100 CEOs pledge no political donations
August 25th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

100 CEOs pledge no political donations

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Maybe Washington will finally listen... now that some in corporate America are taking aim at their bank accounts.

This has the potential to get interesting.

More than 100 CEOs have signed a pledge to stop all political campaign contributions until lawmakers stop the gridlock. That could be a while.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is leading the movement. He says it seems like lawmakers are only interested in re-election... he's right about that... and that the lifeblood of re-election is fund-raising.

In just a week - Schultz has gotten more than 100 business leaders on board... including the CEOs of AOL, Whole Foods, Intuit, Zipcar, J. Crew... and billionaire investor Pete Peterson.

Schultz says his initiative has "triggered a national dialogue and a groundswell of support." He hopes ordinary Americans join in too.

The pledge has leaders agreeing to stop campaign contributions until lawmakers strike a "bipartisan, balanced long-term debt deal that addresses both entitlements and revenues."

The CEOs are also agreeing to look for ways to speed up job growth.

It's unclear how much impact Schultz's pledge will have but it's worth pointing out that a pretty small number of Americans make the bulk of political donations in this country.

Less than one half of one percent of Americans give more than $200 to candidates and political parties and those donations make up 65% of all contributions.

Here’s my question to you: More than 100 CEOs have signed a pledge to not make political donations. How will it affect Washington?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2012 Election • Government • Washington
August 8th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What will it take to change things in Washington?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

I guess we should all send Congress thank-you notes. Don't know where to send them, though. They're on vacation ... for five weeks.

Before they rushed through that phony bill on deficit reduction and the debt ceiling, they were told by the ratings agencies that a minimum of $4 trillion in cuts would be necessary to preserve this country's AAA credit rating.

They passed, and the president signed, less than $1 trillion in cuts. We may or may not get an additional trillion or so in cuts from the "special commission"; that remains to be seen. Whichever happens, it's not nearly enough.

In the meantime, while President Obama is celebrating his birthday and Congress is partying it up on vacation, the country has lost its triple-A credit rating for the first time in our history.

Standard and Poor's, one of the ratings agencies, says there's a one-in-three chance the United States’ credit will be downgraded again in the next six months to two years if the government doesn't come up with the cuts necessary to satisfy the current AA+ rating.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is in shock. Markets around the world are selling off as trillions of dollars in valuation are being wiped out. Our stock market is headed straight south, and our citizens are watching as their savings and retirement plans are becoming worth less and less by the hour; a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice disappearing before their eyes. And the president parties and Congress is on vacation.

No one deserves a government that treats its people this way. And none of these people who voted for this deserves to be re-elected. None of them. But sadly, a lot of them will be. The Reids and Pelosis will still be there after the 2012 election, along with many of the rest of the incumbents.

And that's the real problem. The country is being destroyed, and we continue to send the destroyers back to Washington.

I guess in the end, we get what we deserve.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take to change things in Washington?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • Washington
October 25th, 2010
05:07 PM ET

Things in Washington different after midterms?


 (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The old definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

We are on the verge of giving control of at least one house of Congress back to the Republicans. Gee, that worked well the last time, didn't it?

And the Democrats, who have had the Congressional ball since 2006, have done what – exactly? End the wars? No. Fix the economy? No.

Run up the national debt? Oh hell, yes.

Speaking of the Democrats, while party leaders insist they will keep control of the House, most experts will tell you otherwise. But either way, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could lose her job.

If the Democrats lose control of the House, Pelosi is toast. But perhaps more interesting is even if Democrats keep control with a very slim margin, which is the best hope for them, Pelosi could still be ousted as Speaker. Several Democrats have already said they would vote against her.

In any case, it's quite possible that a week from tomorrow the voters will bring some big changes to the political landscape in Washington – or will they?

At the end of the day, we just keep electing a different version of the same losing proposition. It's like deciding whether to hit yourself in the head with a hammer or a baseball bat... the results are pretty much the same.

Here’s my question to you: How will things in Washington be different after the midterms?

Interested to know which ones made it to air?

Filed under: 2010 Election • Congress • Washington
August 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Voters want deficits addressed, so why does Washington ignore them?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Voters are fed up with our lawmakers' inability to take action when it comes to reducing the $1.5 trillion federal deficit. And as The Wall Street Journal reports, it's the voters who appear more willing to take drastic steps to do something about the nation's mounting red ink.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/09/art.voting.jpg caption=""]
The newspaper talked to voters in Virginia, a swing state, who say they're willing to make the tough cuts - from a national sales tax, to budget cuts, to higher medicare co-pays and deductibles.

The voters get it even if the federal government doesn't. And Washington really doesn't get it. Our leaders worry about being attacked in an election year if they suggest spending cuts or tax increases.

The American people just want their leaders to lead on this issue. Is that too much to ask? That's why they were elected.

