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CNN IN THE MONEY
Recent Poll Shows Bush Support Still Strong; Interview With Joe Robinson
Aired April 25, 2004 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial Capitol, this is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Welcome to IN THE MONEY, I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's program:
Come to Papa: when Americans feel threatened they tend to get behind their president. We're going to look at how tough times could actually boost George Bush in the polls.
And, Give me a Break: if you feel like you don't get enough time off, there's an author who's out to proves you might be right. Get his prescription for fixing something called "vacation deficit disorder."
The World's Longest 15 Minutes: the "Apprentice" made Nick Warnock a celebrity of sorts. See what he's doing to keep his famous face on your TV set. For one thing, he's going to be on our program here, and since this is on TV, he's getting it done at least for today.
Joining me here, a couple of our IN THE MONEY veterans: CNN correspondent, Susan Lisovicz, and "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer.
You know, once in a while, a story comes along that just hits you in the solarplexes, for want of a better way to phrase it. When the terrorists attacked America, knocked down the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon, that plane in Pennsylvania and over 3,000 of our citizens murdered, the reactions were pretty much the same. People in this country were outraged, but how many of us actually did something about it? Late last week, a kid named Pat Tillman who turned down a $3.5 million contract to play in the National Football League was killed in Afghanistan. He turned down the football contract and joined the Army because he wanted to do something to help his country. And now he's gone.
ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yeah. And it's just -- it's gut wrenching. All the stories of the soldiers who were killed overseas are gut wrenching. This is closer, I guess, to us because we heard the story of giving up a professional sports contract do this. But, all the stories, I mean the story about the girl in Wisconsin, the young woman who was killed with sisters, and it's more and more people and it touches more and more lives in towns across this country. SUSAN LISOVICZ CNN CORRESPONDENT: Every single story is tragic. It's interesting it comes at a time when there's talk of a renewed draft. And the last draft in Vietnam, there was a lot of accusations that it was very unfair, that the privileged stayed home from the front lines, they went to college, they got the exemptions. Pat Tillman was a privileged person, he chose to go.
CAFFERTY: From downtown Fallujah to the shelves of America's bookstores, it's been a tough week for the White House. Washington's been handling Iraq like the problem child who's going to military school if he doesn't straighten out and so far, it's not straightening out. Bob Woodward's new book shows the bumps on the road on the way to Baghdad. To see how the White House is handling the turbulence, we are joined now, from the White House, by CNN's Elaine Quijano.
Elaine, nice to have you with us.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for having me, Jack.
Well despite the heighten violence and the images coming out of Iraq, not to mention some of the questions raised in his new book, by the "Washington Post's" Bob Woodward, President Bush is remaining firm to stick to his vow of that June 30 deadline for transferring sovereignty to the Iraqi people. The president continuing to defend his decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power in the first place, insisting that intelligence showed Saddam Hussein was a threat and had the capability to use weapons of mass destruction.
Now, the White House, as you said, has also had to deal with these questions being raised in that new book by Bob Woodward about when and how the president made the decision to go to war in Iraq. The White House has disputed several points, namely, including that insisting Secretary of State Colin Powell was kept in the loop about the war plan. That was a point that was raised in the book, the White House saying that Colin Powell was very much kept aware of the plans as they were being made. And also, this White House insisting that there was no secret deal between the government of Saudi Arabia and President Bush to keep gas prices low before Election Day. Those just some of the points that have been raised by this new book out on the shelves causing a stir here in Washington -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: Thanks, Elaine.
The harder thing to get to the administration, the better the president's poll numbers continue to look. The latest CNN/Gallup Poll shows George W. Bush increasing his lead over John Kerry, particularly when you add Ralph Nader into the mix. All this despite Iraq, the economy, and the other issues that bubbling in the campaign thus far. If you don't get it, and a lot of us maybe we don't, Frank Newport is here to help us. He's the editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll joining us from Princeton, New Jersey.
Frank, nice to see you.
FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Thank you. Good to be with you.
CAFFERTY: So, the president's poll numbers are doing a defying gravity act, here. What's behind that?
NEWPORT: Well, let's be clear to begin with, that what he's really done is maintained a constancy, his margin above Kerry went up a couple of points, really not specifically significant, his job approval has stayed constant, in fact, it's been about the same for two months, right above 50 percent.
Now, what we're dealing with here is the expectations of the hypothesis -- I've had dozens of reporters call me and say we thought Bush's numbers would fall, they didn't, they stayed constant. So, that's really the story of the week, that Bush didn't take a hit like a lot of people thought he would.
