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Huge Government Bailout; Sorting Through the Crisis
Aired September 20, 2008 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CENTER: Right now in the news, the Bush administration is asking Congress to let the government buy $700 billion dollars in bad mortgages. Negotiations are under way this weekend. Democrats say they want the package to include mortgage help for homeowners facing foreclosure.
A horrible scene in Islamabad this morning after a truck bomb exploded outside a downtown Marriott Hotel. At least 50 people are dead and dozens more injured. Most of the fatalities appeared to be those waiting outside the hotel and outside the hotel security guards were also among those injured and killed. The death toll is expected to rise. You're looking at images inside the Marriott Hotel, known to be a very fortified, high security, all obliterated as a result of this truck bomb taking place few feet outside the property of that hotel.
We'll update your top stories at the bottom of the hour. Now time for YOUR MONEY.
ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST, YOUR MONEY: Welcome to YOUR MONEY. I'm Ali Velshi. Christine Romans joins me in a moment along with a panel of financial experts who will help us sort through the crises. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and congressional leaders are working on a comprehensive plan this weekend that could mean the biggest government bailout ever. His announcement came after a week that will go down in history.
Monday morning you woke to news that Wall Street had lost two of its major brokerage firms, Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy after the government refused to bail it out. Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch in a quickie deal and the stock market responded with a huge sell off, down 504 points for the day. That was just the beginning.
Financial stocks tanked as investors worried about Washington Mutual and Morgan Stanley and other firms. The federal government jumped in Tuesday night with an $85 billion bailout loan to insurance giant AIG. Markets around the world were taking a beating. The world's central banks took action injecting $180 billion into the financial system to stem the losses. The SEC announced a ban on short selling betting that a stock will go down instead of up and Paulson said he and congressional leaders should have their comprehensive bail out plan ready next week. Markets responded positively but investors are on the edge of their seats to see what happens next.
Christine. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST, and YOUR MONEY: Is your money safe, is your job safe? Can our next president do anything to turn this economy around? We have a team of top experts here to help you make sense of the Wall Street collapse. We'll sort through the panic, the mess on Wall Street and offer real answers for where we are and what you can do right now, this very moment, to protect yourself.
Joining us now for this special emergency edition of YOUR MONEY, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, Diane Swonk, chief economist with Mesirow Financial and Louis Barajas a personal wealth adviser and author of the soon to be published book "Overworked, Overwhelmed and Underpaid."
Lets start with you first Mark. A historic week. Will there be stability now in the financial markets and can we get the economy moving in the right direction again?
MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ECONOMY.COM: Yeah. I think so. When policymakers act aggressively, at least historically, it works. They convince people that they're on the case. That they're going to do the job and that restores confidence and we're off and running again.
ROMANS: We can't say the worst is behind us? We can say that it's the beginning of the end?
ZANDI: That is the way that I would put it. If you put it in baseball metaphors, I think the sixth inning of a nine inning game. It is not a doubleheader. It's going to be painful, we got a tough economy ahead of us but I think the worst in the financial markets is over.
VELSHI: Louis Barajas, you are a personal wealth adviser, everybody wants to know this week. We have had e-mail, we have had call-ins. What do I do with my money? Is my money safe in the bank? Are my investments safe, my 401(k) safe? Is my money market safe? What have you got to tell them?
LOUIS BARAJAS, PERSONAL WEALTH ADVISER: What I've got to tell them is that their money is not safe if they're acting on fear. What got us into this problem is we all know that, and if we are going to make decisions not based on fear our money's not going to be safe and so the problems right now, we are seeing a lot of people who are going to prey on the vulnerable. People who are saying your money's not safe. Move it into gold, into this, and black diversification. Keep your money where it's at. Keep it consistent. What we need to do is take a look at why did we invest the money where's we have it now in the first place.
ROMANS: Let me ask this. If you have a little money to put away right now. If you were smart or lucky enough to have money sitting aside that's not getting hammered, you know has lost 25 percent in the stock market, should you be buying?
BARAJAS: You should be buying if you're buying with a goal in mind, with risk tolerance, with a time frame. You know what the money will be used for, not just to speculate. That gets us in trouble. It is a speculation.
VELSHI: Diane Swank, you have been following the economy for a long time. And it occurs to me that an economist might be looking at this from a 50-foot view and say it's serious but these are economic cycles. Is this very unusual? Is this something that's going to come and go and we'll be OK? How do you see it?
