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Where is the U.S. headed if more than 100 million people get welfare?
August 9th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

Where is the U.S. headed if more than 100 million people get welfare?

 

By CNN's Jack Cafferty

More than 100 million people in the United States of America get welfare from the federal government. 100 million.

According to the Weekly Standard, Senate Republicans say that the federal government administers nearly "80 different overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs."

This figure of 100 million people does not include those who only receive Social Security or Medicare.

The most popular welfare programs are food stamps and Medicaid, with the number of recipients in both these programs skyrocketing in the last decade. Food stamp recipients alone jumped from 17 million in 2000 to 45 million in 2011.

And these 100 million people on welfare include citizens and non-citizens.

In fact, a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies finds that 36% of immigrant-headed households get at least one form of welfare. That's compared to 23% of native-born American households.

Immigrants from some countries rely on welfare more than others: more than half of those coming from Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic get welfare.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is accusing President Obama of loosening welfare requirements.

A new ad charges the president with gutting the 1996 welfare reform law that requires recipients to work in order to collect benefits.

But President Obama's campaign, the White House and former President Clinton - who signed welfare reform into law - are all pushing back against the Romney ad calling it false and misleading.

Here's my question to you: Where is the U.S. headed if more than 100 million people get welfare?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Cafferty File • Economy • Jack Cafferty
What does it mean if almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets?
August 9th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

What does it mean if almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out the golden years aren't so golden anymore for a lot of people.

A new study finds that many Americans die with "virtually no financial assets.” For more than 46% of us, that translates into less than $10,000.

The study - put out by a nonpartisan outfit called the National Bureau of Economic Research - finds that many Americans spend their golden years dependent on the government.

Researchers say many older Americans have no housing wealth and rely almost entirely on Social Security.

Since many seniors have so little in financial assets, they are unprepared to deal with unanticipated financial needs, such as major health-related expenses. Things like entertainment and travel are out of the question.

All this raises more questions about the future of Social Security.

If the government were to reduce benefits for seniors, it could directly affect the day-to-day lives of millions of older Americans who rely on these payments just to get by.

This study also highlights a connection between health and wealth, finding that healthier seniors are likely to have more assets than those who aren't as healthy. And, no surprise here, wealthier seniors are likely to live longer than poorer seniors.

One more thing to remember: Marriage might help you out in old age. According to the report, single seniors had a significantly lower median wealth than continuously married senior citizens. For some of us, that would seem to be counter intuitive.

Here's my question to you: What does it mean if almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Cafferty File • Economy • Jack Cafferty
As the election gets closer, are you more or less confident in the U.S. economy?
August 8th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

As the election gets closer, are you more or less confident in the U.S. economy?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty

With less than three months to go before Election Day, Americans are becoming less confident in the economy. Not good news for President Obama.

According to Gallup's economic confidence index, July was the second monthly decline in a row. This after economic confidence improved during the first five months of the year.

This index measures the current economic conditions and the country's economic outlook. Americans were more pessimistic about both of these things during July.

A whopping 59% say the economy is getting worse. That's the lowest rating of 2012.

Americans' declining economic confidence is likely due to several factors including weak jobs reports, lower-than-expected GDP growth and Europe's ongoing economic problems.

Meanwhile, a new report suggests the shaky economy is hitting baby boomers especially hard. An AARP survey shows high economic anxiety – extending far beyond the issue of jobs – for pre-retirement voters aged 50 to 64.

No surprise there's a lot of worry about retirement:

– Only one-third of these boomers are hopeful or confident they will reach their financial goals.

– Almost three-quarters think they'll have to put off retirement.

– Half don't think they will ever be able to retire.

Pretty sad.

Many baby boomers are left with smaller pensions than they expected, more expensive health care... and the stress – and cost – of caring for older relatives.

The AARP also recently reported that more than 3 million Americans over the age of 50 are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure due to the housing crisis.

Here's my question to you: As the election gets closer, are you more or less confident in the U.S. economy?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Jack Cafferty • Politics • White House
Who's the worst person Mitt Romney could pick to be his running mate?
August 7th, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Who's the worst person Mitt Romney could pick to be his running mate?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's possible that Mitt Romney could do worse than Sarah Palin.

In a piece on the Daily Beast, Michelle Cottle writes that picking a "dull white guy" for vice president could damage Romney big-time.

She definitely has a point. After the debacle that Palin was for John McCain in 2008, camp Romney has vowed to pick the anti-Palin. Cottle describes this as someone who is "safe, steady, hyperqualified and without a roguish bone in his - yes, definitely his - body.”

It's why folks such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley seem to have lost favor in the veepstakes while others, such as U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota seem more likely to get the nod.

But as time ticks down on Romney's choice, some Republicans are getting nervous about what will happen if Romney goes with a safe pick - a buttoned-down, cautious, boring white guy … sort of like himself.

Some conservatives are now calling on Romney to "go bold," urging him to pick U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Rubio or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

By selecting a vanilla-flavored vice president, Romney risks confirming the worries of many in the Republican Party that he lacks enthusiasm and vision.

