and the stress of looking for work and worrying about bills is taking it's toll on that. Teri , Palm Coast, FL

    March 19, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  244. Janet - New Jersey

    I am recently divorced after 38 years of marriage. Currently I am employed, but I worry that if I should lose my job at my age, 60+ will I be able to get another one.

    Also, being alone now, I'm afraid I won't have enough savings to live on for the next (hopefully) 20+ years of my life. The 401K plan I have been saving into is now a joke.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  245. Dennis

    My biggest concern is not the recession which we will suffer through but the continued erosion of value added jobs. We are on track to offer the next generation a poorer standard of life than what their parents have. If the only thing left for our children is low paying jobs in the service sector how will we as a nation be able to afford the health care infrastructure.? How will we be able to repair the roads and build new schools? All those require a stable and sizeable middle class, something the past two adminstrations have been comfortable in allowing to be reduced. Today ,not only are the manufacturing jobs headed over seas but the jobs of those that design the the things to be manufactured are moving away. If this is allowed to continue the United States is doomed to third world nation status. To date no one in Washington cares.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  246. Jean Kent

    I feel fairly confident that my husband and I will muddle through but I am so concerned for my children and grandchildren. College funds are wiped out and no chance to recover in time, no job opportunities so at some point, hard decisions must be made about the house, health insurance, etc. etc. We are watching their quality of life disappear!.

    Jean
    Columbus, GA

    March 19, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  247. Linda C.

    Quality of life??? My 2000 American Dream is a living American nightmare in 2009.
    Our company could close anyday and ship jobs to Brazil and/or Mexico. My health insurance premiums/copays have sky-rocketed and home price has dropped to the extent that my house is worth less than what I paid for. We have had to cut back on heating and transportation fuel costs to save on expenses. I do not go to the doctor anymore for fear of medical bills we cannot afford.
    The Bush/Cheney leadership did more to screw up this country in the last 8 than any enemy could do for at least a 1000 years. I thank God we have a leader now who seems genuinely capable and I don't have to wake up another day thinking about which country we're going to have a war with next.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  248. John Reinking

    Jack, my wife and I believe that as this quagmire horror broadens and destroys more and more of us that the bottled up angers and hostilities will explode such that democracy will be destroyed and a despot revealed. Oh the humanity!

    March 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  249. Pete ODell, Alexandria, VA

    As painful as this type of adjustment is, I think it will have a postive overall benefit. America has become way too entitled over the last 25 years, and lost the edge that made us a world leader. It's become all about stuff and "me, me, me".

    What do I fear most? An artificial economy where we're propping up ridiculous institutions that are clearly failed – this is going to kill the entrepeneural spirit and innovation that comes from taking the credit and the blame for trying something new, and building something great.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  250. Katie in Iowa

    My family lived with little for years. We had to buckle down, we were conservative with our money. I can't remember going out to eat, all my clothing was used, we didn't have cable, internet, or long distance on our phone, all our cars were old cars given to us by our relatives. My childhood was generally a good one. You don't need things you can't afford. It doesn't bring happiness, only worry.
    The ones who spend their money frivolously are paying for it. The very ones who are "conservative", the ones who scoff even at the idea of helping the less fortunate... are now the ones that need help. Haven't you noticed that they are crying the loudest?
    And for that, I laugh the loudest.
    -Katie

    March 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  251. Julie - Mpls, MN

    I'm scared to death that all the money, time and ambition that I put into advanced degrees and higher educations will be taken and distributed to someone who hasn't worked for a thing. The day that AIG's employees are being taxed for money that they earned and was part of their contract...bailout or not...is a very scary thing to me. The idea of the American dream is turning into an American nightmare with the Obama administration.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  252. kim

    I'm not worried about my quality of life. I'm worried about how much that definition differs among people in this country. For some it means having a home and enough to eat whereas for others it means having 8 homes, several luxury vehicles, extravagant vacations, and dining out every night for $100 per plate. The middle class is not without blame, having bought in to the "keeping up with the Jones'" mentality – racing to gain more and more material things by virtue of credit rather than savings. Don't people realize that when they do this they are contributing to creating inflated values and prices making these same items less attainable for others? This all proves that we have not learned from the lessons of the past. Greed will rear its ugly head over and over unless measures are put in place to limit the kind of unsustainable growth we saw over the last decade. I only hope that we can learn from this lesson and remember the tried and true cliches – "slow and steady wins the race" and "you don't buy champagne on a beer budget."

