February 19th, 2009
02:22 PM ET

Send Ali your questions

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/19/ali.promo.jpg]

You've heard about the Stimulus plan, and the Housing rescue plan, and the TARP bank bailouts. But you still have questions, right?

Ask us your questions here, and Ali will answer some tonight on AC360° at 10PM ET.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Economy
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Ronnie

    I have all been hearing about helping home owners staying in their homes. what about people who rents and lost their job and is also about to be evicted. In what way will we be bailed out. or helped?

    February 19, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  2. Sam B.

    Ali: Instead of only giving a tax break to first time home buyers why not give it to anyone who is willing to take the risk to purchase a home at this time, when this is what is needed to spur our economy and help to put people back to work. They need to try anything that is feasible in order to take steps to recover from the mess that was left for
    President Obama. In my opinion he is doing a good job trying to help all the people.
    Sam B.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  3. Lri Greer


    What happens to people like me. I am disabled, receiving disability benefits through Social Security benefits for myself and death benefits for my 14 year old son. We lost his Dad two years ago to cancer. Will any of these programs get cut?

    What is going to happen to all of those people who lost their jobs and their homes? Where will they live, how will they eat, how will they take care of their children?

    I live month to month with no hope of saving or putting any money aside. What will happen to people like me?

    Lori Greer
    Keene, NH

    February 19, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  4. dave n

    I hope for the sake of all your viewers that you immediately abandon spreading the lies from gov't.
    I heard you several months ago yell at peter schiff when he expressed his views that countered your lie spreading. Everything Mr. Schiff has and continues to say is the whole truth.
    You said you believe financials were still attrctive and strong.
    you said the bank bailouts will free up credit
    Everything you said is plain wrong.

    My question is: when will you invite Mr. Schiff back?
    : will you apologize for your own stupidity?
    : will you start telling the truth?
    My guess is no to all.
    You just might gain a speck of credibility if you did because as of right now you don't even count on any serious, real economic blogs.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Melinda

    I am an Obama supporter and believe that the past 8 yrs have left us no other choice than the present stimulus and bailout bills on the table. However, I do not hear enough about the accountability of the individuals that took out home loans that they clearly knew very well they could not afford. Helping people that legitimately got "scammed" by irresponsible and unregulated mortgage companies is one, but helping people that have clearly lived beyond their means and had no individual responsibilty should not, under any circumstances be getting relief from my tax dollars. How is this money going to be regulated and accounted for to make sure we know the difference and the help goes where it should?

    February 19, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  6. aliou

    Hi ali,

    Jacksonville is one of the worst for jobs at this time. When the jobs went to India, I went back to college and graduated this year. What is the stimulus or bail out goin to do for me?

    How Am I goint to pay my students loans? What are my options?

    February 19, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  7. bridget

    What about all the renters out there?? I have been faithfully paying my $2800 monthly rent- only to have been served with foreclosure papers...despite my own voicing concern with my landlord regarding his mail and phone calls from banks looking for him. Anything for the renters who loyally and legally pay their rent on time, what about us????

    February 19, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  8. John

    Simple question: So where do you apply for some 4 Million jobs...no mention of that from anyone..is it me

    February 19, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  9. sean brizendine

    can we get out of this or is our way of living in a free society with democracy and capitalism gonna change?
    "sean in santa rosa"

    February 19, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  10. andrea

    I agree with Carl......why don't the mortgage companies do this? Maybe that's the kick that the housing market needs!! Forgive every mortgage holder (primary residence) a certain percentage of their mortgage.....reducing monthly pymts...............there's an idea.....

    February 19, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  11. ernest gonzalez

    Do you belie that "the right to rent policy " would work? By an act of congress temporarily change the the foreclosure procedures allowing the homeowner the ability to stay in their homes while they get back on their feet. this policy would have to be long term in order to build a level of trust between the owner and bank.then maybe have the opportunity to buy their home back. The rent would have to be at fair mark value. This policy may also keep home values stable by keeping empty home full and destroying neighborhood. The best part is this would not cost tax payers a dime. This may increase consumer confidence and get people spending their money again. all they need is time.

    February 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  12. jarrod

    Ali< could you explain why the remaining tarp money could not be realocated to fund the new plan that is going to cost another $75,000,000,000 in the housing market and why that tarp money is going to cover their operating expenses and purchases of other banks ... it seems to me that this money and i mean all of the tarp money should have went towrd covering the homeowners directly and then the banks could have brought all the paperwork showing who they helped. NOT one dime should be spent unless it directly helps the economy i mean it that what was told by past and current administrations

    February 19, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  13. Carl Scott

    Why not try this? People can refinance to a lower 30 year fixed rate, say 4%. The mortgage company will also reduce your balance to today’s real estate values. If you sign up for this program you will split any house appreciation with the mortgage company.

