July 28th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Is cash for clunkers a good idea?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The "cash for clunkers" program is a win-win situation for everyone. That's according to the government - which says the $1 billion plan will help the environment, automakers and drivers who want to trade up out of their old cars.

Cars bought through the program must get at least 22 miles per gallon, like this Ford Focus. Rules are different for trucks.

Under the plan - taxpayer money will be used to give people a credit of up to $4,500 to replace their gas guzzlers. The idea is they use that money to buy certain new vehicles that are more fuel efficient.

The traded-in cars have to be less than 25-years-old; and their titles can't have any liens.

The program already has about 16,000 registered auto dealers signed on; and some say showroom traffic is already up since the program's official start on July 1.

About 250,000 cars are expected to be junked through this program before it ends on November 1. This will hopefully jump start auto sales - which have been down about 35-percent across the industry.

But not everyone is so sure that "cash for clunkers" is a good idea. Under the plan - the gas guzzlers must be destroyed. Some auto recyclers say they'll lose a lot of money in sales from old engines and other car parts.

They also say the program will hurt lower-income buyers who can't afford a new car - even with the government credit, and they say that destroying cars will drive up prices for spare parts.

Here’s my question to you: Is cash for clunkers a good idea?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Auto Industry
July 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How confident are you that Congress understands health care issue?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As lawmakers continue to squabble over health care reform with no deal in sight - it turns out most Americans don't think members of Congress even understand the legislation they're crafting.

House Speaker Pelosi answers questions about progress on health care reform.

A new Gallup poll shows only 27-percent of those surveyed say Congress has a good understanding of the issues in this debate. That's compared to 48-percent of Americans who say they personally understand the issues.

Only 16-percent say that both they and their representatives understand the issue.

These numbers are pretty depressing; and they also explain why most Americans are in no rush to see health care reform passed this year.

Gallup suggests these findings go to the larger point of how little trust Americans have in the people they send to Washington to represent them. Another recent poll found only 17-percent say they have a lot of confidence in Congress.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party might be its own worst enemy when it comes to health care reform. House leaders now say that their chamber won't vote on the bill before the August recess, mostly due to concerns of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had earlier insisted they had the votes to pass the bill before the August break; but now she says the House needs more time. The Senate has already said they won't vote on health care until the fall.

With majorities in both houses of Congress, it seems more than a little curious President Obama can't get his number one priority passed.

Here’s my question to you: How confident are you that Congress understands the health care issue?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Health care
July 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should Obama meet with Prof. Gates and Officer Crowley?


Pres. Obama has invited Sgt. James Crowley (left) and Prof. Henry Louis Gates (right) to the White House Thursday evening. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates spiraled into a national debate about race, President Obama is hoping to take things down a notch with a casual meeting at the White House.

The president is scheduled to meet Thursday evening with Professor Gates and the arresting officer - Sgt. James Crowley. The White House says the meeting - which is set to happen at a picnic table outside the Oval Office - is about "having a beer and de-escalation."

It's clearly to the president's advantage if he can take the heat away from this story, get it out of the news, and let the focus return to his priority of health care reform.

Mr. Obama has said he hopes the incident in Cambridge can end up being a "teachable moment" for the country. The president acknowledged that he contributed to the whole incident by saying the police "acted stupidly" without knowing all the facts in the case.

Gates initially called himself the victim of a rogue officer and made allegations of racism; although Friday he said he looks forward to meeting with the president and Crowley. Gates says he hopes this moment can help improve racial relations.

Crowley, who has taught a course on racial profiling for years, stands by his actions; and Cambridge police - who had called on President Obama to apologize - have praised Crowley.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama meet at the White House with Professor Gates and Officer Crowley?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: President Barack Obama