tv Real Money With Ali Velshi Al Jazeera December 16, 2014 6:00am-7:01am EST
>> for the first time every country in the world has agreed to cut back on burning oil, gas, and cole to counter climate change. i'm looking at who wins and who loses. and the investors who brought up all of those foreclose sures after the housing collapse could be looking to cash in soon. plus see why some people are giving up their citizenship to save on their taxes. i'm ali velshi. this is "real money." ♪
for the first time ever, all of the world's nations rich and poor having a agreed in principal to cut back on the burning of oil, gas, and coal. they hammered out an accord that sets the stage for a bigger global a pact for pairs next year. there will be winners and losers, and producers of solar, wind, will gain, meanwhile this could be another nail in the coffin on the coal industry which continues to shed jobs here and around the world. but the devil is always in the details. the strength is the fact that every country pledges to put forward a plan to reduce emissions at home, but that's also its weakness.
it doesn't blind them to cut emissions by any particular amount. the hope is the biggest polluters will cut their amounts. most scientists agree rising sea levels, intense heat waves, floods, and droughts, are all systems of climate change. if the world doesn't get a grip on it we all lose. historically the biggest emitters have been industrialized countries like the u.s. but they are getting beaten out by countries like asia. the biggest losers could win because of this accord. the lack of specified limits means they can take as long as they want to bring emissions down. but last week, the philippines suffered a massive typhoon that caused wide-spread destruction
and blamed it on climate change. smaller eye -- island nations say they will continue to lose unless the world submits to cuts. oil settled today at a 48% drop in just six months. lower oil prices mean lower gasolines prices. that encourages people to drive more, and spew more gas emission. and hurts innovation. it also means the frac-ing boom is loosing out as well. at 50 bucks a barrel shale producers are now losing money, halting new drilling, and shutting down existing wells. less emissions will get released
into the air as a result. that's is net win. well, you can build long-term wealth in energy and infrastructure, it's just a matter of which of these are here to. we talked to the otter thor of "climate wealth". he cofounded the carbon war room, a think tank for addressing climate change. you saw from the exercise i just went through, finding winners and losers is very complicated. >> well, there are a lot of temporary news stories and a lot of permanent trends. when you look at the united states, fully one-third of the power was from solar power.
and 50% of the new capacity grid has come from solar emissions. the week before the agree, india announced $200 billion they are investing in solar by 2022. so i think this is about them leap frogging coal, but not waning to sign up to agreements that reduce their emissions when they didn't have the 100-year head start that the united states did. the irony of the 100-year head start is our distribution looks a lot like it did 100 years ago. so can't they simply leap frog and so to solar and wind? >> that's exactly right. the temporary story is that these guys are pushing back on climate emission requirements, but the long term story is that they are technologies.
the prime has said that extending the grid to connect the other 300 million people in india to modern forms of electric advertise isn't going to win, so they are giving them solar systems by 2019. even the chinese government has now said they are going to peak coal usage in this decade, and the vast majority of electricalen give is going to come from solar. >> we'll sea where this leads in paris in 2015, but the trend is in favor of renewables. >> yeah, not only the trend in terms of what is happening on the ground, but also who is making money. if you have ingested in oil over the last year, you have lost a ton of money. so the people who are making money are the people inrece inrecess -- investing in the future not the past. >> so there are probably three things i can
do to capitalize on solar. i can get my electric advertise from a company that gets part of their energy from solar. i can invest in companies that are developing solar, or i can put in my own solar system. how much of america can get their energy from wind or solar. >> 47 states are cost effective. 47 states and even after the expiration in 2016, it is expected that 26 states will continue to be cost effective after that. i'm a generation x-er. the stock market has just gone flat since 1996 so my average wait of return is 4.5% a year. that's horrible. it's far better to invest in
solar not only on my house but also in think church, municipal buildings, and there are websites like open energy and others that let you do that, and make solid, 6, 7, 8% returns. >> there is real resistant from incoupleant players. it's out of date it gets hit by storms all the time. we're not thinking as clearly as modi is in india about why don't we let people get their energy from the son. >> well, in 36 states in the united states you have goals for renewable energy in some of those states you have mandates. so the vast majority of utility companies are being forced by the population to do the right thing. and it's not a democrat issue. it's a democrat, republican, independent issue. there's a lot of folks who want
