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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Recession Survival Guide; Young People Speak Out on the Election
Aired February 8, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, money 911 -- tough times call for sound advice and we've got it.
Where do put your cash now?
How do you save for the future?
How can you make up for mistakes of the past?
Our financial experts will have the answer.
KING: The stars are out and they want you to vote. John Legend, will.i.am and America Ferrer. They're all here with a simple message -- take part, have a say, cast your ballot, elect.
To watch it all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
The youth are out and they're taking no prisoners. And we're not either.
We welcome America Ferrer, the actress known for her TV role as "Ugly Betty". She's has -- boy, is that a misnomer -- she is national co-chair of Hillblazers, the Clinton campaign's youth outreach program. She has campaigned across the country for Hillary and with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
Also with us is will.i.am, the Grammy Award-winning artist, producer and member of the group, the Black Eyed Peas. He has written and produced a song inspired by Barack Obama. It's called "Yes We Can". It appears in a music video. You will see excerpts of it. It's really extraordinarily done.
And John Legend, the five time Grammy-winning artist. He's a Barack Obama supporter and also appears in that music video, "Yes We Can," inspired by Obama.
What got you out this year, America?
AMERICA FERRER, STAR, "UGLY BETTY," CO-CHAIR, "HILL-BLAZERS": Well, you know, I think I, along with all young voters this year, realized that this is probably going to be one of the most important elections of our lifetime. After seven years of the current administration, I think people are ready to get up and have a voice and be a part of a new, fresh start.
KING: New for you?
FERRER: New for?
KING: To do this?
FERRER: New for me to get involved?
FERRER: This is the first time I'm getting involved to this extent, yes.
KING: What does you in, Will?
WILL.I.AM, FRONTMAN, BLACK EYED PEAS, PRODUCER, "YES WE CAN" MUSIC VIDEO: Well, I was involved last election. I supported Kerry really heavily -- Black Eyed Peas and myself. We rallied and rallied up and down America. And this time, because of the last eight years, I was discouraged. I didn't really believe in politics and what they say. And this time I was really motivated by Barack. He made me believe again that I can change and help change America.
KING: And did you inspire this video?
Is this your baby?
WILL.I.AM: Yes. Me and the...
KING: We'll see a clip in a minute.
KING: But it's your inspiration?
WILL.I.AM: Well, inspired by Barack, yes.
KING: Yes, by Barack. But you picked up, musically?
KING: Barack didn't do the rap.
JOHN LEGEND, PERFORMER, "YES WE CAN" MUSIC VIDEO: He did the rap.
WILL.I.AM: He did the rap. We put the melody on it and I produced it and thought of changing his speech into a hymn, a song and doing a video and putting on an act.
KING: John, do you tend to get involved in campaigns?
LEGEND: This is the first campaign I've gotten this involved in. But I -- I've done a few things before and I've been pretty politically involved before. But I've gotten involved to this extent.
KING: Do you think can you get young people out to vote?
They tend not to.
LEGEND: Yes, that's the -- that's rap on young people. But I think young people are proving that rap wrong this time. And I think part of it is because they realize that these elections really do matter, especially when their friends or cousins or their family members are going off to war. They realize that who you elect to these major offices is really going to make a huge difference and they want to be involved in that decision.
KING: Let's see a bit of this video. It's -- the video is called "Yes We Can". It's inspired by Barack Obama.
(VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY DIPDIVE)
KING: I know you're supporting the other candidate, America, but what do you think of this?
FERRER: I think it's great. I think it's a beautiful video and, you know, I think anyone getting involved is better than not getting involved. You know, on my -- in my experience on the campaign trail, really getting face-to-face with young voters in bars at happy hour on college campuses and vocational schools, you know, I really feel like what young people want are answers. And what they want are solutions. And what they want are details about how is my life going to change after -- you know, after January 20, 2009, what's going to change in my life?
And so I've had the pleasure of really getting to be an agent of information for those young people and saying, you know, what's important to you and what do you need to know to make your decision easier?
KING: And the message we're delivering tonight, right, is vote. We're not endorsing a candidate here, even though you all are for a candidate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's to vote.
KING: The concept is to go and vote.
WILL.I.AM: To go out and vote and know that you are powerful. The most powerful people on the planet right now is the youth. And they have to know that and believe that.
KING: Yes. Because if they don't believe it -- if you don't have -- if you have the power, if you don't believe it, you don't have it.
WILL.I.AM: Yes. So that's what that speech did to me. It made me believe again. And I wanted to take all that was brewing up in me and give it back to the youth. KING: How did they get you into the video, John?