DIANE SWONK, MESIROW FINANCIAL: Well it is serious. There's no question about it. I echo Mark's comments earlier that this is a major turn of events and confidence unlike the real economy in financial markets perception can become reality and the panic that had taken over was extremely important to address, and I think the fact that we had a coordinated effort finally from the government, it may not be the best plan, frankly irrelevant will fix the problems with it later. The fact that people now understand their money's safe and they can move forward with some sense of certainty about how actions will be handled in financial markets going forward is very, very important.
So this is the worst financial crises since the great depression? Nowhere near the severity of the great depression. I think the difference between that is the very important difference and the idea that people are being preyed upon, like the great depression, it's very important too. We don't want to go there.
Remember, that was time when there were shantytowns where people who didn't have homes ended up living in shantytowns and tents. Twenty five percent unemployment rates and frankly people who worked on production lines could lose their job in a second and have someone replace them. That is not the world we're in today. We are in a global world. Where now everybody in the rest of the world understands they need us even more than we need them and all of our ors are now in the water, all on the same boat. We're going it reach land.
ROMANS: Lets listen to what treasury secretary Paulson had to say Friday about this crises and about what they're trying to do about it, and Mark, then I am going to get your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: This is what we need to do. Because for some time we've been saying that the root cause or the problems in our economy and our financial system is housing, and until we get stability in the housing market we are not going to get stability in our financial markets. We've worked with Congress on a number of the steps, all of which were important leading up to this, but this is the way we stabilize the system and get at the root cause.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: For the housing market. It is all about the housing market here and we're still seeing you can't get a home loan in many places. You're still seeing that kind of seized up and we know that housing prices are still falling. Until they stop falling, can we turn anything around?
ZANDI: No. I think that is the root cause. Prices are down 25 percent from what they were two years ago. They're going to continue to decline, but I think by these kinds of actions that are being taken by the government, not just setting up an entity to buyout mortgage loans and securities, all the different things that they're doing, I think it will put a floor on prices and so I think that's very, very positive.
VELSHI: All right. We have a lot more to discuss. Mark Zandi thank you for joining us, we appreciate that. Lewis Barajas and Diane Swank, hang on because we are going to come back with some more ideas and some more questions for you.
ROMANS: All right. Thousands of Lehman Brothers employees cleared out their desks this week. Their jobs are now in the dust bin. With another half a million jobs lost this year. Find out how safe your own job is when this emergency edition of YOUR MONEY comes right back.
VELSHI: This is a special emergency edition of YOUR MONEY. Forget the stock market for a moment. For most folks the economy comes down to whether or not you have a job. As you can see, unemployment is on the rise at 6.1 percent, the unemployment rate has hit its highest level in nearly five years. That's alarming but it doesn't begin to tell the whole picture. More troubling, 605,000 jobs lost through August. That is an average of 76,000 jobs lost each month. Economists say we need to create at least 100,000 jobs each month to keep up with the new folks entering the work force. So essentially to break even, we need to create 800,000 jobs so far this year and instead we have lost more than 600,000.
ROMANS: Sounds like impossible math. With the economy in crises mode, how much worse will the employment picture get? For the answers we turn back to our all-star panel. Stephen Leeb, president of Leeb Capital Management. Diane Swonk, chief economist with Webber Financial. And Lewis Barajas personal wealth adviser.
Let's bring in Stephen Leeb first. The job is an important part of this. This whole crisis started with toxic mortgages that sort of imploded in the housing market, and now we're seeing another track here. We're seeing jobless rates creep higher. Now this is the second shoe to drop.
ZANDI: It is, Christine, and we will probably will continue to creep up. I mean, unfortunately, unemployment tends to be a lagging indicator. So before -- after the economy really does make bottom, it's still likely that unemployment rates will continue to rise. So I don't think that it's going to get better. Next month or even the month after, but it will get better. I mean make no mistake what the government has done will sew the seeds for I think a very, very sharp recovery.
VELSHI: Diane, let's talk about this. In order for people to feel wealthy, and to bring this economy to recoveries, something has to improve. Does the value of their house has to improve or they have to see their retirement nest egg improving or do they have to see the salary improving which is means more jobs. Can any one of these on its own start to help confidence, and which one is likely to come first?
SWONK: Well, it's already, we know the one that comes first is, of course, the financial markets and what's happening this week with the turnaround and a plan on whether the plan, however sound it is, whatever changes come down the road, it has change perceptions. I think it's important to note that the economy unfortunately will get worse before it gets better. We're set up very poorly going into the holiday season and even consumers who have jobs are seeing their wages squeezed, because, in fact, they're not getting the overtime they once did or if they are in the service sector, not getting the tips or bonuses that they once did.