to safe money on ever-rising electricity bills. aarp has started to make voice heard, because they are saying look, we have folks on fixed income. you can't keep raising rates 3 times the level of inflation. it's only solar power and others that you can use to limit your rate increases. >> so your bet is this is the way we're going. >> well, it's $20 billion this year, and probably $60 billion. so it's not just me that is betting on this, it's goldman banks. >> thank you for joining us. you might think a company that uses coal to produce power would be one of the losers in this push for clean energy. not so fast, i'm talking about a
al-megrahi's guilt >> the most definitive look at this shocking crime >> the major difficulty for the prosecution that there was no evidence >> al jazeera america presents lockerbie part one: the pan am bomber the global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions might seem like a bad idea for an energy company described by its own ceo as the forth largest polluter in america. but the ceo is no ordinary ceo. he is the head of nrg energy. he has embraced the push to cut carbon pollution. he joined the company 11 years ago, and built it into the nation's largest independent power producer. a lot of that electricity is generated using coal, a major coarse of carbon pollution. and they are not abandoning coal. last month he pledged to reduce
the carbon emissions by 50% by the year 2030, and nrg is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy including solar. i sat down with him and asked aim about the impact of the climate conference in peru. >> it's all part of a larger process. i do think the international process, particularly the multinational process is going to be very slow, and, you know, as a business person, i think the private sector is actually going to move faster than the multinational process, but hopefully it's an interrative process, and -- and they will provide a framework. >> the developing countries have a reasonable argument when you look at it, in that we, the developed countries, have sourced so much of our manufacturing out to them, they
use, in m cases more antiquated carbon intensive manufacturing methods, and now we're asking them to cut their carbon output at similar levels. how do we square that argument? >> i think that you square the argument by saying it is in their interest for the developing countries to leap frog the -- the developed countries, the countried that developed in the 20th century and used a lot of fossil fuels because that was the cheapest at the time. we're getting to the point where renewable energy is just as cost effective. i understand the argument for us all to play ball there needs to be a big net transfer of wealth or something, i think that will end up with the process being frustrated. because i don't see multi-billion dollar transfer of
wealth to the developing countries. so i think it's a an appeal to their self interests that other types of energy make more sense, so they are getting ahead of the developed world. >> we have to think about deals like this is in terms of winners and losers. setting aside your company, which we'll talk about in a minute. who to the average observer, when you look at a deal like this, when you look at some agreement that will have to happen to reduce global emissions, who are the winners and losers in that discussion? >> i think up less the coal industry globally adapts, it is the clear loser on any climate deal anywhere involving anybody. because the combustion of coal is the single larger contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, so -- i mean our company has a project to take the carbon out
of -- of the coal combustion process, but -- but coal -- at least the way it has been burned today will be the big loser change. >> you are unusual in that you are such a believer in -- in being an activist about climate change, and yet you are a deliver in the continued use of coal, and that something good can come of it, you can actually capture it. what happens once you capture all of this coal? there is no real market use for it at the moment. >> that's right. but you can imagine as a company that currently emits over 100 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere, if i can turn that emission, which is the single largest risk that anyone investing in nrg faces, if can i turn that into an asset that is a multiple expansion, if not a
three-x, or four-x event. so i think probably the most important disruptive change that can come to the energy space, and really i think a lot of energy has to be spent on this, is doing something with the carbon. i mean obviously there is carbonated drinks, but that's very low volume in the scheme of things. we have a process to use carbon flooding to get out of the ground. some people are using carbon to combine it to make synthetic liquids, natural gas-like products. and then there's the materialization route which is embed the carbon is building materials and if we think of all of our roads and buildings that is made of embedded carbon, then i think coal actually has a future as a source of power generation. >> as i'm talking to you the price of oil has dropped below $60 a barrel. inconceivable a year ago.
this is -- do you think this is a short-term phenomenon? what is the impact this has on all of these discussions that you and i are having? because a lot of this change is predicated on relatively inexpensive oil. if oil is cheaper, we will produce less, but people will use more. >> it's a commodity subject to price cycles. it does always seem to me that once society is really focused on getting an alternative to fossil fuel, the fossil fuels come back and price themselves so cheap that they gut the alternative. so i sort of feel like this is déjà vu all over again. but oil going to $60 a barrel, i think saudi arabia is basically looking for what the pain point is in terms of north america product shun. at what point do the americans start shuttering in oil?