LEGEND: Will asked me to do it. And Will and I, we've worked together a lot, so we're already friends. We've made a lot of good music together. And I'm already a big Barack fan, also, and a big supporter of what he's doing. And between Will asking me and it being about Barack Obama and that beautiful speech, it was a no-brainer for me.
KING: And it's all built around the speech, right?
Now you, America, a Hillary supporter, you even got to interview Hillary, right?
KING: Let's watch a clip of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERRER: What advice did your mother give you that you never forgot, that was the best advice she gave you to get through all of the difficult times where you put yourself in the line of fire?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I was just a really little girl. She said you have to believe in yourself. You have to know that you're the only person who can get up every morning and decide how you feel about yourself and how you feel about the world. And you have to really respect what you can do in life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Why do you like her, America?
FERRER: You know, I like -- I think what the real question is, is, you know, what I do like about her policy and what she can bring to this country. And, you know, I look at what she's done in her lifetime and I think you know, I don't need to put blind faith into this candidate. There is proof as to where she has spent her time not being president. And you hope that they're going to take that into the White House.
And, you know, she's been consistent champion for education, for health care. And when the woman gets knocked down, the woman gets back up and she keeps on going. And to me, I find a lot of inspiration and a lot of hope out of that.
What inspires you about Barack, Will?
WILL.I.AM: I'm from East Los Angeles, in the projects. And I got bussed out to a very good school. And that was made possible by people that believe that poverty-stricken areas need education. So I got bussed out.
And Barack reminds me of the people that fought for those things, for me to have the abilities. And because of that, going to Palisades and living in East Los Angeles, which is predominantly Mexican -- we're the only black family in our neighborhood -- I was able to see what I could potentially be and so I started a group called the Black Eyed Peas and we traveled the world.
And I see what the world and how the world looks at America. After the tsunami, I went to Banda Aceh on March 15th for tsunami relief. And last October, I visited Indonesia and I saw how they're recovering -- a Third World country, 75 percent recovered from far more water damage than Hurricane Katrina.
And it makes me look at America and what America has to, as a people, show the world how we want to change. And that's what I like about Barack Obama.
KING: We're going to take a break and come back with more.
Do you think the voting age, by the way, should be lowered or raised or stay the same?
That's the quick vote now on our Web site -- CNN.com/larryking. Head there now and vote.
We'll continue talking about the youth vote when LARRY KING LIVE returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We obviously have geared up to reach out to young people, to let them know that I'm not just worried about the next election, I'm worried about the next generation.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We all right bringing in a whole generation of new voters, which I think is exciting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO CLIP FROM "OBAMA GIRL," COURTESY "OBAMA GIRL")
KING: Now, there's an example, group, the "Obama girl"...
KING: ...of getting the youth out to vote -- except she didn't vote.
FERRER: She didn't vote?
KING: She didn't vote.
Is this a classic example of the youth getting excited and then not doing something?
LEGEND: Well, I mean it's happened in the past. You know, you've heard about the youth vote...
KING: It sure has.
LEGEND: ...and then people not actually voting. But it appears to be wrong this time. I think people really are voting. I think they really feel like this is important this time.
KING: So she's an anomaly?
LEGEND: I think so.
WILL.I.AM: Larry, I think you have to -- there's a big difference on people taking advantage of a hot situation and making theirself famous about that, you know?
I'm not saying that's what the "Obama Girl" is doing, but if she didn't vote, then maybe that proves what her intentions are.
FERRER: I think it takes far more than a message of change and hope to really get people out. Like I think that it takes telling people how this is going to really change their lives that's going to get them up and get them to the polls and get them voting.
KING: Yes. Not slogans.
FERRER: Not slogans. No.
WILL.I.AM: Well, slogans, I mean I think it's a little bit...
LEGEND: Selling the message.
WILL.I.AM: Like "Yes We Can".
LEGEND: It's selling the message short if you just say it's just about the slogan...
LEGEND: ...because I think people are responding to an individual who appears to have integrity and character and has more substance than just a slogan. It's more it's a good speech.
KING: It's more about what "Yes We Can" means, right...
KING: ...than just being...
KING: Candidates have been using shows like "The Colbert Report" to go after the youth vote.
Let's watch Mike Huckabee give it a shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE COLBERT REPORT," COURTESY COMEDY CENTRAL)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST: What you're hoping to take next?
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think we have a real shot at a big state -- Texas.
You think can you score with Texas?
HUCKABEE: Yes, indeed.
COLBERT: Let's see if you can win with Texas.
HUCKABEE: Game on.
You keep hitting it, but it won't go in.
HUCKABEE: I think you cheated. I think that Texas is bigger than the hole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now that's healthy fun I guess, right?