So even if they have a job they're feeling left behind and pinched by high prices at the pump and what's going to be a very hard fourth quarter. I will reiterate what was said earlier. Is that we now have sewn some seeds for a much better 2009 and there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it's no longer a train.
ROMANS: Louis, let me ask you, hearing, forecasts for a tough end of the year, maybe things turn around next year. That is the big hope. If you're one of those people sitting there right now worried about their job or worried and living paycheck to paycheck what do you do first?
BARAJAS: You need to take personal responsibilities. Right now everybody is pointing fingers at each other. The democrats and Republicans, the government, the economic institutions. We have to remember that this is about people. And people aren't sleeping at night. People aren't eating well. People are very nervous. You need to take personal responsibilities. Forget about everybody else. You sacrifice a little bit and change your priorities, start saving putting some money away. Because is you know that you may be loosing your job you need some emergency reserves.
Put the money in the bank, the banks are safe. Start saving some money. Start cutting back. What's going to have to happen is people are going to have to decide that, I can't count on anybody else but I'm going to have to take responsibility. So put some money away. Make sure your financial -- your personal financial house is in order.
ROMANS: Louis, I mean people have been asking us. People who work here, people in our family, our friends, and people on the street have been asking us what we think. What I kind of keep saying to people is, if you have to pay yourself first, you have to be saving money, make sure you don't have an onerous debt load; you have to be living within your means and teaching your children to live within your means. This is a giant wake-up call that overindulgence isn't going to do it. We're really stretched right now.
BARAJAS: Yeah. It is not even a wake up call. The wake up call happened a long time ago. We have gotten ourselves into this mess because of us. The stuff that we've done. We've borrowed; we've purchased homes we can't afford hoping that things will change. People have lent us money we couldn't pay back.
That's what I want people to understand. It is about us. Basically the common sense that you just talked about. Save money, pay yourself first. Who doesn't know about this? The problem is, we forget. We forget and so we're in a very immature society right now, we are still spending. I was at Nordstrom's the other day boy I'll tell you what the women's shoe section was just -- a mad house. People are spending money, and it seems ice was looking around saying what recession?
BARAJAS: What bad economy?
ROMANS: I always say, the United States of America and our consumers do the mathematically impossible. Have a negative savings rate, and you know Alan Greenspan has said before, not recently, said no civilization has survived not putting provisions away for the future.
VELSHI: We are not. We have a lot more to discuss here obviously. Next on this emergency edition of YOUR MONEY. No matter who wins the election in November, the next president is going to inherit financial crises. How will the candidates save your money? We'll put their plans to the test coming up next on YOUR MONEY.
ROMANS: Alan Greenspan calls it a once in a century financial crises. Two storied investment banks First Bear Stearns and now Lehman Brothers, implode. Merrill Lynch was buying bank as year ago. Now it's being bought and insurance giant AIG needed a federal bailout.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS (voice over): One of these teams inherits a Wall Street. Each candidate at the top of the ticket says he's the man too fix it.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've had policies that have shredded consumer protection that have loosened oversight and regulation CEO and encouraged outside bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class America. The result is the most serious financial crises since the great depression.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The McCain/Palin administration will replace the outdated, patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street. We will bring transparency and accountability and we will reform the regulatory bodies of government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
No matter how detailed their dueling economic plan, the next president will have to do some old-fashioned firefighting first.
DANIEL CLIFTON, STRATEGAS RESEARCH PARTNERS: We believe that this is a defining moment as a campaign. This is a crisis and in crises leadership rises to the top. So both candidates have the challenge of being able to, once, be a leader in time of crises, but, two, fashion response that's going to make the American voter feel comfortable. ROMANS: And at the core, the difference in the candidates' approach to fixing the problem. How much government involvement is enough? How much is too much? A non-partisan think tank breaks down the choices this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT KUTTNER: Two parts to how you fix the financial crises. One is that you recapitalize a lot of these financial institutions, pump money into them. The other is to be regulated so it doesn't happen all over again.
ROMANS: Both candidates have sharply criticized regulators; Barack Obama blamed eight years of Republican policies. John McCain said he were president it would never happen again. Late in the week, they are both starting to really fine tune and articulate what their response will be.
VELSHI: Can either of these candidates really make a difference in fixing the economy? We are joined again by our all-star panel. Stephen Leeb of Leeb Capital Management, Louis Barajas a personal health advisers.
Diane lets ask you? What are the broken, and you can choose any in that list, that the president can have an impact on? What can they do?
