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October 6th, 2008
06:28 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Market mania, and a rescue

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

As our own Jack Gray said in his blog today, it is another manic Monday…and that ain’t a good thing. I decided today it was time to suck it up and check my 401(k) – wow. It probably looks a lot like yours. I think I’ll hold off checking in on it for a while… a long while.

But worrying about a retirement decades away seems trivial when you learn the number of homeless families in Massachusetts is skyrocketing, just as the unforgiving cold of a New England winter is arriving. In just one year – from September 2007 to September 2008 – the number of homeless families living in Massachusetts motels has jumped form 17 to 550. There are another 1,800 families in shelters. The executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless calls the current combination of our sinking economy, rising energy costs, rising unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing a “perfect storm”. Never a welcome term in these parts.

On top of those sobering numbers, for the first time, the state is now tracking how many families are ending up homeless because of foreclosures.

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Our colleagues at CNN Money has been working overtime to make sure you have not only the most current information on the financial crisis, but also the most useful. We all have questions about how this continued downturn (some 60% of Americans believe we’re headed for the other “D” word: DEPRESSION), CNN Money has answers in a special report online.

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I can’t imagine the agony this mother felt as she clung to her daughter 25 feet in the air, stranded on a carnival ride. As her daughter, Gracie, is pleading, “Help, Mommy!” this Florida Mom has to decide if the best way to help her 2-year-old is to let her fall, hopefully into the arms of someone on the ground. And it turns out, little Gracie wasn’t the only child stuck high above the ground, six more children were found in the ride when Gracie’s mom was rescued.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Michelle,fonthill,ont, canada

    Hi Erica

    H appy Monday or manic Monday! This is really scary to see people hard working families who have had thier homes foreclosed and living in poverty. This is a real tragedy for America . I hope and pray they will elect someone who can fix this mess trun the counrty around bring the "change" that is been over used and talked about forever .
    Thanks for you r post Erica

    October 7, 2008 at 10:06 am |
  2. Walker

    Possibility of middle-eastern manipulation of stock market: buying up and selling down strategies.

    Humor me for a moment.

    If I were an oil rich hostile middle-eastern group. Then, if I had unlimited funds to purchase stocks on the US stock market. What would the possibilities be, of actually attacking America through their stock market.

    If I were in such a group I would buy, buy, buy US stocks across the board.. I would continue to buy up the market.. On September 11th it would be agreed that everyone would sell, sell, sell everything they had in US stocks. As the market began to crash my group would celebrate as it caused everyone else in the market to question their position in the market and they would also begin to sell, sell.

    The next day my hostile group would buy, buy, buy stocks at much cheaper prices; every stock across the market. My group may let the market stand on an up side for a day or two then again I would sell, sell, sell and crash the market again, and again each time buying in cheaper each time until I would own wall street and control wall street and the US economy.

    I think is a great time, the best time for ordinary Americans, all Americans to buy, buy, buy stocks and shut out the hostile middle-eastern market manipulators.

    October 6, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  3. JC-Los Angeles

    Erica, brave effort to check on your 401K; I decided to pass on a viewing of mine since it seemed logical to just slide the decimal one place to the left and that was the percentage of my drop.

    Hilarious to hear the pundits debate whether we are in a recession or depression; call it whatever you want, the need for $700 billion is nothing short of a national embarrassment.

    I can just hear the college professors now getting laughed out of their classrooms as they attempt to explain business principles.

    Keep up the great work.

    October 6, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  4. Annette LaBelle

    I am a Canadian but concerned with the events in the US right now.
    McCain's slogan "drill baby drill" should be " kill baby kill " If he is elected he will 1) kill thousands of troops both US and Nato
    2) destroy the economy 3) kill the american spirit
    The only thing he will not destroy is Osama Bib laden .McCain seems to have forgotten that he even exists.American alies have lost lives in their attempt to fight the Taliban and find Bin Laden while Bush and McCain pour billions of $$$ into Iraq.Iraq will never be self sufficient as long as the US government is willing to foot the bill and sacrifice US troops.Why would they? Iraq is getting richer everyday.
    Sara Palin is so out of touch that you have to laugh. What makes her think being a "Hockey Mom "qualifies her for anything except maybe fund raising and car pools.Her attacks now on the character of Obama are certainly a " Bridge to Nowhere"

    October 6, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  5. Vilmarie

    Hi Erica!

    Happy Monday and yes indeed, it is another Manic Monday. Who knew you too are an 80's girl? Me too.

    Oh well. With regard to 401ks, it's a good time to be in future, precious metals, art banking, and if you have cash laying around then, it's a great time to buy. The market will bounce back. There is no doubt. When it does, your 401k should be ok. No one with real money should be worried about that.

    About your show, I'm looking forward to it tonight. I just joined your CNN Show Me Campaign and I'm helping to spread the word about John Legend's work.

