.
April 28th, 2011
04:09 PM ET

How do you see the debt ceiling fight being resolved?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's back to work for Congress on Monday as lawmakers return from a fun-filled two week Spring Break.

The National Debt Clock pictured in Manhattan last week.

The National Debt Clock pictured in Manhattan last week.

During their time off, some members returned to their districts to hear from constituents, many angry and confused about the budget cuts and deficit reduction plans. Then there are those like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and nine other senators who went on junkets instead to faraway places like China and its city of Macau, that country's closest thing to Las Vegas.

The fun and games will be over next week though. One of the first big battles that awaits this Congress is the question of raising the nation's debt ceiling. The U.S. is expected to reach its current debt limit of $14.3 trillion on May 16th. That's just about two weeks away. If Congress doesn't agree to raise it, we could default on our debt obligations and that would have devastating effects on the markets and this economy. But simply raising it may not be that simple.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he will not agree to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats promise to make meaningful spending cuts to the budget and to reform Medicaid and Medicare.

In a recent interview, Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill under George W. Bush called Republicans who insist on linking a debt ceiling increase to budget cuts quote "our version of al Qaeda terrorists." unquote.

He says the two should not be part of the same debate and the lawmakers who insist on doing that anyway are putting our society at risk.

He might be right. But putting our country at risk has never been that much of an issue for Congress.

Here’s my question to you: How do you see the debt ceiling fight being resolved?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: National debt
April 28th, 2011
04:06 PM ET

How excited are you about the royal wedding?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In case you haven't heard, there's a pretty big to-do planned for tomorrow on the other side of the pond. Prince William will marry Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey tomorrow afternoon in London... It's the first high profile royal wedding in Britain in decades. You can't turn on a television, open a newspaper or log on to a website without hearing all about it. All the big U.S. broadcast and cable networks-including CNN– will carry the event live with coverage beginning at 4 am eastern time. The wedding itself starts about two hours later.

So it's a really big deal, right? Not so much.

A poll in Britain commissioned by an anti-monarchy group found four out of five Britons are quote "largely indifferent" or quote "couldn't care less" about the royal wedding. Really? They're not even excited about watching it and it's going to be on in the middle of the day…and it's their royal family.

What about Americans?

Do we really care enough to get up at 4 in the morning and watch a wedding on a work day? A New York Times-CBS News poll found that only 6 percent of Americans say they have been following news about the royal wedding "very closely" and 22 percent say "somewhat closely." So again, not so much. It could be a real letdown for the U.S. media which is spending a boatload of money to cover this thing. But Prince William isn't our future king, and people on both sides of the Atlantic apparently have other things to worry about.

Here’s my question to you: How excited are you about the royal wedding?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Uncategorized
April 27th, 2011
04:17 PM ET

PBS host Smiley: 2012 pres. race will be 'ugliest,' 'most racist' in history. Is he right?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The 2012 presidential race is coming, probably a lot sooner than most of us would like. And when it gets here and gets going full bore, it has the potential to be one ugly contest. As a nation we have seldom been more divided, and the division comes at a time when we can ill afford it. Our problems are huge, threatening our very way of life. We can't afford to remain so divided. But there are no indications things are going to change anytime soon.

Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley

In an interview on MSNBC, PBS Host Tavis Smiley said the 2012 presidential race is "going to be the ugliest, the nastiest, the most divisive, and the most racist in the history of this Republic."

Smiley says it's because some members of the Tea Party in particular are willing to do anything and say anything to make sure President Obama is not re-elected. He points to the renewed interest in the birther movement and all the attention Donald Trump has received for questioning the president's birthplace, his ability to get into college and law school and calling him the worst president ever. Smiley also points to the fanaticism at some Tea Party rallies where members have showed up carrying guns.

There is a general nastiness in the tone of our dialogue in this country that didn't used to be there. Tavis Smiley says Americans have to rediscover civility. Of course he's right, but we seem to be going in the opposite direction. And when the stakes are as high as they are in a presidential election, a "win at all costs" mentality seems to take over.

Here’s my question to you: PBS host Tavis Smiley predicts the 2012 presidential race will be the ugliest and most racist in our history. Is he right?

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: Uncategorized
April 27th, 2011
04:10 PM ET

Can the third time be a charm for Ron Paul?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, announced Tuesday he's forming a presidential exploratory committee, a possible first step toward officially entering the 2012 race.

He joins a small pool of not-very-exciting-Republicans who have done the same, including former governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania.

Other names - Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann - have been thrown around as possible contenders. Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump has talked a lot about running himself. But according to the polls, voters aren't particularly wowed by any of the possibilities. Paul included.

This is not the first time Ron Paul, a physician, has thought about being president. He won the Libertarian Party nomination in 1988. In 2008, he ran in the Republican primaries but never won more than 10% of the vote. But things could be different this time.