Why is that the case? Well, that's the fascinating question. It may be what I would call a "mini rally effect" of sorts. We know in history that when American forces are in harm's way, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) back in the Ford administration, the job approval goes up, Americans kind of rally around the flag. We may be seeing a little bit of that now, even as the deaths increase in Iraq, Americans are saying this is the time to support our commander-in-chief, at least in the short term that may be what we're seeing at the moment. There are other hypothesis, like Kerry has been inept, so far, some people (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Clearly, he's not gained on the president at least in the polling, that may be part of it, as well.
SERWER: Frank, another reason, I think you have to suggest, though, also, is that the president's been spending money on television ads and there have been quite a number over the last couple of weeks. One particularly damning one, I think, from Kerry's perspective, is at the very end where he says -- where Kerry speaking in front of veterans saying "I voted for this before I didn't vote for this," and the commercial ends. What I want to know is how hard can Kerry hit Bush back, because he is the incumbent president in these commercials.
NEWPORT: Well, I think in an election, voters expect even an incumbent president to be criticized by his opponents, so clearly Kerry can do it. However, the Bush administration and the re-election team, Carl Rove and all, have very shrewdly figured out the thing they really want to emphasize, that it is a war footing, Bush says that every he makes a speech, and therefore, you've got a commander-in- chief in time of war and I think that does make it a little dicier for a critic, that is his opponent, to come out and try to criticize him directly. That's what Kerry's up against, at this point. You're right about the ads. The specialists in re-election campaigning wouldn't spend $50 million if they didn't worked. They do work, they've been out there and presumably they're keeping Kerry's numbers down.
LISOVICZ: Hey Frank, I want to continue to stay on the John Kerry theme. I was talking to a Wall Street economist last week -- Who do you think is going to win in Novenber? He said: "Bush in a landslide," he said because Kerry is a against everything, you have to be for something and he is always just against Bush.
What do you think of that kind of statement?
NEWPORT: Well, to begin with, I would not agree based on the historical context. Fifty percent job approval's really a cutoff point. The last five presidents that won, who sought reelection and won -- going back to Eisenhower all the way up to Clinton in '96, had job approval ratings above the 50 percent level at about this point. But, Bush is higher than that, so I wouldn't say he's in hugely probable to win with a landslide territory and he's just ahead of Kerry now by a few points and he's been behind Kerry so far this year and that's unusual for somebody that goes on and win. So, regardless of hypothesis about Kerry being -- doesn't have anything to stand for, being too negative, the numbers, at this point, show it's shaping up to be a quite close race.
CAFFERTY: Frank, let me go back to something you suggested at the beginning of the interview about the tendency of this country to rally around its leadership -- its president, in times that are difficult. It's been a tough couple of weeks in Iraq, it's been the bloodiest month there in a year. That would -- based on what you said, that would tend to shore up support for the president because things are getting tough and we close around our own at those times. On the other hand, there's a huge part of this population with which that war is terribly unpopular and might be the deciding issue when they go into the voting booth assuming that the other wildcard in all this, the economy continues to improve. Does your polling allow you to see in between those three things and kind of discern what really is going on?
NEWPORT: Well, looking ahead, we don't know -- I should say in reaction to your very interesting and important comments, Jack, that...
CAFFERTY: Thank you.
NEWPORT: ...we don't know how important Iraq is going to be, because we don't -- you know, the transition of power is going to be huge, June 30. Will that go well? Will it go poorly? Will there be chaos? Nobody knows yet. We do know, however, that -- and you mentioned it, you said it's a wildcard, the economy, but actually, that's the dominant structure on which this election played out. We asked in our CNN/USA Today Gallup Poll over the weekend last weekend -- last weekend, what's the most important, Iraq, terrorism, or the economy? And guess what? By a 15 or 20 points it was the economy that was still chosen as the No. 1 issue people said they were going to take into account in making their vote.
So, that's kind of the foundation. If the economy picks up, the people perceive the jobs are plentiful, it's getting better, Bush really looks good. If the economy is perceived as slipping and going down and jobs aren't there, that could be Kerry's opportunity, because he still scores better than Bush when we ask who could do a good job handling the economy.
CAFFERTY: It's going to be a fascinating four or five months running up to the election with the economy, the threat of terrorism, the possibility of another attack here in this country, the war in Iraq, Afghanistan.
And we're delighted, Frank, that we have you to watch it for us.
Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup Poll. Thank you.
NEWPORT: You bet.
CAFFERTY: All right.
Coming up on IN THE MONEY:
As we continue pulling the clug -- clug -- plug, that would be the word, on the corporate treadmill: We're hear from an author who says America has a problem with vacation deficit disorder. He thinks we need more paid time off. I'll drink to that.
CAFFERTY: Yeah. Also, coming up, a fillet mignon job in a hamburger empire: See how McDonald's is filling its CEO post with a young man from Australia following the sudden death of the leader of the company from a heart attack.
And, if you thought making money was tough, see how hard it is to lose the stuff. We'll hear from Ben Stein, author of "How to Ruin Your Financial Life."