But it humanizes the candidate, doesn't it?
FERRER: Right. But I don't think that's going to get people to get out and vote for Huckabee.
LEGEND: I think sometimes -- but I think we've made mistakes in the past where it was just about, you know, would I like to have a beer with the person or does that person seem like they're fun?
But I mean this is life and death sometimes, when you have a president in office and their decisions have a huge impact on the way you live. So it should be a little bit more about, you know, what they're actually going to do in office than how funny or fun they are.
KING: Do you think we're going to see a huge turnout?
WILL.I.AM: With the youth?
Yes. And if I'm saying -- talking to the youth right now -- it's important that you guys go out and vote, because this is the probably the only time where it means something for you guys. We don't know if we're going to have an election like this again. So you guys are going to define what America means tomorrow. It's your America tomorrow. It isn't the people that's running it, it's yours tomorrow. So your decisions affect how comfortable and what America means when you guys are these people's age.
LEGEND: And I feel like we have real choices that we can be excited about. I think before in elections, you know, sometimes people felt like they were choosing the lesser two of evils or it wasn't something that they got inspired by. But I really feel like we have choices that we can be excited about this time.
FERRER: Yes. And it's...
KING: It's been a phenomenal year.
FERRER: It's been a great year. And I think that, you know, the real important thing to know here is that it isn't about Barack Obama and it isn't about Hillary Clinton -- who they are as people, who makes you laugh, who makes you feel comfortable or -- it's about -- it's about what they're going to bring to this country and how they're going to change the people's lives. Being on the campaign trail, I think that's the question. It's like how is this going to change my day to day life?
KING: I'm going to take a...
I'm sorry. Go ahead.
KING: We're going to take a break. We'll be back.
If you haven't gotten the message, voting isn't just a right, it's your duty. If you need some inspiration, here's some more star power to get you going all the way to the polling place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELINA JOLIE: Even now, I'm looking to see who I'm going to vote for next. I'm learning so much about myself, about our foreign policy, about the world abroad, about what it is that helps us all come clear and can focus about what we want to support and what we want to see and what we expect.
SNOOP DOGG: I feel like now I'm trying to get people aware to vote because, you know, in the past, I felt like, you know, my vote didn't count. But I feel like now that, you know, if we do get a new president and new people in office, that our vote will matter and we have people now in positions that they will listen.
KING: When was the first time you voted? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last year.
KING: You were 26?
That's fair, 25.
Was it governor, president?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President.
KING: We don't have to ask you who you voted for.
KING: We hope you know it's important to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely.
KING: So you started at 25?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KING: Hey, Kid Rock, do you remember the first time you voted?
KID ROCK: I don't remember what I had for lunch.
KING: Who was the first president you voted for?
KID ROCK: Probably like Bush. I'm not sure.
KING: Bush one?
KID ROCK: You know, I don't (INAUDIBLE).
What do you got be to vote, 18?
KID ROCK: Yes.
And who was president in '89?
KING: Bush one.
KID ROCK: Yes. I think I voted for him. I don't think I voted that year.
KING: But you're voting every time now?
KID ROCK: Yes.
KING: Especially with all you've done with going to Iraq and the like.
KID ROCK: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Reduce our dependence on foreign oil, eliminate it over time. And we can do it.
Don't we owe these young people a planet that's not damaged?
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unfortunately, the next generation of young Americans won't have it as good unless we get some leadership in this country that restores that sense of resilience and hope and optimism again in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: America Ferrer, will.i.am and John Legend remain.
We're joined now in Washington by Alexandra Acker. She's national executive director of Young Democrats of America. And in Houston by Jessica Colon, who is chairman of the Young Republican National Federation.
On your side of the ledger, Alexandra, are the young getting excited?
ALEXANDRA ACKER, YOUNG DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA: They sure are. And we're seeing a real continuation of the trend that started in 2004, when young people came out in record numbers -- again in 2006. They are energized. They are engaged. They're paying attention to this election like never before. And good news for me -- they're voting overwhelmingly for Democrats.
KING: Jessica, what's the Republican side of the ledger vis-a-vis the young?
JESSICA COLON, YOUNG REPUBLICAN NATIONAL FEDERATION: Well, what's great about the Republican candidate -- the Republican candidates and the young Republican voters -- the young Republican votes have voted for every -- nearly every winner in every primary thus far, whereas the Democratic youth voters have really focused all their energy on Barack Obama.
What if Senator Obama isn't the nominee?
Are those young voters going to come back to the polls?
What the young Republican voters are showing is that, yes, they're going to stand behind the nominee into the general election.
