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Latest Move in America's Financial Crisis: Government Ownership of U.S. Banks. Will It Work?; John McCain Trying to Get Supporters to Calm Down; Nation's Ailing Healthcare Industry

Aired October 11, 2008 - 10:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: The bank of the United States. The latest move in America's financial crisis. Government ownership of U.S. banks. Will it work?
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Also, this morning, I don't know if this is a bad sign of your campaigning, but you start getting booed at your own rally? We'll tell you what he said there -- John McCain -- that his supporters weren't too crazy about.

NGUYEN: And the nation's ailing healthcare industry, one man struggles as he faces his final days. And a discussion on the rising cost of being treated. It an important story that you don't want to miss.

From the CNN center, this is CNN NEWSROOM. It is Saturday, October 11th. Good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hello there. I'm T.J. Holmes. It's 10:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, Georgia, 7:00 a.m. on the West Coast.

Also, 10:00 a.m. in Washington, D.C. Busy place today. And I think in the weekend all. Finance ministers and bankers from the globe's top industrial nations are trying to find a way out of this financial crisis, which now been called a global crisis.

We saw the president live right here about two hours ago. The president commenting on meetings that he held earlier today. He said efforts are being made to boost liquidity in the world's market. But he provided very few details, details that a lot of investors are waiting to here.

Today's meetings come after a really -- really a historic, in the wrong way, week on Wall Street.

NGUYEN: Yes. To show you how historic it was, the Dow closed down nearly 19 percentage points for the week. That was the worst week ever for the Dow.

And another sign of these economic times that are just so difficult, the "New York Times" says General Motors and Chrysler -- they are in talks to actually merge.

HOLMES: Well, today's meetings with the financial big wigs is a big deal. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson says this morning's meetings are aimed at freeing up the tight credit market worldwide. And he's also asked officials from the so-called "Group of 20" to meet this evening.

Paulson says he wants to explain actions to the U.S. and other G- 7 members have taken. Well, and in case you're wondering, the G-7 member nations are the U.S. Canada, Great Brain, France, German, Italy, as well as Japan.

Well, here are a couple members of our CNN money team right now. Elaine Quijano is keeping an eye on things for us at the White House. There she is. And also Stephanie Elam in New York.

Stephanie, we're going to start with you. And like you said here, this feels like a Monday morning. Nobody can take the weekend off. Nobody has taken a weekend off in a while because there are some stuff to be dealt with.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's so true, T.J. This is a kind of situation where you really just can't take any days off because so much needs to happen right now and the pressure is definitely on for the treasury secretary.

Henry Paulson said last night that the U.S. government is working on a plan to buy stock in financial institutions with some of that authorized $700 billion that was in that bailout bill that we waited so long to get passed and it finally did.

Now Paulson said the idea would be to develop a standard program to use taxpayer money more efficiently and have it go farther. He also said the treasury is working to unveil the plan as quickly as possible.

Let's take a listen to what he had to say.


HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: We finalized an aggressive action plan to address the turmoil in the global financial markets and the stresses on our financial institutions.

This action plan provides a coherent framework that will direct our individual and collective policy steps to provide liquidity to markets, strengthen financial institutions, protect savers and enforce investor protections.


ELAM: Now still, to this point, the government has yet to unveil any concrete plans to what they plan on doing. And, obviously, investors want to see that happen before the Asian markets open Monday morning, which, of course, will be Sunday here in the United States.

And it's clear that nerves are short for investors. Yesterday's trading session was specially erratic with a more than 1,000 point swing on the Dow. Positive territory is rare these days traders actually cheered at the New York Stock Exchange.

I thought we're going to hear a little bit of that. But we don't hear t. The loss totaled nearly $2.5 trillion that we've seen lost out of the market this week. The Dow lost 1,874 points. That is its worst weekly decline ever on both a point and percentage basis.

Over the last eight days, the Dow has lost 22 percent. NASDAQ shed nearly 300 points despite ending its seven-day losing streak Friday. S&P losing 200 points for the week.

And, you know, T.J., it was just one year ago this past week that the Dow set its record high above 14,000. So what a different a year makes.

HOLMES: Those were the days. And there were some cheering. It wasn't -- you know, exuberant and rousing.

ELAM: It was -- it was rousing there at NYC.

HOLMES: Kind of one of these...

ELAM: At least one (INAUDIBLE) yay.