Cottle writes that after all this time worrying about another Palin, a greater danger to the GOP might be a VP who is "so dull that no one even cares what he says to Katie Couric."

But Romney just might be headed in that direction. Two of these less-than-thrilling VP contenders, Portman and Pawlenty, will hit the campaign trail for him in key battleground states this week. Yawn ...

Here's my question to you: Who's the worst person Mitt Romney could pick to be his running mate?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Jack Cafferty • Mitt Romney • Politics
How much do the two major political parties really care about you?
August 7th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

How much do the two major political parties really care about you?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's election time and politicians will do - or say - anything to get your vote.

Starting with President Obama and Mitt Romney all the way down the line, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want you to believe that they feel your pain.

But it's an open question if any of them really do.

Ron Paul was the rare candidate who actually connected with voters these past two election cycles. He attracted a ground swell of support from people who were looking for some real answers. But it was never enough to propel him to the next level.

As for most of us, the two major political parties - Democrat and Republican - often seem interchangeable.

And a new poll suggests that the vast majority of voters are staying loyal to the party they supported four years ago, with just a little switching sides.

The Gallup Poll shows 9 percent of 2008 Obama voters have switched to supporting Romney this year, while 5 percent of McCain voters have switched to Pres. Obama.

The groups most likely to either switch presidential preferences - or be undecided - include: Hispanics, Asians, independents, political moderates, Eastern residents, those with a high school education or less and unmarried men.

Pollsters say that because loyalty to the president is slightly less than loyalty to the Republican candidate is the reason the race appears to be tighter now than in 2008.

The deepening mystery is why after continually being disappointed by both parties so many people continue to support them. What is wrong with us?

The list of problems the country is mired in suggests the two major parties are the problem, not the solution.

Here's my question to you: How much do the two major political parties really care about you?

Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Cafferty File • Politics • Uncategorized
What will it take for gun control laws to change?
Law enforcement officers surround a Wisconsin Sikh temple where a gunman opened fire yesterday. The incident left six people and the gunman dead.
August 6th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

What will it take for gun control laws to change?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The tragic shootings that killed six at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee yesterday come just over two weeks after that massacre in a Colorado movie theater.

And once again, it's sure to revive the debate over gun control.

It seems each time something like this happens, a great hue and cry for stricter gun laws goes up, and dies down just as quickly.

Coincidentally before yesterday's violence a group of mayors released an ad demanding that President Obama and Mitt Romney give us "a plan" when it comes to gun control.

The ad features three survivors from the 2011 Tucson, Arizona, shooting that killed six and wounded 13 others - including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

But the reality is, the issue of guns is a political hot potato that no politician, Democrat or Republican, wants to touch - especially in an election year.

There's a reason: a lot of Americans want it that way.

In the aftermath of last month's Colorado shootings, background checks for people wanting to buy guns spiked more than 40% in that state.

Meanwhile a Pew Research Poll taken about a week after the Colorado shootings found very little change in Americans' attitudes toward gun control.

Pollsters say other recent major deadly shootings - including those in Tucson last year and at Virginia Tech in 2007 - had little effect on public opinion about gun laws.

The Pew Poll also found about two-thirds of those polled say shootings like the one in Colorado are just the isolated acts of troubled individuals.

Only about a quarter say shootings like this reflect broader problems in American society.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take for gun control laws to change?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Guns
Why would Congress take a five-week vacation with all the problems facing the country?
August 6th, 2012
03:59 PM ET

Why would Congress take a five-week vacation with all the problems facing the country?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress is on a five-week vacation. They work so hard. The fact is Congress has accomplished next to nothing, but they think they deserve a five-week break.

Millions of Americans are unemployed, and the average American worker only gets 13 paid days off the whole year. But these clowns think they deserve yet another vacation. It's disgraceful.

Meanwhile, the country's problems, which they left behind in Washington, are serious and many:

  • Our runaway national debt is nearing $16 trillion.
  • They've done nothing about the automatic spending cuts, including hundreds of billions of dollars to the Defense Department, set to kick in early next year.
  • The Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year. The payroll tax cut is set to expire, and estate taxes will rise dramatically as will capital gains taxes.

It's called the "fiscal cliff" for a reason. Unaddressed, these changes will be painful and dramatic. Congress has done nothing. This list still goes on:

  • They've also failed to address the issues of food stamps and farm subsidies as American farmers grapple with the worst drought in decades.
  • Also still on the table are must-pass spending bills to keep the government running, a cybersecurity bill and the post office bill, as the U.S. Postal Service faces default.

This Congress is one of the least productive in recent history - and you can thank a toxic, hyperpartisan atmosphere plus election year politicking

It's unlikely any of these things will be addressed until after the election is over. The American people deserve better than this, but we won't get it if we keep vote these same people into office.

On November 6, think "out-cumbent."

Here’s my question to you: Why would Congress take a five-week vacation with all the problems facing the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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