February 20th, 2009
03:20 PM ET

Send us your questions on the economy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/20/art.market.anon.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 our experts will give you some answers tonight on AC360° at 10PM ET.

Filed under: Economy • T1
soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. dave

    Re: British bank HSBC

    I've a credit card account with them. They just lowered my credit limit without telling me. When I complained they said despite the fact that I've been paying bills on time, they needed to lower my credit line to limit their losses.

    The representative also pointed out that they have not received any bailout money from the U.S.

    My thought is I'm being penalized because some of our friends were stupid enough to take out subprime loans and now we're all in this mess.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  2. Matthew Brill

    The credit card companies charge interest rates that are "criminally polite" in that we permit these "companies" to be a part of our culture. They are allowed to seduce an undeducated population of consumers with limited impulse control to run up a level of debt that destroys families. Will the Fed be directing some regulation on these companies that contribute to the overall "consumer glutony" and greed that is being presented in the news?

    February 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  3. BRL

    The impact of guilt will be interesting to analyze once the crises has become more mature.

    As someone who has been historically conservative with my spending and investments, and at least 'feeling' very secure in my employment – I would love to take advantage of some of the very attractive deals that are being offered on items I previously thought out of my range. However, who is willing to drive to work in a brand new car or a new suit only a few months after your company cut back salaries or conducted layoffs?

    It is a bit of a vicious cycle that the very spending that the economy would benefit from undergoes such negative social scrutiny and it is therefore discouraged.

    All that being said, tomorrow I plan to do my part and buy some clothes that I do not need, but I will be doing it for America! So please ask people walking on Michigan Avenue not to throw snowballs at someone walking with a Bloomingdales bag.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  4. Cheryl Claypoole

    My freshman economics text began with, "Expectations make it so," meaning that consumer and business confidence drives the economy. When we expect a prosperous future, we are wiling to take the risks and make the capital and other investments needed to bring that future into reality.

    It seems that many of our current economic problems are driven by fear, which is exacerbated by the media's breathless blow-by-blow account of bad news – job losses, bankruptcies, political infighting and stock market free fall.

    If, as FDR famously proclaimed, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” then it's time to start thinking and acting more positively.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  5. Jason Thomstatter

    Here is one simple plan to fix the US & world economies, and do it immediately.

    Modify the current mortgage tax credit to do the following:
    – Allow deductions of all mortgage payments (interest & principle)
    – Year 1-4 increase the mortgage deduction to 2x your payment. eg. if you made 10k in payments you get to deduct 20k)
    – Year 5-10 gradually phase back to 1x

    Now think of the cascade effect of doing this.
    – some Americans would start to pay down their principle (save!!!)
    – Others would go out and buy their first home
    – Others may even go and buy a vacation home
    – Given the bank's issues they won't over loan this time
    – It doesn't bail out people making bad decisions, it's a fair across the board solution. The people who
    were conservative will also win because they can now pay down their principle to get a bigger deduction.
    – No trade wars, consumers will decide were to spend money not the government.
    – more principle payments being made, and people buying houses will create a floor for CDOs without the US government having to buy them.
    – Now the government will loose some tax revenue, but thats a small price to pay when you look at the other options...

    February 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  6. Rosemary

    I would like to know when seniors over 75 will not have to pay income taxes. Haven't we paid enough thru out the years. This year I have to pay the Feds. alot and I live on a pension, interest and have a home to take care of. In one way, I am lucky, my sons have no pension to look forward to. The boys and girls in Washington stink, and the Obama reign is not Rock hard. Everytime you turn on the TV ,there he is .playing the great whatever. This new package he has signed, will be worthless, because of the pork involved. Jobs–that is a joke. The men will be filling the potholes, digging ditches who have degrees, just to find work. Washington is a city of people who love to spend and that is what they are doing, just to get elected. Throw them all out and eliminate the Pork.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  7. rick o

    Will any of the "package" help the "good" americans? Helping the homeowners that had no business becoming homeowners is starting to depress me. We purchased our modest property 6 years ago for $115,000. It is now worth $90,000 at best. We can afford to stay in it but what is the point? I am trying to stay positive but the honorless way in which americans are walking away from their homes is making me truly question if we have the fortitude to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and regain what made this country the envy of the free world.

