On Monday, American Morning viewers responded strongly against former Vice President Cheney’s continued appearances on talk shows, calling him “irrelevant.” Both Democrats and Republicans believed him to be disingenuous on multiple fronts.
What do you think about former Vice President Cheney’s public appearances recently? Is he, as one viewer states, “irrelevant,” or are we only getting “partial information”? Do you believe he is representative of the Republican Party or has the party moved in a new direction?
Starting today, “American Morning” is bringing you a clever look at a number driving the day’s news about your money. We’re calling it Romans’ Numerals and we’re hoping you will play along and email, tweet and message us on Facebook about the numbers that matter to your money.
Our inaugural numeral – 16. It has to do with just how weak the jobs market is and just how many people are out of work. The unemployment rate is 8.9 percent, but almost 16 percent of the labor market is UNDEREMPLOYED, estimates economist Peter Morici of the University of Maryland. That includes people out of work, discouraged workers who have stopped looking and people who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time work.
You’ll hear a lot this week about credit card reforms and new rules to stop credit card issuers from jacking up your rates and other unpopular measures. At the same time, the banks are bracing for credit card defaults to skyrocket as the unemployment rate worsens. Millions of Americans are late on their cards, or not paying. Which brings me to our second Romans’ Numeral of the day – 59. 59% of people pay the credit card bill dead last when times are tight, according to creditcards.com.
Got a number that gives an offbeat angle to a money story? Send it our way.
A lot of you are asking about rising gas prices, perhaps still stung by those $4 a gallon gas prices that bled so many commuters dry last year. Yes, they are rising again - up 16 cents in a week, according to AAA. Don’t worry. Most analysts say this recent run-up is no stepping stone to $3 and $4 a gallon gasoline. The Energy Department expects a peak this summer around $2.30. Why are they up? Oil is obviously the starting point for gasoline, and oil prices are up 30% this year. But that’s because of money, not supply and demand. Investors are betting the economy will improve eventually. Gasoline demand has not gone up. For gasoline, demand fell off a cliff late last year as the economy cratered, and is now flat. Could it be that commuters – with $4 gallon prices still in the rear-view mirror – are conserving? Not likely. It’s because the economy is so dreadfully weak. "Demand is down because unemployment is at post-war highs and many people are driving on a 'must go' basis, with a minimum of discretionary use," says the Oil Price Information Service’s Tom Kloza. He says this “mini-bubble” is almost over.
But this weak economy won’t last forever. It’s one reason why gas prices are creeping up. Economist Conrad DeQuadros of RDQ Economics, says “it is probably reasonable to assume that vehicle miles traveled will begin to pick up again as the intensity of the recession diminishes.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/11/intv.moore.art.jpg caption= "Mark Moore was quarantined in a Hong Kong hotel for seven days."]
The number of deaths across the world linked to the H1N1 virus, or “swine flu,” has passed 50. China is now reporting its first infection. The Chinese have taken extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the flu strain.
In Hong Kong last week, nearly 300 people were quarantined inside a hotel after a guest got sick. Mark Moore was one of those quarantined guests. He spoke to Carol Costello on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday.
Carol Costello: You were in Hong Kong, in a very posh hotel, having a great time. And all of a sudden… what happens?
Mark Moore: To be honest, I didn't know what was happening. I was in my room doing e-mail and my brother called me and he said you realize your hotel is under quarantine the last two hours, which nobody had notified me. The whole hotel was locked down. Everyone in the hotel had to stay there.
Costello: What did you do when you got the word from your brother? I mean eventually the hotel management came and took you to a certain area. Tell us about that.
Moore: We were all tested. We had our temperatures tested. We were all taken to a common area, which I think some of us questioned because if there were sick people in the hotel, surely it would have been better to keep us in our rooms and test us individually in isolation. We were brought down to the mezzanine floor and we were tested en masse.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/11/carroll.homeless.art.jpg caption= "Princess Seyborn and her daughter live in a New York City public shelter where they are now being asked to pay rent."]
Imagine you're a single mother. You're living in a homeless shelter making barely enough at your job as a day care worker to feed your daughter and pay the bills. Now what would you do if that shelter suddenly told you in order to stay you had to pay rent? This is the reality for Princess Seyborn and hundreds of other working homeless families in New York City.
The city is starting to charge working homeless families like Seyborn to stay in the city's publicly run shelters. Seyborn now has to pay $345 dollars a month in rent. "I tried to explain it on my best behalf," Seyborn said. "I don't have it and all I'm getting is pens and paper in my face saying sign here and sign here, and I refuse to sign."
The policy is based on a 1997 state law, which requires shelter residents with jobs to use a portion of their earnings to pay rent. The amount varies according to family size and which shelter is being used.
So why is the city implementing the law now? One reason could have to do with the results of a 2007 state audit. The city was required to pay back $2.4 million in housing aid that should have been supplemented by working homeless families.