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March 15th, 2010
06:36 PM ET

As concerned about our privacy as we used to be?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Why no one cares about privacy anymore... That's the title of a piece on CNet.com. It describes how - as technology and especially social networking sites keep growing - people seem more and more willing to part with confidentiality. In many cases, they give up some level of privacy in order to access these services for free.

Think about it: Millions of people go online every day to sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google... they share pictures, videos, personal information about their family, their jobs, their education... or even trivial things like their favorite movie or what they ate for lunch.

Plus - it's more common for these services to be able to track you. Twitter now allows users to include so-called geolocation data in their messages; and they're encouraging people to do so. Other services let you select who can monitor your GPS-derived location every moment of the day through your cell phone. Google Maps can show pictures of your front door.

As for medical privacy... some seem to care less who knows intimate details about their health - they go online to share stories about cancer or other diseases or to give details of their pregnancies.

Then there's the ability of companies like Amazon.com or Netflix to gather information on your shopping habits and suggest which movie or book you may want to buy next.

It should come as no surprise that young people - the so-called Generation X-hibitionist - are the most comfortable with all this. One 2008 survey shows only 41 percent of U.S. teens were concerned about privacy; 59 percent were happy to give personal information to marketers.

Here’s my question to you: Are we as concerned about our privacy as we used to be?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Internet
March 15th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Ultimate solution to long-term unemployment?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The cost of long-term unemployment to the American taxpayers may soon be unsustainable.

DailyFinance.com reports that more than six million workers say they've been unemployed for more than 26 weeks. That means the long-term unemployed represent more than 40 percent of all the unemployed - one of the highest levels ever. The average length of unemployment for this group is nearly seven months.

The payment of unemployment benefits for longer and longer periods of time adds to the deficit. One expert points out that the high unemployment rate, plus longer time collecting jobless benefits, is a dangerous combination. He says the government could be on track to spend $250 billion a year on unemployment benefits alone.

Another downside is that some workers tend to lose their skills, which means they risk becoming unemployable. They either have to move down the employment ladder or get re-trained for other jobs.

No surprise a new poll suggests that jobs are a top concern for many Americans. A Gallup poll shows 31 percent of those surveyed say unemployment is the most important problem facing the country today.

And, when asked what they think will be the top problem facing the U.S. in 25 years, the top response is the federal budget deficit.

The irony here is the more the government spends on jobs programs and unemployment benefits now, the more our $12 trillion-plus national debt will continue to grow.

Here’s my question to you: What's the ultimate solution to long-term unemployment?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

March 15th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Losing track of what's in health care bills?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"The American people are getting tired of this crap."

That's how Republican Senator Lindsey Graham describes the debate over health care reform. What do you know... a politician who speaks plain English.

A three-day-old girl gets a checkup at a low-cost clinic in Colorado. The baby's mother has health insurance through her employer, but can't afford the additional deductible to add her child as a dependent.

A three-day-old girl gets a checkup at a low-cost clinic in Colorado. The baby's mother has health insurance through her employer, but can't afford the additional deductible to add her child as a dependent.

Graham was talking about the Obama administration's dismissal of some Republican criticism of the health care bills. But all this back-and-forth may mercifully come to an end soon - one way or the other - with the House expected to vote this week on the bill the Senate has already passed.

And, after a year of arguments from all sides and thousands upon thousands of pages of legislation - the fate of health care reform remains very much in doubt. There are several stumbling blocks for the Democrats - both ideological and procedural.

As for what is in the bill - abortion and immigration are most likely to trip up the whole thing. There are several House Democrats pledging not to sign on if the House uses the Senate's less strict language on abortion funding. When it comes to immigration, there are House Democrats who disagree with the Senate's ban on undocumented immigrants buying insurance in the new health exchange.

Then there's the politics of it all - the details of reconciliation, which chamber will vote first, the distrust between the upper and lower houses and on and on...

Meanwhile you can expect the lobbyists to spare no expense this week. It's estimated that special interest groups will be spending about $1 million a day to influence the health care debate.

Here’s my question to you: Have you lost track of what's actually in the health care reform bills?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

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


Filed under: Health care