Ron Paul has a small but devoted following and is capable of raising tons of money, a necessity in today's elections. He is an outspoken fiscal conservative, and his main message is smaller government, less spending and less debt. He also doesn't think we should be fighting wars half a world away. He makes a lot of sense. At his announcement Tuesday, Paul said the U.S. has changed a lot in the past four years and that more and more Americans are subscribing to his smaller government, anti-interventionist philosophy. Plus if he's successful, he would be a breath of fresh air compared with the rather disgusting status quo of presidential politics.

Here’s my question to you: Can the third time be a charm for Ron Paul?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm 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: 2012 Election • Ron Paul
April 26th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Bigger issue for you if election were today: gas prices or Middle East?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Violence rages on in the Middle East. Fighting continues in Libya. In Syria, a human rights group reports that more than 400 people have been killed over the past few weeks.

We're still engaged in Iraq, still fighting in Afghanistan. Now everybody is wondering what to do about Syria. At last word President Obama was "considering sanctions." Whatever that means. His strategy and leadership skills are increasingly being called into question, and the chorus of critics is getting louder.

While the problems continue to multiply in the Middle East, many Americans are just trying to figure out how they're going to pay for their daily commute to work. Gas prices are off the charts with predictions now that they could hit $6 a gallon this summer. We're already about 25 cents away from the record high reached in July of 2008. Rising oil prices and the falling value of the dollar don't offer much hope for relief anytime soon.

The president's been talking a lot about gas prices lately, working the topic into speeches in Virginia, Nevada and California last week. He also announced a task force led by Attorney General Eric Holder to seek out fraud and manipulation of gas prices. That's what the politicians do every time gas prices spike. They start looking for an imaginary boogey man.

Today the President wrote a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to repeal preferential tax laws for the oil companies. That'll happen.

House Republicans have announced they are planning to hold hearings and will introduce legislation in response to high gas prices. In an interview with ABC News yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner said high gas prices could cost President Obama re-election.

He might be right. The president's approval ratings are near an all time low.

Here’s my question to you: If the election was held today, which would be the bigger issue for you, gas prices or the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Gas Prices • Middle East
April 26th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Does GOP have the right idea when it comes to budget?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It’s so far, so good for House Republicans when it comes to how to cut the deficits and balance our budget.

According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, Americans believe the Republican Party is the party better able to handle the budget problems facing this country and to fix the economy. Apparently that six-month-long game of chicken they played with the 2011 budget really paid off for them. At least for now. However, a much bigger battle over the budget and spending awaits. When Congress returns from its two-week spring break and raising the debt ceiling is front and center, we'll see if popular opinion changes.

It might. According to that same USA Today/Gallup poll, Americans are split on whether the deficit plan drafted by Republican House Budget Chair Paul Ryan or the one proposed by President Barack Obama is the right path for the country. Two-thirds of Americans are concerned the GOP plan for reducing the deficit would cut too deeply into Medicare and Social Security. Everyone wants the deficit cut, but no one wants to cut entitlements.

But it's a topic that's not going away. Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview with Politico on Monday that there might not be a deal on raising the debt ceiling unless Democrats agree to rein in discretionary spending and reform Medicaid and Medicare. Things could get very ugly very quickly when Congress reconvenes.

Here’s my question to you: Do the Republicans have the right idea when it comes to the budget?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Budget cuts • Economy • GOP • Government • Republican Party • Republicans
April 25th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama's foreign policy headed for disaster?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The United States is threatening "targeted sanctions" against Syria in the wake of another bloody crackdown on protesters.

The National Security Council has accused Syria of "brutal violence" against its citizens, calling it "completely deplorable." It's tough talk - much tougher than what President Obama had to say on Friday. When he learned that 70 unarmed Syrian protesters were murdered by government security forces, the president issued a statement calling on "all sides to cease and desist." Huh?

President Obama isn't exactly getting high praise for his foreign policy these days. More than a month into a bloody civil war in Libya, the conflict appears to have reached a stalemate. After weeks of hemming and hawing and not saying a whole lot on the matter, Obama gave the OK for airstrikes against Libya, without consulting Congress first.

He said we would be involved in Libya for a "matter of days, not weeks." It's already approaching months. He said no American boots would ever be on the ground in Libya. Wrong again. We've been on the ground there for some time. Then last week, the president authorized the use of unmanned drone strikes in Libya in support of NATO airstrikes. Yet another expensive escalation. And violence continues to rage on throughout the region.

A piece on the Daily Beast calls Obama "a persuasive politician and diplomat who gets others to crawl out on limbs, has them take big risks to break through to a new future and then turns around and walks away from them when the political winds in the United States threaten to shift."