One independent voter in Richmond, Virginia told the Journal, "I wish the politicians would be hard-[blanks] and be like, 'You know what? It's going to be horrible for the next few years, but you've got to shut up'."

Wouldn't that be refreshing? Meanwhile we await the results of Pres. Obama's bipartisan deficit reduction commission - which are conveniently scheduled for release after the November election. And when the recommendations finally do come; most, if not all, of them will have to be approved by Congress. Which will likely render the entire exercise meaningless.

Some are suggesting a popular uprising is the only way to get our country back on track. A piece on InfoWars.com suggests "without a revolution, Americans are history."

Here’s my question to you: If voters want the deficits addressed, why does Washington continue to ignore them?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Deficit • Election Process • Elections • Washington
May 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Washington's response to exploding federal deficits?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The scariest part about the financial crisis plaguing Greece and other parts of Europe... is whether the United States is next.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/17/art.geithner.jpg caption="Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner"]
Much like Greece, we're drowning in exploding deficits: the Treasury Department says that the U.S. has now posted budget deficits for 19 months in a row.

Even more ominous is the fact that in April alone - the U.S. deficit was nearly $83 billion... almost four times as much the deficit for April 2009. Since April is the tax filing deadline... the month historically shows a surplus, not a deficit.

Overall - the deficit for this year is expected to be $1.5 trillion; and the national debt stands at more than $12 trillion.

So it's not surprising people are starting to draw a line between what's happening in Greece - and our own future.

The head of the Bank of England warns the U.S. faces the same problems as Greece. With our "very large fiscal deficit," he says it's important for governments to have a clear plan on how to reduce these deficits.

And of course, that's the crux of the problem. None of our leaders wants to make the tough decisions to either raise taxes or cut spending. They're afraid it will cost them votes.

The White House's top budget official says although the U.S. isn't in "imminent danger" of a crisis like Greece, U.S. lawmakers need to act quickly.

But we have an election in November. So our answer is to sit around waiting for that toothless bipartisan debt commission to come forward with its proposals - that Congress doesn't need to act on - by December. Just one of many reasons to throw the incumbents out - all of them.

Here’s my question to you: What is Washington doing about our exploding federal deficits?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Washington
February 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How confident are you D.C. will address our skyrocketing debt?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The facts have been staring us in the face for some time now: our skyrocketing national debt will eventually take us down if Washington refuses to act.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/17/art.debt.clock.jpg caption="FILE PHOTO: A shot of the National Debt Clock on July 13, 2009 "]
The president of the federal reserve bank of Kansas City warns of a new financial crisis if the U.S. doesn't address its growing debt problems. He says mounting deficits might lead to inflation. If that happens the federal reserve would be forced to raise interest rates which would make paying the interest on our more than $12 trillion debt next to impossible.

The government needs to either cut spending or raise taxes - or both. Those are the only ways to address the expected deficit of $1.6 trillion this year alone. Last Friday behind closed doors President Obama signed a bill raising the national debt ceiling to more than $14 trillion.

Another ominous sign that U.S. debt is unsustainable: foreign demand for U.S. treasuries fell by a record amount in December - with China selling off more than $32 billion in treasuries. China is saturated with U.S. treasuries, which will force us to look elsewhere to finance our debt. Japan; Great Britain? Maybe for awhile... but how long before they say no?

Pres. Obama is planning to sign an executive order tomorrow that would set up a debt panel. This bipartisan commission is meant to come up with ways to reduce the deficit. It's a nice idea... but in reality it's meaningless.

The Senate already rejected a stronger version of this panel which would have had the power to force Congress to act. The president's commission won't have the power to force congress to do anything. In other words - another empty political gesture that means absolutely nothing.

Here’s my question to you: How confident are you Washington will address our skyrocketing debt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: National debt • Washington
February 8th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Is 18% approval rating for Congress too high?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's not just the record snowstorm that's slowing Washington down - it seems nearly impossible for our lawmakers to get anything done in our nation's capital.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/08/art.dc.snow.jpg caption="The Capitol Building is seen across from a partially frozen pool in D.C. A huge blizzard dumped a blanket of snow over the nation's capitol."]

Some hoped that by putting Democrats in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House - they might actually get some of the people's business accomplished.

Not so fast. For example - no one can agree on a jobs bill... with some saying Republicans don't want to sign on to any bill that's being pushed by Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Meanwhile more than a year after taxpayers bailed out Wall Street - there's still nothing in the way of real financial reform and the bankers are back to making record bonuses. And what about progress on any of the other president's top priorities? health care? education? energy?

And this is all before Republicans got to celebrating the swearing in of Mass. Sen. Scott Brown, or "Mr. 41" - who will give the GOP enough votes to hold a filibuster.

