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February 23rd, 2009
11:04 AM ET

Send us your questions on the economy!

Program Note: Make sure to tune in tonight to hear Ali Velshi and other economic experts answer your questions on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/23/t1.multiple_signs.jpg]

Ali Velshi
CNN Chief Business Correspondent

What is all of this talk about bank nationalization? Let's just change the word. It conjures up images of Castro forcefully seizing private businesses. That's not what this is.

Markets tanked on Friday because investors negatively interpreted the government's "nationalization" the banks.

But there's a big difference between the US government taking controlling stakes in US banks to recapitalize them, because no one else has the money or will to do so, and Hugo Chavez expropriating refineries owned by Exxon-Mobil to exclude private investors from profitability and to control a resource.

Free-marketers are spinning this quite unnecessarily and causing panic among investors. The government is able to access money more inexpensively than anyone else right now.

I don't think the government, or we, have any long term interest in owning banks. This is a short-term solution to inject money into banks so that they continue to be able to extend credit and keep the wheels of commerce in motion.

I'm not arguing in favor of or against it. It might just be easier if they call it something else.

What do you think?

And what other questions do you have on the economy? Send them to us and Ali Velshi and our other economic experts will give you answers tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Economy • Finance • T1
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Art

    Saving Energy
    AC,
    I believe that if all new housing were required to be built
    with solar energy. We could cut down on our dependance on oil.
    Art

    February 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  2. david mcconaha

    just curious why goverment is so hell bent on helping the fat cats who lost triions in bad judgement seems to me if you give the money to average people who are struggling to make ends meet in life u would favor that not give millions to rich who even if all fails will have there money to eat and enjoy life .ive worked for all my life lost my job of 29 yrs to over seas settling for less and working hard to keep up .but i guess if giving 3,000,000 million out to people would be to costly than 800 trillion go do the math . thank you for allowing me to vent.and to think i am a veteran and protected people like them lol.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  3. Judy in Ohio

    I have 1 year before I qualify for Medicare, 2 years until I can collect retirement funds. I will be on the way to the mortuary before I can actually retire!
    It seems to me, the same people who have worked all their lives, will actually work all their lives!
    I am a nurse. Unlike the soap opera nurses, my job is very stressful, demanding, and requires stamina and strength.
    I feel like I have been supporting the CEOs and the idle, who are able ;but do not work. Actually that fits the discription of a CEO, as well!
    Why can't we, the middle class, the back bone of America be given bailout! I meaqn some serious cash, At least $250.00 each. I promise you the economy will be back on track in less than a year.
    My income has remained stagnat for last 12 years. My 403 B is anemic, all most non-existent.
    Why doesn't anyone listen to the middle class? What's left of it anyway!
    Where's Robinhood when you need him?

    February 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  4. abou

    What is the role of negative media on the economy? Is it fun to channel out all this hysteria about the economy? when will be time for all the major news agencies to report on better thing? anderson do you realise how much hysteria you can creat talking about peoples pocket? will you find something better to report about? well guess i found the discovery chanel and comedy chanel more productive than cnn. thanks to freedom of speech and the freedom of my remote.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  5. Art

    It seems to me that the Chrysler Corp. has been bailed out several
    times.I don't believe we should contiue to bail them out . What they need
    is better management.
    Art

    February 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  6. Randy in Ohio

    Here is a good idea – Let americans buy a home that paid off a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in the last two years. There has to be a few million people out there that are in my shoes. I am thankful for my job and making 6 figures. However I cant get credit to buy steam off a hotdog. I am caught in a catch 22 – Need debt in order to estiblish credit cant get credit because of a paid off Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Do not give money to bail out homeowners let them do what I had to do 3 years ago!!!

    February 23, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  7. Larry L.

    All of the small banks,that are not in trouble,will not be able to compete with the large nationalized banks,because they can not just print money like the government will,so they will all fail next.

    Government involvement is what has caused this nightmare,you can not believe they can get us out of this,I hope.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  8. Sherrie

    I ran my free annual credit report and paid to receive my score. The credit reporting bureaus are now using a reporting scale that goes to 990, rather than the old 850. Will you begin using the new scale to educate viewers regarding what constitutes a good credit score and what their scores should be if they wish to qualify for a loan, or for the best rates on loans?