    February 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  8. Karen Smith

    I am a factory worker from TN who has recently been cut back to 4 days a week. My partner lost his job several months ago and now the unemployment is GONE. Things are pretty bad when an experienced maintenance/construction worker who is 58 yrs. old has to take a part time job at the dollar store just to survive. My company is just around the corner from getting AXED because we are in the transition period of all our work going to CHINA and MEXICO. How is this plan even going to start to help people like us!!!! Now they are saying we will have to wait a year?? People like us are worrying about next month's rent and food for this week. Thanks

    February 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  9. April Rain Thompson

    How come no VIPs are suggesting we bailout householders & job losers by scrapping NASA? It's the ultimate insanity to be pouring millions of $$ we don't have into space when that $$ could be used to feed & clothe millions here. NASA could be made into an energy research facility. Tesla wanted to give us free electricity. Surely we could rediscover how w/$10 Billion. Please don't fail us, Anderson. Someone with clout needs to publicize & crusade for this. Thanks.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  10. Neo

    Also like someone said, yet it's so important can the gov't regulate the cost of a house via caps and realistic comps. ie: a 250k house shouldn't be next to a 750k house. Like the commenter said base it upon salary. Are the current housing prices even commiserate with the median annual salary? Doesn't seem like it. They should base taxes and housing (if not all basic neccessities) on how commiserate they are to the median annual salary. The gov't and real estate take into consideration that citizens are like them and enjoy the art of taking out a loan and having to replay it, as if it gives us some type of thrill. I assure you, it does not. There should be a stip on how much a house costs and resells for. The rich don't feel it but obviously the Middle Class gets the brunt of the over inflated house price and resell the year later at almost 100%, in the form of inflation.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  11. Neo

    What is President Obama doing from a government standpoint to make sure that businesses are sustainable? Lenders give money so quickly with very little thought it seems to the businesses sustainability. Isn't that a reason why we are in a recession as well?

    February 20, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  12. Ellen

    I don't understand why our Government has required the car manufacturers to submit a plan concerning how GM or Chrysler will use Government money which seems prudent, but just essentially hands the investment banking industry a check along with a plea to do the right thing but with no assurances the bank will use the money the way the Government wants them to. No wonder our Country has a mess since there is apparently different rules depending on whom you know and what power you have in Washington.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  13. Isabel Abreu

    I would like to know about inflation.

    There? No?
    How the government should act to ensure price stability? If it’s possible that, in the midst of such economic crisis.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  14. Aimee

    I sort of glanced at the previous comments, and I saw someone in a similar state as me. I am a hard working person who is a least current and pretty good about paying things on time, but getting to that point where things are about to be bad. This is not because I haven't learned my lesson, I am not using any plastic besides my debit card.

    What are we going to do about credit card interest rates? Why can they check our credit ratings? I mean I am getting punished by higher interest rates just for being late on another card or having high rates on other cards, and then being charged not only late fees but another 5% on top of 25% interest rates in some cases. I mean they are out of control and we bailed some of them out!! I understand that some of this would go against our "Free Market" economic ideology, but why can they do all of these things to people simply trying to get by.

    I guess the only other thing I would like to add is that this recession hit Medicade in TN not too long ago and we were all cut to 32 hour weeks, and I think our healthcare could possibly be cut next. First off will this bill help people who I help to care for? Second, what does this bill do for healthcare and small businesses?

    I know that is more than one question, but I am really curious! Thanks, I do love your show.


    February 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  15. Tiffany Busby

    Seeing as how I am just your average American, maybe I just don't understand all of this bailout stiff, but I think I do. My question is this: if we keep giving money to all of these companies directly, what good is it going to do? We can bail out every Corporation in this nation and it still doesn't change the fact that we don't have the money to pay our bills, or the ones of us who do are terrified to buy anything extra because of the shape of the economy right now; therefore, these companies are just going to be back at square one in a matter of months. Why don't we use this "bailout" money to bail out the people who truly need it, the people of Main Street USA, not Wall Street! If they split up this money between every American over the age of 18 in the US, or even just used it to pay off their mortgages directly, then there you go, housing market crisis solved. Extra money in people's pockets to buy cars, clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc. Give US a break so we can make the economy strong again, and quit worrying about pumping it all into a bunch of companies that may provide some Americans with jobs, but still doesn't change the fact that we're sitting on our wallets as tightly as possible.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  16. Teresa

    I'd like to apply for loan modification but companies are charging upfront fee of $2,500. Should I pay? Is there a place when I can apply for lesser fee? This amount is my 2 months mortgage payment. Thank you for your help.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  17. Pat

    We are not behind in our mortgage payments, but our house is underwater by $40,000. We have to sell because my husband has a new job in a new city. We have a little in savings but really only enough to pay for our relocation. We do not want to walk away and ruin our credit, so what is the solution?

    February 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  18. Eric

    Is there anything specific in the Stimulus Plan that will help me manage/recover from my student loans? Also, I heard there was loan forgiveness available for employees that are continuously employed in the non-profit field. Are these rumors true? Is anything like this already in existence? In the works? It would be a life saver.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  19. Sandy

    On days like today, it would be great to see an additional Dow figure excluding the drastically down stocks like BAC, C, & GM. (down 35%, 30% and 25% at time I checked) The Dow has 30 companies and that does not give an accurate picture of the remaining 27. This in turn causes fear and pannick! I checked CAT it was down 3.29% at the same time. If you have BAC, C, or GM, you are already concerned. Most people have a financial firm and know little about how the Dow works. Currently there are no plans to remove/replace these companies. Placing emphasis on a more accurate view of the other companies might help regain some confidence in the market. People are watching that lower right hand corner of CNN on their TV screen and believe it represents all stocks.