SWONK: Actually, in reality they are dealt a hand that's already been dealt. They are not going to be able to do a lot, except react to what has already happened. Even there, very limited in their ability to maneuver. We saw this week a non-partisan response, a bipartisan but non-partisan response to the crises at hand, and a lot of people throughout their partisanship said listen, we've just got to roll up our sleeves and come up with a solution. We'll deal with the repurchase cushions later on, but we need a solution. That's the mood the president will deal with coming in. At the top of the list, the reality of you can throw out whatever pandering either both sides want to ban tax, stimulus, whatever, the reality of budget, on deficit reduction, the politics of that, is going to it be the hardest thing. It really is.
VELSHI: It's remarkably difficult discussion to have; it is not sexy at all it is hardly on the table for all the things for the entire thing we discussed. Stephen.
LEEB: Ali, I want to make a distinction. Two types of problems in this world. There are problems that can be solved by money. And this is the biggest problem that we've ever had that can, emphasize can, be solved by money. It's always been a question, are we willing to put up as much as we need? And the secretary of the treasury and the Federal Reserve chairman said, yes. Whatever this economy needs, we put it up and we will solve this problem. But there are also problems that cannot be solved by money. And I fear that we may lose track of those problems. Some of them include resources. I mean, we've sort of gone on to the back burner right now.
VELSHI: The energy discussion. LEEB: The energy discussion. Oil under $100, shut down a lot of projects that otherwise would have been there. Once this economy gets going, you're still go to be faced with the fact 2.5 percent of the Chinese have cars and they all want cars. Iran faced with the fact, Iran by early next decade an oil importer. From whom? We really are going to be constantly faced way choice between growth and inflation in this world. One thing I really take solace from and feel so good about this in this crises is that for the first time in my memory, we've seen democrats, republicans, everybody, come together in a non-partisan way, thank goodness, because we're going to need a lot more of that going forward.
ROMANS: Let me tell you that looking back at the last time when he a presidential election, conditions even remotely like this, 1932 and Franklin Roosevelt. Help had a motto. Bold resistance, experimentation. John Gear and Vanderbilt University was telling me this. At that time what was considered a selling point for him, he was going to switch course, be flexible, bail out and try something else. Now it's called flip-flopping, being in and something that gets you the fact squad comes after you.
Ask Louis, if the president can only do so much, then as voters, when we hear these two candidates coming out and saying, I'm going to do this about the financial situation, or I'm going fix that, how do we make a decision?
You make a decision based on what we just heard. On different policies, economic policies, house policies, policies just about how they see the world and the international market. It's just not about this. We have to gain perspective. You know, money's to be used to live a better life. All the purpose money is for. So the problem is, that we've lost perspective and everything's focused on money and we've forgotten about all the other things that we need to take care of in the U.S.
ROMANS: All right. Louis Barajas and Stephen Leeb and Dianne Swonk, thanks everybody. Coming up the federal bailed out insurance giant AIG. But is the government doing enough to protect you and your money.
VELSHI: Well we will find out about that in a moment, join us with what you need to know about that on this emergency edition of YOUR MONEY.
WHITFIELD: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. YOUR MONEY returns after a quick check of the headlines. The government today put a price tag on the massive bailout of the U.S. financial industries. A projected three quarters of a trillion dollars. White house and congressional negotiators are working through the weekend to transform the plan into legislation.
A horrible scene in Islamabad this morning. The death toll is rising after a truck bomb exploded outside this downtown Marriott Hotel. Police say at least 34 people, perhaps even 50 people, are dead, 200 more injured. The blast set the hotel on fire. Most of the fatalities appearing to drivers who were waiting outside the hotel or hotel security guards. Those working outside and in the front of the hotel.
A LearJet crash on takeoff just before midnight in Columbia, South Carolina, killing four people. Travis Barker, a former drummer for the rock band Blink-182, was critically injured, along with Adam Goldstein, a popular deejay known as DJ Am. They're being treated at a burn center in Columbia.
Coming up at the top of the hour, "Ballot Bowl." Hear from the presidential candidates on the campaign trail, raw and unfiltered.
Now back to more of YOUR MONEY.
VELSHI: This is an emergency edition of YOUR MONEY. Many economists say this is the most serious economic crises that this country has faced since the great depression.
ROMANS: But there are several very important differences between what happened then and what we're seeing right now. CNN's Mary Snow reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the Federal Reserve pumped billions of dollars into the banking system to restore confidence in the markets, President Bush moved to calm fears.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: The American people can be sure we will continue to act to strengthen and stabilize our financial markets and improve investor confidence.
SNOW: Economists say this is the worst financial crises since the great depression, but with the distinction.
