Americans are coping with a terrible trifecta of wealth destruction. Workers are being laid off in numbers never seen before - almost 600,000 jobs lost last month alone.
Retirement accounts have been sliced nearly in half.
President Obama and Congress are working on a stimulus package to reverse the downward spiral through big spending and big tax breaks.
Will it work? How quickly? We’ll examine the problems and explore the solutions in the next CNN Money Summit Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 11 p.m. ET.
But we want to know what you're thinking. Do you have a question for the CNN Money Summit team about your job, your home or your financial opportunities?
Did you find out about the CNN Money Summit on Facebook? If you did, let us know in your questions!!!
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/02/05/birdflu.virus/art.chickens.gi.jpg caption="Human-to-human transmission of avian flu is rare, but in some cases, the virus has passed from poultry to humans. There's a good chance Jack has confused bird flu with the common cold."]
AC360° Associate Producer
There is nothing worse than a drama queen. A thought that came to me as I lay in bed this morning clinging to life. You see, I am suffering from bird flu. All the signs are there. Headache, sore throat, runny nose. Definitely bird flu.
Have no fear, though, I am getting medical treatment. In fact, I did what anyone with nasal congestion should do: I called my doctor at 3am. Unfortunately, there must have been a problem with the phone line because as soon as I said, “Hi Doc, I’ve been coughing all night, I’ll need you to phone me in a prescription for twenty-five Vicodin,” I heard a dial tone.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/10/art.obamalive1.cnn.jpg caption="The President pushed for his economic stimulus package in Florida Tuesday."]
AC360° Senior Producer
Henrietta Hughes made an impact in the town hall meeting that President Barack Obama held in Fort Myers, Florida.
She told the President about the very small room her family lives in, adding “the housing authority has two years waiting list and we need something more than parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help.” The President said he’ll do what he can to help her, “there are a lot of people like you out there.”
The mayor of Fort Myers told CNN this morning that Ms. Hughes was offered a temporary home for her family as she awaits a permanent one. We’ll have more details on this for you tonight, as many of you wrote in after the show asking what happened following President Obama’s response that his staff would contact her.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/08/iran.khatami/art.khatami.file.afp.gi.jpg caption="Mohammad Khatami, in a photo from October, said Sunday he is running for Iran's presidency."]
AC360° Editorial Producer
A familiar face is back on the Iranian political scene. Former President Mohammad Khatami, once the darling of reformists, has announced that he will run for president in June elections against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who reversed many of the freedoms Khatami had allowed during his two-term rule.
The announcement by Khatami has stirred up politics in Iran, where many see the former reformist leader as having a real chance of winning against conservative hardliner Ahmadinejad. “The Iranian nation’s historical demand is to have freedom, independence and justice, and I will work for that,” Mr. Khatami said at the Sunday press conference in Tehran when he announced his candidacy.
Editor’s Note: Israel’s moderate Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s and her conservative rivals are both claiming victory in Israel’s elections. Exit polls show Livni’s Kadima Party edging out Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. The polls also show strong support for smaller hardline parties, though. And that could make it difficult for Livni to form a government.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/10/israel.elections.polls/art.livni.02.afp.gi.jpg caption="Kadima's Tzipi Livni won more support than was predicted in the Israeli elections. "]
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs
A scan of Arab media shows a region that’s very interested in Israel’s general elections. Here are some of the headlines in Arab newspapers: “Israeli Elections: Between the Right and the Right”, “Hardliners will dictate who wins Israeli polls” and “Exit polls give Livni a narrow lead.”
Israeli elections are leading news shows and online discussions. Residents of the Middle East are curious about the results but have no illusions about the future. The overwhelming majority believes that any Israeli government, new or old, won’t have their interest on its agenda. They do however acknowledge that “some Israeli leaders are worse than others.” As Abdel Wahhab Badrakhan writes in the UAE’s Al-Ittihad newspaper, fundamentalist candidate Avigdor Lieberman “would like to wipe Arabs out, Adolf Hitler style.” Badrakhan and others fear that someone like Lieberman joining the new government coalition will be devastating for all Arabs.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/11/art.vert.nicole.peck.jpg caption="A photograph of Nicole Peck from the City of Atascadero press release." width=292 height=320]
Nicole Peck was behind the wheel on the night of January 15th. A man named Adam Mayfield was her passenger. No one else was inside the Dodge Neon when it veered off the road and crashed into a bridge that Thursday morning.
Peck and Mayfield survived the single-car accident. Police say they were not injured. They are convinced both walked away. But only Mayfield returned home. What happened to Nicole Peck?
Here's what we know: According to the Atascadero Police Department, Peck wasn't reported missing until January 22, a full seven days after she vanished. Working on leads, search and rescue teams fanned out near the bridge looking for the 29-year-old woman. On February 8 at 10:50 a.m., they made the grisly discovery. Peck's body was found in a shallow pool of water, just a few hundred yards from the scene of the collision.