ANNOUNCER: Bed, Bath and Beyond finds a new home on the 2004 Fortune 500 list, moving up 60 spots from last year. In addition to their newfound title, the home goods superstore also announced a whopping 37 percent increase in fourth quarter profits, beating both Wall Street and its own expectations. Much of Bed, Bath and Beyond's growth comes from its new store openings, about 70 per year, plus the debt-free company is able to cut costs by requiring vendors to ship products directly to the store. The chain also stocks each store with different products that cater to local tastes. But, industry experts say aggressive expansion could threaten the company's unique operations and force it into less lucrative markets.
CAFFERTY: Well, if you can hardly remember your last vacation and you can hardly imagine the nest one, you might be suffering from something called VDD. Careful, it's not what you think.
CAFFERTY: This would be Vacation Deficit Disorder. The cure? Get plenty of rest, your doctor won't diagnose it, but a journalist named Joe Robinson can. He says it's a big problem all across America and he's out to fight it. Joe's the author of the book, "Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life" and he's the founder of the Work to Live campaign and he joins us now from Los Angeles, California.
Nice to have you with us, Joe.
JOE ROBINSON, WORK TO LIVE: Nice to be here.
CAFFERTY: You know, with two-and-a-half jobs missing in the last three or four years, and the economic recovery still short a lot of jobs and a lot of people out there looking for work, is this the time to be thinking about taking more vacation, do you think?
ROBINSON: Well you know, we've about a 5.7 unemployment rate, that means 94 point whatever are still working out there.
CAFFERTY: Well, that's true. All right.
ROBINSON: And those people are really burned out because almost 40 percent of them are working more than 50 hours a week. So, they're caught in a vice grip of spiraling work hours and then vacations are actually shrinking on the other side, 13 percent of companies don't offer vacation time anymore.
SERWER: Joe, how did we get here in the first place? I mean, everybody knows the Europeans work a lot less than we do. You can go to France in August, they're just down at the beach. Australia I mean, I hope you're listening, you guys don't work at all down there.
SERWER: And it's true. It really -- they work a lot less. I'll be nice. They work a lot less in Australia then we do in the United States. How did we get here?
ROBINSON: Well, you know, it's kind of funny, too. The Australians out produced us for a decade up until this last year, so I think that we have a silly notion that if we work as many hours as we can in a day that we're actually going to be more productive, but it's the opposite. If you work seven 50 hours in a week in a row, you'll get no more is done than if you work seven 40 hour weeks in a row. So, free time is actually the engine of creativity innovation and productivity. I've got a couple of companies in my book whose profits and productivity went up when they instituted a three-week vacation plan.
LISOVICZ: Joe, I want to ask you about healthcare because that's one of the big issues for employers, is there any link between more vacation time and -- or just a reasonable amount of vacation time, that is some vacation time, and better health for the employees?
ROBINSON: Absolutely. You know, time off is really medicine. Studies have shown that a simple vacation can cure burnout, which is the last stage of chronic stress, but it takes two weeks for that process to happen, what they call re-gathering your emotional resources, crash by burnout. So, a long weekend doesn't give you that recuperative power, that a two-week vacation can. Another study has shown that vacations -- a simple annual vacation can cut the risk of heart disease in men by 30 percent and in women by 50 percent. So, there are real health benefits that go to the company's bottom line when people are healthier and more energized and refreshed.
CAFFERTY: But, there's a piece of that corporate culture, you're talking about, that thinks very much that the bottom line is related to getting more out of workers, more out of fewer workers and that as productivity goes up, the profits that are quarterly reported to shareholders continue to improve. Ultimately, it's going to be the corporate leadership, the corner offices, that have to change this whole idea. How do you propose doing that?
ROBINSON: Well, I think we just need to educate them a little bit as to how vacations do benefit, and free time does benefit, their bottom lines. You look at a company like SAS Institute in North Carolina -- billion dollar company. People get three weeks off the first year on the job, they've had double digit sales increases for last two decades. Companies that I've talked to have increased their profits. One company doubled their profits when they went to three weeks, another company that had a lot of retention probable, people quitting and having to make employees work a lot of overtime, when they institutes three weeks off, their retention problems went away and their profits went up.
SERWER: Let me ask you, thought, just sort of a meta question, I mean, isn't this the American way? I mean, it's just, people work too hard in this country. They're overworked, they're crazy,
SERWER: I mean, you're not going to be able to change that. I would like you to send an e-mail to some of the brass at CNN, by the way, but I mean this -- we're just like this, aren't we? We're a nation of type-As.
ROBINSON: Well yeah, I mean, we're programmed to believe that there's only one thing of value in the universe and that's productivity and getting stuff done, but the actual fact is that the real life and the real value is, you know, family, friends and hobbies, interests, that sort of thing that we kind of shove aside because we think they have no value. That's why we get fidgety when we have down time because it's sort of like, that's not worth anything, we're not getting anything done. So, we have to turn that around and realize the value in our real lives as well as on the job. It's a balance, really.