    February 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  9. Tish, Oakley CA (former AIG employee)

    I was laid off from AIG Oct. 2007. My stock certificates are worth pennies per share. My 401K is down by 40+%. I currently purchase my family health coverage through COBRA. The COBRA benefit mentioned in the stimulus package is only for folks laid off begining Sept. 2008 . Therefore, I am out of luck when it comes to the 65% help. I had planned on taking my AIG retirement/pension at a reduced amount this Dec. 2009, when I turn 55. so that I can use the money to help fund my medical insurance. My question is, if AIG goes under, will my pension be safe/available come December?

    AIG keeps getting bailed out, why not me?

    February 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  10. karen dingmon

    Why is the government not encouraging people to buy treasury bonds? That's what they did in WWII. That way we would be investing in our own recovery and China would not own so much of our debt. We would be investing in our own schools, roads, green energy and the ability of our own people. It would be encouraging us to save and those savings could be used to finance the stimulus package.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  11. Pauline

    I am the wife of a United States Secret Service Agent. It goes without saying that my husband takes his career very seriously and along with our family makes significant sacrifices so that he may do his job with due diligence. We were recently transferred from one location to another. Because of this economy, our home is not worth what we owe, there are no buyers to buy my home, and the relocation company thinks they should be able to use foreclosures as my comparables in order to intervene....We pay our mortgage faithfully, make more than most Americans, and are now HOMELESS at our new job location as we cannot buy another home until our sells. I am ANGERED at all the commentary that suggests that the economic problem is not affecting so many innocent people. Something must be done. A six figure income and I am homeless....

    February 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  12. sharon from Indy

    I read a statistic of 5 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits last week. But what about the Americans who have not found employment and are no long on unemployment benefits? What about the Americans that weren't considered full-time because they worked 35 hours a week? What about the part-time workers that have lost their jobs? Also, what about the Americans that do not apply for unemployment benefits (pride, shame)? Wouldn't you say that the 5 million is a low number considering these factors?

    February 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  13. Wayne

    Isn't the inflated home prices that cause us this mess?. If yes, why are we trying to create the same problem that got us in to this mess in the first place by trying to inflate the home prices again?. Isn't it sustainable and good for the average american to have the home prices afforable in the long run?

    February 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Anderson,

    What 2 things do you and your panel feel will stop the declining stock market? Banks (remove bad assets), housing or what? Give me one or two things that, if addressed, would start a rally.

    Thanks

    February 23, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  15. OneObservation

    I think there is some merit in helping home owners ... although not sure I understand enough about the President's proposal to agree or disagree at this point.

    My question is ... everybody has a list of people to blame ... instead of a truth commission about the deeds of the prior administration, why isn't there some movement for accountability in the mortgage disaster ... if fraud was committed on either side of a mortgage transaction, lets prosecute and keelhaul the perpetrators.

    So far, all I see is a series of bailouts. What I want to see is some accountability and perhaps a bit of good old testament retribution for the folks who got us in this mess. All of them.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  16. wsb -Bethesda, MD

    Question: What is the status of those credit default swaps, the entangled 'insurance' all the wall street firms and banks have purchased from eachother in the event one of them goes belly up? (I read that there could be as much as $50 trillion worth of these things). What happens if one of these big banks does collapse?

    February 23, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  17. Kris K

    Would you please report what percentage of mortgage forclosures were actually contributed to by health care costs... I would appreciate it.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  18. marissa

    why is medicaid getting any money? what about the working class who keep this economy going? oh yeah wait we are getting taxed more? so lets take the hardworking educated people and punish them...mean while the people who abuse the welfare system get free healthcare, free dental care, free education...

    February 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  19. Cindy Simmons

    would someone please explain to these people who cannot get credit that credit is a privilege and not a right.
    The banks not have to loan you money. Credit is earned and I bet most of the people who cannot get credit are at their limits or over.
    My credit rating is 793 and I bet I could get credit.
    How is credit a necessity?
    A person can survive very well without credit.
    That is our problem.
    Cindy Simmons

    February 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  20. Anonymous taxpayer

    Could we just not as a "world" of international affairs just erase all debt, currency, etc.. and start fresh?