    March 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  253. doug

    a future for my kids. I'm 46 and downwardly mobile in the last 5/6 years and don't have money to save, despite my family being very frugal. I've worked successfully to stay above water when employers closed up, but don't have the means to even help pay for my kids college. They're bright, articulate A-students who deserve better.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  254. Cindy Brock (Cumming, GA)

    Sometimes quality of life IS your life. I fear losing the ability to have health insurance and prescription coverage. If I lost my job, I would not be able to make the COBRA payments, nor pay for my medications – and that could have life-altering ramifications on my health.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  255. Colleen

    Jack, my quality of life is for the most part, gone. I am 45, broke, and living at my father's retirement cottage. I am on food stamps. I admit, I didn't save like I should have, but 5 years ago I had a 250K home and 100K in an IRA. However, I am (was) a computer programmer (bachelors degree) and live in Michigan (highest unemployment rate). I have been unemployed for 39 out of the last 54 months. Now, I am faced with going back to school (student loans) and pray when I get yet another degree that someone will hire a person who's been out of work 4 out of the last 6 years. Not a very rosy picture, is it?

    March 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  256. Laura

    I know so many people say that losing their "stuff" isn't a big deal as long as they still have their loved ones, their health, etc. Of course there is truth to this, but let's also be honest. If it came to it, I do fear losing the ability to spend money on things like dining out, taking a vacation, having cable and Internet, buying a new pair of jeans, shopping for my daughter and going to the zoo. We enjoy doing things that cost money. Period. We're cutting back on these things already, and if I altogether lost the ability to spend money somewhat frivilously every once in a while, I know I would miss it.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  257. David Dial

    I think our "way" of life will change because it has to. We can't sustain a system in which prosperity is based on greed, speculation and mortgaging our futures to get something right now that we probably don't need anyway.

    For those among us who believe this "stuff" approach to life that Wall Street, Main Street and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have been selling us all these years translates into anything even remotely resembling quality, things are going to change.

    I decided buying into that claptrap was a good way to sacrifice your quality of life a long time ago so as far as I can see my quality of life is going to remain stable or get better. The things I derive joy from are mostly free.

    Canton, Ohio

    March 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  258. Pete

    I am not very worried about my "standard" of living declining as long as I have my health and the health of my friends and family. I have truly seen this recession/bubble bursting years ago. Back when Reagan was President, it seemed that our priorities began to drift in the direction that has led us to this point. It seems to me that things will have to get relatively worse before stabiizing at a lower level. It may stabilize for a period and then drop further. Or bleed down slowly but steadily. I think the controlled descent will enable us to cope.

    My main reaction to this downturn has been to install a chicken coop and the infrastructure required to ramp up production if necessary. I have a few nice hens now and if things get real ugly I will get more birds. My neighbors and I will be eating alot of chicken.

    I am sure that the "overall" "standard" of living will be adjudged to have gone down and rightly so. I doubt highly that it will affect my outlook on life which really is all that counts for me as far as a standard.
    All wealth is relative. As for "roughing it" I think it would do us all a world of good in alot of ways..

    March 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  259. HL in Tampa

    HEALTH! The health care system in this country is a joke. A disgrace. I lived in Europe for 10 years. Let me tell you, what they have is not perfect but it's much, much better than what we currently have here. I have a chronic illness and am self-employed. I cannot get health insurance b/c of my pre-existing disease. If I end up in the hospital again, everything that I have worked for will be gone. I feel like I'm walking on thin ice.

    Why can't the greatest, most advanced country on earth take better care of it's own citizens? It's simply outrageous.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  260. ptoneday

    I agree with Mari the Mom,

    We must not feed to any fears, but focus on the good, i.e, life, health and perhaps strength.

    This country lives in enough fear...and the media has its starring role!