    This immediately helps put more cash in homeowner’s pockets. This helps stop foreclosures. This gives the banks an incentive to work with the borrower.

    This does not cost the taxpayer one dime!

    Why don’t we try this?

    February 19, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  14. andrea

    Ali, btw, thanks for all you do in keeping us informed.....you and Anderson I swear keep me from going nuts about all this (barely). Sorry for all the typos in my previous post, but I'm soooo upset and when I get going I get going....... We really need to have these CC companies looked into. When everyone else is getting a handout, we the tax payer gets the shaft. It's just not right. They received their billions and now they want more from me?!! (Chase, Bank of America, Capital One)........thanks for letting me vent and if you have any suggestions I'll take them gladly. I've already called my congressman, senator, etc.............H...E.....L....P.!

    February 19, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  15. Mike from RI

    I want to see a Stimulus Plan that helps everyone who owns a primary residence and that not just helps every homeower but could also help every state, every city, and literally stimulate the economy. I think that Federal Government should use the remaining TARPand The New Stimulus Package etc......to give a tax subsidy of approximately 60% off property taxes for 2 to 3 years paid by the Federal Government direct to State and Local Government to help homeowners save big money monthly immediately the subsidy money goes direct to Cities and States which is money that must be paid but currently is not from people who are suffering or from property that has been foreclosed. These monies will balance State and Local Budgets stop the layoffs in those states of city and state workers and projects in those cities and states can be funded. Once the savings is felt by the consumer they can begin spending a little more to stimulate the rest of the economy and possibly set off a positive chain reaction instead of all the negative chain reactions. LET'S USE TAX PAYER MONEY FOR TAXPAYERS AND LETS MAKE THE AMERICAN DREAM AN AMERICAN REALITY AGAIN

    February 19, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  16. Ed Churchill

    Why not have the big three just produce and promote Natural gas autoe’s and light trucks to utilize the massive wealth of natural gas in this country? Would this not turn the 700 billion dollar expenditure for foriegn crude into more than two trillion dollars worth of commerce and job creation and elimminate our dependance on imported oil? This is a real solution to our problems, be a real patriot and demand to know why this option has not been discussed.

    February 19, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  17. andrea

    Hi Ali,
    I'm so frustrated....today I received 3 letters fron credit card companoies that I owe $ to, and they stated. "that due to the economic hardships we are now facing", they are raising my interest rates!!!!! Why? This does not make any sense to me. At times like this they shold across the board reduce everyone's rates to a flat fixed 8% (for example). They've already received billions in the bailout (which we the taxpayers are now having to pay for), and now they want to hurt the very taxpayer by raising rates "due to the economy"! They are criminals and the gov't should really step in now and set some guidelines. I will file bk and then no one will get any more money from me. That's what will happen if these CC companies are allowed to treat their loyal, on time paying customers like this. When is this going to end already? My entire family is so sick of all this.....really we are. Something needs to be done. I'm calling these 3 CC agencies tomorrow and I will tell them that my husband and I both got laid off of our jobs, and that I'm "opting out" of their proposed changes, and that I will only be sending them $1.00 every month because that's all I can afford. I honestly do not care and neither does my husband, if our credit gets ruined. We've just had it...all the abuse the honest taxpayer is getting. How much more can the tax payer take on????? Government needs to really pull some major reins in on these criminal credit card comapnies (banks who have received bailouts).

    February 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  18. Mike Warman

    I have been an independent voter since 1972. NO MORE.
    I am now totally commited to supporting any candidate that is not a Republican with any time and money I can spare. The hippocracy of the Republicans in the last year has turned my stomach. If you are against a stimulus, then all Republicans (federal, govenors, mayors, etc) should take a stand and tell the govt to keep their stimulus money.

    February 19, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  19. joey

    Ali, I disagree with the whole home bailout. How in the world can our government regulate who qaulifies and who doesn't. They couldn't even regulate the money that went for ceo's bonuses and lavish business trips in the last bailout. I busted my but in the last 10 years to pay my house off so my family can have some security, maybe I should take out another home mortgage so I too can ask for goverment assistance and also equally benifit . Also , What guidlines are written to ensure the banks don't find loop holes and hoard the bailout funding and strategically continue to forclose on the selected houses that have equity and make out like a bandit when they resell .

    February 19, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  20. Amy

    One of the big ticket items in the stimulus plan is digitizing medical records. It's a huge effort and will probably be contracted out to a large number of service providers. What's to prevent this work from being sub-contracted / outsourced overseas?