FERRER: That's not necessarily true.
KING: What were you saying?
FERRER: About the youth vote being primarily for Obama. The youth vote was a huge part of Hillary's win in New Hampshire, in California and also in Massachusetts, just on Super Tuesday. So there is a huge portion of youth votes going to Hillary, as well, so.
LEGEND: She's like Obama's...
COLON: But it's not (INAUDIBLE)...
LEGEND: Obama is winning the majority of young people. He's beating Hillary and young people -- but I don't think it's necessarily true that young people won't vote for Hillary in the general election if she wins. I don't think that's necessarily true.
KING: What do you make, Jessica, of this whole young drive going on?
COLON: Well, this is -- this is the election of our lifetime, as America said earlier. The last time we had an open primary like this was 32 years ago, in 1976. But this has been -- this is where the Generation X and Y get in there and we get to decide who is going to lead us into our next move forward here and to the new generation. So we really are defining the new political landscape. So it's a very exciting time for the young voter in America right now and certainly to be a young Republican.
KING: Alexandra, is Barack driving this?
ACKER: I think he's capitalizing on the movement that we saw start really four years ago. I mean he's really prioritized young people in his campaign, as has Hillary. Young people are voting three to one for Democratic candidates. They voted 10 points for Democrats in 2004. They're voting overwhelmingly for Democrats in Congressional races, in state legislatures.
So we're really seeing an amazing young voter revolution happening, where young people are voting in record numbers, voting for Democrats. They understand the stakes of this election. You know, this isn't a game.
ACKER: This is about the future of our country. They are paying attention to the issues. They are engaged and they want change.
COLON: Right. And, you know, it's interesting to look at -- the Democratic turnout, overall, has been much higher than the Republican turnout in these primaries. And that follows a cyclical situation when you look at an incumbent president. The same thing happened to the Republicans in 2000. Coming out of Democratic incumbency, we saw record numbers in the Republican vote in the primaries.
What's important to recognize here -- and follow me on this one -- is that the overall share of the electorate for the young voter is essentially the same on the Republican and the Democratic side. So, overall, the average turn out for young voters is about 13 percent, 18 to 29, in the primaries that we've seen thus far. And that follows suit in the Republican and the Democratic primary. KING: All right...
ACKER: Jessica is giving us such a good college try on that one.
KING: One at a time.
COLON: Oh, it's true -- and the CNN exit polls themselves.
KING: We have a King Cam question.
Let's check in with one of the viewers on the street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I go to Hamilton College and I am graduating in about 15 weeks, which is scary enough. But now there's all this talk about the recession and the economy and no one is going to get any jobs and we're all going to be on the street.
So which candidate is going to most help someone in my situation or anyone who is looking for a job at this time?
KING: I imagine the answers will not be objective.
KING: Will.i.am, who do you recommend she vote for?
WILL.I.AM: I recommend she votes for Obama because I think a lot of American-made things will be turned back and made in America. And I believe Obama to change America. It's not just like -- I don't think they're slogans. I really believe in his change.
KING: And I must ask a question, while she's here, of America.
What do you hear about the writers strike?
FERRER: About the writers strike?
KING: You're affected by it.
FERRER: I really want to answer that question.
FERRER: But I'll tell you, I mean I -- I don't know. I've heard positive things and that it might be over.
KING: It might end this weekend, maybe?
FERRER: Hopefully. I mean we've been hearing that for weeks now. But I think that this weekend is positive. KING: You've been out a long time.
FERRER: Oh, we've been out too long, yes.
KING: Do you want to answer...
FERRER: But can I answer that question?
KING: You may.
FERRER: Well, you know, I can say that, you know, a big part of Hillary's campaign has been reaching young voters and letting them know that she has a really wonderful plan for making college more affordable and for making paying back student loans easier. Because, you know, we all know we take out student loans to go to college. We spend the next 10 years being indentured servants to just pay our student loans back.
And also making sure that there are jobs on the other side of that. She's talked extensively about greening our economy, greening the country, creating millions of jobs off of being environmentally sound. And, you know, I could go into great detail about the plan she has for raising Pell Grant levels, tax incentives, having civil jobs -- have the service itself pay down your student loans.
LEGEND: I think basically we need to vote for somebody that will invest in the future and was not only concerned about, you know, getting votes right now, but is truly concerned about the future. And one of those things, as she was saying, is about investing in education. And it's not a popular thing for presidents to deliver on. They talk about it, but they don't often deliver on it, because the youth vote isn't a powerful lobby until we actually vote.
LEGEND: That's (INAUDIBLE) the vote.
KING: Will.i.am, by the way, also has a foundation dedicated to social activism, the Peapod Foundation, right?