    March 19, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  261. Tim in Texas

    The bottom line is this: we can not expect 90% of Americans to have a decent quality of life when the top 10% of the population owns about 70% of the net worth of the country. Until we accept that fact and change our tax and legislative policies, we can expect that the quality of life for 90% of the people will decline. Period. Full stop.
    Tim in Texas

    March 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  262. Outsourced in NY.

    My IT job was outsourced to India 4 years ago. I was unable to keep the house and had to sell it in 2006. My income is 40% of what it used to be in 2005. I suspect that same fate befell 80,000 other IT specialists.
    In 2006 I had made the right decision and pulled my savings out of stocks. Now my savings are threatened by irresponsible behavior of the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank, printing Thousands of Billions ( word trillions does not make an impact) of paper dollars. My worry is that my savings will become WORTHLESS paper.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  263. Dave from Upstate

    Jack, health is always #1. You may be broke but as long as you have food, shelter, and as someone mentioned, access to a library, one can be happy. What worries me is that as times turn worse, and it appears to be assured now, that food prices/availability will put many families in the position of not being able to feed their children. This will be the last straw and people will be galvanized into violent action. It won't be pretty.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  264. Mark

    Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are passe'
    All this is gone. Communism is here where all goods are held in common. Just get used to it . Peace & Love

    March 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  265. Scott

    I fear that Obama is going to succeed at doing exactly what he promised when he frequently said, "we will fundamentally change America as we know it".

    March 19, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  266. Dawn

    I fear losing my peace of mind; losing a sense of security for my children. I can live without things. But living without peace and security, especially where my children are concerned, is another matter.

    Dawn in Arizona

    March 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  267. Tony in Idaho

    I have an excellent job and benefits, and will retire next year. I have no fear for my own future, but I worry for my son's. I believe President Obama is on the right track in guaranteeing basic health care for all and better education opportuinities as well. I only hope the special interests and contrarians don't block his noble efforts. I only hope that my son may enjoy the quality of life as an adult that he has been raised in as my child.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  268. CAA Dover, NH

    This question is too late in coming: quality of life is already gone. Chronic medical conditions, insufficiently covered by insurance, and a housemate laid off in November means after paying rent, utilities and commuting expenses I am living on beans and rice and only taking the two meds that I must if I want to live more than another three or four days. Not where I expected to be at this point in my life, and frustrated that getting a third job is too hard to do.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  269. bob

    As a 70 year old retiree on social security and a small nyc worker pension totaling less than 1,600 ea month, I am concerned that sociial security benefits payments will be disrupted as what I consider to be a total economic ponsie scheme hits rock bottom.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  270. jim in chicago

    I fear the environmental impact and future financial bubbles caused by a return to undisciplined and unbridled consumption.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  271. RICHARD MAINWARING

    I"m worried i could loose all i have worked for ten years in a mine six years in the marines thirteen years in the restaurant's all gone in a few month's

    March 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  272. Juanita

    I have nothing to fear. I am truly blessed with good health, a job, a great family,..All of the adult children are working, the kids are all in school and during well. I have very little credit card bills. I have always lived within my means. What else can I want? As a country we need to return to a realistic way of living. Buy what you can afford no what your friends and neighbors have. Maybe they are in debt over their heads. Even in these hard economic times, citizens of this country still live much better than a lot of people in other countries. Let's work together to rebuild our country to be a honest, caring, inclusive society. Let's do away with the greed and excess. We all will be much happier and content.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  273. margaret

    What I fear most, is the loss of our ability to dream about and plan for a brighter future for ourselves and our children. As a youngster during a more affluent, less scary time, I could dream about and plan for being able to support myself and have enough left over to be generous to those who don't have resources. Now I find that my thoughts are more about frantically saving what I can for my own survival.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  274. Jen

    What I fear has already happened. All checks and balances pulled out of capitalism so that greed has won. We have lost power, respect and good will across the world. It is here and it wasn't brought about by Obama.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  275. Leah (Seattle, WA)

    I don't currently have a lot of luxuries in my life so I don't really forsee anything major changing. The only thing that I do worry about is having to be more careful with my grocery shopping. I love to cook and I prepare all of our meals and don't really pay attention to costs because I try to use the best quality and healthiest ingredients. If our financial situation gets much worse, I will have to compromise that and as a result, that may compromise our current health.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  276. Ken

    Jack, I don't so much worry about quality of life for myself because I'm fortunate enough to have family. I worry about quality of life for American's that don't have family (for one reason or another). Imagine, losing your job, your pension, your house, and you have no family to provide you a little security. I worry for them and their children.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  277. Joanne from B.C.

