FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Americans are back to their old irresponsible ways when it comes to credit card spending.
A new survey shows that only 54% of Americans have more emergency savings than credit card debt.
Which means many of us are only one major unplanned expense away from financial catastrophe.
The BankRate.com poll also shows 25% of those surveyed have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
And 16% have neither credit card debt nor emergency savings.
Who's most likely to save? Households making $75,000 or more per year, college graduates and retirees.
And parents are most likely to have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
No surprise here - households making less than $30,000, those with a high school education or less and the unemployed are most likely to have neither debt nor savings.
The survey also shows consumers' overall financial situation is negative:
More people report a lower level of financial security and are less comfortable with their savings compared to one year ago.
Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that total consumer debt reached its highest point in a decade last month.
Experts say that after a few months of reducing credit card debt levels, Americans are back to relying on the plastic.
There's a concern that middle class Americans are taking on too much risk.
Running up credit card debt at a time of long-term unemployment, stagnant wages and increased household expenses could be toxic.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when one out of every four Americans has more credit card debt than emergency savings?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Here is an excerpt from Jack’s new book, "Now or Never"
Call it another piece of evidence that this once great nation of ours is crumbling: Half of us believe our schools deserve a C or a D for the job they do preparing kids for higher education and making a go of it as grownups in the work force.
So said an Associated Press survey in summer 2008. The AP reported U.S. kids are scoring in the bottom half of the pack when measured against kids from other nations. President Obama's Department of Education (DOE) brain trust has their homework cut out for them if they plan on boosting the grades our schools earn while educating our kids.
Getting our kids through school has become a challenging, complex job that most folks say must begin at home with discipline, parental guidance, and closer attention to our kids' needs.
Obama said it simply in his final debate with John McCain: Unplug those video games, mom and dad, put other distractions away, and get down to work with your kids. Here's a guy who had no father around, basically; who was raised by a single white mother (helped by his white grandmother), sometimes on food stamps; and who became a star at Harvard Law School. So it can be done.
Click here to read the entire excerpt
Don't miss this other excerpt: Parents, your kids aren't that special
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/26/art.cafferty.cnn.jpg caption="Check out Jack's commentary on cnn.com."]
NEW YORK (CNN) - This week the Republicans gather for their convention. For four days, they will labor under the illusion their party is still relevant. It's not.
It is entirely fitting that the headliner for this masquerade is a feeble looking 72-year-old white guy who doesn't know how many homes he owns.
It's more than symbolic that when a million Americans are losing their homes to foreclosure, the Republican candidate for president has lost track of his holdings.
McCain surrounds himself with people like former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm who called America a "nation of whiners" and said we are only suffering a "mental recession."
That's the same problem the Republican Party has. It has lost track of what it used to stand for: small government, a disciplined fiscal policy, integrity.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/26/art.cafferty.cnn.jpg caption="Check out Jack's commentary on cnn.com."]
NEW YORK (CNN) - Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.
His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.
Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California.
I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn't bother to show up. Now I know why.
It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. "It means I'm saved and forgiven." Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we've all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.