April 12th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should basic citizenship test be part of voter registration?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

One of the requirements for becoming a citizen of the United States is passing a written civics test. Questions include: What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? Who is Commander in Chief of the military? What is the highest court in the United States?

Pretty easy, right?

Well last month, Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. citizenship test to see if they could pass it if they had to. 38% failed. Questions like why we fought the Cold War stumped 73%. Defining the Bill of Rights tripped up 44%. 29% couldn't name our current vice president. And 6% weren't sure when we celebrate Independence Day.

But it's not just civics and American history many Americans aren't "getting." There is a general disconnect between what many voters think and what actually goes on in Washington. According to a CNN poll, most Americans think that the government spends a lot more money on programs like foreign aid and public broadcasting than it actually does. Many Americans support cuts to those programs even though they amount to very little of the overall budget. When it comes to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid - the ones that really cost our government the big bucks - most Americans want to avoid cuts.

In a column for CNN.com, contributor LZ Granderson says that too many ignorant voters in this country may be to blame for too many incompetent men and women in Congress. Granderson suggests weeding out "some of the ignorant by making people who want to vote first pass a test." He suggests the same citizenship test immigrants must pass.

Here’s my question to you: Should a basic citizenship test be part of the voter registration process?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Voter Registration
April 12th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What should Pres. Obama say in tomorrow's budget speech?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Without question, it's the most serious problem facing this country. And if it isn't addressed in a meaningful way and soon, we're not going to have a country.
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We're talking about the national debt at $14.3 trillion. Annual deficits of $1.5 trillion. And the inability of our federal government to even go near addressing this stuff in a meaningful way.

It took the threat of government shutdown to get them to free a paltry $38.5 billion dollars in cuts for this year's budget. That's chump change.

Critics say that President Obama has failed to lead on this issue. Perhaps until now. He's scheduled to give what is billed as a major speech tomorrow on our budget crisis. This is the same President Obama who appointed a deficit reduction commission almost a year ago and then has ignored their recommendations which were given to him last December, conveniently after the midterm elections. Tomorrow however, he is expected to release his plan to reduce the deficit which will build on those recommendations. It's about time.

Like them or not, if it wasn't for the pressure being brought to bear on this subject by the Tea Party, my guess is Washington would just continue to kick the can down the road. Tomorrow's speech could be a defining moment for the president. If Americans are not convinced that he and the Congress take our economic crisis as seriously as the rest of us do, they may all be looking for a job in 18 months. And maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing either.

Here's my question to you: What should the president say in his budget speech tomorrow?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Budget cuts • President Barack Obama