for us on the lek tries side, oil is not used to make electricity here, but it is directly relevant if you are capturing carbon to extract oil. oil is the product that pace for the whole -- for -- you know, for what we're doing. >> the irony is that we were having about conversation about $60 oil this morning. oil this morning closed at under $56. you might be wondering about that weird-looking object standing there. it's a charger for electric vehicles. that's another business nrg is involved in. tune in on wednesday to hear his views on how americans view climate change. institutional investors scooped up houses like they were candy when things went bust and now they are trying to unload all of that property. i'll tell you that that means
for your home prices when we come back in 2 minutes. >> i'm joie chen, i'm the host of america tonight, we're revolutionary because we're going back to doing best of storytelling. we have an ouportunity to really reach out and really talk to voices that we haven't heard before... i think al jazeera america is a watershed moment for american journalism
well, after the housing crash, wall street investors bought up hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes across the country, flipped them into rental units. it was a buying frenzy, but now the frenzy is cooling, and the big question is when will the institutional investors sell? let's take a look at one market just outside of atlanta.
two summers ago, the auction block here was hot hot hot. david shuster reports. >> yes! yes! >> $112,000. >> reporter: the first tuesday of every month this is the scene on the steps of the courthouse in georgia. >> 86,000. >> reporter: hundreds of distressed properties sold in the blink of an eye. >> sold, $86,000. >> well, it's very exciting, somewhat like herding cats. >> reporter: it's bryce's first time at the auction. he and his wife were hoping to buy a home on the cheap, but he wasn't expecting the chaos. >> i see there's several different locations. >> reporter: or the big investors who are driving up competition and the sale price of the foreclosed homes. >> i have sold. >> i go up in $500 increments. they go up $5,000.
i'm trying to get it to 150, they are like 155, 160. and you are just looks at them and saying that house isn't worth that. >> big investors going into distressed communities and buying homes the banks have repropossessed. sha reis a local realtor buying properties for some of the wall sfreet landlords. >> hedge funds are realizing that our market are going from what they are referring to as an owner nation to a rental nation. >> reporter: the institutional investors are changing the housing market in the county. >> in one month we auctioned off -- or advertised for foreclosures, 1,089 houses. so the hedge funds are taking those off of the market. they are not available for anybody to buy. so we are coming up with a
shortage of housing. >> reporter: greg martin agrees. >> about 2100 active homes for sale. that's about one-third of the inventor we had in 2008 >> reporter: and locals worry about the big investors commitment to the communities they are buying in. >> at some point in time, they will have to sell. how long are they going to hold it? i don't know. >> reporter: david shuster, al jazeera. since we first did that report in august 2013, homes in the metro atlanta area alone have gained about 22%. if institutional investors sold all of the properties they bought, they would make almost $9 billion an equity return of 26%, which is why it's a perfect time for investors to start selling. that's what the vice president
of realty track says. darren, i guess it's really important to note, your research indicates, that nobody is selling in large numbers just yet, but you have taken a look at what would happen if they do, because we have seen in the past that wall street is not the best custodian of the interests of the american economy. >> right. they are looking out for their self interests, so when we look at -- you are absolutely right. they are not selling. we see sales and maybe a few properties here and there, but we're not seeing sales anywhere in the range of the tens of thousands of homes that they have bought. but when we look at the bottom line, and when you are seeing returns in some markets of over 30% in gained equity on these homes, you mentioned atlanta, some of the bigger investors when we look at their acquisitions, they have gained over 33% in gained equity
because of the rapid rise in prices. it does make sense that at some point it -- they are going to cash out of -- of those homes, because they are going to get more return from -- from selling than from continuing to rent. and many of these hedge funds are finding it can tougher to manage thousands of rental properties than maybe they thought when they got into this. >> and look they are doing the same math ever american who is looking to buy a home or refinance their more age is doing, rates start to creep up, and the housing market becomes a little less interesting. if we're talking about a 26% return on equity, those 30% plus markets are going to be the first where we see these sales. what markets are these? >> the markets where they have made the most return are -- first of all, chicago. we're seeing a 43% return.