    February 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  21. marissa

    why is all this money going to medicaid? what do the working class get? you know the people who actually do the spending and keep this economy going? and what about medicare? my grandmother has paid taxes all her life, now she struggles>>>

    February 23, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  22. Neo

    1. Can they have town hall meetings with Americans. They live and make decisions inside of their own bubble. Thus, they are out of touch.

    2. Can we have a receipt? Where does our money go?

    3. Why is the income tax rate, a variable rate?

    February 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  23. Mark

    Hey A/C,
    Dont know about you but my "consumer confidence" hasnt been budged by this stimulus package. It looks more like a way to keep the government afloat than the economy. Stocks are gonna keep dropping, no one is buying anything, and more people are going down the tubes. Looks like the average Guy/Gall is getting 14 bucks extra a week-Not even enough for gas money or a kids allowance, let alone an incetive to buy anything.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  24. MJ

    I am still amazed that we all keep pouring billions into the "insurance industry".
    Over the last decade, I've paid out tens of thousands for health, auto, home and supplemental insurance. When I was hit by an intoxicated, uninsured driver, I had to fight my own insurance agencies to have my car repaired, my medical costs covered (still over 6k out of pocket) and I was temporarily disabled and Aetna found a reason not to pay my supplemental insurance for my lost wages.
    Obviously no one bailed me out and I consider myself lucky to have been able to repair my life in a better economy.
    Instead of bailing out AIG or any other insurance agency, why don't we bail out our non-profit hospitals? It seems that our taxpayer billions would go a whole lot further if applied directly to the service. imho

    February 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  25. Stanley Brantley

    Dear CNN

    I have a government job and my job is secure. I am also a licensed builder with inverstment property. The propblem that I have is I can not get a loan to purchase more investment property or even get a mortgage on existing property.

    In the Detroit and Flint region, HUD is selling their property for pennies on the dollar. I was wondering if it would be smart to take money out of my 457 plan to purchase another home. I figured the return on the house will have quicker qains then leaving it in the stock market. For example: Housed that were worth $60,000 a few years ago are selling under $10,000. When and if the market rebound, that's a $50,000 gain in equity and $6,000 annually in income

    Would like to here your opinion
    Thanks

    February 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  26. G. Martinez

    Why don’t the media hold these ridiculous actors more accountable for the damage they do when they travel to countries that hate this nation of ours and sit at the table with some of the world's worst human right offenders?

    February 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  27. G. Martinez

    Why don’t the media hold these ridiculous actors more accountable for the damage they do when they travel to countries that have this nation of ours and sit at the table with some of the worst human right offenders?

    February 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  28. Dmariewrit

    For those Governors that refuse to implement the stimulus to help the unemployed could they be sued, i.e. could a class-action lawsuit forced them to do the right thing?

    February 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  29. Vicki Christina in Barcelona

    How do the 'celebrities' justify having parties like the Oscars and Heroes while the middle class and lower class are suffering? Why don't the celebs have a big fundraiser to bail out the economy?

    February 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  30. Alyce Barrett

    I still think the government should be pumping money into the taxpayer's pocket. We all need to pay off our credit cards, buy cars, pay our mortgages, pay for children's education and many more domestic needs. We then spend the money and pay the companies and banks. We are being told it is our money...why can't we spend it for the things we need, and not give it to the banks and ceo's? they are not loaning the money out or helping us. Let us decided how to spend the money...not them!

    February 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  31. Jackie in Dallas

    Ok, to address the initial commentary...
    Calling a rose or a skunk by any other name, does not change how it smells. Most industrialized countries in the world have nationalized banks, universal health care, and regulatory control over their stocks and bonds market, yet are actually doing better than we are currently. I don't give a flip WHAT we call it as long as the banks are finally run as a service provider for the people of the country rather than a profit/loss business for the benefit of their stockholders.

    That's been the problem all along...they are more concerned about the profits than they are about doing their job, which is to provide financial services to qualified people at a reasonable rate. We don't expect them to run at a loss - we aren't naive - but to ONLY be concerned with the bottom line is also the wrong attitude. And credit card companies...don't we have laws against usury rates? Isn't that what credit card companies are doing, charging even their good customers two and three times the interest rate that they should be charing?