    I appreciate you “keeping them honest” you have me watching them too! Great program! I enjoy the humor and stories that have happy endings!

    February 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  20. Isabel Abreu


    Three packages in 10 days!

    But, anyway, when they will reverberate the beginning of the end of the crisis?

    February 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  21. Sandra Elizabeth

    I was laid off from my job and I am very lucky to have received a small severance package ($8000). Everyone in my community is in the same boat and none of us fit into any category in the stimulus plan so we have to solve this crisis by ourselves. What is the best way to use this money to begin in a new city without government aid or floundering around wasting this money.

    February 20, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  22. Joe G. (From Illinois)

    The Economy has four cycles.. Not 5.. Not 6.. And that’s a fact!! Is there no Economist in Washington with some sense of humanitarian voice and outcry? Sure Obama was elected as a Fantasy Hero, and sure he wants to reinvent how things are done in Washington.. But this is the Economy and trillions of borrowed money he is spending. Why to people like to delay and stretch the agony? And at such Expenses?!

    February 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  23. derikp

    What are the biggest problems with the current legislation that regulates the financial services industry? Meaning, if you could change/fix/repeal/ one law, what would it be?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  24. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    My question to expert panels.
    Are we going save our home without foreclosed? or Can we save our encomony for who have a jobs without laid off?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  25. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Clause "Buy American"

    This is a very controversial point of the package.
    Can you comment more on the clause, please?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  26. Adrienne Ford

    Will there be legislation to address how banks handle derivatives or will they go relatively unchallenged in the way they have operated?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  27. Chris Lyons

    I don't understand why the news media and even our gov. don't talk about how well CREDIT UNIONS are doing in the US. I re-directed my business and personal accounts away from the traditional banks back in Sept. 08 becuase we all saw the tradition banks business model about to fail. Does everyone understand that credit unions have never taken one dime from the gov. and there has never been a credit union fail?

    Why can't the media and our gov. talk about how strong the credit union industry is?

    I'm available for followup comments.

    Chris Lyons

    February 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  28. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Although the package for banks there is a current that supports the nationalization of banks.

    What are the positive and negative points of a nationalization of banks?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  29. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Supplementing my previous post:

    Citigroup decided to sell its stake to 17% in the Administrator Card Redecard.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  30. Isabel Abreu, Brazil


    The week concludes without concrete solutions to the systemic crisis.

    With the increase in unemployment in the United States are growing fears about the credit card companies. There is increased risk of default, with the decrease in income of households.

    The Government has some action to this problem?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  31. Jo Sharp

    Which plan fixes the American arrogance problem? I hear “greed caused this”, “necessary market correction”, “irresponsible people do not deserve to be helped”, etc. etc. Sounds like while more and more people don’t work, companies close and those still around will not hire, all we hear is angry judgment calls by arrogant Americans who feel too many people are raining on their parade.
    If universal greed got us into this, a time when many of us spent our greedy salaries on irresponsible purchases, do will really think that “finger pointing” and “get your hands off of my nest egg” talk is the solution? At least during the times of greed and irresponsible behavior we were all actively working on our piece of the virtual reality pie, now we are just drowning in what’s left it. So which plan forces us to “work” together rather than fracturing further the “us versus them” mentality. I guess I do hope that the comparisons of Obama to Lincoln are accurate, as it appears we will need to endure the pain of a second civil war (class warfare) to save this country.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  32. david price

    Hi Anderson,

    It seems to me, that the government truly needs to fix the housing crisis before we will see any real recovery. This seems best fixed, by allowing tax breaks for investors to own multiple investment properties. This was done in the 80's. Once revoked all the investors dumped their condos creating a huge condo glut.

    Investors are looking to put their money into something safe. Brick and mortar is still appealing. If they could write off multiple homes, and rent them to people that needed housing, they would be taking inventory off the market, while giving people who need housing a place to live.

    This would quickly absorb the excess inventory and begin the stabilization process.

    It is such a simple concept, yet nobody has even put it on the table. Maybe you could find out why??


    February 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  33. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    American banks in drop fort.

    The package to rescue the banks not convinced.
    How should the Government intervene?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  34. Karen

    The newly signed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes a provision for the Temporary Suspension of Taxation for Unemployment Benefits, but the provision states that it is for taxable year 2009. Is this an error? Why wouldn't this provision cover those who were unemployed this past year (2008) and are now facing a federal tax bill?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  35. nicole

    My pay has been cut at work and while struggling to do so, I still manage to pay my mortgage on time each month. So, why am I not able to refinance? It seems the only people getting assistance are those who are behind on their payments. There should be some benefits/relief for those who are still current on their payments and making the effort!

