March 20th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Worried about losing your quality of life?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the recession drags on, Americans are growing less confident that they can maintain their current standard of living, especially when it comes to long-term goals.

Your quality of life: Is there anything you fear losing?

A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 39 percent of those surveyed say they're very confident they'll be able to keep up their quality of life over the next year; but that's down from 45 percent who felt that way a year ago.

50 percent of homeowners with a mortgage say they're very confident they can keep making their house payments; again, that's down from 58 percent just a year ago. Also down is the percentage of Americans who are confident they can pay other debts - like credit cards and car loans.

And people are even more pessimistic when it comes to saving for long term goals. Only 24 percent of parents say they're very confident they'll be able to pay to send their children to college. And only 22 percent of those who are still working feel they can save enough for retirement.

These are pretty scary numbers. The U.S. used to be a place where every generation hoped for a standard of living that was better than what their parents had. And for the most part for more than 200 years, that's the way it's been. It was all part of the American dream; but as these poll numbers suggest, that dream may be just that - a dream - for the generations coming up.

Here's my question to you: What do you fear losing most when it comes to your quality of life?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy
March 20th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should Geithner be fired over AIG bonus scandal?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the AIG bonus scandal continues to brew, some believe it's time for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to either quit or be fired.

Should Geithner be fired over AIG?

If Geithner didn't know about the $165 million in bonuses earlier, he should have. He told CNN yesterday quote "It's my responsibility; I was in a position where I didn't know about those sooner. I take full responsibility for that."

Geither insists he found out about the full extent of the bonus problems last week on March the 10; but The New York Times describes the bonus program as "a disaster hiding in plain sight."

They report that in a March 3 congressional hearing, Geithner was asked what could be done to stop AIG from paying $165 million in bonuses. The Treasury secretary responded that executive pay had gotten "out of whack" and pledged to crack down on pay at companies like AIG that were getting bailout money.

A Treasury spokesman says although that question came up two weeks ago, Geithner was "not aware of the timing or full extent" of the bonus situation until March 10.

And there's more... Officials at the Treasury, the Fed and Federal Reserve Bank of New York exchanged e-mails about the bonus program in late February. AIG revealed the bonus plan in filings last September. In November, Treasury and Fed officials negotiated the terms of these retention payments; and in December, Democrats called for a hearing on the bonuses.

Here’s my question to you: Should Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner be fired over the AIG bonus scandal?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Timothy Geithner
March 20th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Nancy Pelosi: Enforcing some immigration laws "un-American"

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Nancy Pelosi doesn't think enforcing some of our immigration laws is a good idea. I guess we don't need the Justice Department; just ask Pelosi what laws she thinks we should enforce.

Is it is un-American to enforce our immigration laws?

The House Speaker was condemning raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at an immigration event in San Francisco last weekend. Here's what she said: "Who in our country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families? It must be stopped… What value system is that? I think it's un-American. I think it's un-American."

In case you had trouble understanding her, Nancy Pelosi was telling a largely Hispanic audience that enforcing America's immigration laws is un-American. This is called pandering.

Yesterday Pelosi said she was standing by her statement. She added that we have to enforce our laws, control our borders, protect our workers and create a path to legalization for those who aren't fully documented; but repeated that doesn't mean kicking in doors in the middle of the night. Pelosi said what we really need is comprehensive immigration reform.

Here's my question to you: Nancy Pelosi says enforcing our immigration laws is "un-American." Is she right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


March 20th, 2009
11:00 AM ET

Goodbye to unlimited prosperity

In an interview with Fortune about his new book, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty blasts "morons" in Washington and calls on Republicans to quit "carping."

NEW YORK (Fortune) - The American dream is in peril, and Jack Cafferty has something to say about it. In his new book, Now or Never: Getting Down to the Business of Saving Our Dream, CNN's irascible commentator takes on the economy, foreign policy, education, health care, immigration, energy, the Bush legacy and Obama's opportunity–nothing less than the future of the country. He even manages to tie in his life story, complete with a hardscrabble youth, alcoholism, and redemption in marriage and fatherhood. Fortune spoke with Cafferty about what he sees is wrong with the country - and what needs to be done about it. Below are excerpts from that discussion:

The title of your book says the American dream is in peril. Why is that?

Well, take a look around. Foreclosures, unemployment, debts and deficit, companies going out of business, bailouts. The evidence is pretty clear.

Who's to blame?

You can't assign blame to a person for the kind of cumulative gathering of storm clouds that we're dealing with right now, but mostly policies of not living within our means and in the case of Wall Street and the banks, a lack of proper supervision for these mortgage-backed securities and some of these other investment instruments that have led to the kind of horrific situation we've got in the financial sector. We've been running deficits and debt for years. George Bush doubled the national debt in the eight years he was in office. He accumulated more debt on his watch than all the previous U.S. Presidents before him combined.

What lessons can corporate America draw from the outrage at Wall Street?

Well, it doesn't seem to me like [Corporate America] is too concerned about it. The problem, I think, is the deregulation that actually happened. The public elects the morons that are supposed to watch over these things. People in Connecticut sent Chris Dodd to Washington. Chris Dodd collected the second-biggest amount of money from AIG of anybody in Washington [for the 2008 election cycle].

Was there a quid pro quo? I don't think so, but there's an unhealthy and unwholesome relationship between corporate America and the federal government. It's the thing that Dwight Eisenhower warned about in the '50s: watch out for the military industrial complex. Well, they came along and they finally got strong enough and they bit everybody right in the ass.

To read Jack's full interview at CNNMoney.com, click here

Filed under: Uncategorized