June 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What would fiscal austerity look like in the U.S.?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It may be a sign of things to come here in the U.S.:

Running out of money and drowning in debt. Governments across Europe are cutting, cutting and then cutting some more... and the pain is palpable.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/16/art.pennies.jpg caption=""]
CNNMoney.com reports what fiscal austerity looks like... and countries including Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Portugal, and Ireland are living through it now.

These governments are implementing a wide range of tough measures - and in the process imposing a dramatic change in lifestyle for their residents.

These include - freezing public-sector wages and state spending, cutting jobs, social welfare benefits, and state and local budgets.

Some governments are raising retirement ages and reducing pension payments... others are increasing taxes - from the value-added tax to higher taxes on gasoline and cigarettes... and income and profits taxes.

It gets worse - with the added concern that economic instability will lead to political unrest.

Top European officials are warning that Democracy could "collapse" in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless they take urgent action to fix the debt crises. They worry these countries could fall victim to military coups or popular uprisings.

Meanwhile on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, as America's national debt tops $13 trillion - there's no indication the federal government will stop spending anytime soon.

Just this week, President Obama asked for another $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments.... but no word on how to pay for it.

At the same time some state governments, which are actually required to balance their budgets, are threatening to cut services if lawmakers can't agree on spending cuts.

Here’s my question to you: What would fiscal austerity look like in the U.S.?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy • United States
June 16th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

In light of the oil spill, would you vacation on the Gulf Coast?


Pres. Obama, Mayor George Schloegel (L) and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) enjoy snowballs after a roundtable discussion with local residents in Gulfport. Obama has implored Americans to visit southern Gulf coast beaches, as the tourism industry fears a hammering over the BP oil disaster. (PHOTO CREDIT: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The best way to help the people of the Gulf Coast is to go down there and visit - that was the message from President Obama as he toured the region earlier this week.

And Mr. Obama did his best to boost the tourism industry, struggling from the spreading oil slick. While visiting with local officials - he strolled the beaches, lunched on local crab cakes and shrimp... and downed a snow cone (down there, they're called "snowballs") in the 95 degree heat.

The president said one Gulfport, Mississippi hotel owner told him that business was down 40 percent due to the oil spill.

The effect of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history on tourism is a nightmare scenario for small business owners all along the coast... we're talking tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Analysts at Citigroup suggest that the loss of tourism and fishing revenues in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi alone could translate to claims of more than $10 billion.

Meanwhile it's estimated Florida could lose a third of its tourism industry... which would mean another $12 billion in lost revenue. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people who could lose their jobs.

As the monstrous oil spill continues to spread, it's devastating huge swaths of coastline and marshland - killing an untold number of wildlife... not to mention the economic impact of jobs lost because of the moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the Gulf.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the oil spill, would you vacation on the Gulf Coast?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: BP oil spill • Gulf oil spill • Oil spill • Vacation