    Well Jack, I think if people are thinking about the quality of life they have had in the past 8 years, since it was built on money and economic growth derived from a population going in to debt...then yes I would say most Americans are going to lose the quality of life they have become used to. Time to wake up and smell the coffee people – your past quality of life did not really exist...it was borrowed.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  278. Paul in Miami

    Jack, what I fear the most is that one day we wake up and we no longer have a representative government but a Theocracy being led by rigid, unforgiving and ungodly god-people. We came mighty close during the Bush years. You know God is not a republican and they should well remember that.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  279. Dial

    I am retired and fear that the dollar will be devalued and my pension and savings will be worthless.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  280. Pattie

    My health! If you don't have that nothing else matters!

    March 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  281. Sonia Bloomfield

    I fear to loose the ability to pay for health care and to be dependent on my children as I get older.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  282. Clay in Dallas

    Quite simply, I fear loosing any optimism for the future of this country. Further, I fear the thought of bringing a child into this madness even though my wife and I will soon be ready (and responsible enough monetarily/morally) to have a baby.

    My everyday wellbeing is very much dependent on my level of depression about what is going on around me...and right now what's going on in congress and the white house is literally making me sick to the point that it is negatively affecting the way my wife and I think about future plans...like having kids.

    Show me an honest politician with a clean moral and ethical past and I'll show you where Elvis lives. We hang out all the time!

    March 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  283. okinohio

    Here in Ohio we have been living in a recession longer than the rest of the country so we have "adjusted".

    Quality of life means family and friends; good relationships. No paycheck, no boss, no government can take or give this.

    My quality of life will continue!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  284. Jay from Michigan

    One word: healthcare – for both me and my family. I never thought I would ever have to worry about the things that are at the lowest levels of Maslow's hierarchy. Is this the sad reality that America has become?

    March 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  285. Paulette

    My fear of being homeless with two young kids is becoming a reality. I now live from pay check to pay check each week wonder when will the bank come to take my home as my mortgage is now more than my pay check. I worked three jobs to save and purchase my home and now working one job due to companies downsizing this is my worse fear becoming a reality.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  286. Josh-Philadelphia

    Jack....lets be honest here...Its not the quality of life...its all the toys. I admit it, Im guilty like the rest of you. Everyone is worried that we are going to lose our "stuff". Life will always go on. I think God lets depressions happen once in a while when greed reaches the red zone. Every previous depression took 11 years to completely rebound. We have a while to go. Right now posh is out and thrifty is in. Id like to meet the person who was thrifty in the financial world from 2002-2006. We need to take a step back and live like we did before we had money. Im sorry for all of the innocent who have to suffer with the greedy:(

    March 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  287. John in High Point, NC

    Jack, I'm in my second year of college, who at the end of this semester will have 85 credit hours. I'm afraid I will not be able to enroll for the Fall Semester. Since the private student loan market is drying up, something I have depended on, it has become increasingly difficult to find sources to finance my college education.
    My parents are blue-collar workers who could possibly lose their job any day. One is in the furniture industry, and one is an employee at Dell. If the economy continues sputtering, I will not be able to attend college and will have to work to help my parents keep the house.

    John – High Point, NC

    March 19, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  288. Jim M.

    Jack,

    I will lose my expensive home to foreclosure by summer and my consulting work with Wall St firms is off 40%. Even so, I feel very upbeat about my families quality of life going up over the next few years.

    Rightsizing my expenses and family consumption will help make life less stressfull for me, and in turn help with my long term health. I will also spend downtime from less work hours with my family, and enjoying hobbies, instead of working in greedy and unfullfilling Wall St firms.