HOLMES: All right. Stephanie, good to see you this morning.

ELAM: Thanks.

HOLMES: Thanks so much.

NGUYEN: And, unfortunately, that cheering didn't last too long either.

Well, let's now take you to Elaine Quijano at the White House.

Elaine, we heard the president's remarks this morning. Anything positive to make of them? Because on the onset, it doesn't seem like there was much that was new.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I know. You're absolutely right. We did not hear anything new really. But for the White House, this today was clearly about presenting a united front.

That's the image that officials here wanted to project by holding this rare Saturday morning meeting here at the White House with President Bush, top administration officials, as well as those finance ministers, as you noted, from the Group of 7 industrialized nations.

Now, while there were no specifics unveiled by President Bush in the Rose Garden, what he did was lay out once again, just as he did yesterday, the steps that the U.S. government is taking to try and shore up the U.S. economy.

But today, with those finance ministers standing behind him, the president emphasized the global cooperation and coordination to tackle this financial crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In my country, it is important for our citizens to have understood that which affects Wall Street affects Main Street as well.

And all of us recognize that this is a serious global crisis and, therefore, requires a serious global response for the good of our people.


QUIJANO: Now in talking to senior administration officials, they say, look, we're just getting ideas right now. We're getting the proposals in. In fact, this one official saying we just got something from another country, about 36 hours or so ago.

So they're in the reviewal -- very early stages of the reviewal process which perhaps helps explain why we didn't hear President Bush lay out any kind of international strategy, if you will -- any specifics on an international strategy.

Rather we heard, Betty, just sort of principles that will guide whatever their next steps are. But the bottom line here, nothing new unveiled. What we heard President Bush is try to, again, reassure, jittery investors, not just here in the United States, but around the world, that his administration is working with other world economies in to try and deal with this financial situation -- Betty?

NGUYEN: Yes, and that's what really this is all about. So we may not have heard any details, but we are hearing is that the president's working over the weekend with top officials around the world to make sure that there is some kind of calm that will eventually come to the markets.

Elaine Quijano, thank you for that.

HOLMES: Well, the price of food and just about everything else, it seems, as well, higher these days. So what are you doing differently to cope in these tough -- tight economic times? We're asking folks this morning at Dallas farmers markets.

David Bagwell is one of them. There he is.

David, we appreciate your stopping for a second and giving some time while you're in the middle of your shopping. Tell me how is shopping different for you these days in these tough economic times. What are you doing now, as you shop, that maybe you didn't do a few months back?

DAVID BAGWELL, SHOPPER: I'm looking for bargains. And fortunately, they're there.

HOLMES: Did you say fortunately, they are there? What are you finding?

BAGWELL: They are there, yes.

HOLMES: What are you finding out there?

BAGWELL: I'm sorry?

HOLMES: Tell -- I was asking what you are finding out there. But also, tell me how have you changed, not just in your shopping, but how are you dealing with these tough economic times? What else are you cutting back on?

You said there that you're looking for more bargains. But what else in your day to day life have you found that you had to really adjust?

BAGWELL: We haven't changed our approach in business terribly much. It's a matter of degree. We are keeping more cash on hand than we might have before. There are some good buys in our business these days. And we're trying to exploit that opportunity.

HOLMES: And tell me what that business is before I let you go here. What is your business?

BAGWELL: I am in the residential land development business.

HOLMES: Residential land development -- well, if you're in the market for a pumpkin, you got -- seems like you got plenty of those behind you there in Dallas. Dallas, just one of the places we are checking in.

Mr. Bagwell, we appreciate your time and get you back to shopping there.

And for our viewers, we're asking you this morning, as well, how you are doing things differently, how things are different for you in your day-to-day life, this economic crisis, how it's affecting you and your family.

Your responses coming your way in about 20 minutes. And if you have something to say, please send it to us at

We'll turn back to a bit of politics here now and an independent investigative panel finds that GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin did, in fact, abused her power. She also violated ethics laws by trying to get a man fired from the Alaska state police.

He's Mike Wooten who is Palin's former brother-in-law. We will get his picture for you here in just a second.

This all started when Wooten's boss claimed he was wrongfully laid off because he refused to fire Wooten. If you're following this crazy story here, she fired one guy because he wouldn't fire her ex brother-in-law.

Well, according to the panel, Palin did not break any laws in the case but it says she did violate state ethics law when she and her husband tried to get that ex brother-in-law fired.

