March 27th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How would you change income tax laws?


Americans are currently preparing for next month’s income tax filing deadline whether using tax software, filing on paper forms or using a tax preparer. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With this year's tax deadline quickly approaching, President Obama is tackling tax reform. He's creating a task force to propose ways to simplify the tax code, reduce evasion, close loopholes and make changes in corporate tax breaks. But, their main goal is to raise revenue.

The task force, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, has only a couple of constraints: President Obama says they can't propose tax increases for 2009 and 2010; and after 2010, they can't propose tax increases on families making less than $250,000.

It's estimated there's a $300 billion a year tax gap - which is the difference between what taxpayers owe and what they actually pay. The biggest reason for this gap is under reporting of income. This isn't always intentional; sometimes it comes from honest mistakes by filers who are confused by a very complex tax code. The group is also expected to suggest ways to simplify different kinds of tax credits.

The tax task force will present its proposals to the president in early December. Then it will be a question of getting Congress to sign off on any changes.

Here’s my question to you: What changes would you make to the income tax laws?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Tax Returns • Taxes
March 27th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should U.S. send more troops to Afghanistan?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is stepping up the U.S. effort in Afghanistan. He says the U.S. will send 4,000 more troops there in addition to the 17,000 additional combat troops he authorized last month.

Pres. Obama says the U.S. will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 17,000 he authorized last month.

Mr. Obama is describing a "comprehensive" new strategy to confront the growing threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Seven and a half years after the 9/11 attacks he says al Qaeda is planning new attacks against the U.S. from its safe haven in Pakistan.

President Obama says up until now Afghanistan has been denied the resources it needs because of the war in Iraq; and he's pledging those 4,000 additional troops to help train the Afghan Army and police - new legislation that would help the economies of both countries; and more civilian help to develop Afghanistan's economy and corrupt government.

As for Pakistan, the president says that after years of mixed results, the U.S. won't provide a "blank check" to them; they'll have to prove they're committed to rooting out al Qaeda.

It seems like Mr. Obama has public support behind him here. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 63 percent of those surveyed favor his plan to send an additional 17,000 troops into Afghanistan. However, he also has his work cut out for him: While 62 percent say the U.S. can eventually win the war there, only half that many think the U.S. is winning now.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. send additional troops to Afghanistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
March 27th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Tighter rules to hire foreign workers?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With more and more Americans out of work - the government is putting up roadblocks for companies that want to hire foreign workers. And that includes higher and lower skilled workers; everyone from dude ranchers and fruit pickers to lifeguards and computer programmers.

Are there really jobs Americans can't or won't do?

The Wall Street Journal reports that at least three avenues of legal immigration have been cut back. For starters, companies getting federal bailout money must prove they've tried hiring American workers for highly skilled positions before they can hire guest workers.

Also, the State Department is calling on some sponsors of seasonal employers - like hotels, golf resorts and summer camps - to voluntarily stop hiring as many foreign workers. And the Labor Department is considering suspending an agricultural guest worker program.

It's a bit of a sticky situation for the Obama administration - which insists it doesn't want to become protectionist when it comes to goods and services. However, with an 8.1 unemployment rate, there are millions of Americans out of work who don't want to see jobs filled by foreigners.

Critics say it's hypocritical to be protectionist when it comes to hiring practices. One immigration lawyer tells the Journal, "You don't abandon regulations because you have one bad year."

But many seem to finally be questioning the idea that there are certain jobs that Americans can't or won't do. Some employers say they are now getting more U.S. applicants for positions that were normally filled by guest workers; while others say they still can't find Americans who want to do certain jobs.

Here’s my question to you: As more Americans lose their jobs, what restrictions should the government place on hiring foreign workers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Immigration
March 27th, 2009
01:17 PM ET
March 27th, 2009
01:00 PM ET