    February 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  21. David Stremer

    VA and FHA loans can not now be modified. I read that the housing recovery act just announced by the president might revise this procedure and allow borrowers and lenders to modify the terms of VA or FHA loans. Was this change made?
    Most FHA and VA loans are written with low down payments. Therefore, most of these loans are "under water" as they say. The only alternative is foreclosure if one gets in financial difficulty.
    There seems to be a big need to rescue these loans.

    February 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  22. Nichole B

    The housing rescue helps those facing foreclosure and those "responsible homeowner" who are seeing price declines due to no fault of their own. But where is the rescue for "responsible renters" who never bought because prices were going up so fast but income wasn't increasing? We are waiting for prices to come down so we can get into the housing market, waiting and saving for years. We need prices to come down and this changes the rules midstream. I live in Pasadena, CA where houses cost at least $550k and I make too much for the housing tax credit but not enough to afford a house. Where do I get a break?

    February 19, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  23. Jeff

    Ali, with the numbers of unemployed Americans still skyrocketing, what happens to those of us in the unemployment ranks after we have exhausted all our benefits and are still not able to find work? Will the government create a further 13-26 week extention? I have also heard rumors about a new unemployment assistance program that would never expire, which would kick-in after all claims have been exhausted for those who have been seeking work, but just cannot find any. Rumor has it that it will be 1/3 of the unemployment amount and will include $100/month in food stamps and a $100/month credit for bills? Is there any truth to this?

    February 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  24. Eric Martin

    Idea for banking.

    Create interim bank funded by government to help businesses out while banks are recapitalizing.

    Why can't this be done. Larger in scope than the SBA.

    February 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  25. Linda from Boston

    Refinancing 2nd Home: Stimulus package has offered no advice for persons needing to pull money from 2nd home, due to lowered cash flow, to help with downpayment for a primary home. Any advice?

    February 19, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  26. Rajesh Raman

    Dear Ali
    I agree that we need a stimulus to boost the economy

    I really don't understand the following areas.
    1. What is the need for Tax relief when we saw it fail in 2008? Is this really going to stimulate the economy?

    2. $8 B is allocated for other expenses. Where is this money going?

    3. Based on my understanding I see only 25% of stimulus money focused on job creation ($200 B). How is it going to create 3.5 million jobs (Information from recovery.gov website)

    February 19, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  27. Carl Scott

    Why not try this? People can refinance to a lower 30 year fixed rate, say 4%. The mortgage company will also reduce your balance to today's real estate values. If you sign up for this program you will split any house appreciation with the mortgage company.

    This immediately helps put more cash in homeowner's pockets. This helps stop foreclosures. This gives the banks an incentive to work with the borrower.

    This does not cost the taxpayer one dime!

    Why don't we try this?

    February 19, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  28. jane vega

    As a 65 yr old registered nurse who has been seeking a job for five months, I wonder where the nursing shortage is.Perhaps there just are no jobs for senior citizens. Will I recieve 13 plus 33 weeks of unemployment after I have gotten the first 26 weeks ?

    February 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  29. Steve - Michigan

    From what evidence i've seen, the vast majority of homes purchased during the expansion bubble from 2001 to 2007 were residences by those that ...on paper... could afford the mortgage, but were repeatedly hammered by skyrocketing costs of living from fees, to property taxes from budget strapped local communities, to deregulated energy costs, Tripling gasoline, and ever rising food and petroleum affected products and services causing many businesses to cut staff, cut raises, cut salaries, cut benefits, and cut purchases, such as Cars/Trucks.

    In conclusion, the Mortgage industry knew what they were doing from the early 90s when they first lobbied for and helped write the Gramm bill, but they didnt anticipate the commodities-free for all- act causing so high a run up in oil prices and subsequent resulting skyrocketing cost of living, that put so many people over the edge there was no way to keep the big bills, and hence massive bankruptcies and foreclosures... They got caught with their own hot potatoes, but as usual, the only people suffering are the poor and middle class.
    Who's losing their homes? poor/middle class.
    Who's rolling in bonuses and obscene salaries? Big execs in responsible for this mess.
    Who's massively losing jobs? poor/middle/upper classes
    Who's still steering the titanic(s)? The rich execs that drove us into the icebergs.

    February 19, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  30. frustrated

    Hi All,
    Is there anything in the pipeline for the responsible homeowners who are okay at this time, paying the bills and are helping the govt by paying taxes. We sacrificed when the market was booming and are sacrificing when the market is down now.. looks like it must have been better to be irresponsible.. atleast would have got some assistance..

