February 4th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Do you trust govt's reporting of things like employment numbers?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out the national jobs picture may be a whole lot worse than we thought.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/18/jobseekers.jpg caption=""]
The government may have underestimated job losses during the recession by close to one million jobs. That means instead of employers cutting about seven million jobs since December 2007 - that number could actually be eight million.

One expert calls this an "enormous understatement of the severity of the crisis" - which would qualify as an enormous understatement.

Here's what the Labor Department says happened: They release a revision of U.S. payrolls every year - using data that wasn't available as they calculated job losses month to month. Typically, the revisions don't amount to much - only a fraction of a percent of the total number of jobs.

But the year that ended last March was a brutal one on the economy, with the U.S. coming very close to another depression...

Economists say that during a time of such volatility... it's not a big surprise that there could be such a large discrepancy in the total number of jobs lost.

And it's not getting much better - at least not yet. This morning first time jobless claims came in much higher than expected - climbing to their highest level since mid-December. And economists are pessimistic about the January jobs report - which is due out tomorrow morning.

The national unemployment rate is expected to stay at 10 percent.

Here’s my question to you: How much do you trust the government's reporting of things like employment numbers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • Unemployment
February 4th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How seriously do you take the tea party movement?


Tea Party activists are generally on the right end of the political spectrum, being fiscally and socially conservative. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The one in Boston more than 200 years ago was amazing. Now there's another tea party brewing…

Hundreds of mostly conservative and independent activists are descending on Nashville, Tennessee for the first-ever "National Tea party Convention."

The movement started in small towns and large cities across the country - with people protesting against President Obama's economic and health care policies. It's grown from dozens to hundreds of loosely-linked grass-roots groups. Tea partiers have varying political views, although they generally agree on fiscal conservatism and the idea that the federal government has become too powerful.

Although the tea party movement has no national organization and no leader - it has quickly grown in size and is starting to smell a little like a political party.

Organizers say this weekend's convention is sold out, with about 600 attendees paying $550 to attend.

Some of the sessions planned include "Technology in the Tea Party Movement,"... "Defeating Liberalism via the Primary Process" and "Why Christians Must Engage."

Sarah Palin, the keynote speaker, is reportedly being paid $100,000 - although she insists she won't "benefit financially" from the event. Palin says anything she makes from her appearance will go "right back to the cause" - whatever that means.

But other high-profile speakers and activist groups have dropped out. Critics say the average tea party-goer can't afford the tab for a "lobster and steak dinner in a fancy hotel," they say it sounds more like a "regular Republican fundraiser" than like a tea party.

Here’s my question to you: How seriously do you take the tea party movement?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government
February 4th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Would you buy a Toyota?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's the Tiger Woods of car companies. Never has a company with such a sterling reputation managed to totally trash it in a matter of a few weeks.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/04/art.toyota.jpg caption="Toyota is recalling eight million vehicles in the U.S., Europe and China, and has been ordered to investigate the brake system by Japanese government."]
Toyota is now recalling more than eight million vehicles worldwide for gas-pedal related issues... and this number could go even higher now that there's a formal government investigation into braking problems for the hybrid Prius.

The recalls in the U.S., Europe and Asia are due to several problems - including millions of cases where accelerator pedals can get stuck in floor mats; and millions more where gas pedals become sticky as they wear - and then don't come all the way back up when the driver takes his foot off the pedal. Some cars have both problems.

As for the Prius, while it's not one of Toyota's top-selling cars, it is the best-selling hybrid in the industry.

The Japanese automaker estimates the cost of this global recall could be as high as $2 billion - including the loss of 100,000 vehicle sales in the U.S. and Europe. This is a company that had an excellent reputation for quality and reliability. In 2008, it overtook General Motors as the world's biggest car maker.

But that reputation is gone - with millions of car owners scared, very scared... The car maker has shut down several new vehicle assembly lines and is rushing parts to dealers to fix the accelerator problems. And Toyota will have to face questions, lots of them, from Congress and other government investigators.

Meanwhile many consumer groups are asking if the gas pedal fix will even work.

Here’s my question to you: Would you buy a Toyota?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Toyota recall