and i think that has to do with some of the extremely low priced properties they were able to pick up in chicago, and the bounce back in home prices. central florida, including orlando, and palm bay is another market where they are seeing over 36% returns. charlotte, raleigh, north carolina, are a couple of other hot spots. columbus, ohio is another place, where all of those are over 35% for some of the biggest of these institutional investors. >> so what does that present for the normal home buyer? are these markets of opportunity or markets in which you should be careful, because you might see a dip in prices when these investors begin to sell? >> yeah, i think these are markets you want to be watching out for. if you are an investor going into these markets, you don't
want to get too excited about home price appreciation going up as fast as it has. if you are a homeowner, maybe now is a good time for you, if you are thinking about moving, it might be a good time to beat the institutional investors to the punch and sell. and if you are a home buyer -- >> wait a while. >> i would say wait it out. >> let me ask you this, is there any sense that you have of the strategy that these institutional investors may have to start unloading homes. i mean obviously these are big companies, they would rather -- while they bought a lot of homes, they would rather sell in bulk. but i imagine there aren't a lot of companies looking to buy houses in bulk. >> that's right and we have heard of a couple of instances where they are looking to unload
a bulk of homes, but short of that, i think if they are smart, they will be slowly selling these off. contacting local realtors to list maybe ten of these properties at a time. but right now it's not anymore than that. and there are a few players in this, who are committed to this for the long term, in terms of the rental strategy, so you will see a few players stick it out, and some of the players -- because at the end of the day these folks are in it to make money. >> "real money" reached out to several of these institutional investors, black stones invitation homes says it still sees it as a market worth investing in. colony says because they are organized as real estate investment trusts, they have got a commitment to homeownership as
a long-term asset class. that may mean that they hold investments. >> yes, and i think maybe those are two of the players who are in this for the longer term, but even at the beginning of these -- a lot of these hedge funds were saying, we're looking at a five to seven-year horizon tops. i think they have been surprised at how quickly, and to a certain extent because of what they have done, how quickly home prices have appreciated, and they are saying we have gained 33%, it's going to be more tempting to cash out and look for the next opportunity. >> darren thank you for being with us. darren lundqvist, vice president of realty track. americans are giving up their citizenship in record numbers. i'll have that story when we come back in two minutes. ♪
>> a deal went against they're own government >> egypt mismanaged it's gas industry >> taking the country to the brink of economic ruin >> this is because of a corrupt deal to an assigned to basically support two dodgy businessmen an israeli one, and an egyptian one... >> al jazeera exposes those who made a fortune betraying an entire nation >> you don't feel you owe an explanation to the egyptian people? >> no...no.. >> al jazeera investigates egypt's lost power on al jazeera america now here is something you probably didn't know, the mayor of london is an american citizen.
true. he has not lived in the united states since he was five years old. which is incon vie kwen shall to the internal revenue service. if you are a u.s. citizen levelling overseas, you have the distinct privilege of owing taxes to uncle sam. and the irs wants to levy sales on the sale of his home. he isn't too happy about this, but he has yet to relinquish his u.s. citizenship. which brings us to another group of people who are rendering their citizenship. mary snow has more on people quitting america to save on their taxes. >> reporter: would you give up your citizenship to avoid paying taxes? thousands of americans are doing just that. giving up their passports in record numbers in order to avoid paying a new tax as part of the foreign account tax compliance
act. the critics say it has caused a three-fold increase in the number of americans surrendering their passports. created in 2010 by congress. it was initially inteched to crack down on overseas tax cheats. the congressional research service projected it would generate $8.7 billion over ten years. the law was inspired by the testimony of the former banker turned whistleblower. he described how they used techniques to help americans avoid paying taxes.
the bank turned over the names of 4500 u.s. account holders to the u.s. in response the law was enacted in 2010. it imposes taxes on people who are not cooperating with the u.s. to date over 77,000 institutions and 112 countries have signed off on the law. but that still leaves 83 countries worldwide that are not compliant including russia, argentina, monaco, because nia, pakistan, and vietnam. critics say it goes too far and is imposing a hardship on americans living overseas. >> it is causes lots of heart aches and headaches around the world, not only for foreign
financial institutions, but also for overseas americans who are now seen as poariahs. >> reporter: the u.s. is one of the few countries who taxes their citizens based on citizenship rather than residency. >> the united states is one of the few countries to have extra territorial taxation, at american living in some other country is required to not only pay tax to that country where they live, but also file a return to the u.s. >> reporter: one thing is clear, for an increasing number of u.s. citizens, holding on to a bigger share of their money has become
more important than holding on to their american pass port. >> with me from washington is the executive director of a not for profit called american citizens abroad. she says the u.s. government pursue of tax cheats has put an unreasonable hardship on ordinary americans who need to live and work abroad. thank you for being with us. you would think the u.s. government can figure out a way to differentiate between people who are stashing their money oversees, versus those who can prove they are gainfully employed overseas. >> yes, what we're seeing from our membership and our supporters overseas that americans very much need to have financial tools, if they are living and works overseas. in particular people involved with creating expanding