JAY ROSENGARD, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think a significant difference is that the government has learned from its failures in the great depression and has been much more proactive and we do have stabilizers that we did not have before.
SNOW: Case in point, the government's unprecedented bailout of insurance giant AIG. Another big difference, the economy. Despite its problem, the current unemployment rate stands it's a 6.1 percent.
BOB MCTEER, FMR. PRES. FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF DALLAS: In the depression, you know, there was much more spillover into the real economy and you had 25 percent unemployment, at the height of it.
SNOW: But this financial crises say economists hits at a vulnerable time with housing prices falling, with bank tightening lending, it affects consumers' ability to get loans. And some economists say to stop the bleeding; new regulations are needed for Wall Street firms.
JEFFREY SACHS, ECONOMIST COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: The way to stop this from happening is through proper regulation in the first place. Through looking at bubbles and saying, no. You're not going that way. To looking at bonuses of tens of billions of dollars and saying what are you doing? You can't afford that. SNOW: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg a Wall Street veteran, who has been critical of too much regulation in the past, suggests some oversight agencies are out of date and says the real world has changed.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) NEW YORK: I don't know that the regulators are asleep at the switch. I just think the structure is not suitable for the real world.
SNOW: While a host of ideas are being offered some market watches say a loss separating commercial and investment banking should be brought back. It was created after the great depression, but it was scrapped in 1999. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: With all the news of bank closing, it is a simple question. How do you protect your money? We are joined by another economic brain thrust. Andy Serwer is the managing editor of "Fortune" and co author of this week's cover story in "Time."
Stephen Leeb is the president of Leeb Capital Management and Greg McBride joins us too, he is the senior financial analyst with Bankrate.com. Greg welcome to the show. Gentlemen welcome to the show.
Greg the question we are getting from all sorts of people about the security of their investments. You're in the business of telling people where good investments are and where good interest rates are, but they are worried about the safety of them. Bank accounts, CDs and money markets?
GREG MCBRIDE, BANKRATE.COM: Well, you know, that's one of the things I think the government's really working to put to rest, a lot of those fears. They are shoring up the money market mutual fund system so that there's not further exodus of money from those investments and further concern about others funds breaking the buck.
FDIC insured bank accounts, if you have money that is fully covered by FDIC insurance, you can sleep soundly at night. That money is protected.
In particular, everybody needs that emergency savings account. A bank saving's account or high yield money market deposit account, that is the place to be. It is FDIC insured. And if you are seeking out the highest yield you're going to get returns that are north of 3.5percent that is better than what you're getting on my space.
VELSHI: The high-yield money market account that is not what the government said that they're insuring this week. That's different?
MCBRIDE: That's correct. There's an important difference that the money market deposit account is a bank product. Its FDIC insured. You have no down side risk as long as you're under that $100,000 limit, and the upside is, the highest yielding money market deposit account beats the money market mutual fund. So there is some additional yield pickup which is important with inflation as high as it is right now. ROMANS: I think the number one thing everybody is talking about right now is just protecting what they've got. They are looking at their 401(k) s, if they have them; the Dow is off 25 percent from its high. Incredible how much wealth has been erased in people's retirements. That is a real problem. I want to the listen to something the president said on Friday. The president said he really wants to address the root of all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: We must address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets. Mortgage assets that have lost value during the housing decline and are now restricting the flow of credit. America's economy is facing unprecedented challenges. And we are responding with unprecedented action.
ROMANS: Boy, Andy, this is unprecedented. He used the word several times. You can't overstate.
ANDY SERWER, MANAGING EDITOR, "FORTUNE:" The money market thing is the kind of real key for investors. The stock market we saw go way down, it came way back. That's just what happens with stocks. Right? Breaking the buck in the money market fund is really amazing.
ROMANS: Well tell people what that means exactly.
SERWER: With our price at $1, it owns a lot of short-term securities and this always sort of calibrated so it's worth $1. If it falls less than that, that happens when people seek redemptions. They sell it, and they sell at a loss. That is a huge problem. But the key thing here is that for years we have been told it's pretty much just as safe as the government insured account. You get an extra you know percentage point of yield. It's a free lunch. Guess what? It's not a free lunch. Now it's going to get bailed out. You pay more as tax payer. You might pay more in taxes so it all sort of evens out in the wash over 20 years.
LEEB: I think what's really unique here, Christine and Ali, it's not just the stock market that is going down. We've been through a lot of stock market cycles. Most recently in 2000 to 2002. I mean the tech stocks lost 80 percent. How many people had money in techs? I don't know anyone that didn't.
VELSHI: Except Warren Buffett.