    The future looks good! God bless America.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  289. Phillip

    Jack,
    I am disabled and I receive one check a month. Before Bush took office I could pay my bills buy grocries and still have money to buy a few other things. Now I worry that I won't have enough money to buy enough grocries for the month. Much less any thing else. My shirt is getting mighty thin.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  290. Wolf Proctor

    I am a full-time student trying to earn a degree after being out in the workforce for over fifteen years. Imagine my chagrin when, in spite of being on time and paid on my rent, I was evicted because the landlord couldn't keep up on his sub-prime mortgage. I lost first, last, deposit, and due to school expenses was not prepared, right when all of these difficult economic times really started rolling.

    I slept in my car while still working part-time and going to class full-time, and eventually found a room to rent for myself and my one-eyed cat.

    I am most afraid of losing the roof over my head... AGAIN. I am afraid that no matter how hard I work now, no matter how much I strive to better myself, things will not get better. I am afraid of getting sick, because I cannot afford health insurance or the time off task.

    I cannot fail...

    March 19, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  291. Paul

    In a word: Freedom. More specifically: losing the small degree of capitalism that we had left in this country before Obama took over. Booms and busts come and go as long as there is still an opportunity to move forward and work or start a business, but when 50% or more of your income is taxed by the government (Fed and State Income tax, Property Tax, Sales Tax, Taxes that are passed on by corporations (hint: all of them are.) etc, etc, etc) you cannot save enough to ever get free or move ahead. The value of the money I have saved is going to be thoroughly diminished by the inflation brought about by the 'stimulus' package which is merely full-scale wealth redistribution. This damage will take generations to repair and most people think this is actually going to save the economy. At least now I understand firsthand how the Roman empire fell!

    March 19, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  292. Agatha K.

    I fear this Administration through Obama's spreading the wealth will make us lose our quality of life.
    Not everyone who worked hard and saved every possible penny they could was born into wealth. We EARNED IT.
    My neighbors tell me that would NEVER work as hard as we work for the money. NOW President Obama feels Privileged with his private plane,etc
    to tax our family for working hard, saving for a better life.
    Just because the Government screwed up the Laws of the land giving our freebees to crooks, I have to pay for it.
    I see another Revolution coming our way, but against the People, for the People and by the People. Not even Abraham Lincoln would want to associate himself with Obama because at least Lincoln could read and would never have allowed legislature to pass without reading it first.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  293. Thomas From Texas

    Well i really try not to worry about this kinda stuff, but get your affairs in order have a backup plan for it all help family only and trust no one else blood is thicker than water. Just learn how to survive, we survived without homes, goverment, fancy cars and automated butt wipers. Why do we need that stuff now we all see what it does to our planet anyways so good luck with the economy i say it's down the toliet to a bunch of greedy materialistic idiots anyways. Thanks Government.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  294. Quinne in MT

    I'm not worried or afraid. Six years ago we made our smartest move ever: we sold a modest house that we could afford, moved into a camper for 8 months while we built, OURSELVES a gorgeous straw-bale house with intricate, expensive-looking landscaping. We owe less on it than most people pay for a car and we'll pay it off early next year. It's been HARD work, but it's all ours. We have two vehicles; a truck for firewood and construction and a beetle for daily commuting, both used and no car payments. We live simply but we're not deprived. Music, crafts, art make up our lives and take up our time. We're still sometimes tempted by consumerism, but really, we're not shackled to the race to keep up with (much less outdo) the Jonses.

    The little book which started it all, which we read more than 10 years ago, is called "Mortgage Free" by Rob Roy. Find it. Read it. Open your eyes. Folks thought we were crazy, told us we were doing it wrong. Well, we've got the last laugh, eh?

    March 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  295. Future Canadien

    We no longer trust our government to do the right thing. This issue is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It's a political issue and Congress simply doesn't care they are ineffective. I wish the America People would seriously read the Declaration of Independence and understand that the People have the Power to make changes, and it is time.

    A 90% Tax on Bonuses! Yeah, right! As I write this, high powered Attorneys employed by AIG (for example) are busy looking for loop holes to preveent this 90% tax.