WILL.I.AM: The Peapod Foundation.
KING: The Peapod Foundation.
You can get more information at Peapodfoundation.org.
What does it, quickly, do?
WILL.I.AM: Well, what it does is, you know, a member in the Black Eyed Peas is a foster child from the Philippines. And he was adopted and brought to America to go to school. He met me and when we started a group.
So what we wanted to do with the Peapod Foundation is give back to orphans and kids in foster homes. So we built in Watts-Willowbrook, in Watts, we built them a studio with green screen high definition cameras, pro-tools (ph) so they could make music and content and put it up on the Internet, similar to what I did with the "Yes We Can" song.
What that means is that you are powerful. You have the tools -- these young kids, they're not -- they're not stupid. And they're not -- they're so -- they're so intelligent that when a celebrity gets up there and tells them to vote, they know that it's all -- it could be propaganda.
WILL.I.AM: So what the Peapod Foundation is, it's putting power back in the youth.
KING: And if you want more information, Peapodfoundation.org.
Our new pod cast is available for downloading at CNN.com/larryking or iTunes. It's Snoop Dogg -- the man who put the isamal (ph) in foshisimal (ph).
KING: Talking about family, business and politics. It's just my speed. The Snoop Dogg pod cast available at CNN.com/larryking or on iTunes
When he we come back, Snoop Dog the money -- if you've got any level. We'll have an all star panel to help you with your finances during rocky times.
Don't go away.
KING: And now we at Larry King are going to help you do your thing in the world of finances. Hope we can help you out.
In New York, Gerri Willis, personal finance editor, CNN business news. Her new book is "Home Rich." And she is host of CNN's "OPEN HOUSE," Saturday mornings at 9:30.
In Nashville, Tennessee, Dave Ramsey, noted financial expert, best-selling author of "The Total Money Makeover."
And in Phoenix, Robert Kiyosaki, the investor and businessman, co-author with Donald Trump of "Why We Want You to Be Rich." It's now out in paperback, and with him, his lovely wife, is Kim, Kim Kiyosaki, a professional investor. She, too, is a best-selling author of "Rich Woman: A Book on Investing for Women Because I Hate Being Told What to Do."
Let's go around.
Ms. Willis? GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Yes?
KING: Do we have a recession now?
WILLIS: I think we do. I think we do.
There seems to be a lot of agreement out there that the economy is falling. People certainly seem nervous.
Consumer confidence is at its lowest level since we went into the Iraq war. Lots of concerns out there.
And you can't blame Americans. You've seen what's going on in the housing market. That is folks' biggest asset -- Larry.
KING: Will this boost which the president will sign any moment going to help, Dave?
DAVE RAMSEY, HOST, "THE DAVE RAMSEY SHOW": Well, I'm not real stimulated by it.
KING: Why not?
RAMSEY: Well, the surveys are telling us that 46 percent of people are saying that they're going to pay off debt with it. Another 20-some-odd percent are saying that they're going to save it. And so we've got 74 percent of the American public saying they're not going to put it into the economy.
Besides that, it's $600. I mean, and it's not -- it's a political move. They're trying to just get their -- you know, trying to prove that Washington can fix our problems all the time. And -- because we are in a political season, and so both parties are attempting to kind of keep that in front of us.
KING: Kim, why are retail sales so bad?
KIM KIYOSAKI, AUTHOR, "RICH WOMAN": Well, I think with all the talk of the economy right now, people are getting a little nervous. And as Dave said, if you get $600 or $1,200, I think the smart thing to do would be to save it or to pay off your credit card debt. I think people are just getting a little nervous.
There's a lot of negativity out there right now. So I think that's affecting retail sales.
KING: So, Robert, if they don't spend it, which is the purpose of both the Democrats and the Republicans, saying you're supposed to spend it, if that defeats the purpose, do we stay in recession?
ROBERT KIYOSAKI, INVESTOR AND BUSINESSMAN: Well, I think the economy is slowing down. And I don't know if there is a recession or not.
You know, as husband and wife, she thinks it's getting bad, and I think it's getting good. So typical of married couples. We don't always agree.
But I think it's not going to help that much simply because what's $600? I mean, they're not going to give me any money. But I would take the money if they gave it to me.
KING: But do you think $600 is not enough?
R. KIYOSAKI: I don't think it makes much of a difference. It adds to our national debt. And as my friend Donald Trump says, they're going to take that $600, they're going to go to Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart is going to ship it to China. So what does it help, you know?
Then what, Gerri Willis, is the answer?
WILLIS: Well, I think people have to find their own solutions right now. There is one good bit in the economic stimulus plan.