It's no surprise a new Gallup poll shows Congress at its lowest approval ratings in more than a year. Only 18 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job. That's down 6 points in just a month. 78 percent disapprove.

Gallup suggests that this is mostly due to a sharp drop in support among Democrats... down 15 points since last month. Democrats' approval of Congress, which jumped up once Pres. Obama took office, is now at its lowest level since then. Republican and Independent approval of Congress has already been below 20 percent for months.

Here’s my question to you: Is an 18 percent approval rating for Congress too high?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • Senate and Congress • Washington
January 4th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Are political dynasties good for the U.S.?


The Kennedys in a 1935 photograph. (PHOTO CREDIT: LIFE.com)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Politics just might run in the blood in the United States.

Political dynasties have a long history... from families like the Adamses, the Roosevelts, the Kennedys... to the Bushes and the Clintons.

And the newspaper "The Hill" reports the 2010 elections will be no exception - with the offspring of some well-known politicians trying to follow their relatives into power. Experts suggest if you have a famous and beloved name... it's "an advantage you don't want to throw away."

Some of the potential political dynasties in the making include:

  • Rory Reid, the son of senate majority leader Harry Reid ... who is running for governor of Nevada. In this case though, the name could hurt him. His father is facing a tough re-election battle and has pretty dismal poll numbers. Maybe that's why there are no scheduled events for the two Reids to campaign together.
  • Rand Paul, the son of Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul... is running for the Republican nomination for Kentucky's Senate Seat.
  • Robin Carnahan is running to replace Kit Bond in the U.S. Senate. Her father was the late Democratic governor of Missouri Mel Carnahan... and her mother, Jean Carnahan, served as senator.
  • Others include Ethan Hastert, son of former Republican House Speaker Denny Hastert who is running for his father's old seat; Jason Carter, grandson of the former president; and Beau Biden - son of the vice president. Biden hasn't said yet if he'll run for his father's old senate seat in Delaware.

Here’s my question to you: Are political dynasties good for the U.S.?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • Kennedy family • Washington
July 31st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should beer summit have yielded apologies?


Pres. Obama (R), Sgt. Crowley (2nd R), Prof. Gates (2nd L), and VP Biden (L) drank beers on the White House South last night. The so-called Beer Summit was held after Crowley arrested Gates at his home, sparking tensions and racial furor. (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After beers at the White House - Sgt. James Crowley and Prof. Henry Gates say their talks were productive and that they plan to meet again.

The two men - at the center of what grew into a national conversation on race - met with President Obama and Vice President Biden at a patio table outside the White House.

Crowley says it was a frank discussion - that they agreed to move forward rather than dwell on the past. He didn't give more specifics except to say that no one apologized. Gates says he hopes the experience will "prove an occasion for education, not recrimination."

President Obama said he was thankful to both men for joining him for a "friendly, thoughtful conversation." The White House is probably glad to have this meeting done with, hoping the president can get the nation to focus on his priority of health care.

It probably wasn't the president's finest moment - a new Pew poll shows 41-percent of those surveyed disapproved of the president's handling of the Gates arrest - only 29 percent approved.

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct - after making charges of racism against Crowley. President Obama inserted himself into the debate by saying the Cambridge police acted "stupidly" while admitting he didn't know all of the facts. Later, the president walked back his comments a bit - but stopped short of apologizing.

Here’s my question to you: Sgt. Crowley says no one apologized at the White House meeting. Were apologies in order?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Law Enforcement • Race Relations • Washington
June 16th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How should U.S. respond to Iran’s election controversy?


A supporter of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi protests in Tehran, Iran. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is walking a fine line when it comes to the controversy over Iran's election.

After several days of a cautious response from the White House - the president came out yesterday saying he was deeply troubled by the violence he was seeing on TV and that free speech and the democratic process need to be respected. Nonetheless, he said he wants to respect Iran's sovereignty and that it's up to the Iranian people to decide who their leaders are. Mr. Obama said he's not trying to dictate Iran's internal politics.

Critics are calling on the president to be stronger in his support of the Iranian protesters. House Republican whip Eric Cantor says the administration's "silence in the face of Iran's brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Middle East." Senator John McCain has called the election corrupt and says President Obama should speak out that this is a fraud election.

Also, other foreign leaders have been more forceful in their condemnation, but experts acknowledge that President Obama is in a no-win situation... strong criticism could backfire, while a muted response gives an impression of weakness.

Also, while the president's message of change matches with that of the Iranian protesters - a young and tech-friendly bunch, much like his own campaign... the president doesn't want the U.S. to become the story in Iranian politics.

Adding to the pressure on Washington was the move by Iran today to severely restrict journalists' access to the protest rallies. That has raised speculation the government plans a violent crackdown... on the order of what happened in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago.

Here’s my question to you: How should Washington proceed when it comes to Iran's election controversy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran • Washington
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