    February 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  31. John Kleven Edmonds, WA

    Greetings Ali,

    I was just wondering? Why send out a stimulus check? Why not make it a Stimulus Visa gift card? Why not make the people spend the money, and help out the banks at the same time?

    February 19, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  32. Olivia Lynch

    why does everyone , including other mainstreeters, get so upset when main street gets some help, after all its our tax money, who better to benefit from it than the people who pay the taxes. Big companies have been feeding at the public trough for ever and its o.k for them, why can't we get a break?

    February 19, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  33. Olivia Lynch

    My residence mortgage and other bills are current and have never been late. my fico score before this was 780, however, I am in foreclosure on a residential flip with another bank and the bank will not work with me, will any of the bailout funds help me? also will there be info forthcoming on how to access these bailout funds if one qualifies?

    February 19, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  34. Lauren

    Last summer I read what I thought was a good idea from Fareed Zakaria. He said that the President could enforce holidays on banking/trading to stop the market from bottoming out, but I haven't heard about it since. Is that idea even on the agenda for the new administration? And is it a good idea now?

    February 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  35. Janis - Oklahoma

    with all of the government debt – what are the projections for when and how much inflation will hit the economy?

    The 64 billion (used to be million) dollar question – what is the best guess for when the economy will recover?

    February 19, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  36. Jonathan

    Is somebody watching and controlling the TARP money? Realtors and Mortgage brokers teamed up and made a lot of money during the last few years and we need to make sure that they don’t benefit from TARP? What do the real estate professionals and mortgage brokers are doing these days? Are they doing any pro bono listings for homeowners to avoid short sale? Are they doing a pro bono or 2% total listing to make sure the TARP money that belongs to all the tax payers can be invested wisely? Can you just imagine how much is 6% realtor commissions of $350 billion or possibly a Trillion dollar of TARP money that may end up going to realtors on short sale or bank owned listings? That money alone can save the deficit of state of California or help banks do so much of mortgage modifications to keep people in their home.

    February 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  37. Stacey

    I can not believe the banking industry. I paid off my credit card with a particular bank and during the next billing cycle I was charged a $3.95 finance charge. When I called to have the charge reversed I was told that it was not a bank error and they could not reverse the charge. Well, I worked in the banking industry and believe me fees can be waived as a one-time gratuity. Now if this bank would not work with me for $3.95 then I have very little faith that they will work with people who have homes in foreclosures. In fact the banks should be thanking the American people for keeping them afloat. The banking industry has gotten greedy. Some stiff regulations need to be placed on all banking institutions that have received TARP funds.

    February 19, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  38. Tim Duvall

    A feature in the stimulus contains a tax credit for first time home buyers. My wife and I just bought a home for $905,000 with $275,000 down. I have owned six homes and had a good history. FICA scores were 765. We had a pre-approval and it took 65 days, more documentation then I have ever produced, to finally close the deal. I also have my IRA at the bank and a savings account in the high five figures at the bank. Are there any first time home buyers who can even qualify for a home loan or do you think this feature just made a good sound bite?

    February 19, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  39. VPCAM

    Dear Ali,
    How many homes were purchased as investment property during 2003-2006 period in the United States? This number, what ever it might be, will be useful to understand the current debate about homeowners rescue plan. Thanks.

    February 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  40. Mary

    Wouldn't it make more sense to get the people that already have home mortgages "fiscally fit" before offering incentives to first time home buyers again? I thought that all of these 80 10 10's loans and a dollar down will get you into a home was exclusive to the state of Georgia, apparently it was nationwide.

    February 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  41. Mary

    Please explain to me why the Hill is using a formula that is used in calculating rent for low income housing? That formula uses 30% of a tenant's gross income instead of 31%. Is this extra 1% supposed to generate more income for the banks? Fine if it goes directly to the homeowner's principal balance. In low income housing, a tenant is re-certified if their income goes up or down. With Americans continuing to lose employment, what safeguards are in place with this plan? The administrative cost would be staggering to continually re-certify anyone on this plan. Why isn't the housing "fix" geared for all American home owners and addressing lower interest rates and methods for all homeowners to hit their principal balances sooner?

    February 19, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  42. richard hiatt

    when i bought my first home i had to pay mortgage insurance because i put less than 20% down, why aren't most of the so called "toxic loans" covered by P.M.I insurance?? I don't recall even hearing about mortgage insurance on cnn since the melt down. can you give your viewers some insight on this issue!