    February 23, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  32. Blanca

    Why is it the government is doing little or nothing about the gouging of the small business owner by credit card companies like Discover, First Equity and the like who accept immediate payments yet hold on to the funds without releasing credit lines for 5 to 7 business days? Not only do these banks make money on the credit used but now they're making additional interest off of MY money by holding my payment in limbo while still withholding access to my credit line. Thus, my costs continue to rise and now I've got to go back to using cash. So much for helping the small business owner, ie., the "backbone of the US economy". This is NOT the way "it's always been" and, regardless of any prior disclosure, if this is legal, how can this be?

    February 23, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  33. bookbabie

    This is all so confusing and depressing. I'm guessing that we need both short-term and long-term solutions as well as some really smart, visionary, and non-partisan people to lead us out of this mess. The problem is that most of the people we placed our trust in, who held positions of influence and power, are still there pointing their fingers at one another in a blame game while all of us "little" people are going down the economic drain.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  34. Janet Black

    Rather than spend trillions of dollars for an economic stimulus package for business, how about just giving each American $1 million? This would only cost $305,879,233. What a jubilee this would create!!

    February 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  35. Jeannie Brooks

    I find it troubling that there are alot of people in the media firing up public resentment toward the recipients of The Housing Affordability...Plan as if they are all irresponsible and don't deserve to be bailed out with our taxpayer money.
    This strikes me as not just wrong, but counterproductive: many people in dire straights have gotten there thru no fault of their own, but as the result of an economy turning south. Many of us are just one event from disaster: job loss, health crisis, and from the general decline in economic stature and lack of safety nets, a situation which has been worsening over decades. It is w/in this context of decline that the housing bubble burst, -it's no wonder so many are struggling.

    Could you help us all understand what people are really facing by bringing in stories about responsible people who are feeling the pain through no fault of their own? Show whole towns which have seen all their local businesses (hair shops, bakeries, shoe stores...) decimated by the closing of a major industry, and subsequent foreclosure crisis such as the DHL closing in Ohio?

    Americans so easily pride themselves in our ability to come together in a crisis, to be willing to help those in need , like 9/11 brought us all together, to be charitable in our thoughts and deeds. I'm not seeing it now – and we desperately need to come together, put aside "What do I get?" attitudes. I'm seeing the media and the Reps appealing to our baser selves, and we need our better angels righ now...

    Can you help?

    Thanks so much for your show

    February 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  36. Anthonia-California

    Ali,

    If Obama stops the war in Iraq would that help benefit the economy, and the housing markets?

    February 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  37. Aki in Toronto, Canada

    It is clear that any money going to the Banks is not being distributed to the people, but instead being used to pay out Bonuses to CEO's, or should I say Retention Fee's. Why do we need to pay $10 million dollars to someone just so they stay at the Bank. In this economy you should be lucky to have a job, retention fee's are a joke. Isn't it the bankers anyway who got us into this mess, now we have to pay them $10 million dollars to get us out of it. What's wrong with this thinking, they just don't get it and shame on us for letting them get away with it.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  38. Judy

    Instead of questions, you should solicit answers. I think it would be a wonderful idea to set up on-line "SUGGESTION BOXES" on many of the current issues. It's time to encourage more problem solvers than complainers. It's time!!!

    February 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  39. Judy

    Many homeowners who pay their mortgages on time strongly against the government using taxpayer money to bail out irresponsible borrowers. Here is my suggestion to help cease the angers: Refinance the existing troubled mortgages at lower rate, the key is to also increase the TERM from 30 years to 45 year, or 60 years. With this, mortgagors are still responsible for the full amount borrowed. But because of the lower rate and longer term, the monthly payment will be a lot more manageable. One more note, add the refinance fees to the mortgage amount so the mortgagors are responsible for the fees as well.

    February 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  40. Melissa

    I have two questions about the 'stimulus package'

    Does this package address foreign aid that we give out annually? We spend so much money to keep our 'friends' happy and powerful, but shouldn't the well being of our citizenry trump that?

    Also, I am frustrated at the fact that people continually get rewards for irresponsibility while responsible people who are suffering get nothing. How does it make sense in a time of crisis to continue high interest rates on student loans as the Department of Education so gracefully does?

    February 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  41. Jeannie Brooks

    Thank you, Anderson, for clarifying why the stock market dropped last week: on CNN it was repeatedly attributed to Obama's Housing Affordability... Plan and conveyed as a lack of confidence in Obama's handling of the economy – falsely. CNN polls indicated just the opposite: favorability polls went up for Dems, down for Reps, and stayed high for Obama's gen't approval, and specifically, high for his handling of the economy. CNN reporting is out of touch with the reality here, and I find this very disturbing.