They're going to change the limits on jumbo loans. So, if you have a very big home loan out there, let's say more than $417,000, you could get a new loan for a lower rate after the stimulus package passes.
But for most of us out there, we're going to have to find our own solutions, make the right decisions, pay down that credit card debt, make sure we're safe in our jobs, because that's the big threat of recession. Employers start retrenching, and that's a big threat to people out there who rely on that paycheck every week.
KING: Are you therefore, David, pessimistic?
RAMSEY: No, I'm not pessimistic. I mean, yes, the economy has slowed down. But as we talked last time we were on the air with you, a recession is when the gross domestic product retreats, recedes for two consecutive quarters.
That is the economic textbook definition of a recession. And we do have a slow GDP, and housing, Gerri is right, is the cause of that. But housing only represents 4.5 percent of our economy.
Exports are 13.5 percent, and they're up. And flat screen sales for the Super Bowl were up 50 percent. So where is the recession?
I mean, yes, things are slow. And we've got some problems. But they -- there are other elements around the economy that are still moving.
And again, as I said last time, I would love to be Robert and Kim right now. It's a great time to buy some real estate.
KING: What about job losses, Kim?
K. KIYOSAKI: Well, I think, again, with the stimulus plan, it's not going to do much to bring new jobs. And I believe, too, that, you know, right now it could be a recession. But look at the individual.
And this is an opportunity for the individual to say, where am I? Am I individually in a recession? And if so, what do I need to do?
And it's really a time to take a look and say, hey, no matter what happens with the politicians and Congress, this is a time for me to say, what do I need to do individually to take charge of my finances and get educated and take control, and not depend on the government and not depend on some stimulus policy?
RAMSEY: You know, that's true...
KING: We'll take a break. Hold right there, Dave.
We'll take a break. We'll be right back with more and our stimulating panel.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in a period of economic uncertainty, and we've acted again.
I want to thank the members for passing this good piece of legislation which I will sign into law next week. I want you all to understand that this bill reflects our principles.
It is robust. It is pro-growth. It stimulates business investment. And it puts money in the hands of the American consumers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with our panel.
Here's an email from Dominik, Summerville, South Carolina.
"What gives the government the authority to send me a rebate if I don't want one or need one? Why don't they help the people who really need the money? Why don't they educate big business on how to budget and not be so greedy? Finally, all the money the government spends to get elected, why not use the money and fix the system?"
Robert, you want to take that?
R. KIYOSAKI: Well, he's got a very good point there. And I don't -- it's not going to fix the system, and this is just a Band- Aid.
But let me make one point. I don't know what people are complaining about. I know there's two kinds of people. There's investors and there's workers. And the workers are in trouble.
But for investors, the stock market is having a sale. The real estate market is having a sale. This is what you've been waiting for if you're an investor.
If you're a worker and a consumer, this might be a bad time. And so what the gentleman...
R. KIYOSAKI: We need more financial education. That's the point.
KING: But Robert, that sounds very cold and calculated.
R. KIYOSAKI: Well, it is an investor's point of view on things. If you wanted to buy stocks, now's the time to buy stocks.
I'm in the stock market heavily right now. And real estate, this is a great time.
The point here is what Donald and I always talk about, is we really need financial education so people don't get sucked into the top of a market and then get wiped out when the market crashes. All markets go up and all markets come down. And when the markets come down, this is the best time for investors.
It is a bad time for workers, but those are the facts.
KING: Gerri, we have an email from Macey in Citrus Heights, California.
"What's the best way to work with the credit card companies to request a decrease in your APR?"
And what is the APR?
WILLIS: Well, that's just the interest rate that you pay on your credit card. But the easiest thing to do is just pick up the phone and ask that they reduce your -- I've done this myself.
You call them, you ask that they cut your rate. They do it if you have a record of paying on time. It's as easy as that.
WILLIS: Yes. Done it myself. If you have...
KING: In other words, Dave, just call up MasterCard and say, I'm paying 18, I'd like to pay 11?
WILLIS: Yes. I just got an offer in the mail for 14, or I just got an offer in the mail for 10 And if you don't change my rate, I'm leaving you.
They want to keep you as a customer. It costs them a lot of money to keep you as a customer. They definitely don't want you to go away.
KING: Dave, you can shop this? RAMSEY: Absolutely. Gerri is exactly right. She's a little nicer than I might be, but I would just say, hey, listen, you guys spent a lot of money to get me in here as a customer. I've got six of these things in my mailbox this morning, and you've got to be kidding! I'm not paying this.
And if they don't do it, she's right. Surf the card, meaning move it over to another company. And do that on your way out the door to all of them to get rid of the credit card debt.