    February 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  43. Danica - Colorado

    Since August we have been attempting different strategies to reduce mortgage principal and rewrite the original mortgage interest rate agreement. My economic classes taught me that such actions would damage the lender-borrower relationship and prevent lending in the long-term (even though hundreds would be assisted in the short term, millions would be denied credit in the long run). Why has the US Government not considered subsidizing mortgage payments (in the very short term) for individuals that can prove they are in distress so that the market can sort out the value of these packaged and leveraged bundles of mortgages. Why do we not subsidize individuals – with local government oversight – instead of bailing out banks and mortgage companies that more directly contributed to this crisis? Moreover, why would reputable lenders ever lend again to a borrower (or a country of borrowers) that could simply restructure and write-down the debt if a crisis would take place. We are distorting economic incentives that have benefitted us all for a century!

    February 19, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  44. jake

    Two Question Please,

    1 If all these lenders/banks are regulated and licensed by some agency in the US government, why is it that they can not be told rather than asked to go along with mortgage modification plan laid out in the President's $75B rescue (sort of)?

    2. US has the largest number of self employed workers. And in this crises one would assume that unemployment among these group of people would be as high, if not higher than others. But I understand that they are not eligible for unemployment and are not counted in the rank of unemployed. So is not true that US unemplyment is at least double what the government tells us?


    February 19, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  45. Debbie Little

    Ali, like many Americans I agree that something drastic must be done to address the failing housing market. However, I'm appalled that our government and/or lawmakers have done nothing to prevent the very common practice of 100% mortgage loans which I believe was a major contirbutor to this crisis. My husband and I lived in Irvine, CA until September 2007 and were shocked at the number of homes in our neighborhood with 100% or 110% financing!!!! Is anyone proposing legislation to stop irresponsible mortgage lenders AND irresponsible borrowers???

    Those of us who borrowed responsibly and did not live beyond our bank account are being punished by those folks who were either speculators hoping to "flip" and make easy money or borrowing more than they knew they could ever afford. Shame on them and the lenders!!!!

    February 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  46. michael bernstein

    who do apply to housing/morgage to get help in lowing my morgage payments i have 5% interest rate but am only making half of what i used to make, haven"t missed a morgage payment yet but i'm really strugeting to mak ends meet please help!!

    February 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  47. terre seuss Omaha, NE

    I've been hearing about so called "squatters", who stay in their foreclosed homes. Some have been told that they can do this until the current mortgage holder produces the original loan papers the buyer signed. Is this true? And if so, can they force any customer to pay on a loan at all if the original paperwork is not produced?

    February 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  48. Don

    Why do we never hear anything about the Foreclosed loans being

    insured? The guarantor recovers his money via the insurance

    companies. Is it possible the "banks who have lost so much"

    actually own the insurance companies involved? We never hear

    comments on the actual proceedure, which should disclose if

    and how much money was recovered.

    February 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  49. Tom of Philly

    First of all I would like to know where these nay sayers were when W was spending our social security 'surplus' and highway 'trust fund surplus' to keep taxes low on the rich. And charged a war on top of it all, and borrowed another trillion to keep income taxes even lower, THAT was irresponsible! We all screamed at the rich-fare based tarp initial installment. IF W had unfrozen credit THAT would have saved 3 million jobs, come on people.

    Ali please explain how the credit contraction as a result of falling asset values is the exact opposite of the flow of credit that was a result of increasing asset values. This is why stopping foreclosures is so important, whatever the cost. As soon as real estate stabilizes credit will start flowing again. People just arent getting this concept

    February 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  50. Sharon, LA, CA

    First off, thanks for all the helpful info and clarifications.

    I understand the need to get the housing market back on track although I'm not pleased about having to pay for people's homes they should not have been able to get into in the first place. And I believe it is imperative that we do everything we can to get people back to work.

    What makes me angry is that there are those of us who chose to put our money into our 401ks and retirement accounts – that have now been cut by 50% – rather than buy a home we knew we could not afford. I understand that stopping the disclosures will help the value of the homes of those in the surrounding areas thereby helping home values of those who have paid their mortgage – but that still doesn't help those of us who were smart enough to not get into a deal we knew we could not afford in the first place. Any thoughts on this?

    I am further disturbed by the concept of 'entitlement'. When people discuss social security entitlement they make it sound like retiree's are being given something for nothing, while in fact we have paid into that our entire working lives.

    I had planned to retire next year but am now forced to revamp my plans. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have a job and do see the need to pay more taxes at times (I live in CA – which may not have such a large problem if we could deal with illegal immigration) but I'm beginning to feel that what I've worked for all these years is slowly being eaten away by new needs to help others.

    I am at a loss. Appreciate any thoughts you may have.

    February 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
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