    Our confidence in this new administration is vital to our economic recovery- no confidence, no recovery – and it is unconscienable for CNN to play to the Republican efforts to undermine Obama's effiorts to straighten out the mess they made just for the fun of creating an entertaining debate. CNN has shown far too much crank, bad faith criticisms by a parade of Anti-Democrats, and not enough legitimate discussion about the merits of the plan. The steps Obama is taking are brilliant – we have every reason to have confidence in our future. Let's hear more from Obama's supporters, and less from the cranks.

    The real reason for the market reaction is that Wall St is looking for gov't to make them whole w/out any consequences for their failings. Wall St will take it out on the stock market with any proposal short of Geitner wheeling in a wheelbarrow full of free taxpayer cash to hand to them... Nationalization is going to be strenuously resisted.

    Pls do teach us more about what it means, how we return to privatization, and let's not let the Reps scare everyone to death, if in fact it turns out to be unavoidable, as there are many highly respected economists who say it might come to be we have no other option....

    February 23, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  42. Lilibeth

    I have a friend who has been laid off since October of last year. She has been trying very hard to find work, but hasn’t been successful. She worries that even with the passage of the stimulus bill, that she would not be able to find work before her unemployment benefits run out. What help is there for people like her?

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    February 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  43. Barbara

    How low can the NY Stock Exchange go, before it shuts down early during a day of trading.

    Thank you.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  44. Lilibeth

    What short- and long-term effects will the stimulus bill have on inflation and currency strength?

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    February 23, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  45. Lilibeth

    How about rewarding non-delinquent homeowners a lower fixed rate on their mortgage (e.g., 4% on 30-year fixed loan)? This would lower their monthly payments, thus giving them more money to spend on other things, thus stimulating the economy. Wouldn’t it make sense to implement something like this?

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    February 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  46. Joy

    Dear CNN ~ Anderson Cooper 360,
    You're so good at keeping them honest! Could you straighten out this misconception that all people who need mortgage restructuring were not irresponsible and did not lie about their income?
    I keep hearing the commentators make this point. Any way you could look into this or bring up the point that there are homeowners who were not irresponsible the way it's generally being represented?
    There are others out there like my daughter and son-in-law who saved for a house, did NOT misrepresent their income to the mortgage lenders, and have been paying just fine on their mortgage until the economy tanked. They have no savings or 401K or anything–it's been hard to save money over the past 5 years!
    I know there have to be a great many out there who really dislike being labeled as irresponsible or dishonest and lumped into one solitary group that way.
    Would you say a word or two (or more!) about those honest (underline honest) hard working people who, no fault of their own, are now in the need of help?
    It doesn't seem fair that the majority of the talking heads are representing them (I believe) dishonestly!
    There must be MANY who need restructuring for valid reasons–and they're not looking for a hand out, just a little temporary help! And my gosh, what ever happened to compassion for one another in this nation?!
    I hope you can represent this other group of honest homeowners on your show! I'll be watching and hoping you will.
    Thanks so much Anderson!
    PS– you show is great!

    February 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  47. Christina

    If the President's or Treasury's words can have such a huge effect on the market and investors, wouldn't speaking more confidently about the economy help drive the markets up? Letting people know that there is an even brighter light at the end of the tunnel..

    February 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  48. Marilyn from MO

    Ali,
    Who determines how much stimulus money goes to each state? Is it done by population or what needs the state has? If a governor decides not to take the money, can the state legislature over-rule him?

    February 23, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  49. mike in austin

    Investors keep selling off their stock equity and the stock markets are in a steady decline. Where are those investors putting their money?

    February 23, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  50. marjorie

    My thoughts on the economy,

    Why isn't the huge cost of the Iraq war being an issue with the current president? Why isn't he demanding that Iraq start paying the cost of this war? Why should we bear the cost alone? And now we are sending more troops to Afghanistan and at what cost to us will that entail?

    How can we support two wars and get ahead?? And also every war we fight we then pay for the recovery. It never ends. KEEP THE MONEY IN THE US FOR THE PEOPLE WHO NEED IT

    February 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
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