    February 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  36. Greg

    Why are we bailing out all of these companies that have problems with money management? I know that education is not mandated by the Federal government but couldn't they at least throw education a bone here and give teachers a nice pay raise. Or have the minimum pay for teachers be over $50000?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  37. Richard

    Countrywide wouldn't do anything when I was employed and current on my mortgage.

    They wouldn't do anything when I became unemployed and current on my mortgage.

    Now they won't do anything when I am unemployed and can only make partial payments until I get another job.

    I am not in an ARM or "under water", I have been unemployed since Jan 5 because Wells/Wachovia LIQUATED my employer...am I to believe that I'm just out of luck???

    I know a mortgage is not the same as GMAC moving a payment to end of my loan, but DO SOMETHING!!

    February 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  38. malavika

    I feel the at least now the numbers in the wall street reflects the main street.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  39. Marc Rubben

    Where are all these people who are defalting on their mortgages moving to? They must be renting now, which should stimulate the economy by helping those with rental property right? I don't believe the theory that they are having friends and family re-purchase their bank owned property at a greatly reduced price. There just aren't enough people who can afford to carry mortgages on an additional house and the rates are higher anyway on non primary residences. Government should focus on creating jobs because the housing market will stabilize itself. People must live somewhere right?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  40. Brian

    It is debatable to what extent the foreclosure crisis can be or has been effectively stopped by the housing rescue plan, but what is not debatable is that the economy runs on the velocity of money (earning and spending) and the housing market (buying and selling of property) is a major component of it.

    What can and will be done to reignite the housing MARKET?

    There has been nothing done to date to fix the problem of people trapped in negative-equity situations which prevents the sale of homes and in turn prevents substantive economic recovery.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  41. Joanne Sullivan

    Anderson, I am confused as to how jobs are being created with the stimulus money. Are jobs being reopened in order to rebuild bridges, schools, and roads–or are we creating new jobs to do that. If so, then what happens to all the construction workers who don't have enough work right now? Creating new jobs will only put them and their companies out of business. Has anyone got a handle on this yet?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  42. Gary Voudrie

    Why can't ALL current 30 year fixed mortgages be reset at 4%?

    This would help ALL homeowners and put more "disposable income" back into the economy. For me, this would reduce my monthly payment by 400-500 dollars. (My current is a 30 year fixed, 6.5%, no banks will refinance me now)

    The only "downside" to this scenario – the banks make less profit. Pity, Pity. They created this mess – make them pay

    Why isn't anyone bringing these simple, common sense solutions to the national conversation?

    Gary Voudrie, Washington, DC.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  43. Howard Woods

    Why are companies still laying off American workers and sending the jobs over seas? EDS/HP Also being a Technology worker with a BIT degree this type of work is still being sent off shore and I see allot of H1B Visas still being granted. Not only are H1B Visa being granted but the whole alphabet soup of visas still being granted to foreign workers.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  44. David

    Why are CNN and other news outlets scaring people to death? Don't you think that has something to do with the crisis? The national news media in this country pounces on any negative information, constantly beats the drum, and amplifies any ant-hill into a mountain. I think you guys are complicit in propogating the fear that prevents any consumer confidence from rebounding.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  45. Alexandra

    Realisitically, how long will it take for any effects of the stimulus package are noticed/trickled down to the consumer?

    February 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  46. Jon Kolbe

    What would happen to the US economy and local state and federal government services in the event the stimulus bill didn't pass and there was a complete housing meltdown?

    February 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  47. Peter Kambasis

    Anderson, can we still count on these numbers? Pun intended!

    February 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  48. Sondra

    I hope that the stability program works, but Countrywide Bank will not work with any of us who have lost our jobs. We call, we are in default, we are denied any benefits, we talk about the new plan, they say "We know nothing about it and you do not qualify. What do we do then?

    February 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  49. JIm

    Why is the frame on the economy not CORRECTION? The housing market has risen artificially for years and is now correcting itself but isn't there yet. It should go down another 10-20 percent to be in line with salaries. If you annualize returns on housing market over the past ten years homeowners have still gained 6.7% on their homes each of those years (zillow.com).

    Housing prices must come down further for this mess to be solved. If prices were lower more people could get into the market legitimately.


    February 20, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  50. heather saunders

    A quote from a conversation with friends, "why is it Obama uses the word CRISIS every time he is on television?" Fear is paralyzing, not motivating!!! We keep hearing it OVER AND OVER again as a justification for why he needs to do what he needs to do. Get rid of YES WE CAN, and lets borrow from Nike and lets JUST DO IT!!!!! (already) Huge Obama supporter but afraid hes falling into the trap of negativity.

    February 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
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