LEEB: Yes. That's about it. But this combination of home prices going down with stock prices going down and people now asking the question, is my money safe in a bank? In a money market fund? I mean, you don't want to have people asking that question. I mean, that's sort of a sign of how serious the crisis is. It's like a pilot telling you; well we have plenty of gas in the plane. Huh? Haven't thought about it. Wow.
SERWER: Did you hear people asking, how does the FDIC Insurance really work? Somebody asked. What do you mean and they said I have $100,000 in it. Yeah. That's right. They said what if my wife and I both have accounts? You're having people actually asking the mechanics of it. If you're a couple you can have $300,000.
ROMANS: And Greg, I asked Greg about this the other day. Because I was really curious about it. A lot of people asking the same thing. Greg about the idea, how much of your money is safe in one account?
MCBRIDE: This is -- it's up to $100 now, one account, but you're insured on per deposit, per account basis. Here's what I mean by that. If you're an individual, then you have a checking account, savings accounted, in a money market deposit account and you have more than $100,000 across those three accounts, you're not fully covered. You are only covered up to 100,000. What do you do?
ROMANS: True. Many people in America are not having this problem. They are having a problem actually paying their debt.
VELSHI: The mortgage.
MCBRIDE: You have a bunch of money saved up, working your whole life, you might be in this position.
VELSHI: All right. We are going to take a break. Coming up think you got a raise last year. Well think again, we will explain why you're actually making less than you were a year ago, next on YOUR MONEY.
VELSHI: Well salaries are up more than 3 percent in a last year. On the surface that seems like good news. There is a little bit of a problem. Your money's worth less because of inflation which is currently running at 5.4 percent annually. The things you buy on a daily bases like food and gas are up way more than that. Gas prices up more than ten times as quickly as salaries over the last year. Don't worry about the fact that you think oil is down. Gas prices are pretty high. Household energy costs have jumped almost six times as much as salaries and read all about what the government calls food at home. Those prices are up 7.5 percent.
ROMANS: When will we start making some money again? Surprise, surprise. Are there ways to be making money right now? We're joined again by Andy Serwer, managing editor of "Fortune" and Stephen Leeb, president of Leeb Capital Management and Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with Bankrate.com.
I want to go back to you first, Greg. If your wages what you're bringing home, are going up so slowly but the cost of everything else going up so much more quickly what exactly is someone to do?
MCBRIDE: Well this is a time where you don't want to be dependant on borrowed money. If you have a liquid savings cushion it's going to make all difference and help you sleep better at night. If you don't have a savings cushion what you have is not sufficient, this is a time to make some tough decisions with regard to spending. Cut back so that you can put some money away. Nothing you do financially will help you sleep better at night than knowing you have some money put away. VELSHI: People have been calling and e-mailing us and asking about, this is what they tell me I should do. I hear experts on TV saying I should stay invested but really I can't sleep at night doing this. If you can't sleep at night with your investments, that is a very key sign that you need to change things around, no matter how much sense makes.
MCBRIDE: You diffidently have to change things around and we have to wake up and realize we're not in Kansas anymore. This is an entirely different world. I don't want to sound too controversial here and I don't want to be giving advice.
ROMANS: Oh, come on.
MCBRIDE: There's one investment that has done well during it turbulent times and these are turbulent times, I not talking about the next six months and that is gold and precious metals. They do fairly well, no matter during the depression, New Mont went up tenfold, during the 1970s and I figured that is what we are going to end at, gold was a wonderful investment during the depression. I'm not telling people --
LEEB: A gold book.
MCBRIDE: No, I'm not. Before you get the wrong idea, the last thing I want to give people the impression that I want them to go out and put 100 percent of their money into gold. In terms of sleeping well at night, gold's been around for 3,000 or 4,000 years. If you want to buy one or two gold coins it makes sense to put those under your pillow at this point. That doesn't mean you swear off stocks and that doesn't mean you swear off money market funds, but it means you take a cold look at history and say, what does well when things really get turbulent? Turbulent inflation and that tends to be precious metals. A historical fact, Ali.
ROMANS: A couple days this week we had a couple of record days for gold this week. People were spooked about stocks that they were clearly taking --
VELSHI: Oil went up this week. People were looking for something other than stocks to invest. A real spook factor here with the average retail investor and Wall Street.
VELSHI: I think things will change. Our society is going to look different because of this. Maybe the highfalutin jobs on Wall Street, you know young people making $200,000 a year at Morgan Stanley going to Kinkos and Xeroxing things maybe that will go away. Carrying $40,000 on your credit card if you're 25 years old, and rolling it over every month at 8 percent, that's probably going to the moon.
