September 4th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Has your opinion of labor unions changed?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As we head into Labor Day weekend, consider this: For the first time since the question was first asked in the 1930s, fewer than half of Americans approve of labor unions. A new Gallup poll shows organized labor taking a big image hit in the last year...

Workers at SK Hand Tools in Chicago picketed outside their plant last week after their health insurance benefits were cut without notification.

- The poll finds only 48-percent of those surveyed approve of labor unions, that's down from 59-percent a year ago. While approval of unions is down among most groups, the biggest drop comes among independents.

- While 66-percent of Americans say unions are beneficial to their own members, 51-percent say that unions mostly hurt the economy. That number is up from 36-percent in 2006.

- And, 42-percent say they want unions to have less influence, compared with 25 percent who want more influence... last year, these numbers were about even.

But in the past year - a whole lot has changed. These new poll numbers come during an economic recession with record unemployment, and in the aftermath of major taxpayer-funded bailouts of two of the Big Three auto companies.

When Congress was considering these bailouts last winter - polls showed many Americans blamed the unions for the auto industry's problems.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the Labor Day holiday, has your opinion of labor unions changed in the past few years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Unity
September 4th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Rep. Rangel says race is at the center of the health care debate

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congressman Charlie Rangel played the race card in the health care debate. Rangel says racial bias and prejudice against President Obama because he's an African-American are behind the opposition to health care reform.

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Rangel stated: "Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, 'how did this happen?'"

It's a cheap shot and probably just about the last thing that President Obama needs in the already-heated debate. And it's even more of a cheap shot coming from Rangel, considering the fact that the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is under investigation for several ethics violations.

Mr. Rangel was forced to file amended financial reports to the House Ethics Committee after it was discovered he apparently "forgot" to report millions of dollars in assets and income. Just another hack politician who when the going gets tough resorts to race politics.

The Washington Post is calling on Rangel to resign as chairman of that committee.

But I'm sure he's not going anywhere - any more than Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina or Larry Craig of Idaho or any of a number of so-called public servants who use their elected office as a way of avoiding the rules the rest of us live by.

For his part, Rangel says it's not fair for him to comment until the ethics committee wraps up its investigation. In the meantime, he should just go away.

Here’s my question to you: Is Congressman Charlie Rangel, up to his ears in ethics investigations, out of line in saying race is at the center of the health care debate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Race • Race Relations
September 4th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Obama's back-to-school address an inappropriate mix of politics and education?


(PHOTO CREDIT: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was supposed to be a "feel good" event for the White House and a break from all the fighting and name-calling over health care, but instead President Obama's back-to-school speech next Tuesday has created a firestorm of its own.

Some school districts around the country are refusing to carry it. Some Republicans say they're appalled at spending tax money to spread the president's "socialist ideology." They're comparing it to something you would see in North Korea or Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

On the surface, it seems like a good idea - a pep talk for the nation's schoolchildren from the president, calling on them to take responsibility for their education and do their best.

Instead it's starting to look like another political miscalculation by the White House with some Republicans and parents characterizing the ideas as developing a "cult of personality."

The White House is asking students to write letters about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals. They will also release the text of the speech on Monday so parents know what to expect. Seems harmless enough.

Ironically, the first President Bush was criticized by Democrats when he made a similar televised address to students in 1991. He asked children to take control of their education and write him a letter about how they could achieve their goals. Been here - done this.

Here’s my question to you: Is President Obama's back-to-school address an inappropriate mix of politics and education?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Education • President Barack Obama