May 14th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What will U.S. look like in 50 years?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The face of this country is changing dramatically. Consider these pretty staggering statistics: 47 percent of children in the U.S. under five-years-old are minorities; as are 43 percent of youngsters under 20 - that's according to new census data.

Today, 47 percent of American children under five years of age are minorities.

And there's more... as USA today reports, the United States is developing a significant generation gap between aging, white Baby Boomers and this younger, growing minority population.

Minorities now account for just over one-third of the total population; and although immigration is slowing, higher birth rates among Hispanics make them the fastest growing group. The Hispanic population is also younger - on average about 28 years old - than non-Hispanic whites, whose average age is about 41.

Among other things, these numbers mean that many Baby Boomers will be relying on this younger generation to take care of them in a lot of ways. In another generation, this will be the workforce supporting Social Security.

Already, about 10 percent of the nation's counties have a minority population above 50 percent. One of the counties that just became a "majority-minority" last year is Orange County, Florida - home to Disney World. The mayor says it's not a surprise to him, and that the county has always been "a snapshot of what America looks like."

Here’s my question to you: What will the U.S. look like 50 years from now?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: United States
May 14th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Release alleged detainee abuse photos?


The president has seen the photos and said they're not particularly sensational compared to images from Abu Ghraib. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama says he doesn't want to release alleged prison abuse photos because it could affect the safety of U.S. troops overseas and "inflame anti-American opinion."

And it wouldn't exactly be the best timing for the president himself, who is scheduled to soon go to Egypt and address the Muslim world.

Nonetheless, the decision is a reversal for the White House - which last month said it had no problem with the Pentagon releasing hundreds of pictures of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But after hearing concerns from military commanders, the president says releasing these images could have a "chilling effect" on further investigations of detainee abuses - without adding to the understanding of past abuses.

Mr. Obama, who has seen the photos, says they're not "particularly sensational" when compared to the images from Abu Ghraib. And he repeated that any future abuse is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.

Needless to say, the decision isn't sitting too well with many of his liberal supporters. Some groups are accusing President Obama of violating his promises of openness and transparency; and of sounding just like the Bush administration when it comes to claims of secrecy.

Democrats were split - some backing the president's decision, while others think he should release the photos. Meanwhile top Republicans applauded President Obama.

It's unclear what will happen, but the matter could wind up in the Supreme Court, since two lower federal courts have ordered the pictures be released.

Here’s my question to you: Should the alleged detainee abuse photos be released?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay
May 14th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Tax cigarettes, alcohol, junk food to pay for health care reform?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Health care reform won't come cheap, and that's why lawmakers are considering higher taxes on everything from alcohol and cigarettes to junk food and soda as a way to pay for it. The Senate Finance Committee is looking into how to pay for this massive overhaul, which could cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

So-called sin taxes may raise $600 billion over the next decade.

Several experts are suggesting taxes on bad behavior, including a $2 dollar tax on a pack of cigarettes and a higher excise tax on alcohol.

Politico reports that the ranking Republican on the committee, Senator Chuck Grassley is nixing the idea of taxing soda and sugary drinks. But it's easy to see why so-called sin taxes are appealing - taxing cigarettes, junk foods and alcohol could raise $600 billion over 10 years.

A recent poll found support among Americans for imposing such taxes to help pay for health care reform. The Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows 61 percent of those polled say they would be in favor of raising taxes on items that are thought to be unhealthy - like cigarettes, alcohol, junk food and soda. 37 percent are opposed.

When asked about specific items, there's more support for taxing cigarettes and alcohol than snack foods and soda.

But before you start hoarding your beer and chips, Congress is also looking at other ways to pay for reform - like eliminating the tax-free status of company health benefits along with non-health related options like capping the deduction on charitable donations.

Here’s my question to you: Is taxing cigarettes, alcohol and junk food a good way to pay for health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • Taxes