MCBRIDE: These thing, are going to change.
LEEB: What may also change, the blue collar jobs, these people that come out of these trade schools, may find themselves in tremendous demand. We're going to need oil rigs. We're going to need people to drive trucks up in the Tarzan. These aren't easy jobs. SERWER: And dig the wells.
Forget about that. Gold, go to sleep at night and not worry, but to get this world running we're going need all the natural resources we can possibly find, even if we're going to put up windmills we are going to need steelworkers to put up those turbines, we are going to need steel. We'll have to find the resources and I'm betting on skilled blue collar workers. Don't tell your children to grow up to be investment bankers. Them to grow up to be --
VELSHI: No child born this week, I'll tell you, is having their children grow up to be investment bankers.
ROMANS: That right.
All right. Coming up we assembled a CNN money team to talk about where we go from here, something that's next on the emergency edition of YOUR MONEY.
VELSHI: Well certainly a week to remember for Wall Street and our CNN money team was there to follow it all.
ROMANS: From a reporters respective on a hosrtic week we turn now to Jennifer Westhoven, Susan Lisovicz from the New York Stock Exchange and Poppy Harlow from CNNMONEY.com. What were the stories that were the most popular on CNN.com this week?
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. On CNNMONEY.com, it was just amazing to see the headlines or the market story. Monday we see stocks pummeled. The top story. Dow, worst day in seven years down more than 500 points. Tuesday, the Fed holds interest rates steady the top story, stocks rise on Fed. Keep going on to Wednesday, another thrashing for stocks. Dow down 149 points.
Then on Thursday we see a wild rally at the finish. Look at this. Down up, down up. Literally this week. Then what was really nice, what a lot of people turned to was an inside look at Lehmann Brothers. It was Lehmann's dying hours by "Fortune" Magazine managing editor, Andy Serwer. He knows Lehmann's inside out, he was outside those headquarters Sunday night looking at the employees walking out with boxes and giving everyone, all of our readers, an inside look what was unwinding and what everyone was going to be talking about on Monday. Christine.
VELSHI: Susan, you and I got to spend time together like we use to do in the old days at the New York Stock Exchange. Christine use to be there, Jennifer.
ROMANS: We've all spent our time there.
LISOVICZ: All have the scars to prove it.
VELSHI: This was almost like the old times. To see big moves like that at the New York Stock Exchange? LISCOVICZ: Well, you know, let me just tell you this early in the week I had to remind myself what were the circuit breakers? The actual point sell-off for the New York Stock Exchange to stop trading. That's how anxious things were. By the way, it's a 1200 point decline for the Dow Jones Industrial average. That sort of halt in trading today.
ROMANS: We never got near that. People throwing around words --
LISCOVICZ: Never got near that. But the magnitude of events and the type of atmosphere prompted me to find out, to remind myself to refresh my memory. At the end of the week I refreshed my memory on the biggest point gain for the Dow Jones Industrial average ever and that was about close to 500 points at the top of the market in March of 2000.
VELSHI: That was before the text bubble burst.
LISCOVICZ: Exactly. That's the kind of week all compressed into five trading days it's been.
ROMANS: You know Jennifer; we always talk about the back stories. People ask us, OK, I saw your report. What are you telling your friends? What are you telling your family? What's your back story on all of this?
WESTHOVEN: I just think I would really like to know what the heck treasury secretary Paulson said to all of those people in that room that scared them enough to line right up shoulder to shoulder and come right out and say, OK, we all agree. We are all going to do it. I heard he can be a very intimidating guy. He's certainly a very tall guy. I wonder what kind of nightmare scenario he talked to them about. Because you hear all of this, what would have happened if we didn't do something? What would have happened if the treasury department didn't do this? You know he laid out something.
VELSHI: I would love to know what happened in that meeting and what kind of negotiations. He has come across as a bit of a deal maker in the last several months. He's been able to accomplish that. Poppy you have been able to, one of the things we have been telling our viewers, who are watching this emergency edition of YOUR MONEY, is that Money.com has a lot of the tools people are worried about this week.
The questions we have been getting and you might have been getting similar ones by e-mail or on the site, what do I do with my money? Is my money safe in a bank account? Is my money safe in a money market or a CD? What's going to happen to my bank? That information is all there on the site.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: It's all there on the site. I read you the headlines on our site but there's a whole part of our site dedicated to what do I do with my 401(k)? What do I do with my investment? Where does my money stand? Why do I care if I'm not a Wall Street insider? Why do I care? I can tell you, I was so impressed with our writers and everybody on the team breaking all of those things down. It's still a concern going into next week and ahead. All of those tools are on our site that you will need for that. Big focus, that's what people were e-mailing us and asking us about on our site, what does this mean to me and my savings?
VELSHI: All right. Poppy Harlow of Money.com, you stay with us. Jennifer Westhoven and Susan Lisovicz. We will continue on with our CNN money team.
ROMANS: Don't move our CNNMONEY team ways that I was on the horizon for the American economy. Our emergency edition of YOUR MONEY is back in a moment.
But first, "Right on Your Money."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC TYSON, CO-AUTHOR, "HOME BUYING FOR DUMMIES:" It's attractive to people to look at terrific property and get them below market value, possibly flip the property and make a quick property.
ROMANS: Simple, right? Not so fast says real estate expert Eric Tyson. There's plenty that can go wrong when buying a foreclosed property.
TYSON: You really should be an experienced property buyer. This should probably be your fourth or fifth purchase at least.
ROMANS: He said your credit should be top notch as well. Lenders know foreclosures are risky. Unlike a conventional transaction, it can be hard to get access to a foreclosed property before the sale, which can lead to some ugly surprises. Damage or disrepair can turn a bargain into a money pit.
TYSON: Might move into a house and think everything looks OK. It turns out that there are problems with electrical wires or plumbing or things weren't done right the first time.
ROMANS: Tyson recommends you double what you expect to spend on repairs and subtract that amount from your offer.
TYSON: Fix up work, construction work, almost always costs more and takes longer than what you think.
ROMANS: Be prepared to walk away. If a bid overheats, the price can climb near market value.
TYSON: There are just so many things that can go wrong. It's not worth what little money you might save.
ROMANS: And that's this week's "Right on your Money."
VELSHI: Welcome back to the special edition of YOUR MONEY.
ROMANS: We are joined once again by Jennifer Westhoven, Susan Lisovicz from the New York Stock Exchange and Poppy Harlow from CNNMONEY.com. Let's talk about your back story from covering this story but then also being a consumer and a saver. VELSHI: We have to look through. What about you? What didn't happen on TV that you want to share with us this week?
HARLOW: It's interesting. I was on the road for the first part of this week, unexpectedly all of this stuff breaking on Sunday night. And I called some of my friends that work at Lehman Brothers. It was just the stories that they were telling me about packing up and the camaraderie at the firm and what people were saying, what they were looking to do.
And the 25,000 jobs in jeopardy when we got that news. Some may be saved if this deal goes through with Barclay's. Still talking with them and how unexpected the collapse of Lehman Brothers was to the people that even worked there. Just hearing from them what it will mean for all of those employees as well. It's really tough out there for all of the shareholders as well but it affects a lot of employees, too.
WESTHOVEN: Well, you know one of the things that I got -- I would almost call back questions as opposed to a story and I don't have an answer for it. I can't tell you the amount of e-mail I got with people with such a backlash against these CEOs. Some people say you know its fine to bail out this company but what will happen to the CEOs? I feel like the sad truth is, I don't know there will be an answer. I have yet to see a government really say how could you guys collect this money and then have the company in the tank the next year?
ROMANS: That's interesting. We got a lot of e-mails from people who were so irritated by bailouts. Bailouts are so unpopular.
VELSHI: This might be the biggest one ever.
ROMANS: Not bailing out irresponsible behavior but isn't that why you bail out in the first place? Sorry, I'm hogging the stage.
But you have someone irresponsible somewhere or otherwise you wouldn't have a complete mess on Wall Street.
ROMANS: Susan, what's your back story?
SUSAN LISOVICZ: I think my back story is something we all agree on, is that we're living through history. To be in the front seat or to be talking to the public at such an historic time, unprecedented time with such fluid -- such a fluid situation, I thought for me the real situation; the real test was to try to maintain the right tone, which is that people are fearful. And this involves our money after all but the Calvary was coming and to try not to talk it up any more than it is and to remain calm. As journalists, we are getting excited because this is just an incredible story that's unfolding second by second. But to remember to take a breath. After all, that's what investors should do. But as journalists, to also step back because the -- you don't really have to put too many adjectives on this story.
VELSHI: That's exactly right. Good advice.
LISOVICZ: This is so big. VELSHI: We will continue to cover this and a lot of our own stories and a lot of yours, which are most important. Thank you for joining us for this emergency edition of YOUR MONEY.
ROMANS: Make sure you stay with CNN every day for the latest on YOUR MONEY from the full CNN money team.
VELSHI: We will see you back here next week, Saturday at 1:00 and Sunday at 3:00. See you then.