    Erica, I just applied to 2 jobs at Turner Broadcasting on Sunday; a temporary Assitant job and a permanent job in Human Resources. My temporary/consulting Recruiter role ended 8/28/08 at NYU. I hope you can put in a good word for me. Professional references are available. Hope to hear back from you guys this week. Otherwise, I'm pursuing a job outside of the USA in the UK.

    Again, Happy Monday!

    Best wishes for a great show tonite.
    Vilmarie

    October 6, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  6. Mike in NYC

    To Paul T:

    Those executives' "personal assets" don't come anywhere near 60 trillion, as I assume you know.

    October 6, 2008 at 8:36 pm |
  7. Mike in NYC

    If my 401(k) goes pffft, at least I won't be alone. Can't say "diversification" is helping out much nowadays.

    Shock therapy is coming, and I'm afraid it's sorely needed.

    October 6, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  8. Lance Gayhart

    John McCain had a profound involvement in the Savings and Loan scandal (which has been compared to our current financial crisis). Why aren't you guys exposing this story to voters, extensively?

    October 6, 2008 at 7:56 pm |
  9. Heather,Ca

    Paul T,

    I was thinking the very same thing.

    October 6, 2008 at 7:54 pm |
  10. Paul T

    The basics of the 60 Minutes piece from last night was in my local paper at the beginning of the week. My question would be this:

    Which of our illustrious government officials in Washington will have the nerve to ask for a full investigation of the top corporate executives in the 5 firms that belong to the Swap Derivatives consortium, freeze all their personal assets and then demand that, should they be found guilty of fraud and/or conspriacy to commit fraud, those assets be turned over to the Treasury to reimburse the taxpayers?

    That (estimated) 60 Trillion dollars would go a long way toward digging us out of the National Debt.

    October 6, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  11. Renee Zeigler

    Does anyone remember the early days of George W. Bushs' administration and his proposal to eliminate Social Security for the "20 somethings"? As I recall, his plan was to encourage this generation to put their Social Security monies into the stock market– I may be missing some details on this– think this would be an excellent topic for someone to research and report.

    October 6, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    Letting your child fall 25 feet into the arms of a stranger took real courage and trust. I'm very glad the child was caught and everyone rescued off that ride.

    The holidays are right around the corner – someone it doesn't seem possible with all the financial mess and the elections. I'm sure the charitable organizations that help people at Christmas are going to see a very large increase in the number of people to help this year. I hope those of us that still have a home and a good paycheck will remember that when doing our Christmas donations this year.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 6, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  13. Megan Dresslar (Shoreline, Wa)

    Hellooo Erica!!!
    I agree with bloggers…… I think that Bailout made lot of mistake! I am not support bailout and If I check my 4 K that I lost my dollars, I felt that made more angry …. I think that economy stock will drop more.I think lot problem great depression this year, great depression can
    be not lose their dollars or money. How I can to help lend anyone? or People will pay me back??? Can’t do it!

    October 6, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  14. Joy in Seattle

    I hate to say "I told you so..." but I told everyone that this bailout wouldn't fix jack. That special I saw the other night about what got us into this mess and how it really is the fault of those in Washington really makes me angry. They aren't fixing anything, they're just making an even bigger mess.

    October 6, 2008 at 6:58 pm |
  15. Lilibeth

    I checked my 401K a week ago and wasn’t thrilled nor surprised at what I saw. I can ride this out and so I made a few changes to future contributions only. I have a feeling Americans are really starting to see what the financial crisis really means…when they see more homeless on the streets. Which is why I don’t understand those who keep saying we’re not in a recession. Are they living in another planet? When will they come out of their denial? They can’t accept the R word, much less the D word.

    October 6, 2008 at 6:54 pm |
  16. Heather.Ca

    Im not scared. Im really really angry and sad. I saw the story on 60 mins last night about the very secretive criminal financial transactions that brought us here. So between TIME mag and Andy and Ali and 60 mins I am very angry. I am repulsed by the politicians on both sides and the Wall Street that participated in this scam on our economy. We are paying with this bailout for the fraud these firms engaged in. People who never should have qualified for home loans got them and now are homeless. These you know whats have destroyed our country and dont even care. This is worse than the depression. This goes beyond on our country and over the ocean. Its shameful and sad and criminal. I am sick of all the political promises. We have no money. The tax dollars we had are now going to be used to buy up all the criminal activity. I ts shameful that this was allowed to happen. The fraud that took place is unlike anything that has ever happened in the history of our country. This should have never been allowed to happen. I admit I thought about looking at my ETF account but then I remember what Suze said and knew I would be feeding my emotional reaction to the dow.I think you are lucky if you have a job,money just to pay the bills and a home of some kind.

    October 6, 2008 at 6:50 pm |