    What so sad about this is, these Attorneys are now being paid with my Tax Dollar.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  296. Chris Knoxville, TN

    Jack,

    I fear it may all be too late. The liberals keep demanding their entitlements, while the conservatives keep pushing the same old message. American citizens are caught up in a battle between two political parties and the end will be the loss of our sovereignty.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  297. Donna in Illinois

    I am concerned over the prevailing sense of panic in this country when it comes to the economy. This state of mind along with the lack of confidence only worsens the situation. During the recession of 1982, the percentage of Americans unemployed was higher, interest rates were in the double digits, the market was lower, and there were more bankruptcies and foreclosures than we are seeing during the current recession. People need to relax and lighten up! Our economy goes through cyclical ups and downs every few years. It is just a part of life.

    March 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  298. Willow, Iowa

    I'm not worried about my quality of life. My house just got paid off, I have a 24 hour a week job that provides good health insurance, and job security as a nurse.

    Our quality of life IS better than our parents. there aren't many folks now living in a 2 bedroom, one bath home with no dishwasher, a washer and a clothesline, one car, one TV, no cable or computer. My parents thought they lived the American Dream when they got a mortgage payment of $106. a month and threatened to sell the shotgun every month, if they needed mortgage money.

    The only thing I think this entire country needs right now is single payer health care. Companies can compete if they don't have to buy health care, people do not go bankrupt over health care, and we can quit worrying about our health and take care of business.

    March 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  299. mmedellin

    I am reminded of a biblical passage that says "God owns all the cows on all the hills" our well being is ultimately in His hands (thank goodness). He gives the freedom of will and choice and it is us as a humanity that have made these terrible free will decisions that has put us where we are now.My greatest fear is of man ourselves who would possibly continue to make wrong economic choices (without seeking Gods wisdom)and take us to untold depths, loss of freedom(because we would owe so much to the rest of the world).

    March 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  300. Annie, Atlanta

    My sons' futures. It's looking pretty bleak for them right now. We, at least, own our cars outright, though we no longer have a tent. I never thought our government would turn their backs on us in favor of a few criminals, basically. Yeah, I'm naive.

    March 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  301. gerald

    There's so much to be lost I don't know where to begin. I was poor as a child. My parents had to go to work to avoid going on relief (that was what welfare was called in those days). Now as a senior citizen living on a fixed income I'm feeling impoverished again. What will I miss most? The satisfaction of achieving full financial independance.

    March 20, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  302. Zain in Atlanta

    I'm most worried about safety. I feel good knowing that I can cope with the hardest of times because I've lived my life with clear experiences of both good and bad fortune. But just as fast as we're losing jobs, people are losing patience. AIG and all of the other greed mongers of the this nation will begin to reap what they sow. People are getting to the point where talking won't fix their issues, and violence will be the only considered remedy, taking after the strong-arm tactics that this nation was built on. And sadly, this reaction by the masses (mostly lower class individuals) will be warranted in my opinion.

    March 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  303. Kay living in Mexico City

    Let's take a step back and look at the "American Quality of Life" compared to the quality of life of millions of people living in third world countries throughout the world. The US has become obsessed with spending money on designer clothing, brand name cars, $5 usd Starbucks coffee every morning and has become dependent on this luxurious lifestyle while workers in Mexico and many other places throughout the world are making $5 usd a day. Meanwhile, we learn of politicians and businessmen stealing millions of dollars. Perhaps this economic crisis will open our minds and give us the opportunity to realize that we should be grateful for what already have. Perhaps our materialistic society will learn to value the intangible aspects of our "Quality of Life".

    March 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  304. Mark Anderson

    I worry most that my children will have a much less opportunity than past generations of Americans. I made the mistake of running up student loan debt getting an engineering degree and being born an American citizen. After completing my degree and a few years employment I was laid off and replaced with a lower cost H1B visa employee. I have now been unemployed almost a year. The unemployment agency tells me there is no work for American engineers, that more than one million American engineers have been fired and replaced with low-cost H1B employees, and that more than fifty million American engineers have been fired as a result of outsourcing to engineers in India and China who were trained by former USA H1B visa employees. I now have no way to buy health insurance for my family or pay back my student loans. I would have been able to support my family much better if I had never spent any money on an engineering degree. My children made the mistake of being born citizens of a country where visa policy is set by politicians and corporate CEOs who love to knife American citizens in the back to pay for a forth vacation home or a fifth luxury car.

    March 20, 2009 at 7:33 pm |