Reporter's Note: President Obama has asked Americans to help him with ideas on how to make our government operate better. Every day I write a letter with my best thoughts, which admittedly, are not much.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I’m getting into a twist over all these numbers. Hundreds of billions? Trillions? Scadillions? Uber-infinitillions? The money Washington is talking about every day now is simply mind-blowing. I suspect precious few elected officials can even keep track of it all.
So I am wondering if you could develop a simple, comprehensible meter of some sort for measuring the economy. Like that thing we’ve tried with the Homeland Security, only better. (I say better, because I’m not sure the HS system works so well. I mean, if the sign already says the threat level is HIGH, why do we need a color, too?)
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Program Note: Suze Orman's on AC360° to discuss how to keep your money safe.
Suze will be back on AC360° on Wednesday night to answer your economic questions? Do you have questions about the continued economic trouble and how President Obama's economic plan will change the market; affect your stocks, mutual funds, 401(k)… your job?
Suze's book, " Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan," is currently number one on the New York Times bestseller list and she answers these questions, and many more!
Submit your financial questions here for Suze Orman and watch AC360° to get them answered.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/10/art.obama.podium.jpg caption="Pres. Obama steps away from the podium after his press conference on his economic stimulus plan."]
CNN Senior Executive Producer
Now that President Obama has warned over and over that this economic crisis could turn into a “catastrophe” if Congress doesn’t act quickly on a stimulus package, I'm trying to get an image in my head of what “catastrophe” means.
The Oxford English Dictionary led me to a synonym - “cataclysm.” And right there at the top of “cataclysm” in the Oxford English Dictionary is this sentence: “A great and general flood of water, a deluge; esp. the Noachian deluge, the Flood.”
The ultimate example of a catastrophe or cataclysm may very well be the story of Noah and The Flood. Genesis 6:5 – 8:22. We are already experiencing a flood of job losses. Nearly 600,000 jobs cut last month, following a similar number in December, certainly qualifies as a deluge. As President Obama said accurately, our economic problems “are accelerating, not decelerating.”
Some Republican opponents of the stimulus plan say they’re more worried about a different kind of flood – a flood of taxpayer dollars being spent in ways that are not guaranteed to work – a flood of debt passed down to our children. That’s a legitimate fear that must be addressed. But there’s no questioning the flood we face right now.
Editor's Note: This information came from a source in a Republican Senate office that took part in the negotiations.
MORE THAN $43 BILLION IN TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS
$27 BILLION FOR HIGHWAY, ROAD AND BRIDGE INVESTMENTS
$8.4 BILLION FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT INVESTMENT
$2 BILLION FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL
$1.3 BILLION FOR FAA AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
$850 MILLION FOR AMTRAK
$250 MILLION FOR GRANTS TO STATES FOR INVESTMENT IN HIGH SPEED AND INNER CITY PASSENGER RAIL
$100 MILLION TO MARITIME ADMINISTRATION FOR ASSISTANCE TO SMALL SHIPYARDS
MORE THAN $76.8 BILLION IN EDUCATION INVESTMENTS
$39 BILLION FOR STATE FISCAL RELIEF TARGETED DIRECTLY FOR EDUCATION
$13.9 BILLION FOR PELL GRANTS
$13.5 BILLION FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING - This would bring the federal government closer to the promised 40 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure for every child in special education. This will help relieve the increasing burden at the local level to cover the rising costs of special education, and allow districts the flexibility to retain support staff and teachers in the classrooms where they are so desperately needed.
$10.4 BILLION FOR TITLE I– The additional investment in Title I is a critical investment towards children in poverty. As more and more children are classified as poor during this economic downturn, this substantial additional investment will help local school districts ensure that their academic needs are being met.
$6.4 BILLION FOR WATER AND SEWER INFRASTRUCTURE
MORE THAN $3 BILLION FOR JOB TRAINING
$3.25 BILLION FOR WORKFORCE INVESTMENT PROGRAMS
$160 MILLION FOR JOB CORPS
$87 BILLION IN TEMPORARY AND TARGETED MEDICAID RELIEF TO STATES
Leading economists have found that targeted aid of this sort will generate increased economic activity of $1.36 for every $1 spent. Moreover, with unemployment up, the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid also rises. Increasing the federal investment in Medicaid will shore up the safety net for those vulnerable families.
$5 BILLION FOR SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS TO PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES FOR CAPITAL NEEDS
$4.7 BILLION FOR STATE AND LOCAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY BLOCK GRANTS
$4.4 BILLION FOR SMART GRID to improve the reliability of electricity transmission grid
$2.9 BILLION FOR WEATHERIZATION PROGRAMS
$2 BILLION FOR ADVANCED BATTERY MANUFACTURING
$7 BILLION FOR LOAN GUARANTEES FOR STANDARD RENEWABLES
$800 MILLION FOR CONSTRUCTION OF PORTS OF ENTRY
$500 MILLION FOR FIREFIGHTERS ASSISTANCE GRANTS
$1.2 BILLION FOR NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION