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CNN IN THE MONEY
Effects Of Failed Dubai Port Deal; Illegal Immigrants And The U.S. Work Force; Some Conservatives Mad At Bush; Mixed Messages On Diet And Health; New Deductions And Common Tax Filing Mistakes; CeBIT Trade Fair
Aired March 11, 2006 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And here are the top stories.
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been found dead in his prison cell in the Netherlands. He was facing charges before the U.N. war crimes tribunal. No word yet on the exact cause of death.
In Baghdad the body of U.S. hostage Tom Fox has been found shot in the head with his hands and feet bound. Fox was one of four Christian activists kidnapped by insurgents in November.
President Bush says he is shocked to learn this. His former domestic policy adviser is accused of theft. Claude Allen abruptly resigned last month. Maryland police say he scammed department stores out of about $5,000 in refunds.
Those are the headlines. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. More news as it happened. "IN THE MONEY" begins right now.
ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty.
Coming up on today' edition of IN THE MONEY. Risking their lives to wash your dishes. We'll get the latest stats on America's illegal immigrants. Find out just how big a part they play in this country's work force. You might be amazed.
Plus, check out roulette. Thought it was bad for you until one of those new studies said otherwise. Find out why all the research about what to eat just doesn't seem to add up.
And many happy returns, a tax lawyer's going to tell us what you need to know for this coming tax year. The trial deadline getting closer. Stick around for some pointers that won't cost you a penny.
Joining me today a couple of IN THE MONEY veterans. "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven and "Fortune" Magazine editor at large Andy Serwer.
So the Dubai Ports deal went down in flames big time. President Bush walked away with both his eyed kind of blacked on this thing. Republican leadership in both houses of Congress rebelling openly. And actually marching over to the White House at one point last week saying you know what? Not only are we going to vote this thing down, but we have enough votes to override your threatened veto, Mr. President. And within a matter of hours it was history. What do you make of that?
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, "HEADLINE NEWS": Amazing.
ANDY SERWER, EDITOR AT LARGE, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: What I think is interesting is that I don't think it's over. Just one angle, for instance. Economic fall-out. Will Dubai Emirates retaliate against us somehow? For instance, Boeing has a $10 billion contract to supply the country Emirates their airline with 42 jets.
Will they cancel it and go to Air Bus? Also there are a lot of other companies from Dubai that do sensitive work in the United States. Will they get scrutinized? Will there be retaliation, will there be fall-out? So I think it have legs this story.
WESTHOVEN: Still, it was amazing to see that the Congress actually reacted to something that the American people really cared about. Obviously Dubai and the White House were getting along just fine. But the American people didn't buy this at all.
So they can be retaliatory but they may only be punishing their friends. I think the big question is what the heck happens to this president for the next 2 1/2 years and Jack this great writer came in and said if President Bush's politically capital was credit card, it is overextended now. He's hit the limit.
CAFFERTY: You can make the argument that this might make him a lame duck if he wasn't there already. The other question though that we'll probably never know the answer to. Although I think I probably do and that is whether or not these patriotic American senators and congressman would have been quite so quick to take up the American taxpayer if the midterm elections weren't eight months away. Somehow political pragmatism always figures into this stuff. I have a hunch that was probably part of the deal as well.
For a bunch of people who technically aren't even here, illegal immigrants sure are doing a lot of America's work. New numbers out this week say that undocumented workers are handling nearly one in 20 U.S. civilian jobs. That's the headline from the survey by the Pew Hispanic Center. It came out just before the senate judiciary committee began to debate on whether to crack down harder on illegal immigration.
Maybe we should rephrase that. Crack down at all on illegal immigration. For one take on the survey and what it is telling all of us, we are joined now by Mark Krikorian who is the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. Mark it is nice to see you. Welcome.
MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: Thank you.
CAFFERTY: I find it personally outrageous that nearly 5 percent of American jobs are held by people who are in the country illegally. Why is this happening?
KRIKORIAN: Because the federal government has refused to enforce the immigration laws. This is not a matter of sort of a force of nation that we have no choice. We can't stop it. The market is going to pull these people in no matter what. The fact is that the federal government has made it harder to cross the border, a little bit harder. But once illegal aliens get inside the country, they are home free.
The federal government helps them file tax runs. Some states give will they driver's licenses. Nobody, the federal government does not enforce the law, the ban that's against hiring illegal aliens. So what would you expect to happen except that they are going to want to flood in and employers are going to want to hire cheap labor rather than American workers?
SERWER: Mark, I think you suggested that poor Americans are crowd out by immigrants in terms of finding jobs. How can you document that?
KRIKORIAN: Well we have some research coming out pretty soon. Maybe you'll have me back at that point. We haven't published it yet. But what we've found is it's not simplistic in the sense that one illegal alien comes and takes the job. The economy doesn't work that way.
But what we have found is that there has been a pretty consistent working increase in the number of working age Americans who are dropping out of the labor market all together. They are not in the unemployment statistics because they have stopped looking for work.
SERWER: Yes but what is the connection to immigrants?
KRIKORIAN: It seems to be pretty clear. My researchers looked at it in a variety of different ways. And it does a large part of that dropping out of the labor force by working age Americans. It does seem to be driven by the continual increase in low-skilled immigration.
WESTHOVEN: I'm just going to take the other side for a minute. Right now we have unemployment at 4.7 percent. It is at a four-year low. What's wrong with immigration? This has been a nation that has historically relied on immigrants to keep it going. So tell us in your view what the problems are?
KRIKORIAN: Sure. There's a couple of problems here. Let's start with economics. We have a low level of unemployment. We do in fact have relatively low level of unemployment. But as I was saying, we have a growing pool of Americans who have stopped looking for work. And this is partly driven by pressure at the bottom of the labor market.
But then let's look at the other economic effects it has. This low-skilled immigration distorts the event of the industries these people are in. Because it takes away the incentive for mechanicization and productivity increases. As we've seen in the harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables where mechanization stopped when illegal immigration picked up. But illegal immigrants also create cost to the taxpayer. The cheap labor is only cheap for the employer the other costs are then fobbed off on the rest of society.
CAFFERTY: Let me ask you about the politics of this. Last week the state of Arizona was sending its national guard to the border to help slow the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico. If you walk down -- 14 percent, one of the things I've read in your study. Fourteen percent of all of the construction jobs in this country are held by illegal immigrants. Construction jobs traditionally are middle-class good-paying jobs with decent benefits.
Now 14 percent of them are going to people who aren't citizens of this country. If you walk down any street of America and say are you in favor of having 12 million illegal immigrants in this country who take five percent of all the available jobs the overwhelmingly response is no. We don't want them here; we don't want them doing this.
The question is why does the government allow this to happen? What's the political machinery that's in motion that tells in effect the American taxpayer, your opinion really doesn't matter here?
KRIKORIAN: Well, because what happens is that even though the public overwhelmingly wants the immigration laws enforced, it's not a real high priority issue for most regular voters most of the time. Whereas those either employers of cheap labor or the ethnic advocacy groups or others that benefit from these loose orders, they benefit a lot.
And so their concern is intense, 24/7 working to keep the immigration laws from being enforced. So what we end up with is a law that looks tough on paper to satisfy the occasional interest of voters. But then is never implemented to satisfy the very intense special interests. All of which benefit from open borders and loose immigration.
CAFFERTY: So the answer is special interests in a nutshell?
KRIKORIAN: It is. Now that's the way democracies work. The problem is there's no special interest on the other side.
CAFFERTY: OK, Mark we have to leave it there. It is interesting stuff. And we will get you back when the rest of the stuff comes out. Mark Krikorian executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
When we come back, money to burn. President Bush gets billed as a conservative. But not everybody thinks he spends like one. We are going to hear from a economist from the Reagan years. Worked in the Reagan administration. Wrote the back on Reaganomics that says President Bush is a pretend conservative.
Also ahead, busy signals. As AT&T goes after Bell South see if Wall Street's dialing in or hanging up on a $67 billion deal.
And cash on the line. Allen Wastler is going to tell us about some of our colleagues right here in this building who get their kicks from Washington's monthly employment numbers. These are people who should get out a little more often if you get my drift.
CAFFERTY: You don't have to be a liberal to get mad at President Bush these days. Seems like almost everybody is. Look at the Republican reaction to the Dubai Ports deal. Even before that, some traditional conservatives already had a beef with the president's spending all those deficits. In fact one of them has a book out about it.
He's Bruce Bartlett, an economist who served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. His book is called "Imposter, How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy." Mr. Bartlett, nice to have you with us. Thanks for joining us.
BRUCE BARTLETT, AUTHOR, "IMPOSTER": Happy to be here.
CAFFERTY: You are calling President Bush a pretend conservative. Explain what you mean by that phrase.
BARTLETT: Well to me, Ronald Reagan's philosophy of government is really the core of what traditional conservatives believe in. Ask basically what the Republican Party believes in. And I think Bush has gone off in a completely different direction. His own supporters, people like Fred Barns for example, call him a big government conservative. And it seems to me that's a contradiction in terms.
SERWER: Bruce, how deep does this disenchantment run against conservatives like yourself? And does it extend to other issues besides the budget and economics?
BARTLETT: Oh, absolutely. I would say that the number one issue which conservatives by in large disagree with the president would be immigration and border security in general which would include the ports issue. I think that is why this ports issue became such a hot button issue so quickly.
Is that it fed into concerns that many conservatives and liberals too about illegal immigration. And the problems that is causing for our country. I think that on the budget, there's been -- growing discontent. But the two issues haven't really quite merged together.
WESTHOVEN: Bruce, you said something that I found really surprising for a guy who's worked in a lot of Republican White Houses. For a Republican think tank saying that you think that George W. Bush is more like Richard Nixon than he is like Ronald Reagan. Can you take a little bit about that?
BARTLETT: Well Nixon did a lot of the same sorts of things that Bush has done in terms of increasing the size of government. The size and scope of government. Nixon greatly increased spending. He created almost all of the modern regulatory agencies such as the environmental protection administration. And when the inevitable consequences of his actions led to inflation, he put on wage and price controls.
Now those things are not conservative policies. If you want to call them liberal, fine. But I see Bush doing a lot of the same things. His first action in office was the No Child Left Behind Act. He signed campaign finance reform. He signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. And just great and of course for my own concerns, the Medicare drug benefit that was kind of the final straw lying in the sand for me.
CAFFERTY: Let me ask you about, I'm going to go back to the ports deal for a minute. We were talking about it on "The Situation" which is another programs that I hang out on here once in a while. And the question came up of revolt among Republican leadership in the Congress was political pragmatism or patriotism. Seventy percent of the citizens in this country were adamantly opposed to this Dubai Ports deal going through.
There was a revoke by Republican leadership and the Congress. My question is, you've been inside the beltway a long time and read the tealeaves pretty good on this stuff. Was that revolt dictated by the approaching midterm elections or was that revolted by some newfound sense of urgency to actually do something to placate the people who put them in office i.e. the voters.
BARTLETT: I'm not sure this case is really much different. I think the Republicans and Congress were reacting to a massive grass/roots concern about this issue. And I think the administration just played this whole situation as badly as it was humanely possible to play it. They didn't plan for anything ahead of time. They didn't put out any briefing materials for members of Congress. They immediately reacted by attacking their opponents as Xenophobes and racists.
They just did everything wrong possible. I do think also that Republicans are very concerned about Bush's very low poll ratings. And they view him as an Albatross around their necks. And I do think that they are trying to find some opportunity, shall we say, to put distance between themselves and President Bush.
WESTHOVEN: So what do you think that means for the next 2 1/2 years? We've got Republicans who are trying to put all this distance between them. They don't even want to look like they know the president right now in this ports deal. A lot of concern about that. Plus what kind of legacy could he leave, this is I think the first time a sitting vice president hasn't run in a hundred years. Cheney doesn't want to be president after this. What's next?
BARTLETT: That's right. I think we have to go all the way back to 1952 to find a situation in which you didn't have an incumbent president or a sitting vice president representing one of the two parties. So we are going to have a very open election in 2008 on both sides. One of the reasons I wrote the book was to try to send a message to my fellow Republicans. I would like to see us getting back more to finding a candidate who talks and represents the Reagan wing of the party.
And President Bush, I assume he will endorse somebody. I assume he'll want somebody to carry on his legacy and represent his policies. And that's fine. Let's have a debate in the Republican Party. But whether we want to go forward with Bush's policies or go back to Reagan's policies.
CAFFERTY: I'm out of time. But just quickly, does this ports deal mark the official designation of him as a lame duck, do you think?
BARTLETT: I think that's a reasonable way of putting it. Sooner or later some issue would have come along if it wasn't this one. It would have been another one. But yes, he is a lame duck and everybody knows it.
CAFFERTY: Good to see you. Thanks for being with us Bruce. Bruce Bartlett, author of "Imposter, How George Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy."
Time now for our look ahead. A hand full of key economic reports coming out in the coming week, retail sales out Tuesday that is an important one. Economists expecting a slight decline from January's numbers. Thursday morning housing starts and the consumer price index which is considered a top indicator of inflation. You may want to get up early and be sure you get those when they are fresh off the griddle. And on Thursday, the NCAA college basketball tournament begins. That's always kind of fun.
According to a survey employers expected to lose $3.8 billion in worker productivity because of the March madness. Which of course we can all watch on our computers in our office on the boss's time. Which is kind of a cool idea.
Coming up after the break, lords of the rings. With AT&T pairing off with Bellsouth, we'll see if Wall Street likes the sound of the deal $67 billion worth.
Also ahead, make that cheeseburger a double. See why it's so hard to figure out whether the food you love is going to eventually put you in the grave. All in for a penny in for a pound cake. Meet somebody who is turning sugar and flour into dollars and cents. As IN THE MONEY marches on.
SERWER: So much for sibling rivalry. AT&T and BellSouth proved earlier this week, if you can't beat them, join them. Both telecoms two descendants of the old Ma Bell are planning to merge in a $67 billion deal. Shares of AT&T were down slightly on the news. But over the last year, well the stock hasn't moved much at all. What does that deal mean for the future of AT&T and the telecom business as a whole?
Lots of speculation and that makes AT&T our "Stock of the Week." You know a lot of people are rolling their eyes about this deal saying well, in 1984 we broke the whole thing apart and now it looks like we are putting the whole thing back together and that's true.
AT&T and BellSouth will have four of the baby bells. And you got Verizon and Quest sort of hanging out there on the side. The times were very different back then and now you need bigger companies, back then we needed to break it up I think.
CAFFERTY: The only difference as I recall my phone bill was a lot cheaper back then. And the efficiency of the telecommunications in my house was a lot higher than now.
SERWER: So you didn't want to break up AT&T? You and AT&T would say we don't need wireless or cell phones.
CAFFERTY: They are absolutely right.
SERWER: You never would of had a cell phone in this country if we had left AT&T.
CAFFERTY: That would have been a shame.
SERWER: I know.
WESTHOVEN: There's this argument that there's no reason to think that this is a monopoly and the White House has really not been very big on the anti trust funds. They haven't worked a deal this way. But I think there's an argument to be made here that this at least deserves a careful look by the Justice Department. It is going to have 42 percent of consumer lines, 70 million people with local phones, 50 million wireless. A lot of people with broadband. There's a real chance here that this could cut down on competition.
SERWER: I disagree. Jen's a trustbuster. There's so much more competition now. You have international phone companies, you got cell phones, you have Internet e-mail is competition. You have cable companies like Time Warner. Our parent company that offers phones.
WESTHOVEN: Cable companies are small.
SERWER: They are offering phone. There's just a whole lot of different companies out there. The landscape's different. It's interesting because they did think it was going to be a slam-dunk by the FCC. Now there are two Democrats and two Republicans and a nominee who might have a conflict of interest.
He might have to recuse himself. The Democrats may actually have some leverage, maybe even block the deal. I don't think that's going to happen. But I think you are right that there is going to be more scrutiny than initially we thought.
WESTHOVEN: I just think they should look.
SERWER: I think they should look too. By the way talking about the stock, I'm not so sure I would be a buyer here. Look at Verizon it has gone nowhere in a long time. There is just so much uncertainty in this business; this is another one of these businesses where it's probably good to be a consumer maybe not great to be an investor. Just my take.
All right. Coming up on IN THE MONEY, dining by the numbers. All those studies about what is healthy for you can leave a shopper confused. Find out why nobody seems to know for sure what is right for you to eat.
Also ahead, don't let Uncle Sam take you to the wood shed. Oh, no. We'll look at tax mistakes that can really cost you.
And how to make your computer jealous? We'll take you to a European showcase for the latest in tech in our "Brainstorm" segment. Stay tuned.
WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Now in the news, the man known as the "Butcher of the Balkans" is dead. Former Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milosevic was found dead this morning in his prison cell in the Netherlands. Where he was on trial for alleged war crimes. Unable to determine the exact cause of death.
American hostage Tom Fox has been killed. Iraqi police found Fox's body Thursday on a Baghdad road. They say he was shot in the head and showed signs of torture. Fox was one of four Christian peace activists abducted by Iraqi insurgents back in November.
And in Spain painful memories as that country marks the second anniversary of the terrorist attack in Madrid, 191 people were killed when bombs ripped through four commuter trains during morning rush hour. More than 1700 people were wounded. Some of the victims attended today's ceremony.
I'll have all the day's news at the top of the hour. Now back to more of IN THE MONEY.
WESTHOVEN: That it was supposed to be bad for you, and then a new study said it isn't. Sometimes. Chocolate, good for your heart, bad for the rest of you? The headlines are conflicting. They can be confusing but there is one thing you can count on when it comes to these health studies. Food and drug companies have a lot riding on what you believe.
"Newsweek" senior editor Claudia Kalb is the co-writer of a cover story in "Newsweek" about the mixed messages we get about diet and health. The story's called "Food, News, Blues." Claudia welcome, thank you for helping us try and sort this out a bit.
We see these headlines all the time. It is hard to know when to change your actions and habit. What you should eat and what you shouldn't eat. At what point do you think you should do something? Should you talk to your doctor, when do you know what to do?
CLAUDIA KALB, "NEWSWEEK": It's very confusing for consumers. We and the media are covering these studies as they come out. And so you read these headlines. A lot of these studies are just certain foods, chocolate or wine or nuts. And it's hard to interpret what that really means.
In general, a good diet is sort of the old standard, which is fruits, vegetables and some dairy. Good foods. Not these one-food diets. So talk to your doctor about when these studies come out and ask him is this a reliable study. Was it big enough to find an effect, is it really worth my time?
SERWER: Claudia, one of my least-favorite phrases in the English language is it's the media's fault. But I really think at this point in this business and in this field there is a little blame to go around here. Because you have so many nutrition reporters.
And people like that who have to come up with a story every single day. And in variably, story in week one conflicts with story in week 17. Meat has gone from good to bad to good to bad over the past 40 years if you think about it. So there's an overload here, right?
KALB: Right, I mean there's definitely an overload on the one hand. The blame I think goes around I mean the scientist have an interest in talking about their work. The universities and certainly the drug companies that they are pushing drugs have an interest in getting the word out. Newspapers have to sell their space. A lot of people get their news from local media, from the local television stations.
Those guys have about 30 seconds to tell the story. If you are going to put a headline up that says something is good or bad for you and tell the story in 30 seconds, no one's getting the nuances, and no one is getting the context. It's not the reporter's fault they don't have enough time. But the message unfortunately is a problem.
CAFFERTY: Why are there so many messages coming out of the scientific community about food? The scientists that do these studies know, I would think they know and I hope they know that a balanced diet of the things you mentioned in the beginning of this segment of fruits, vegetable, whatever. Everything in moderation, will probably get you somewhere within the boundaries of the actuarial tables. Why are all of these studies being done to begin with?
KALB: Well it is a great question. I think the scientists want to find out what is it in these diets that's actually particularly healthy. The food boards like the avocado board or the nut board or the dairy council they all have an interest in advertising their products.
They want us to eat them so they are going to start looking at these products specifically funding these studies and hoping for good outcomes. We really don't hear about the negative outcomes. That is another big point, it gets overlooked. What you generally cover is the positive stuff. That's something else consumers need to be aware of.
WESTHOVEN: Claudia one of the facts in your article mentions the fact that in news magazines the number of pages devoted to health since 1980 has quadrupled. When I read something like that you'd think that we were a nation that was obsessed with our health, but the obesity rates say no. What do you make about how much people really care about this snuff?
KALB: It's such a contradiction. I mean two-thirds of this country is over weight or obese. I think people are pretty self- consumed at this point. They do want to know, people are aging, we have the boomer generation they are very interested in their health.
They want to live forever. So they are interested in these reports. They want to know what's good for you. They are actually waiting for these headlines that say I think chocolate's great for you. That's great. But you know chocolate is not a health food.
There is an obsession and yet people really aren't taking the central messages to heart, which are, you've got to exercise, you've got to eat right. And everything needs to be done in terms of eating in moderation. If somebody tells you something is good for you, it doesn't mean you stick to that diet only, you know only chocolate or only nuts or whatever it is. It's all moderation. A little bit of everything is good for you.
SERWER: OK. We are going to have to leave it at that. A fascinating topic. Claudia Kalb senior writer at "Newsweek" Magazine. Thank you for coming on the program.
KALB: Thank you.
SERWER: There is plenty more to come here I should say on the program. How to tame your tax forms. We'll get tax attorney thoughts on what's different about this year.
And, let him eat cake and pay for it. See how a recipe grew into a business next.
SERWER: It's the most wonderful time of the year. I think I was supposed to sing that. Tax time. And no -- this go around the IRS has given us a two-day extension. But the clock is ticking and this year, April 17th deadline is just around the corner. Here to tell us about the new deductions for '06 and to warn us about common tax filing mistakes. Donna Levalley a tax attorney and editor of "J.K. Lazarus Your Income Tax 2006." Donna welcome back to the program.
DONNA LEVALLEY, TAX ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SERWER: I guess what I have to ask you are what's different this year?
LEVALLEY: Well there are a few things that are different. One thing that people -- if you do a lot of traveling by car that's deductible the two mileage rates. Following hurricane Katrina gas prices went up even higher. So starting September 1st the deductible mileage rate, the business rate went up by eight cents. Up until September 1st the rate was 40.5 cents. After that it went up eight cents to 48 1/2 cents. Be careful you want the bigger deduction for those miles traveled in the later half of the year.
WESTHOVEN: Donna I want to ask you about the AMT, it was started in 1969 to catch really rich people. Since then of course with inflation everybody's income has gone up. Now it is whacking a lot of people who are upper middle class. This thing is great if you are a company like H&R Block because you can charge people an arm and a leg to fill out these forms. Nobody can figure it out. Any hope on this front that this might be going away?
LEVALLEY: I don't know that it's going to go away. I think we could definitely see short-term relief. Except maybe making permanent that increased exemption amount and maybe indexing it. Unfortunately there's too much money that comes in from it.
And regardless of whether or not it was supposed to be collected in the first place. They've gotten very comfortable spending it. I don't think it's going to be off the table any time soon. And it's a terrific issue politically. I think that we'll see some changes, hoping to see some permanent changes soon.
CAFFERTY: You've probably got a vested interest in the answer to the question I'm going to ask you. But why shouldn't people buy these little CD deals?
CAFFERTY: Yes, that kind of stuff. And -- I can't do it because I don't know how to operate the computer. But it seems to me that if I was a CPA that's what I'd be using to fix your return if you came to my office. Why shouldn't people do this on their own or should they?
LEVALLEY: There's no reason that they can't. It's a matter of people being comfortable in terms of doing their taxes online and pressing that button and sending their information. There's the no recorded cases or large-scale issues with security or anything like that. The only thing I would caution that unlike the book that I helped prepare, it's the final step.
It's for tax preparation. It is not for planning. So it's not going to help you throughout the year so you know how to better save or spend your money. Or tell you what to do on the 1040 with that expense or savings. I actually think they are very good. And if you are expecting a refund, filing online or electronically, you can get that refund back within two weeks if you use direct deposit method.
SERWER: All right, Donna are you ready? I'm going to ask you an extremely technical question. Why is it April 17th? Is it a weekend thing? And isn't it true that in the northeast it's actually April 18th?
LEVALLEY: Yes, any time that the date falls on the weekend, you get the following business day. So fortunately the 15th falls on a weekend. So everybody gets until the 17th. Anybody in the northeast or anybody files at the Massachusetts center in Andover will get an additional day because they celebrate something called Patriots Day.
SERWER: Sweet. I'm going to take advantage of that. I'm not walking it over. That's too far.
LEVALLEY: Some people actually do. It's amazing. But what you have to remember when you actually do file. Especially if you file last minute. Bring the extra money and get the registered return receipt. The mailbox rule isn't in effect anymore. So if it arrives late you need to prove that you sent it on that day. And the problem with anthrax and the decontamination process it actually destroys the postmark. So it is always good, anything important and official. Get a return register receipt.
WESTHOVEN: Ooh. Anthrax. Wasn't expecting that to come up. I just want to take a minute to -- we can all say for a minute everybody who got hit by hurricane Katrina. A lot of people who can't get into a FEMA trailer or they are staying with somebody else. A lot of people have lost all of their documentation. What is the IRS doing and what kind of extra rules do they have to help out people who were hit and are going to have a lot of trouble filing?
LEVALLEY: The IRS has been very good in terms of helping these people. Locating last year's return. Locating their plans. Their IRA's, their 401(k)s. They can take loans if they want to. They can get a w2 together and file for this year. Terrific resources available. Especially stand alone stations down in those areas.
If there are being held, people who helped out in terms of Katrina. If you did it for more than 60 days and didn't charge rent you can get additional personal exemption for housing up to four people, $500 a person. So that's a wonderful way to defray those expenses.
And also if you help them in terms of driving people around, picking up people. Maybe evacuees that came to your town. Helping on one of those drives. The charitable mileage also went up in terms of what you can deduct, about 34 cents. And that's a significant increase from the usual 14 cents.
WESTHOVEN: Donna thank you so much for being on the program. Hopefully if you are watching Donna's appearance has inspired you. You have one month and one week to go. Thanks a lot.
Amy Hilliard left a 20-year career as a marketing executive. She threw in the towel to focus on her favorite hobby. Baking pound cake. She had planned a lit start-up. But when United Airlines came knocking. She suddenly had to think big fast. Her story is our "Life after Work" segment this week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, looking good, ladies. Working good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The pound cake was always the star attraction at Amy Hilliard's Thanksgiving dinner. AMY HILLIARD, COMFORT CAKE: At what point I said if one more person tells me I should put this on the market. I'm going to do it. I'm a marketer that's what I do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amy a Harvard MBA quit her marketing job and started Comfort Cake.
HILLIARD: I envisioned having a big company right from the start. I was a single mother. I have two children that I'm putting through college.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amy couldn't get a bank loan. So she risked it all. She sold her house to start up her new business.
HILLIARD: I'll make this work somehow is my attitude. Because I had some instances where I could have just said this is too tough. Our very first customer came on board was United Airlines. I got some samples to them through a friend of mine and they liked them and they called me up and they said you know we really like your cake. And I was so excited I'm like great. I can get you more samples. They were like no; we want to buy 500,000 slices.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seven years later there are 16 kinds of Comfort Cake on sale in stores and on the Internet.
HILLIARD: The sky's the limit. Why not? I mean we started from nothing. And I look at people who started from nothing. If they can do it, I can do it. If Mrs. Field's can do it. I can do it. If Howard Schultz of Starbucks can do it, I can do it. We can make our products and ship it overseas. There are a lot of markets where people like sweet goods. Who is to say we can't have Comfort Cake in China. Why not?
WESTHOVEN: Don't go anywhere. We'll be back after a quick break.
Coming up, this is what might happen if a PC and a cell phone got together and had babies. Check out Microsoft's new Origami project in our "Brainstorm" segment.
And does the world have too many gadgets already? Or maybe there's something you want us to talk about. What do you think about the show? Drop us a line our email address is INTHEMONEY@CNN.com.
SERWER: In this week's "Brainstorm" the incredibly shrinking PC. There was a lot of buzz around Microsoft and its top-secret Origami project as CeBIT the world's largest tech trade show got under way in Hanover, Germany this week. Jim Boulden was there for the unveiling and got a peak at the new product and other gadgets making their debut as well.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM BOULDEN: The CeBIT Trade Fair is no different than any other shows. There are all kinds of gimmicks to get buyers' attention. The likes of Apple, Oracle, HP haven't bothered to show up in Hanover, Germany this year. Giving Samsung and the mighty Microsoft the chance to garner all the attention on day one with this mini PC, it's the Q1 and it is part iPod, part PSP.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very easy to view the video.
BOULDEN: The operating system comes from Microsoft. But it's the interface code name Origami and the subject of rumors for months that have made the wireless offering the most anticipated at CeBITs.
ROBERT E WILLIAMS, MICROSOFT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: It's not designed really to replace a notebook PC or a desktop. Nor is it designed to replace your phone. We see it as sort of a companion device that you use when you need the power of the PC to do certain tasks but you are on the go a lot.
BOULDEN: CeBIT has moved away from being an office equipment and I.T. fair. It's much more about the content that will get consumers to buy all of this. And the mini that lets drivers listens to songs stored on a cell phone. And the laptop with a mobile phone chip already embedded so that it's always connected to the Internet. To the phones on which users can watch this years soccer world cup.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the biggest electronic fair in the vast.
BOULDEN: Vodafone's CEO says music downloading and mobile TV will be the savior for the wireless providers this year. Do you think people will pay to watch television on their mobile phones?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think in general, there will be more and more TV, which is paid for. You know advertising on their TV is actually going down. And the industry is accepting it right now provides a low-cost flex to monitor.
BOULDEN: But it's not just what you watch on your wireless device that's grabbing attention here. One of the coolest phones to come on the market since the last CeBIT is the Nokia N90. Nokia says it takes still pictures as good as any camera. But maybe more importantly, it also takes near broadcast quality video. So we used it to interview someone from Nokia. You be the judge if this $800.00 phone with its extra wide viewfinder passes the test?
PEKKA POHJAKALLIO, NOKIA: We felt at the beginning that it was the consumer that stopped. Which proves the point, we have the picture quality that you need when you need it.
BOULDEN: But CeBIT is always full of promise. Hope springs eternal for all of these tech companies. Those consumers will jump to their tune.
Jim Boulden, CNN, Hanover, Germany.
SERWER: Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, guessing the jobs numbers. There's a monthly pool on the latest employment numbers among some journalists here. CNN.com's Allen Wastler has some thoughts about what you can learn from that.
And we are going to hear from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week. You can send us an e-mail right now, too. We're at INTHEMONEY@CNN.com.
CAFFERTY: Well the very different sort of office guessing game. Actually it's office gambling, which is illegal. Allen Wastler is here now to tell us in "Inside Out" how it is that he and colleagues are robbing Time Warner blind by spending their time running illegal gambling pools.
ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: It is not gambling. This is an economic experiment. OK?
WASTLER: OK. We've got this pool going. We've been doing this for 19 months. Guessing the jobs number. Everybody month there's the big jobs number.
CAFFERTY: You people don't get out much, do you?
WASTLER: No, you find it where you can. So, we decided everybody puts in $1 and you make a guess on what the job's number is going to be. How many jobs added, 200,000, 170,000. If you hit it on the head, you win the pool. If not, it rolls into the next month; 19 months we've been doing this. $220.
CAFFERTY: You have to get the number exact or to the nearest dollar?
WASTLER: Right on it.
Nobody won it. Nobody won it. And this is what's depressing me, OK? I have some of the finest economic journalists down there. I have people that can dissect the market. Go up and down and everything. And we are consistently wrong on this. I would go into deep, deep depression if it weren't for the fact that economists surveyed. They can't get it right, either. And my crew does a little bit better than the economists do in terms of getting closer to what the actual number is.
SERWER: All right.
WASTLER: We turn the beat 10,000 below what it actually is. Economists tend to be 11,000 above. What it usually is.
WESTHOVEN: OK. So quickly -- WASTLER: Doing a bit better. But after 19 months I'm wondering about the jobs number itself. I mean if you have all of these experts sort of focusing on the number. And the number never is what they think it's going to be. Maybe we are not measuring the right things. Maybe the number's an inaccurate representation of what's going on in reality.
You want something interesting? How about a dog on a skateboard? Would you like that? OK.
SERWER: There's talent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, get back on.
SERWER: He knows how to do it. He knows what he's doing.
CAFFERTY: Does he ever crash?
WASTLER: He is better than humans.
CAFFERTY: We're going to see him get run over by a speeding car.
SERWER: He's going for the bushes, though.
WESTHOVEN: He turns, he turns. That's very cool.
CAFFERTY: So how do we find that? We have to go to the Web page. The thing with the guy.
WASTLER: Or you can write in and we will give it to you.
CAFFERTY: All right. Next week we'll talk about guessing the inflation numbers. Coming up time now to read your answers to our question about whether recent news events like the Dubai Ports deal will make Americans more likely to vote in this year's midterm elections.
Mike wrote from California, "Yes. People are beginning to wake up from the 9/11 haze. See it's time for more common sense. All this none sense from the White House and the Congress will make me stand in line at the polls for as long as it takes. Enough is enough."
Sybil from Arkansas wrote, "Probably not. Sure, a lot of us are fired up now, but by November we'll all be consumed with really important things like reality shows, sports and early Christmas sales. We have short memories in this country."
And Terry in Fayetteville, North Carolina wrote, "The answer is no, because the people with the best reason to vote in this year's elections, the Katrina victims, will have to crawl over broken glass & rubble to get to their polling places. Oh and you can expect the incumbents to try to block absentee voting."
Now for next week's email question of the week, which is as follows, "Who do you think is mostly to blame for illegal immigration in America, the government, corporate America, or consumers wanting lower prices?" Send your answers to INTHEMONEY@CNN.com and you should also visit our show page at CNN.com/inthemoney, which is where you will find the address of our "Fun Site of the Week." The little bull terrier on his skateboard.
Thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. My thanks to "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven, "Fortune" Magazine editor at large Andy Serwer and Money.com managing editor and illegal gambler Allen Wastler.
See you back here next week Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00. Until then enjoy the rest of your weekend.
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