Well, the law prohibits public officials from using power for personal gains. Palin says the report shows she did nothing wrong.

NGUYEN: And they are calling it a typo. I want you to take a look. This absentee ballot went out to about 300 voters in Upstate New York. Take a good look right there, especially under Barack Obama's name.

As you can see, Barack Obama's name is misspelled. It actually reads "Barack Osama." More clinical voters or cynical voters, I should say, wonder if it was really an accident.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they're, obviously, not double- checking and someone needs to take on that responsibility, I would say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know the man's name may be a little bit difficult to spell but we're talking about a presidential election here.


NGUYEN: Now, both Republican and Democratic election officials are apologizing for what they call a terrible mistake.


COREY ELLIS, ALBANY CITY COUNCILMAN: We are definitely confident that the mistake will be corrected. It's an unfortunate mistake. And that this campaign will continue to move forward.


NGUYEN: Officials say voters who complained about the ballots will get new ones.

HOLMES: All right, well, John McCain firing up crowds these days in the final weeks before the election and he's standing up for his new policies and sometimes for his opponents, seriously.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not -- he's a -- he's an Arab.


NGUYEN: What did McCain have to say about that? Well, we're going to hear from CNN's Dana Bash. She is traveling with him on the campaign trail.


NGUYEN: By now you've probably seen it, raw anger on display at McCain rallies this week. Well, now Senator McCain is trying to cool things down by defending his rival. Our Dana Bash reports.



DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After a week of escalating anti-Obama rhetoric from supporters at his event, John McCain suddenly tried to turn the temperature down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would like you to remain a true American hero. We want you to fight.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will fight but we will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments. I will respect him. And I want -- no, no. I want everyone to be respectful.

BASH: Nothing like getting booed at your own event. And it didn't stop there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. I have read about him. And he's not -- he's not -- he's a -- he's an Arab. He is not?

MCCAIN: No, ma'am.


MCCAIN: No, ma'am. No, ma'am. He's a -- he's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're -- we're scared. We're scared of an Obama presidency. I am concerned about, you know, someone that you cohorts with domestic terrorists such as Ayers.

MCCAIN: I want to be president of the United States, and obviously, I do not want Senator Obama to be. But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared as president of the United States.

BASH: But McCain may be trying to put the Genie back in the bottle. Ever since last weekend when Sarah Palin first accused Barack Obama of palling around with terrorists, referring to 1960s radical William Ayers , rowdy crowds have called Obama...



BASH: And worse. And now McCain has released this new TV ad on Ayers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When convenient, he worked with terrorist, Bill Ayers. When discovered, he lied.

BASH: Yet he doesn't talk about Ayers unless asked, and then insists it's about Obama's rhetoric versus reality.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama said that Mr. Ayers was a guy in the neighborhood, when in reality Senator Obama's political career was launched in Mr. Ayers' living room.

BASH: And while McCain may now be trying to tamp down on over- the-top rage against Obama, he's still careful not to extinguish enthusiasm he needs to win.

MCCAIN: I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity.

BASH (on camera): The boiling emotions this week present McCain with a dramatic balancing act. He's trailing and needs every ounce of energy he can get but clearly sees a risk in not stopping those he believes are crossing the line.

Dana Bash, CNN, Lakeville, Minnesota.


HOLMES: Well, Obama responded to McCain's remarks while campaigning this morning in Philadelphia.

Here with that for us is a friend of our show, deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser, part of the best political team in television. He's in D.C. for us.

Paul, they were nice for about 30 seconds out on the campaign trail. And right now, we'll take it.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, for about 30 seconds. It won't last.

As you mentioned, T.J., Barack Obama, he's in Philadelphia today. He's got a bunch of rallies there. The first one this morning, about an hour ago, he spoke out about what John McCain said and about that rally yesterday in Minnesota. Take a listen.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to acknowledge that Senator McCain tried to tone down the rhetoric in his town hall meeting yesterday. I appreciated his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Senator McCain has served this country with honor. He deserves our thanks for that. But when it comes to the economy and what families here in Pennsylvania are going through, Senator McCain still doesn't get it.


STEINHAUSER: And you see, T.J., that's what the Obama campaign says. And Barack Obama himself. He says that McCain would rather attack him than talk about the economy. And he says that he doesn't think these attacks on him really have any traction. Sarah Palin is also in Pennsylvania. Barack Obama doesn't have the state to himself. And John McCain, he's out in Iowa, a state where he's trailing in the polls -- T.J.

HOLMES: Well, speaking out of the polls, he's been trailing in a lot of polls, certainly, since this economic mess hits. So I asked you earlier, has he stopped the bleeding? But any movement in these polls and any favorable for McCain?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, unfortunately for John McCain, it seems to be going the other way. Take a look at our latest CNN Poll of Polls nationally and it's a 49 percent for Obama, 41 percent for McCain. About 1 in 10 American still undecided.

This is an average of the latest national polls. And in the upper right, you can see, these polls were taken from October 7th to 9th, which means most of these were taken after the debate, after that last presidential debate. We've got one more this week up in New York. This is the last one, T.J.

HOLMES: The last one. All right, I know you will be around for it all. Paul Steinhauser for us today in D.C., thank you.

We want to head now to Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the aforementioned, Sarah Palin campaigning today. There she is at a rally. Let's take a listen in for it.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have an all-American guy and also he would feel right at home here. And we have a few of our kids here today also. I want to introduce you to Willow and Piper and Trig Palin.


PALIN: Bristol is on the road with us also and our son, Track. He had other commitments as one of many thousands of heroic young men and women serving our country. He's in Iraq.

You know, and thank you for that, Pennsylvania, for your respect of our United States military. I would ask those of you who have served in the past or are serving today in uniform, raise your hand so we can thank you and honor you.

We thank you.


PALIN: Thank you, guys. We thank you very much. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

Well, we are just weeks away from Election Day. And here in Pennsylvania, it's going to come right down to the wire. We're taking our cause for reform to every voter of every background in every region of this great nation. And whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, an independent, maybe no party at all, we're asking for your vote.

Pennsylvania, I know that you are ready to help carry us to the White House so that we can shake things up.


PALIN: Are you ready, Pennsylvania, to make John McCain the next president of the United States?


PALIN: Really? Are you ready to shake things up in Washington?


PALIN: Yes. So our opponent has spent a lot of time in this commonwealth. And our opponent, you'd think that he would know you all better by now after having spent so much time here -- here in Pennsylvania.

You know we still don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they're listening and then, though, talks about how bitterly they, quote, "cling to their religion and their guns" when they are not listening.


PALIN: Don't know what to make of a candidate who would say that. We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Johnstown and another way in San Francisco.

As for John McCain -- John McCain, I can promise you, wherever he goes, whoever is listening, he is the same man. Yes, he is.


PALIN: You know...

HOLMES: We've been listening in there to Sarah Palin there in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. You can see kind of a theme we've been seeing from her on the campaign trail. She has taken up that mantle of attacking Barack Obama, there taking a shot at him for some comments he certainly was criticized for that he made out in San Francisco about the people in Pennsylvania -- kind of paraphrasing here -- clinging to their guns and their religion.

There she's making a reference to that at that rally in, specifically, Pennsylvania, the people he was talking about.

If you want to continue to watch that, you can go to Continue to watch her live this morning. We certainly are keeping an eye on everything happening on the campaign trail today.

NGUYEN: So from politics to your pocket book, we know times are tough. But are we really headed for a depression? Find out.


NGUYEN: So we're talking the economy today. And here's the question. Are we headed into a depression?

Well, a new poll says Americans think we are. Nearly 60 percent of a thousand Americans polled said it is likely that there will be another depression.

Let's go now to Jerry Idaszak with The Kiplinger Letters.

Want do you make of this? 60 percent of Americans, according to this CNN poll, believe that we are headed to a depression. Is that rooted in fact or fear?

JERRY IDASZAK, THE KIPLINGER LETTERS: I think it's rooted in fear. People probably forget what the Great Depression was really like. Unemployment, which today is at 6 percent, is going to go up to 20 -- during the Great Depression, it went up to 25 percent.

A couple of thousand banks failed. And the Federal Reserve at that time was tightening money and credit in the economy. And today, as we've seen, it's really opening up the fire hose quite a bit so I think it's a little bit misleading those fears fed by panic.

NGUYEN: At the same time, we are also seeing the Dow down by 19 percent. That is the worse ever. So, to a sense, you know, and extent, there is a lot of fact in this.

IDASZAK: Well, I think that one of the differences is a couple of things. We haven't had a steep recession like 1981, '82, '73, '74, '75 for quite some time. The last recession in 2001 was relatively short.

Another difference is that we didn't have the pervasiveness of 401(k) investing. And so as people see their balances decline as the stock market tumbles, I think that's another reason for the heightening anxiety. Those didn't exist in previous times.

NGUYEN: OK, so let's bring down the fear if we can since this is a lot of anxiety. What safeguards are in place to prevent a repeat of, you know, the Great Depression in the 1930s?

IDASZAK: Well, in the 1930s, people's savings -- life savings were wiped out. Today, we have federal deposit insurance. We didn't have for senior citizens in the 1930s, we didn't have -- for senior citizens we didn't have Social Security, which was created during the 1930s.

So those are two real underlying safeguards that the economy has that we didn't have back then.

NGUYEN: All right, Jerry Idaszak with the Kiplinger Letters. Thanks so much for spending some time with us today.

IDASZAK: You're welcome.


HOLMES: All right, Betty. Well, we've heard a lot about the economy, Iraq and Afghanistan from the presidential candidates, but some voters would like to hear more about the candidates' plans for healthcare. One of their stories. Stay here.


NGUYEN: We, of course, following some developing stories this morning. First and foremost, finance ministers from the world's top industrial nations, they are meeting in Washington today.

And that meeting comes a day after treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, announced that the government will buy shares at some of the nation's troubled banks.

HOLMES: Also, in a reflection of the nation's troubled times, "New York Times" reporting that General Motors in merger talks with Chrysler. Also, Japanese media reporting Ford has a deal to sell off its shares of Mazda Motors. Mazda, right now, denying that story. Ford owns a third of the shares in the Japanese motor company.

NGUYEN: We want to take you now back live to Johnstown, Pennsylvania where Governor Sarah Palin is speaking at a rally at this hour. Let's take a listen.


PALIN: I think it's important if, as governor, what I've been able to do is kind of manifest my commitment to life. In the same spirit...


PALIN: In the same spirit, as defenders of the culture of life, John McCain and I, we believe in the goodness and the potential of every human life. Now...


PALIN: ... of that innocent life. I believe that the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are least able to defend and to speak for themselves and who is more vulnerable or more innocent than a child.


PALIN: Now, when I learned that my son, Trig, would have special needs. I -- to be honest with you, I had to pray that my heart would be prepared for the challenges to come. It was a shock. I wasn't ready for this. I had to ask for that strength.

And at first, I was very scared. And Todd and I, we did have to ask for that strength and understanding but let me tell you a few things that I have learned already. Yes, every innocent life does matter. And every one belongs in the circle of protection. And every child has something to contribute to our world if we give them that chance.


PALIN: Now there are the world's standards of perfection and then there are God's standards and these are the final measure. And...

NGUYEN: And you've been listening to Governor Sarah Palin speak today at a rally there in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. If you want to listen to it in its entirety, all you have to do is go to

HOLMES: All right. Want to get back to the economy now. Want to get more on the government's plan to buy bank shares now.


HOLMES: It's a new idea.

NGUYEN: The shares in those troubled banks will be bought using some of that $700 billion in a bailout rescue plan that we've all been talking about so much in the past few weeks

Well, Paulson says finance ministers from around the globe are taking similar steps to get more money into the market. Those ministers continue meeting in Washington throughout the day.

And starting, well, just about now the International Monetary Fund is gathering as well. The IMF, as it's called, also is trying to find ways to stop the wave of bad financial news from sweeping across the globe.

HOLMES: This election year we've been talking a lot about the economy, talking a lot about the war in Iraq as well. Seems like health care doesn't get a whole lot of attention these days.

But millions of Americans are fighting an impossible diagnosis. Many have a long-term disease, costly medical bills that can literally break the bank.

Meet now, Steve Diekhoff, one of them.


HOLMES (voice over): At 45-years-old, Steve Diekhoff bought his dream house and he looked forward to nights just like this, with his two teenage daughters, Alana and Alex.

STEVE DIEKHOFF, ALS PATIENT: You can solve a lot of disease for $700 billion.

HOLMES: Life seemed close to perfect even though, Diek, as his friends call him, was worried. Two years ago, he started getting some odd cramping in his left hand. Doctors were baffled until August of this year when his walk seemed off.

DIEKHOFF: First, when he told me I had Lou Gehrig's disease, I didn't know exactly what it was. I knew it wasn't good.

HOLMES: The first place he went was to the ALS Web site and he's been staring at these words ever since. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years.

A dad first and foremost, his thoughts raced to Alana and Alex.

DIEKHOFF: The thing that's been most important to me in life is being a daddy. You know I always used to say, you know, when my time is to go, I just want one word on my headstone, and that's daddy.

HOLMES: Diek wants to leave his daughter wonderful memories, strong values and financial security. But the road ahead looks costly.

DIEKHOFF: I have heard that it can be up to $200,000 a year, you know, for the last couple years.

HOLMES: Diek admits he cares more now about the presidential election than he did three months ago. And no doubt, Barack Obama and John McCain have very different views about health care, views that are obvious during this last presidential debate.

MCCAIN: I think it's a responsibility.

OBAMA: I think it should be a right.

HOLMES: Obama wants to require larger employers to provide health care coverage. He also supports spending more on government- sponsored programs for those who can't afford coverage.

McCain wants to stimulate the free economy by offering a $2500 tax break for individual health insurance policies or a $5,000 tax credit for families.

But the plans of both candidates could be blown out of the water by the current financial crisis.

DIEKHOFF: There's a lot of people out of work right now. What would happen if I would have gotten laid off this year?


HOLMES: Well, Joel Miller from the National Coalition on Health Care joins us now from Washington.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us. We have been talking a lot about the economy and a bailout of our economic system. Do we need a similar bailout to the health care system and how much would one cost?

JOEL MILLER, NATIONAL COALITION ON HEALTH CARE: We really do need a rescue plan and we need one immediately. He we have seen a tech bubble. We have seen a housing and real estate bubble and several other bubbles like commodities and so on.

And what we've had, basically, is a 40-year-old health care cost bubble. We were spending only $70 billion on health care in the late '60s. We are spending now $2.3 trillion on health care, a 25 -- a 25- fold increase since the late '60s.

And what does this has translated into is that workers and families are really catching it in the neck.

HOLMES: Well, sir, we're going to talk about families there. But as a practical matter, can this happen? Can we do a bailout? How much money are we talking about here?

MILLER: Yes, we can -- we can do a bailout. Based on numbers that we have, we can invest $70 billion a year -- actually $700 billion over the next 10 years and we can get everybody covered, save billions of dollars a year, and save lives all at the same time.

HOLMES: Sir, would that include some kind of a government takeover as well? And that is a huge number you're talking about there. Is that really going to get the support and the backing needed to fund another major government program?

MILLER: Well, we have found ways to, you know, fund the war, to take care of problems with Hurricane Katrina. We have found ways to bail out Wall Street. What's more important than finding ways to provide health insurance to all Americans, to control the rate of increase in health care costs and improve the quality of care.

Right now, we are seeing families who are paying almost $8,000 to $9,000 a year out of pocket to -- to cover their share of job-based health insurance, as well as out-of-pocket expenses.

HOLMES: Well, sir, why do you think -- you'd be honest with me here. The will is not there. You talk about we can come up with money for a lot of things when we need it. Why isn't the will there to get this done?

MILLER: I think the will is there now. I think because families are hurting so bad and that rising health care costs are affecting several aspects of the economy, business operations, small businesses, workers and families, pension programs, state and local governments, that all the stakeholders now realize that if we don't get a handle on health care costs, we're going to be in the same predicament we found ourselves in recently with the housing and real estate crisis.

We need to take action right now to solve these problems. Otherwise, we will have a health care meltdown.

HOLMES: What happens -- how long? That was one of my questions that you said we're going to have a meltdown. How much time do we have? How much is in action costing us now -- I mean before this whole thing melts down as you just said?

MILLER: Yes, the cost of inaction would be significant. Right now, we are seeing 1.5 million people lose their homes, foreclosures, due to medical problems and rising health care costs.

Right now, if a married couple retires tomorrow, they are going to have to pay $250,000 out of pocket over their lifetime to take care of their medical problems.

These are staggering numbers. We need to slow down the rate of increase in health care costs and premiums right now.

HOLMES: Well, sir, I am so glad you came on and given us that kind of a reality check here about exactly what's going on with this health care system. Again, it's kind of one of the back burner as far as issues go because of the economy right now and maybe that's understandable. But an important issue people need to talk about.

Joel Miller, the National Coalition on Health Care. Sir, thank so much for your time. You have a good rest of the weekend.

MILLER: Thank you.

NGUYEN: Well, the worst economy in generations. That's what we are hearing. And it has some people thinking back to the Great Depression. What lessons were passed down from that generation. Our iReporters are sharing their insights and CNN's Josh Levs will join us with that.

Hi, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. Yes. And we're getting some really interesting insights, as you're saying there. People looking all the way back to that time.

I'm going to start off with this iReport we have here from Gerald Dimmit who says when his father would talk about the Great Depression, he would start to cry but then -- well, let's look.


GERALD DIMMIT, VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON: And then he said, there was an election and a different president came in and he had ideas to put America back to work building bridges and roads and dams and America was made well again.


LEVS: Kind of bring it up to today for us.

Now let's take a look at the board. I want to zoom in here and show you a few more of the iReporters we've been getting here. Let's start off with this called "Guiding Principles: Family Counts." We can zoom in there.

This comes to us from Sheila Elrod in Atlanta. And this is what she says -- can we get a picture -- that text there? There you go. "With economic challenges clawing at the door, I'm reminded of those things I learned from earlier generations that lived through the depression," she says. And she's taking back to how families used to pull together.

Let's go to another one here. This one is called "Chicken Stealing in the Depression." And it's looking back from Pam van Hylckama in Saltville, Virginia, thinking back to how her father -- her grandfather told stories of people stealing chickens back during the depression, a fear they have.

Let's just show one more here. This is the "Depression Bride." I like this one a lot. It comes to us from Donald LeBlanc in Waxia, Louisiana who talks to us about her grandparents who met during the Great Depression and how they learned to get by, to scrape by with whatever they could get.

You can see all these at

One more interesting thing I want to show you. A clip of video here from someone who put together his imagining of where he fears we might be in just a few months.


ACE ANDERSON, HAVELIN, KANSAS: I sure could have used some of that tax money that -- you know, that I paid to help fund this ridiculous war.


LEVS: And you could see more of that at A lot of people weighing in.

If you have thoughts of where the economy is right now, share your thoughts with us right there through e-mail this morning, and guys, throughout the weekend, we're going to keep sharing these iReports and e-mails with you.

It's great for people to have this opportunity to share their stories with us.

NGUYEN: Because they're definitely talking home. No doubt.

LEVS: Yes.

NGUYEN: OK. Thank you.

LEVS: Thanks a lot.

NGUYEN: All right, so removing North Korea from the list of terrorism sponsoring countries. Find out why next.


NGUYEN: Well, after some questions...


NGUYEN: A lot of people are wondering where is he? HOLMES: Where is he?

NGUYEN: Well, North Korea has released several pictures of Kim Jong-il. The health of the reclusive leader has been questioned in recent weeks because he hasn't appeared at events that he would normally attend.

HOLMES: Yes. North Korean television said Kim Jong-il visited a women's artillery unit, however, did not say exactly when that visit took place.

NGUYEN: And there are new developments this morning when it comes to the United States relationship with North Korea. The White House is expected to remove the country from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

CNN State Department Zain Verjee joins us now with the details on this.

So Zain, as we hear it, need you to explain how and why this decision is being made?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Betty, this is really a dramatic save by the Bush administration. They are taking actions, essentially, to prevent a nuclear deal it made with North Korea from completely falling apart.

We're going to get more details about this in the next 15 minutes. There's supposed to be a briefing at the State Department and -- we'll get the nuts and bolts of what exactly is going on.

But essentially, senior State Department officials have told us the U.S. is expected to remove North Korea from that terror black list. And in return, North Korea is going to agree to a verification plan to make sure that it's telling us the truth about its nuclear secrets.

Essentially, what this means it's politically important because you're formally taking them off a list. It means it opens up foreign assistance from international organization. And before the U.S. would have opposed that.

Some sanctions, not all sanctions, are going to be lifted. North Korean still going to be subject to sanctions because of its human rights violations, because it tested a nuclear device because of proliferation.

So you may -- you'll probably not going to see a massive lineup of American businessmen wanting to deal with North Korea. That's not going to happen. And the key here, too, Betty, is that this is an executive branch's decision. President Bush has made this decision. He decided to go ahead with this last night. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is going to sign and seal this.

One important point to make is that the administration is linking the fact that it's removing North Korea from the terror black list but -- will put North Korea back on if it doesn't cooperate down the road.

So this is a really major development. The Bush administration is going to come under fire from critics who say that you just can't trust North Korea, that we've caved in to North Korea's brinksmanship and North Korea's demands, because it had threatened to restart its major bomb-making facility.

So this is a significant moment and one where the administration will argue is a central one to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula -- Betty?.

NGUYEN: Part of the deal is, if you don't live up to you end of it, North Korea, then you could find yourself very well back on that list.

VERJEE: Exactly.

NGUYEN: All right, Zain Verjee, joining us live. Thank you, Zain.


HOLMES: All right, let's go over to Reynolds Wolf over in the -- we're back to being the hurricane center this morning. Is that right?


NGUYEN: All right, we do appreciate it. Thanks.

WOLF: You bet.

HOLMES: All right. The economy, we know how it is. Family vacations now may include the entire family, meaning the dog and the cat. You know, having to put them up, having to board them, send them off somewhere, that could be a little expensive at times.

So we've got the tips on how to make traveling easier. And for those tips, we turn to Richelle Carey.


RICHELLE CAREY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): You may enjoy traveling with your pet but the lack of preparation could land you in the doghouse.

BILL WOOD, AAA: You really have to ask yourself, is the pet ready, is the pet properly socialized? Are they going to be able to handle the stress of the car trip or the plane trip?

CAREY: To ease the stress, AAA suggests you get a clean bill of health from your veterinarian and then get on the phone.


WOOD: It's always to call ahead and verify the conditions of state. Some of the hotels do charge a pet fee, a cleaning deposit. Some places will not take anything but a small dog.

CAREY: Put your pet in a crate when you stay in a hotel. And if you're driving, have the proper restraints.


WOOD: We recommend that you either use a crate, you need to get one specific for your dog's size or a harness that can be fastened to the seatbelt.

CAREY: Also, bring familiar toys or blankets to help make your pet feel more at home.


NGUYEN: All right, so you know, it's mid October. Halloween's just a few weeks away.

HOLMES: Yes. It's not far.

NGUYEN: And in fact, can you believe that a Halloween display can really show you the ugly side of politics?

HOLMES: A little creative, though, it's an interesting story.


NGUYEN: Well, they were really going at it over a Halloween display and it's happening in Nebraska. Here's how it really shakes out.

Patrick Kimball, who is running for city council, says his neighbor built an elaborate Halloween display opposing him. So...

HOLMES: It's impressive. It's impressive.

NGUYEN: It is. So when he asked him to take it down, the neighbor called the police.


PATRICK KIMBALL, HALLOWEEN DISPLAY OWNER: He was going to physically attack me. He would not stop.

KEN TRINKLE, RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL: I have never, ever been in a fight with anybody. I've never hit anybody. I've never done any of that kind of stuff.

KIMBALL: It's freedom of speech. There's no doubt in my mind.

TRINKLE: Your rights end at my nose here. And so I just think it is libelous.


NGUYEN: This thing has gone way over board. HOLMES: But look at it, you don't get the same effect in the daytime as at night.

NGUYEN: That's true.

HOLMES: But it's kind of scary. It's about a lot more than just the Halloween display. However, the neighbors say they have been at odds for years disagreeing over philosophical issues, noise, children, you name it, and now this is a way to get back at him.

NGUYEN: So it's been a long standing dispute.

HOLMES: It's been a while. I know. Would you vote for that guy after seeing that?

NGUYEN: Yes, that is frightening.

HOLMES: It's a little scary. There it is. A good shot of it.

NGUYEN: All right. OK. So "Fortune" magazine is out with its list of the "50 Most Powerful Women" in business. But before we tell you who they are, here's a chance to guess.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was growing up, I always thought I'd be a veterinarian.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): She had a change of plans but it didn't stop this businesswoman from playing with the big dogs. Taking the financial industry by storm, this analyst is calling it like it is, and investors are all ears.

Who is this Wall Street power house? Find out after the break.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): News of "Fortune" magazine's list of most powerful women, Meredith Whitney of Oppenheimer & Co. comes in at number 35.

Known as the woman who moves market, Whitney first got attention when she predicted Citigroup's troubles back in 2007. A bold move she made a loan.

MEREDITH WHITNEY, OPPENHEIMER & CO.: I've made some gutsy calls throughout my career. This one was a big one. I was very confident in what I put out. I was surprised that I was the only one making it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But far from being concerned, for Whitney, it's just about keeping it real.