To think his critics had the temerity to suggest he didn't have the necessary experience to be president.

Here’s my question to you: Is President Obama’s foreign policy headed for disaster?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President Barack Obama
April 25th, 2011
04:40 PM ET

What does it mean that China's economy could surpass U.S.'s in 5 years?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: MIKE CLARKE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The year 2016… Mark your calendars.

It's the year the International Monetary Fund projects China's economy will overtake the U.S. economy. Or as Brett Arends, a columnist for MarketWatch writes, "The moment when the 'Age of America' will end." He says if the IMF is right, whoever wins the presidency in 2012 will be the last U.S. president to preside over the world's largest economy.

Kind of sad... and kind of scary.

Other forecasters have set the date the U.S. falls to second place a decade later. The IMF projections are based on something called "purchasing power parities," what people in both countries earn and spend domestically. Either way, China will pass us by in a matter of years.

It's just another kick in the stomach to this country's already-battered economy. The job market is still beaten down, the housing market remains horrible, and the federal government still can't agree on how to rein in spending or what to do about a debt ceiling that expires in weeks. Last week, Standard & Poor's announced that it was downgrading the U.S. debt outlook from stable to negative over concerns that the White House and Congress will not be able to agree on a deficit reduction plan for 2012.

Congress is still on Spring Break - perfect.

The Obama administration downplayed the S&P announcement, saying it was political and should not be taken too seriously. They're wrong. The markets took it seriously though. The stock market suffered its biggest one day loss since the threat of a nuclear meltdown in Japan last month. And what'll you bet the White House won't have much to say about this new IMF projection either. It's called whistling past the graveyard.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that China's economy could surpass the U.S. economy in five years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: China • Economy • United States
April 21st, 2011
04:47 PM ET

Which will cause GOP more problems in 2012: Dems or Tea Party?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite last year's midterm shellacking of the Democrats and record low approval ratings for President Obama, there is a big potential problem for Republicans heading into the 2012 presidential election. Other Republicans.

Last week's 2011 Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party.

Last week's 2011 Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party.

More specifically, the Tea Party; that grassroots movement that helped the GOP win the House last fall and weaken the Democrats' hold on the Senate. These days they are all but driving the Republican agenda. They want big spending cuts and a much smaller government. The thing is a lot of Americans agree with them. And many of the newly-elected lawmakers who ran on those platforms have proven they're willing to stick to the budget-slashing principles even if it effectively paralyzes Congress.

Fifty-four Republicans in the House voted against last week's budget bill and for a government shutdown, a sign that upcoming battles like raising the debt ceiling and reforming Medicare could get very ugly.

The old line establishment Republicans aren't nearly so extreme, and that could become a problem when it comes time for the GOP to run against the Democrats in next year's elections. Potential GOP candidates like Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, and Donald Trump have all made appearances at Tea Party events this month. Others like Mitt Romney and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have chosen to steer clear of events, while still speaking favorably of the group.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll, just 32% of Americans have a favorable view of the Tea Party, while 46% have a favorable view of the Democratic party and 44% have a favorable view of Republicans.

Here’s my question to you: Which will cause Republicans more problems next year: Democrats or the Tea Party?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Democrats • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans • Tea Party
April 21st, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Should U.S. space program be priority in budget crisis?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: NASA VIA GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Buried deep in the $38 billion 2011 fiscal budget bill - that one that was hastily passed by Congress before its spring break and hurried over to President Obama to sign - is a $3 billion provision for NASA to build a new rocket and space capsule. That’s $3 billion for a space ship. Wonderful.

While lawmakers fought for six months over nickels and dimes for programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood and Pell Grants for college tuition, billions had been set aside for a space rocket. So much for all that big talk about cutting spending.

But this is nothing new, according to the political news website Politico. Lawmakers from states where NASA and the corporations typically awarded its contracts operate have long pushed for the continuation of space programs, even when they aren't exactly popular. These are states such as Alabama, Maryland, Texas and Utah.

Lawmakers from those states insist their support of projects like this one stems from the overall importance of the U.S. space program, and they say the value goes far beyond job creation in their own states.

But you've got to wonder how much value a trip to the moon can really provide when the growing debt problem is sinking this country to new lows.

Plus there's that old phrase, "Been there, done that."

Oh and those major U.S. companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin that stand to be awarded big-time contracts to build this rocket and space capsule? They probably have a little something to do with this.

Boeing reportedly spent about $18 million on lobbying last year, and its political action committee contributed more than $2.2 million in the last election cycle. Lockheed Martin spent about $16 million on lobbyists, and its PAC donated more than $3.5 million in 2009 and 2010.

You want to know who really runs the country?

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. space program be a priority during a budget crisis?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
« older posts