One of the things you do to recession-proof yourself is not only have that good rainy day fund, an emergency fund, but get rid of the stinking credit card debt completely.
KING: What troubles you the most, Kim, about this economy?
K. KIYOSAKI: Well, I think the biggest concern right now is that people are worried. And understandably.
The subprime, there's people losing their homes. There's people in a lot of debt. So I am concerned about that.
And just to go back on the debt issue, is Robert and I were in a lot of debt years ago. And just as Gerri and Dave were saying, I had to get on the phone and I had to say, you know, I can't pay you this much this month, but I can pay you something.
And I just had a conversation with all of our creditors saying, we will pay you back. It's just going to take a little longer. And they were just happy to hear from us and know that we were going to give them something, because just as they're saying, they don't want -- they don't want you to just walk away. They just want you to pay off your credit cards.
Same with real estate. The banks do not want the real estate back. They want you to pay it off. So, again, a conversation could be very helpful.
KING: More in a moment.
WILLIS: That's a great point.
KING: We're back with our panel.
Take a phone call. Lexington, North Carolina.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks for having me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We -- my husband and I are retiring in a little less than 22 months. And it's a little scary.
We're trying to pay off -- well, we are paying off credit card debt. And we are really getting our spending in control. We have our money in IRAs and we have it managed with a financial institution.
KING: What is the question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What else can we do? Just wait it out?
KING: You want to take that, Robert?
R. KIYOSAKI: Well, I think Dave Ramsey is better qualified to talk to her about that.
R. KIYOSAKI: She really does need some very sound financial advice from somebody she trusts.
RAMSEY: Well, thank you, Robert. I appreciate that.
What I would do is exactly what you're doing. You need to lay out the written game plan, and that's goal setting, is all a budget is. And you say these are the important things to do.
Make sure you get the consumer debt cleared away so that it doesn't require as much a month to live on. And then sit down with your financial planner, the person that is helping you with investing.
And what you want there is you want to make sure that person has the heart of a teacher, because what Robert was saying earlier was brilliant in that you don't want to think like a wage earner. You want to think like an investor.
And that's a mindset. It's not an amount of money. And it's not a level of sophistication. It's an approach.
And so if you'll sit down with this person with the heart of a teacher and let -- and learn about what you're doing, then you'll know that it's OK to stay put and ride out the wave with your investing side. You've got the debt and the emergency fund over here to take care of your day-to-day stuff.
KING: Gerri, you agree?
WILLIS: Yes, I think it's great advice. You k now, as soon as you wipe away that consumer debt, you can start thinking about putting that money to things that are going to give you return, not that you're going to have to pay out on.
You know, we just saw these credit card numbers out this week that folks are starting to use those credit cards more and more often for necessities. That is just not where you want to go.
WILLIS: Olympia, Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, hello. Thank you for taking my call.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is to the panel. I'm a single person on disability and I don't have a husband. And I don't have dependents.
Will I be receiving a check?
KING: Oh, does she get a check, Kim?
K. KIYOSAKI: I'm not sure. The checks are based on -- I'm not sure what all the rules are.
I know if it's $75,000 per person of income you'll get a check -- or below that. I don't really -- to be honest, I'm not sure of all the specifics of the deal.
KING: Does anyone know?
RAMSEY: They carved out a piece of the legislation that will guarantee if you're living on disability income that even though did you not pay into the income tax system, that you'll be getting a check. It will not be the $600, it will probably be a $300 check, and they'll come out in May.
KING: We have an e-mail from Cathy in Pasadena. "I have what is called 'Pay Option ARM'. On my mortgage payment, I pay interest only at the rate of 7.772 percent. I owe $348,000. Is it worth it to refinance? I have a prepay penalty of $19,000."
WILLIS: Ooh, that's painful.
Can I weigh in on the Pay Option ARM?
WILLIS: You know, that's not a good loan to have. That's one of those loans that they came out -- it's sort of a toxic loan. It lets you pay almost anything you want month to month in the introductory months of that loan, and then you get hit, whammo, with a really high interest rate. It is a tough loan.
And now she's got $19,000 -- she has to pay a $19,000 fee if she wants to get out of the loan. How fair is that?
This is a tough situation that more and more people are finding themselves in. I would think if you can get out of this, do. But, boy, I hate to see anybody have to pay $19,000 to get out of a loan. RAMSEY: I would use Gerri's technique and just bust them in the lip on that one. Seriously. You need to get up their face and go, listen, do you know how many people are getting houses back? You need to wave this prepayment penalty so that I can refinance and get out of this trap so I don't mail you the keys.
KING: That might work.
