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December 8th, 2010
06:44 PM ET

Do you feel poor?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With gasoline expected to reach $3 a gallon soon and unemployment stuck at just under 10% - not to mention the added expenses of the holiday season - it's easy to see why many Americans are feeling strapped for cash these days.

But in a piece called "Are Americans as Poor as They Feel?", Businessweek.com takes a look at the cost of living today versus 30 years ago.

They find that a lot of things aren't as expensive as we think, and that many items actually cost less in relative terms today than in 1980.

For starters, the piece suggests nominal income has increased more than overall consumer prices. Also, the price of many daily expenses – things like food and even energy – increased at a slower pace than overall consumer prices.

On the other hand, the cost of some bigger ticket items – things like education and health care – have more than doubled. We're talking big bucks, when it comes to college tuitions and health insurance.

Researchers have also found that compared with the 1970s, more families now have two full-time incomes. But, this change in lifestyle has added new costs – things like a second car and day care.

In fact, after an average two-income family makes its monthly payments, it can now have less money left over... even though both the husband and wife are working.

Finally, there are additional costs today that people didn't have to account for decades ago – including buying computers and software, Internet and cell phone service.

Here’s my question to you: Do you feel poor?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
December 8th, 2010
05:45 PM ET

Tax cut deal damage Pres. Obama's reelection chances?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

By making the tax cut deal with Republicans this week, President Obama may be sealing his own fate in 2012.

Some Democrats say that agreeing to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts – even for the wealthiest Americans – will cripple the president's chances of being re-elected.

For starters, the president has angered the Democratic base. The left wing of the Democratic Party is furious that he's refused to fight the GOP. Some think it would have been better to let all of the tax cuts expire rather than to roll over for the Republicans.

And, many Democratic lawmakers say they're shocked at the size and price tag of this deal. Some estimates top $900 billion. So much for deficit reduction.

Plus, by agreeing to a two-year extension, it guarantees that the debate over the Bush tax cuts will be raging once again just in time for the 2012 presidential campaign.

If the economy improves, the Democrats will be in a better position to argue for ending the tax cuts for wealthy Americans. However, that's a big gamble.

Speaking of gambling, the Daily Beast has a piece called "Obama's Lousy Bluffing Skills," in which they examine the president's poker habits and how they may have predicted his negotiating style.

Obama's former poker buddies describe him as a "very cautious" and "conservative" player who rarely won, or lost, big.

They say the president wasn't much of a bluffer and didn't call opponents on a bluff unless he had a strong hand.

Interesting when you consider poker is all about reading people and showing strength in order to get a desired outcome.

Here’s my question to you: Did President Obama damage his reelection chances by making the tax cut deal with Republicans?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • President Barack Obama • Republicans • Taxes