Signs of recession or recovery?

May 28, 2009 1:39:11 PM PDT
Trying to follow the numbers about this recession can be a dizzying experience.

A record number of total jobless claims - yet economists say the worst may be behind us.

Say what?

Home sales are up, but now an industry report says a record 12% of homeowners in the U.S. are either behind in their mortgage payments or face outright foreclosure.

And now Pres. Obama says many of his programs and policies instituted in his first four months in office are now working.

Maybe they are. But for folks out of work, or working and fearing for their jobs, the worst may not be over. Unemployment is expected to top out at 10% later this year or early next - and while the recession may be officially over by then, the financial suffering will not be.

We'll have the latest on the economy, tonight at 11.

We're also taking a sneak peek at the President's announcement tomorrow about his new cybersecurity plan, including a new Cybersecurity Czar. Mr. Obama insists that cyberspace remains a major vulnerability for the U.S. -- the stuff of science fiction once upon a time, is apparently a real danger in 2009. We'll take a look at just how vulnerable we all are. (And how many of us do our banking and shopping online these days? Lots, is the answer.)

And here's some food for thought: Multi-racial Americans are now the fastest growing demographic group. The latest census estimates show the number of multi-racial Americans rose about 3.4 percent last year - to more than 5 million, and they now comprise about 5% of the ethnic minority population. The states with the most multi-racial people: California, Texas, New York and Florida.

Talking about melting pot within a melting pot.

And thanks to all of you who wrote in to respond to my column last night about the role of money in politics, specifically, Congressman Anthony Weiner's dropping out of the New York Mayor's race because of the free-spending by billionaire incumbent Michael Bloomberg.

Your responses are down below.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

And now, your responses:

"Unfortunately, people with money are heard more than those without. But in the case of NYC, I believe that Bloomberg has done a wonderful job. It is a shame that his wealth may be blinding his efforts."

Jackie Copeland
Bridgewater, NJ

"Where is the level playing field as Democracy demands. Zip, nada, none. Mike Bloomberg's billions allows him to change the will of voters as he did with the term limits, or change the will of jurors, when he and corporations counsel influenced a Supreme Court Judge to reverse a jury verdict which held an NYPD officer and the City liable for false arrest and malicious prosecution, as he did with my case; Mike Bloomberg and his billions means he will secure a third term, unless voters finally wake up to the fact that Mike Bloomberg respects and works on behalf of no one, but Mike Bloomberg."

Ayodeji Babalola
Brooklyn

"Money may be the milk in politics, but I say there are poisons that may look like milk. I would like to see things go back to a simpler and more honest time when candidates struck out on their merits, not their bank accounts. Less glitz and glam, more substance! I used to think it was great that businessmen rather than the politically entrenched won the mayoral vote in NYC and the governorship of NJ; I'm beginning to rethink that position. Such have made it clear that money is no object...especially if they win, and they have plenty to pull from their deep pockets. I think it's better for a real "Democracy" to let the people speak and raise money for those they support. It might cut the glam and increase the need to substantively addressing the issues. In a nutshell, don't buy me off; let me hear what you *really* have to offer."

Peace,
Lee Storm (One of the poor folk!)
Madison, NJ

" Just like so many other things in life,Bill,if its the RIGHT rich person then money is good for politics.If its the WRONG rich person then money is no good for politics. Which I guess boils down to its more than just their personal wealth.And I guess you can also apply this reasoning to Donald and Ivana Trump and their marriage."

Donna Stec
Westfield, NJ

"I voted for Bloomberg when he ran for his first term. My thinking at the time was that he would be a hugely positive influence for residents of NYC of all races in the aftermath of Rudolph Giuliani. I also thought that a successful businessman like him would be a wonderful plus in managing the city in a professional manner -- not based on personal ideals. I hated that Giuliani tried to change the rules after 9/11 to stay on as mayor. That said, I disagree with Bloomberg changing the rules half way through the game so he could run for a third term. I think his ego (his $) is getting in the way of him seeing things clearly...certainly causing him to have some amnesia! Shades of the famous Giuliani ego? I know he's a generous man, giving millions to charity. Maybe, and I don't know what it may be, but maybe there's some another way -- not as Mayor -- that he could make an impact here and help people at the same time? Give someone else a chance."

Minni Balaguer
Bronx

"I too have been receiving several flyers a week from hizzoner and most of them are outright falsifications of his activities these past 7+ years. (He seems to have suddenly discovered the middle class!)..but more than that, I am not impressed with all these $1 a year men. I'd much rather pay my elected officials to do the job they were elected to do. And I don't agree that this Mayor isn't beholden to anyone. I believe he has been paying off debts to those who helped him make his millions for 7+ years at the city's (and my)expense! Which is why I will not vote for him no matter who his opponent is. I am tired of autocrats in office whatever party they represent on any given day."

Lois C Schwartz
New York


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