August 7th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

1 in 9 Americans receiving food stamps


Traditional food stamps like the ones pictured here are no longer distributed. All 50 states now provide debit-style EBT cards. (PHOTO CREDIT: TIM BOYLE/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A record 34 million Americans are getting food stamps...

This translates to 1 in 9 people and is yet another sign that we're going through the worst recession since the Great Depression.

A government report shows May was the sixth month in a row that food stamp enrollment increased - it was up in every state - with Florida showing the largest jump.

The economic stimulus package has temporarily increased food stamp benefits - with the average now about $134 per person per month.

Although Americans everywhere are clearly hurting - the city of Detroit, Michigan, has been hit especially hard. CNNMoney.com has a sad story about the lack of food in a city where unemployment has topped 16-percent.

Food stamp applications and pantry visits are way up; in some neighborhoods, there are people guarding food supplies. Those looking to help have even resorted to urban farming.

What's especially troubling about this recession in a place like Detroit is the kind of people looking for assistance. It's no longer just the homeless and poor, but now also the middle class... those who maybe lost jobs in the auto industry or home owners who saw the value of their homes evaporate.

Although we're seeing some positive news on the job front nationally today... it's clear millions of Americans will continue to feel the pain of this recession for a long time.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when 1 in 9 Americans is receiving food stamps?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government
August 7th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why are Americans tougher on immigration now?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans are not as open to immigration as they have been in recent years. A new Gallup poll shows half of those surveyed say immigration should be decreased - that's up from 39-percent who felt that way last year.

32-percent say levels should be kept the same, down from 39-percent; while 14-percent say immigration should be increase - down from 18-percent a year ago.

Today's attitudes are similar to how the public felt in the first few years after the 9/11 attacks - beliefs that had softened since 2006. This poll also shows 58-percent of Americans say immigration is a good thing for the country; that's the lowest percentage who feel that way since 2003.

When it comes to party differences - it's no surprise that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to want immigration decreased; but nearly half of Democrats and Independents feel the same way. Americans in the South are more anti-immigration than other regions, although all parts of the country are moving in this direction.

Meanwhile a group of Illinois congressmen recently wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to work on immigration reform this year. They want a law to help keep immigrant families together, protect workers and provide safe migration opportunities.

Considering the mood of the country right now - and the fact that millions of Americans are out of work - it might be a tall order to gin up a lot of sympathy for the millions of illegal aliens in this country.

Here’s my question to you: Why are Americans tougher on immigration now than they were a year ago?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Immigration
August 7th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Will loud & violent town hall protests kill health care reform?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The protests at town hall meetings on health care reform continue to get louder and more violent.

One event in Tampa, Florida, got particularly ugly... with hecklers and people pushing and shoving. As the Democratic congresswoman addressed the crowd - people chanted "read the bill" and "tyranny."

Hundreds couldn't even get into the meeting - as demonstrators on both side of the debate shouted at one other.

In St. Louis - there are reports that six people were arrested after health care protests broke out at what was supposed to be a forum on aging held by a Democratic congressman.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was even at the center of about 200 protesters in Denver where she was visiting a homeless clinic. The crowd was loud, but orderly - about half supported the reform and half opposed it.

Pelosi and other Democrats insist these protests at meetings sponsored by Democrats won't derail health care reform once Congress gets back to work next month. Democrats have been accusing Republicans and special interest groups of orchestrating many of these demonstrations. Some liberal groups have started sending their own supporters detailed instructions on how to counter what they called organized disruptions.

Republicans insist the opposition is legitimate and coming from the people. Conservative groups are telling their supporters where to find upcoming town hall meetings. They're sending them confrontational questions to ask members of Congress... and chants and slogans to use when they get there.

Here’s my question to you: Will increasingly loud and violent town hall protests succeed in killing health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care