May 22nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should paid vacation time be mandatory?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As millions of Americans head into a long weekend and the unofficial start of summer, consider this: About 28 million Americans, that's a quarter of the work force, don't get any paid vacation. Enter Florida Congressman Alan Grayson - who has introduced the Paid Vacation Act.

The bill would require companies with more than 100 employees to give a week of paid vacation to both full-time and part-time workers who've been with the company for a year. Once the law is in effect three years - they'd have to give two weeks of paid time off; and companies with more than 50 employees would have to give one week vacation.

Grayson, a Democrat, says his bill would double the number of paid vacations in the U.S. It's also meant to increase worker productivity by having fewer sick days, and to boost tourism - hey, he's from Florida after all.

Grayson points to other countries where paid vacation is a matter of right. Turns out the U.S. is last among 21 industrial countries when it comes to mandatory vacation time; France requires companies to give 30 days of paid leave.

No surprise that the travel industry is all for this bill; but small business advocates say mandatory vacation time could be a disaster for smaller companies, making it unaffordable for them to do business. Some Republicans are against the idea too, saying: "A one size fits all federal mandate is the wrong medicine in troubled economic times."

Here’s my question to you: Should paid vacation time be mandatory?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Vacation
May 22nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What advice would you give to a college graduate?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's that time of year again - graduation season. But this year's crop of college graduates is looking for jobs in the worst economy their generation has known. Not exactly the best time to job search when 5.7 million people have been out of work since the recession started.

An AP-mtvU poll surveyed more than 2,200 college students on 40 campuses and found some recent college grads on food stamps; and other undergraduate students working three jobs while attending school full-time.

The poll also shows:

– 22 percent of students say they worry a lot about having enough money to get through the week; and one-third say they really worry about their parents' finances.

– Almost 20 percent changed plans and decided to go to graduate school because their undergraduate degree might not be enough to get them a job.

– One in five students say at least one of their parents lost a job in the last year; these students were less likely to go to grad school because they can't afford it.

– Almost one in five students considered quitting school.

– 32 percent say money worries have a big impact on their stress level; that's up five points from last year.

The silver lining here... Pollsters say that despite all the apprehension, there's also a lot of determination and spirit on the part of these youngsters. These students think eventually their education will pay off... and will help them land a job.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the economy, what advice would you give to a college graduate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy • Education
May 22nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Is housing Gitmo detainees in U.S. prisons a problem for you?


File photo of the super maximum security federal prison in Colorado. The fortress-like super-prison is dubbed “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” and houses several terror convicts. “Supermax” is tightly controlled, technologically advanced, and designed to be impossible to escape. (PHOTO CREDIT: BOB DAEMMRICH/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama says some terror suspects from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility will be sent to U.S. prisons.

Despite opposition from Congress, the president is moving forward with his plan to close Gitmo by next January. He insists that he won't authorize freeing any detainees who would endanger the American people, but says some of these suspects will be tried in U.S. courts and held in super-maximum security U.S. prisons. The president says other detainees could be tried by military commissions and sent to other countries.

Congress has dealt President Obama a big blow by blocking funds to close Gitmo until he comes up with a detailed plan on what to do with the 240 detainees held there. Majority Whip Senator Dick Durbin is one of the few who voted against blocking the 80 million dollars. He says the U.S. can safely house these terror suspects just like we are already housing 348 convicted terrorists in U.S. prisons.

Durbin says Guantanamo has become a symbol and an organizing tool for terrorists; and it's not helping us win friends in the war on terror. He points out that we can't exactly ask our allies to take in these detainees when we're not willing to do the same.

Nonetheless Republicans continue to argue that the president's plan could endanger Americans. Former Vice President Dick Cheney says that President Obama's reversal of Bush-era detainee policies is "recklessness cloaked in righteousness" that will make the U.S. less safe.

Here’s my question to you: Do you have a problem with housing Gitmo detainees in U.S. prisons?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay • prisons