CAFFERTY: Joe, thank you for being with us, we're going to have to leave it there. Joe Robinson, the author of "Work to Live," founder of the Work to Live campaign.
Take time off we'll see you right after vacation. Thanks.
ROBINSON: Thanks a lot.
CAFFERTY: Coming up on IN THE MONEY, as we move forward:
Salad Days: McDonald's has a new CEO and new healthier menu. See if the latest boss is sticking with the green stuff, as in salad, in order to make green stuff, as in lettuce, as the one that goes in the cash register.
And, Use it and Lose it: Author Ben Stein's going to tell us what nobody else will: How to ruin your financial life.
And the shelf life of a reality TV star: See what Nick from the "Apprentice" learned in Donald Trump's boardroom. Find out if his plan for keeping his face on TV is going to work for him.
LISOVICZ: Now, let's look at the week's top stories in our "Money Minute."
Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan hinted interest rates could be headed higher in the near future. Greenspan told a congressional committee the threat of deflation has disappeared. The markets went into a temporary tailspin just after his testimony on Monday.
Shares of Computer Associates went up after CEO Sanjay Kumar stepped down Wednesday. Kumar has been under fire ever since the SEC began looking into charges of accounting fraud at the company in 1999 and 2000. Kumar will remain at Computer Associates in a new job as chief software architect.
And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) unfortunately like women are still getting shortchanged when it comes to salary especially minority women. A new study by the Institute of Women's Policy Research shows that most minority women make much less money for the same jobs held by white men. Asian-American women were the highest paid female minority group, but they earned 25 percent less than white men in similar jobs -- Andy.
SERWER: Thank you, Suzy, for that.
Another big story this week was the sudden death of McDonalds's CEO, Jim Cantalupo, on Monday. The company quickly named 43-year-old Charlie Bell to the top spot. The 60-year-old Cantalupo had been CEO since January of 2003 and he'd been trying to revitalize the franchise by focusing healthy -- on healthier choices and tighter bottom line.
Some of his work was obviously paying off, as the stock has been rising steadily since last year. Now the question is, will the new leadership keep things going in a positive direction? That makes McDonald's our stock of the week.
And, I think that is the big issue for Charlie Bell. Jim Cantalupo had gotten this company back on track and I think all Charlie has to say, Charlie, ol' boy, is, I'm going to continue doing Jim's work. CAFFERTY: What was it that he was able to recognize when he came in there a couple of years ago that was so wrong, in his eyes, with the way McDonald's was doing things? Turns out he was absolutely right, but I mean, it flew in the face of the history and tradition and yet he spotted it right away.
SERWER: Yeah, well, there's two ways you can grow a company like this. One by adding more stores and one by trying to make people go into the stores that is already exist, more. What happened is McDonald's growing just by adding stores. Cantalupo said, no, we have to focus on the stores that exist and make people want to go to them more. That's why Starbucks so incredible, because they're not just adding stores, they're making people go to their stores that exist more often. Cantalupo got the company back on track, he made some menu changes, too and that worked out.
LISOVICZ: And he did everything, he improved the service at the restaurants, he changed and improved the menu and he improved the cleanliness. It was really sort of a core operation and in some ways, a lot of the hard work was done because it's been taking place for a year after McDonald's reported its first quarterly loss ever in its history, it had a year of profits.
CAFFERTY: To what degree does the fact that not just McDonald's, but all of the hamburger and fast food chains are sort of being dragged, kicking and screaming, into offering healthier foods -- salads, things with not so much fat and cholesterol, etc. -- to what degree is that ultimately going to impact the earnings? I mean, if I want a salad, I can go to some nuts and seeds place and get a salad.
LISOVICZ: A health food store.
CAFFERTY: That's what they call those, right.
SERWER: I'd like to see him in a health food store.
CAFFERTY: Yeah, well you won't. And you should be able to tell just by look at this face. I've never been in one.
But, I just wonder, ultimately, how that's going to impact a place that traditionally people go to get a hamburger and some french fries and whether or not they're going to make money selling healthier stuff or whether they're going to be more politically correct.
SERWER: It's always a mixed bag, I mean, first of all, the low carb thing had actually helped McDonald's a little bit because people had gone back to burgers, but they were selling a lot of salads, that's something they did Cantalupo did, the chicken salads with the Paul Newman dressings, that I know you love so much, Jack. And, they were actually making more money on the salads, because the price of chicken's going up. There are the metrics. The big thing is they got to make the food healthy, because that's the big trend and they got -- and Cantalupo got rid of super sizing. LISOVICZ: Corporate America doesn't want government intervention, that's Mickey D's started to do things on its own, before the government stepped -- you know, getting rid of the super size, improving the salads, things like that.
SERWER: All right, we'll go to lunch there, afterwards, right?
CAFFERTY: Good deal.
LISOVICZ: On Jack.
SERWER: Some of the finest minds on Madison Avenue have been working overtime to bring you our next commercial break.
Coming up after the ads: A guy who can make your money disappear. Ben Stein reveals his secrets as he tells us how to ruin -- ruin your financial life.
And later, the closest you'll get to a spot on the "Apprentice," Nick Warnock lived it and he'll tell us all about it, coming up.
LISOVICZ: A TV host who gives you a shot at winning his cash is out to help you lose yours. His name, of course, is Ben Stein and his game show is called "Win Ben Stein's Money." Now he's out with a new book called "How to Ruin Your Financial Life." Ben Stein joins us from Miami to show us the express lane to bankruptcy.
BEN STEIN, AUTHOR, "HOW TO RUIN YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE": Welcome to you, too.
LISOVICZ: The sad news, Ben, is so many Americans, millions I might add, already know how to get in the express lane to bankruptcy. I'm just curious, since the stock market is starting to show signs of life for the year, first profitable year after three, last year, any bubbles that you detect? If you really want to get broke quick, any bubble areas that we should plunge into?
STEIN: Well, with all due respect, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I think the Nasdaq is in a bubble right now. I mean, the Nasdaq Qs are selling way above 70 times earnings, that's a very, very high ratio. If you look at the Dow, that's at about 19 times earnings, that's a more sensible ratio. The SPDRs, which is the S&P index, is at about 29 times earnings, that's a more sensible ratio, although still very high.
But I consider Nasdaq still in something of a bubble. But what the real bubble is nowadays is real estate. Prices are unbelievably high by any historical metric. And I'd say if you get into it, you'll make money, but it might take you 20 years to make money. I mean, we're in a very, very high period of real estate prices, very, very high.
SERWER: Ben, interesting comments about stock brokers, I think, in your book. You're suggesting the more handsome or prettier they are, probably the worse they're going to be.
SERWER: Does the reverse hold true, so the uglier the stock broker you have, the better they're going to be?
STEIN: No, not necessarily.
SERWER: Too bad.
STEIN: Warren Buffett in essence is a broker, for those who own Berkshire Hathaway, and he's a good looking guy.
CAFFERTY: Oh no.
STEIN: Yes, he is.
SERWER: Age-adjusted, Ben, OK.
STEIN: He's not a young guy, he's not Ben Affleck. But for middle age or later than that guy, he's a good looking guy. But what I say is, choose a broker based on his gift of gab, his sharp-looking suits, the kind of shoes he wears, that's guaranteed to make you lose all your money with him. Don't choose him if he knows anything about the stock market.
But by the way, why use a broker at all? Just detect what stocks are going to go up just by the feeling in your fingertips. Don't even try to learn anything, don't read any books, don't acquire any knowledge.
And also, don't think that you need to work hard to make money, you just need to find an angle. You're going to be in the shower one night, and the next is Velcro is going to come to you, the next McDonald's is going to come to you. You don't need to work hard, just find an angle. And also, start businesses and use up all your savings in fields you know nothing about, just by your own luck you'll make a lot of money.
SERWER: This is good stuff.
CAFFERTY: Let me ask what you do with your money. I mean, you wrote speeches for Richard Nixon, did he pay well, by the way, did you make a lot of money?
STEIN: He paid me $25,000 a year, which in 1973 was a living wage.
CAFFERTY: Yes, inflation-adjusted, you were doing all right.
STEIN: I was doing fine. I had a nice house. I had a little Subaru car, it was perfectly adequate.
CAFFERTY: You do this game show, "Win Ben Stein's Money." You and what's-his-face...
STEIN: Jimmy Kimmel.
CAFFERTY: Went on to ABC, he's at ABC, you're still on -- is it on cable?
STEIN: It's on cable, it's only on reruns. But I do a tremendous amount of speaking. I have, by most standards -- I don't want to brag, by the standards of Wall Street people it's nothing. But by most standards I have quite a good income. And I try to save a lot of it.
The major thing in my book, if I could say the one crisis that people do wrong, is going to lead them to catastrophe, is they don't think about tomorrow. They don't think about retirement. They don't think there's ever going to be any rainy days. They don't plan for the future. That's a disaster.
CAFFERTY: Well, what do you do with your money? You just said, the real estate market's a bubble, the stock market's no good.
STEIN: OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, no, I don't say it's no good. I think the Dow is fairly priced. I think the SPDRs are not badly priced. I like REITs. They've been hit very hard lately so their yields are tremendous.
CAFFERTY: That's real estate again, REITs, right?
STEIN: Real estate investment -- yes, but that's not individual houses. That's shopping centers, hotels, hospitals. I have some of those that are yielding 8.6 percent. I do not expect them to continue yielding that. But even if their yield fell by 150 basis points, they'd be yielding 7 percent, that's a darn good yield. If you put away $5 million at 7 percent you'd have $350,000 a year when you retire, that's almost $1000 a day.
Most people, not counting my son, could live on that. So I like real estate investment trusts. I like short-term bonds. I like emerging market debt funds, there are a number of emerging market debt funds that are yielding over 7 percent. There are a number of funds of a combination of preferreds and also slightly risky bonds yielding close to 7 percent. If you look hard enough, you can find high-yield investments. That is the crying need for the Baby Boom generation.
LISOVICZ: So Ben, I'm going to pin you down, when is that bubble going to burst in real estate?
STEIN: I don't know. And it could take a while. The nature of bubbles is that they're very slippery, and you don't know when they're going to burst. But I will tell you we've never had a bubble like this in real estate in some of the big cities like Los Angeles and New York City. And I don't think it can go on forever. No bubble ever goes on forever. The average apartment in the central part of Manhattan is now close to $1 million.
LISOVICZ: We know.
STEIN: That's a bubble. That's a bubble.
LISOVICZ: We know.
STEIN: Ok, at CNN you get paid so much, it doesn't matter.
SERWER: Oh, please, please.
STEIN: But for most people it matters. In L.A., prices of condos in the west side of town have gone up by about 50 percent in about 18 months. That's a bubble.
SERWER: Well, all right, Ben, you're down in Miami, living in the pink down there, so you must be doing something...
STEIN: No, No, I'm just visiting.
SERWER: All right, just -- well, that's not bad either. All right, we're going to have to leave it at that. Renaissance man, Ben Stein, I hope you don't mind me calling you that, author of "How to Ruin Your Financial Life." Thank you for coming on the program.
STEIN: Makes a good gift.
SERWER: There you go, yes, indeed.
Coming up on IN THE MONEY, the master class, find out if former "Apprentice" star Nick Warnock learned anything about business from real estate mogul Donald Trump.
And if you're feeling inferior, all you need to do is go on the Web to make yourself a more impressive person so you can feel superior. Find out how to pump up your personae. Just ahead.
CAFFERTY: Donald Trump has done it again, this time a hit reality television show called "The Apprentice." The competition for a $250,000 a year job at the Trump organization was filled with cat fights, backstabbing and boardroom battles. The question is, did the people on the program competing for that job learn anything about the real world of business from hanging out with one of the more well- known business people in all the world? That guy. Joining us now is Nick Warnock. He actually got down to the final four before he heard those words "you're fired." And he's kind enough to join us here on the program IN THE MONEY.
Nice to have you with us.
NICK WARNOCK, FINALIST, "THE APPRENTICE": How are you doing, thanks for having me.
CAFFERTY: It's my pleasure. I find it a bit ironic that some of the Trump executives described you as "too slick."
WARNOCK: Too slick for my own good.
CAFFERTY: If you work for Donald Trump, how can anybody else be too slick for anything? What do you think they meant?
WARNOCK: I don't know. I went in there with really high energy, selling myself, I was in that boardroom so many times. And I pretty much sold myself out of a lot of situations. And I guess for some I was too slick for my own good. But I was just following in the footsteps of Mr. Trump himself.
CAFFERTY: I was going to say, you're following the leader on that deal.
WARNOCK: Mastering the art of truthful hyperbole, that's what I try to do.
CAFFERTY: You are pretty slick, Nick, now that I think about it.
LISOVICZ: But you know, are you slick enough to take it to the next level? I mean, all these reality TV shows, they have their 15 minutes of fame, the people who may have won, or gotten close to winning. Where are you going to take this? Do you have a plan?
WARNOCK: Absolutely. I'm ready to conquer the world at this point. I've been in the boardroom with Donald Trump. And I just feel like I can do anything with this...
LISOVICZ: You dealt with Omarosa.
WARNOCK: Dealt with Omarosa, just had a great time with everybody on the show. So my Web site's starting up. We have a company that I'm going to cater to copy dealerships, howtosellacopier.com. And then we have a variety of speaking engagements lined up. And I'm just excited. I've been interviewing with a magazine publisher, Jason Binn,"Gotham Magazine." There's an opportunity at the Raiders. And I'm just playing catch-up with all of these opportunities.
LISOVICZ: Are you going back to Anne Mulcahy and Xerox?
WARNOCK: I don't know. They haven't offered anything. And they've been good to me throughout this whole experience. SERWER: So what do you think about "The Donald" anyway? I mean, you know, the guy really is kind of full of it in many ways. He's succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Do you really respect this guy? Now you may be going back to him, so can you really speak honestly? I mean, do you really respect this guy?
WARNOCK: Yes, I think he's a tremendous individual. And just like when I used to watch Jack back in the day, when I was a little kid, I used to read about him in "The Post." And I idolized all of them. It was great.
SERWER: All the greats.
WARNOCK: He was a people's millionaire in my house and we loved him. So it was an honor to be part of the show
CAFFERTY: The interview's not going to be any longer, Nick.
CAFFERTY: I don't know where you're trying to go with this. What do you see yourself doing in 20 years? I mean, you say conquer the world, be specific, in what way, what do you want to do?
WARNOCK: Within the next 30 years I'd like to run for office.
CAFFERTY: You would.
WARNOCK: Yes, ultimately that's the main goal. I do like being in front of a camera, to be quite honest with you. And I'd like to pursue something in that angle as well. I love being on these shows, this show especially.
SERWER: Especially this show.
WARNOCK: Especially this show.
LISOVICZ: Well, you're smooth with Jack.
WARNOCK: Especially with Jack. I would like to ultimately end up as a senator, or in the highest office in the land.
LISOVICZ: But before we talk about substance, let's talk about style. What is with Omarosa? Is she really as pathological as she appeared on the show?
WARNOCK: Well, they psychologically test all of us. So she's not crazy. I think she's got this act down. She wanted to pull off to be the greatest reality TV villain of all time.
LISOVICZ: She succeeded.
WARNOCK: And she succeeded. I mean, she's hated but she'll probably be the most financially successful. SERWER: First of all, everyone in TV's crazy. So that sort of goes with the territory.
WARNOCK: I'm probably half nuts for going on the show too.
SERWER: How real was all that stuff, and how much was staged?
WARNOCK: None. None of it was staged. You're put in an artificial environment, of course. And to say reality TV, it's really not reality. It's an unscripted drama. And stuff is just -- it just happens. When you put "type A"s living together and working on the same tasks, drama's going to happen.
LISOVICZ: What's with Donald's hair?
WARNOCK: Oh it's great, it's red, it's really nice, I like it.
LISOVICZ: He was emulating you?
WARNOCK: I think so.
LISOVICZ: Did you touch it?
WARNOCK: No, I didn't touch it. It gives him more publicity.
CAFFERTY: Are you crazy? Did you touch it?
SERWER: Women run fingers through men's hair.
WARNOCK: It worked for me, it was fun.
CAFFERTY: What was the worst moment on the program?
WARNOCK: Getting fired. I thought I was going to win. I went in there, four people left. I'm like, oh, I got this down, this is a boardroom scene and I'm going big. And I wound up getting the firing. He had a smile on his face, though, so it wasn't so bad.
LISOVICZ: Did you learn anything though? That came after interviews where a number of Trump executives said that you were a little bit too much of a salesman, and there wasn't anything of meaning coming across. Did you think you needed to bring it down a notch?
WARNOCK: I did. I did. And that was my mistake. I was too upbeat, I was too high energy. And that's my business. No one wants to sit there very reserved. But I should have done that in that particular situation.
CAFFERTY: Nick Warnock, my sense is your future's going to be all right, you're going to be fine.
WARNOCK: Oh, thank you very much.
LISOVICZ: We'll see you on "Apprentice 2" right?
WARNOCK: I hope so. I hope so, I'd love to be back.
CAFFERTY: Thanks for being with us.
WARNOCK: Thank you.
CAFFERTY: Nice to meet you.
WARNOCK: Nice to meet you, too.
CAFFERTY: Time for a break, when we come back, we're going to find out how to make your friends think that you've gone from dud to stud. There's something that I'll be watching closely because I've had an interest in trying to do that for a number of years. We'll check out some Web sites where you can remake yourself. Doesn't matter if it's true, it's a whole new you. And win or lose, you can always bend our ear, drop us a line, email@example.com. We shall be back with Allen Wastler and some of the folks right after this.
SERWER: Summer's not far away. So if you're beginning to plan a family vacation, here are some tips to help you save money while you enjoy your time off.
Booking your travel plans online is a smart way to save on everything from airfare to hotel reservations to package deals. For the sites with the best buys, check out Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, and Cheapseats.com. You'll find the best prices on airfares if you can be flexible about dates and time. Try to book early morning and mid-week flights. Those are the cheapest times to fly.
If you're planning to rent a car abroad, you're better off doing it over the weekend, rather than during the week. So rates drop on the weekends when business travelers go home. And don't be shy about asking for upgrades. If the rental agency doesn't have the car and the class you reserve, they'll often give you the bigger car at no extra charge.
Asking for upgrades at hotels can also pay off. If a hotel is underbooked, management will often upgrade you at a discount. For as little as $20 to $50 a night, you can move into a much more comfortable room.
I'm Andy Serwer for "Money & Family."
CAFFERTY: So you say you have no money, no girlfriend, no education and no life. Well, don't worry, Bunky, because now you can invent a nice life for yourself on the Internet, if you're willing to just make believe. Joining us to explain and talk about some of the serious instances of Web-based fraud is our Web master Allen Wastler. Let's start with the frivolous stuff, though, right off the top.
ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: The frivolous? No, you get the sugar at the end. All right? We've got to do serious stuff here. Over half a million complaints filed at the FTC last year, consumer complaints, over half of that, 55 percent, had to do with Internet fraud. OK. We've all seen over the years as the Internet grows, we've got standard ones we need to go for, you know, the auction rip- off, the catalog sales rip-off, the friendly Nigerian guy who's willing to give you millions and millions of dollars if you...
SERWER: If you send him $10,000 first.
WASTLER: Now we're seeing a little bit of a transformation with that whole fishing scam we've talked before, where somebody sets up a fake Web site to sort of decoy you into thinking you're going to the right place, you're going to the wrong place. Now we have business identity theft. This is where they might identify a small business that doesn't have a Web presence, rip off its logo, rip its address, set up a kind of Web outfit there and either get people to come on and spend their money at that site, saying, yes, I know Fred's down the street, and here he is on the Internet, this is great. Do the rip-off that way. Or, in that business' name, start doing business over the Internet and charging things to accounts and saying, yes, we're Fred's, and they say -- they look at the Internet and say, oh yes, must be Fred's, and they start doing the whole rip-off like that. Ancillary to that, fake invoices now where you can get materials off the Internet, make a fake invoice, send it to somebody, and they just sort of pay the bill, what the heck.
LISOVICZ: How big an industry is this?
WASTLER: It's turning into quite a big industry. The fraud reaches into the billions. It's hard to track because a lot of times, people, they don't go to the FTC or the government and say, I got ripped off because I'm kind of stupid. It's sort of like, all right, well, I got stung, I'll never do it again. So a hard and fast estimate is hard to reach. But you're seeing it multiply out and out.
Now that can go to the personal level too for self-improvement purposes. Now fake diplomas have always been out there but now you can get them like that at sites like fakediplomas.com and...
CAFFERTY: Can you get it right off your printer?
WASTLER: You can get it downloaded and just print it out.
LISOVICZ: Become a Ph.D.
WASTLER: Hey baby, it's going to be great. And now here's a real good one, all right. Now if you're trying to impress someone at the bar, something like that, why, hi there, lady, let me give you my number, you don't have to call me if you don't want to, let me just -- oh, the only thing I've got to write on is this ATM receipt, here's my number, so call me later. And then she takes it, she looks at it, and whoa, he's got so much money in his bank account...
SERWER: What a smooth move that is.
WASTLER: I think I'll call him.
SERWER: Did you get that from "The Apprentice"?
WASTLER: So this is the latest rage...
SERWER: That's funny, that is funny.
WASTLER: And there's several sites out there, buy your own ATM receipt, you can set your own amount. You can set the date...
SERWER: You put on like you have a million bucks in your checking account.
WASTLER: That's right, and that's exactly the type of scam that you'll just love, Jack.
CAFFERTY: Don't give that to me, I ain't calling it.
Coming up on IN THE MONEY, we'll read answers to our e-mail question of the week just ahead. If you want to comment on something you saw on the program, drop us line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Back in a moment.
CAFFERTY: Time now to read your thoughts about whether a national ID card would help in the fight against terrorism.
Frank wrote this: "A national ID card would really not work in a large open society like ours. It could work if we made having one a prerequisite for legal employment, air travel, health care, et cetera. But we might have a revolt on our hands if we tried to do that."
Al from Payson (ph), Arizona, checked in with this: "A national ID card is long overdue and desperately needed in this country. No honest person has anything to fear or should oppose such a plan. We're losing our country and a national ID card may help us save it."
Dave from Crescent City (ph), California writes this: "I think it's a lousy idea. Every time I get a photo taken for a license for an ID, the picture makes me and most other people look like serial killers. Based on those pictures alone, millions of Americans would end up being detained just for looking very guilty." That's a good point, those pictures are all terrible.
Here's the e-mail question for this week. "Does the United States favor Israel too much in its Middle East policy?" Send your answers to email@example.com. We'll read some of them next week. Also, you can check out our show page at money.com/inthemoney, which is where you'll find the "Fun Site of the Week" and oh so much more, including baby pictures of the entire staff.
Thank you for joining us...
SERWER: Is that true?
CAFFERTY: No, it's not.
SERWER: I didn't know that.
CAFFERTY: For joining us for this week's edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to the gang here, CNN financial correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" editor-at-large Andy Serwer, and Money.com managing editor Allen Wastler. Join us tomorrow at 3:00 Eastern time when we'll look at America's growing vacation deficit. We're all working harder and longer but for what, you might ask? We'll try to answer that question tomorrow at 3. Join us then, in the meantime, thank you.
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