Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
It's Day Two of our special CNN series Road to Rescue. We are breaking down this economic crisis and giving you the information you need to survive.
CNN's Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis is on Twitter today and answering your questions throughout the show. Follow us at twitter.com/amfix.
Here's some of what's on the show today:
- Outrage and anger are the watchwords in Washington when it comes to AIG. And that was before it was revealed that executives of the company that received $173 billion in bailout money is handing out $165 million in bonuses to the very people whose incompetence led to the world-wide financial crises. The government agrees that paying bonuses to AIG executives is outrageous, but they also say their hands are tied because they say these are legal, binding contracts. It's as though the American people are being held hostage to the same people who caused the crisis. But some say, wait a minute. If auto worker unions, who did nothing wrong, are being forced to consider massive givebacks, why can't AIG?
- Crisis help lines have been getting flooded with calls from people trying to cope with their problems, now largely driven by their economic woes. These centers have seen call volumes rise, and the need for more volunteers to help answer them. The calls range from depression about the economy, personal financial issues, and even as severe as contemplating suicide. We go to one crisis center in DC to get a firsthand look at their busy call center and their recruitment and training efforts for volunteers
- Rock-Bottom Housing? How bad is it? The median price of a home sold in the United States fell to $170,300 in January, down 26 percent from a year and a half earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. How much worse could it get? The Federal Reserve estimates home prices could fall 18 to 29 percent more by the end of 2010. Declines will probably be less severe in cities with healthier economies that don't have a glut of unsold homes, like Tulsa, Okla., and Wichita, KS
- A new phenomenom in unemployment circles. The so-called survival job. Paul Semenza lost his job as a lawyer and is now selling Sofa's to make ends meet. It’s not his dream job, but it pays the bills.
- What price is beauty for a recessionista? Well in some cases, the price is too much. Some hair salons are reporting a sharp down-swing in appointments while some of the bargain shops are seeing a surge. Who doesn’t want a $10 haircut?
- Rhode Island is suffering from one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, but a state housing group is trying to turn it around. Rhode Island Housing is heading an initiative called KeepSpace, which is helping turn around distressed communities, one house at a time.
- How does $780 billion dollars get to your town? Well, if you live in Maryland, you can attend a workshop and find out. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley set up a series of these workshops for local leaders so they could learn how to get their money fast.
- There is one clear beneficiary of these tough economic times... the FBI. One month ago the agency announced a hiring blitz, looking for everything from fingerprint examiners, to IT specialists, to car mechanics for their fleet of vehicles. They have 2,100 jobs open but the response has been overwhelming. More than a quarter million applications so far!
- Is the recession being used as an excuse to lay off women working on Wall Street? That’s what some former female employees of Citigroup think. They were laid off in November and have recently filed charges of gender discrimination with the EEOC.
- Sam Lippert owns the Java Street Cafe in Kettering, Ohio – a suburb of Dayton. He is a small business owner who was suffering due to the economy so a week ago Wednesday he decided to let customers pay what they believe is a fair price for items on his menu. He joins us live.
- Christie Hefner, Fmr. Chairman & CEO of Playboy Enterprises, and Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com join us to discuss the outrage against AIG over bonuses. What are CEOs saying about the recent populist rage against Wall Street? Are they worried about the long-term impact this could have on business?
- John Wilson, a small business owner from Raleigh, NC, joins us to discuss President Obama's lifeline to small business owners. The President outlined a plan to help them during a White House meeting with a select group of small business owners. John Wilson participated in the meeting and is optimistic that Pres. Obama's plan will loosen liquidity and allow his cabinet business to grow.