K. KIYOSAKI: And if I can just add -- if I can just add that, you know, this is after the fact, but it's a great example of why it's so important that you start understanding what you're signing and getting that financial education, and reading the loan documents and asking. The most important thing I've learned is to ask questions. What does this mean? What does this mean? And have them explain it to you.
KING: We'll be right back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
We'll replay Bill Maher on Sunday night.
Don't go away.
KING: Gerri Willis, what about big-ticket items -- the flat screen TV, the vacations? Should you hedge on that?
WILLIS: I'd hedge on that right now. Look, you know, the economy is -- if it's not in recession, it's contracting. And that puts pressure on you to save money where you can.
I think that you want to be conservative here. Make sure you're paying down your debt, you're saving money for a rainy day, that you have three to six months worth of savings in case the worst happens, you lose your job. You have something to back you up, something to save you from losing your house, having to move, that kind of thing.
KING: Dave, what about the current condition worries you the most?
RAMSEY: I think the rhetoric, and that it changes people's minds.
The fun thing about the panel tonight is that we're teaching people and we're thinking -- getting people to think to do things on their own. I really want folks to realize that this -- this is still the greatest country the world has ever known. And there is a real chance that you can go out there, kill something, drag it home, and be somebody.
And that's not hype. People do it every day in every economy. And when it's negative news, negative news, negative news, then people sit back and it steals their hope. And that's what worries me the most.
KING: Houston, Texas, hello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, hi. Hello, Larry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, right now I have a 0 percent APR on my balance, and I'm about to -- hopefully I'll pay it out before March. But if I don't -- if I'm unable to pay it out, can I carry the balance over to another 0 percent APR? And how does that affect my credit if I keep carrying the balance to another, O percent?
KING: Kim, can you take that?
K. KIYOSAKI: I'm actually not that detailed in these type of things. And again, I'm going to refer to Dave or to Gerri on this one.
KING: All right.
RAMSEY: Well, you certainly could surf it again. But I think you're just kind of being in denial.
I mean, how long are we going to keep this credit card debt around like it's a pet? It's time to kill it and get rid of it.
I mean, it's 0 percent, but that doesn't mean we want to keep it like it's our friend. Get rid of it.
KING: Well said.
Robert, I know you're an optimist, but what worries you the most?
R. KIYOSAKI: Well, all this talk of recession and bad times. And, you know, times are bad for some people, but I think they miss one of the biggest opportunities to invest. The stock market is on sale. Real estate is on sale.
KING: I know, but -- so what worries you is the talk?
R. KIYOSAKI: Yes, the pessimism and the lack of seeing what really is the opportunity. It's the negativity. And I think it's a great time, personally.
KING: Kim, do you agree with your husband?
K. KIYOSAKI: I agree. Well, it's funny. He gets really excited when things are really bad. That makes me a little nervous. But I do -- what worries me is people who are seeing -- I see this has a big wakeup call. And what worries me is people that look at this and do nothing. And hope and pray that somebody's going to come and rescue them.
And just as Dave and Gerri and Robert have been saying, this is an opportunity to get smarter with your money. This is an opportunity to say, I'm not going to put my financial future in somebody else's hands.
Right now the stock market is having a sale. The real estate market is having a sale.
I say get educated and start learning and start making money from it. This is the best time.
In 1987, there was a crash. And that's when I started learning about money. And that's when I started getting educated and starting investing. So this is like 1987 all over again to me.
KING: Are you an optimist, Gerri?
WILLIS: Hey, I'm absolutely an optimist. Look, you know, we were talking -- Kim was just mentioning October '87. I think stocks went down, what, 36 percent then?
They're not going down that much now. Yes, stocks are on sale. But it's time to get in, it's start to start thinking about, what is my long-term outlook? What am I going to do when I retire? What can I invest in now that's really going to make money for me in the long term?
And for a lot of people out there, it's not that hard anymore. There are these target retirement date funds that do all the thinking for you. They change your allocation as you get older.
It's time to get involved and to take the reins yourself, and make sure that you're managing your own future, not somebody else.
KING: Thank you all very much, Gerri Willis, Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki, and Kim Kiyosaki, for this enlightening look at you and your finances on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Check out our newest podcast. It's SnoopDogg@CNN.com/larryking. We've got "Quick Votes," transcripts and video clips, too, all at CNN.com/larryking.
Hey, want a good laugh? Believe me, Bill Maher is going to make you chuckle. That's LARRY KING LIVE this Sunday.
And Tuesday, we'll have an election show with Mid-Atlantic primary results. Remember our special time Tuesday, midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific.
And now here's Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" -- Anderson.
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