FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
"Everything has to be on the table." That's what Pres. Obama says about reducing our skyrocketing deficits. Don't bet on it.
For one thing the president refuses to say which programs may be cut. And, other lawmakers have been all over the place lately saying what they want off the table. No value-added tax, no cuts to Social Security, and not allowing tax cuts for low and middle income families to expire.
All this as the president's 18-member bipartisan debt commission gets to work. The commission is meant to bring the federal budget down to three percent of the country's GDP by 2015. Right now the deficit is on track to be double that.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warns that if we don't do something about these deficits they will do "great damage" to the U.S. economy. Bernanke says our debt levels are on an "unsustainable path."
Budget experts point out that new measures will have to rein in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security costs. But we continue to be represented by people who won't make any tough decisions because they're afraid if they do they won't be reelected. Time to vote them out. We can't keep kicking the deficit can down the road any longer.
And don't get too excited about this so-called debt panel created by Pres. Obama, either. It has no legal authority. They need 14 of the 18 members to agree to any recommendations, which can then be ignored by Congress. This is sort of like sitting on the railroad tracks, seeing the train barreling down on you, and refusing to move out of the way.
Here’s my question to you: How serious is Congress about reducing the national debt?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
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Arizona's tough new immigration law hasn't even gone into effect yet, and it's already working:
Mexico has issued an alert for Mexicans traveling to Arizona. The country is urging its citizens to be careful... that they may be "harassed and questioned without further cause at any time" should they go to Arizona.
That's not the case at all, but it is ironic. Travel warnings usually work the other way around... with various countries warning their citizens not to go to Mexico due to drug-related violence.
However, no good deed goes unpunished.
The Obama administration might challenge Arizona's new law in court. They're concerned the law could take away resources needed to target criminals. How utterly absurd. How about the 460,000 people who are in Arizona illegally now? The reason Arizona did this is the federal government refuses to enforce our immigration laws.
Meanwhile seven members of the city council have signed a proposal for Los Angeles to "refrain from conducting business" in Arizona, and San Francisco's mayor has imposed an immediate moratorium on city-related travel to that state.
But Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer says she's not worried about possible boycotts. And she points out that the new law is about the safety of Arizona's citizens.
And she's getting support from at least one legislator in Texas who wants the Lone Star State to pass a similar law. President Obama should be embarrassed by this.
Here’s my question to you: Is it a good thing that Mexico is issuing a travel alert over Arizona's new immigration law?
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The bloom is slowly returning to the rose that is Wall Street. More and more Americans are willing to put their money into the stock market these days.
A new Gallup poll shows 22 percent of those surveyed say stocks or mutual funds are the best long-term investment... that's up from 15 percent who felt that way one year ago...
Real estate tops the list in this poll - with 29 percent saying that's the best long-term investment... 28 percent say savings accounts or CDs ... and 14 percent say bonds.
This poll also shows wealthier and college-educated Americans prefer stocks and mutual funds for long-term investing... while those with lower incomes and no college education prefer savings accounts or CDs.
There are several reasons why Americans might be a bit more confident in Wall Street these days.
For one thing, the stock market is much stronger now - with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at 11,205 points yesterday... up from a low of 6,547 in March of 2009 at the height of the financial crisis. That's an impressive gain of 71 percent in little more than a year.
Also, people may be more confident because they believe the government will soon have more oversight when it comes to Wall Street.
As we reported last hour in the Cafferty File - two-thirds of Americans support stricter regulations for banks and financial institutions.
So in case there are a few extra bucks in your pocket as the economy starts to show signs of recovery...
Here’s my question to you: If you had an extra $10,000, would you invest it in the stock market?
Here we go again. Yet another example of our representatives in Washington not listening to what the people want.
Despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans support tougher regulation of banks and Wall Street... Republicans have already voted unanimously to block financial reform from reaching the senate floor - and they might do it again minutes from now when another test vote happens.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 65 percent of those surveyed want stricter financial reform. 31 percent are opposed.
The poll also shows majorities back two key parts of the senate bill... including greater government oversight of consumer loans... and a fund - paid for by the banks - that would help dismantle failing institutions. According to this poll, the public is split on letting the government regulate complex financial instruments knows as derivatives.
Also - by a double-digit margin, Americans trust Pres. Obama more than the Republicans in Congress to handle financial reform...
Not a huge surprise when you consider how the GOP is handing this. Although Republicans say they want a bill to pass... they say it needs to be "substantive" and they insist they won't be quote "rushed on another massive bill" by the Democrats. Top Republicans remain optimistic they can come to a bipartisan agreement.
Meanwhile, Majority Leader Harry Reid - who called another vote for this afternoon - says the Democrats won't tolerate efforts to water down the reform.
Here’s my question to you: Why are Senate Republicans blocking financial reform legislation when two-thirds of Americans want it done?
It's springtime and the signs of recovery are springing up everywhere... from the nation's ports to its malls, from the factories to car dealerships.
One longshoreman on the docks in Portland, Oregon told the New York Times, "Things are looking up."
There may be something to what he says. Consumer spending - which makes up more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy - was up by four percent during the first quarter... more than double what was expected.
Americans are shopping again - buying furniture, cars and electronics. One retail analyst says on his weekly "mall check" he's seeing lots of women ages 25 to 45 shopping again... one sign of a recovery.
Last month, retail sales were up nine percent; and new home sales were up 27 percent.
But the question is: How strong will the recovery be? It appears that much of the improvement in the economy so far is a result of the $800 billion government stimulus program. Once that money is used up - it's not clear how much consumers will keep spending.
And, another looming factor is when the jobs will come back. Although March saw the biggest surge in hiring in over two years, the U.S. economy has lost about eight million jobs since the start of the recession and the national unemployment rate is still almost 10 percent.
A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 19 percent of those surveyed say the economy is starting to recover - that's up significantly from January.
46 percent say the economy has stabilized; and 34 percent say it's still in a downturn.
Statistics and poll numbers are one thing…your personal situation is another.
Here’s my question to you: Is your recession over?
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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