businesses, small businesses, consultants, but just americans who are also working in the -- in ngo's, doctors without borders. so we're seeing a pro-pronged problem from americans. one is the denial of banking services, because of the foreign financial institutions being concerned about having americans as clients, and also, on the reporting side for americans, because not only is the form 8938 in effect, there's also the foreign bank account record, which has been in existence since the 1970s. so many americans now have an increased compliancy burden. they have two forms essentially asking them for the same information, and they are very confused about what needs to be filed, and the real complicating factor is the fact that the penalties associated with failure for filing these forms
or making errors on these forms is quite onerous. >> yeah. it's hard enough when you are here in america and you make an error on an irs form. obviously when we first heard about this ubs situation, americans were rightfully outraged and said the government should do something about this, people shouldn't be -- because they are wealthy or have access to banks like ubs, be able to skip out on their taxes. but now it seems like we have caught too much in that net. >> well, aca is trying to educate and inform the congress about the community of americans overseas. that's our mission is to bring to them this collective voice of concerns and problems, and also educate them on the community, the demographic of the people living overseas is made up of, and we're also trying to look
for solutions, both for the individuals, and -- and for congress, in order that they can achieve the legislative goals, but also allow people who are living and working overseas tools that they need to function. one of our options is treating americans who are living in a foreign jurisdiction, their accounts as accounts to them, and now offshore accounts. there would be no reporting from the american standpoint, and knighter from the bank. so that would alleviate the two problems that they are having out there, and allow americans to have access to the financial tools they need to function and live overseas. >> thank you very much for being with us. well the $1.1 trillion spending bill is waiting for president obama's signature. he said he planned to sign it,
saying it was critical that both parties support the bill to keep the government up and running. but there are a lot of unpopular provisions buried in it. lisa stark has more. >> ali this bill runs more than 1600 pages, so there is plenty of room to pack things in. you have probably heard of deep pocket donors who can give even more money to political committees. also a key rule that would help reign in the banking industry, that has been scuttled. congress said the government cannot move forward on declaring the sage grouse an engagered species. this is a win for the oil and gas industry. they want to explore on the bird's habitat. on the school lunch program, a favorite of mrs. obama's schools will not have to meet a lower salt standard for their food,
and they may also be able to opt out of whole-grain requirements for pasta and tortillas. farmers and ranchers won't have to worry about greenhouse gas emissions on man -- manure. and the bill prohibits the regulation of led in ammunition. and for the tracking industry, it blocks new rules on truck driver fatigue. you will still be able to get mail on saturday. and any official who wants a portrait of themselves in the white house, they will have to pay for it themselves, and the vice president will not be getting a raise. it is said that this routes out waste and abuse.
robert wiseman said this bill is exactly the kind of cronyism and insider deal making that has the public so disgusted with washington. what everyone or many in congress wanted to do was get this thing passed, get out of town, and avoid a go shutdown, ali. >> we're using that spending bill to launch a new series, between the lines. david will take you to the pristine deserts of arizona for an up close look at a provision in the bill that would give land sacred to apache native americans over to a foreign-owned copper company. >> reporter: if you look over my shoulder you will be resolution copper mine. and that's where the mine is set to start operations. it would be the largest copper
mine in the entirety of north american >> again, you can watch david's story on wednesday at 7:00 pm eastern, 4:00 pm pacific. coming up i'm going to talk to the boss of a well-known american furniture company about why he is having trouble finding enough labor in the united states. "real money" is back in two minutes.
route in the ruble. russia has spent tens of billions of its forest dwindling foreign exchange deserves buying up its currency. back in this country we got another sign that america's economy is getting stronger. production at u.s. factories rose 1.1% in november. if you combine that with a revised gain for october, it's above the peak that was reached in december 2007. strong production by auto makers has helped fuel the gains. last week we learned that americans are buying more cars, electronics, and furniture. the growth of the manufacturing sector does not mean that america is the first place that global companies turn to when deciding to open a new company. ethan
allen's two most recent plants it opened are in new mexico. the man who has run the company says the u.s. suffers from a shortage of labor and high medical costs. thank you for being here. >> good to see you, and good to see you after many, many years. >> many years, which means you have seen booms, busts, increases, and decreases in manufacturing and costs, and in your business, you can't really run on whims, you have to make decisions about factories that will be around for a while. tell me about labor first of all. we're starting to see this. it's not common to hear about shortages in labor, but we have seeing the unemployment rate going lower and lower, and you are now starting to feel it. >> well, let me just state we are investing in america. we have six major u.s. plants as
you said. and 70% of our furniture is made in north america, and over 60% is made in the united states. but as you have said, you were talking about the changes that have taken place in the last 15 years. 15 years later, 70% is coming from offshore, excepting us. now we decided that we would operate, manufacturing, but we would consolidate them to our best manufacturing in the united states, which is what everybody else has been doing. if we did not do that, we would not have manufacturing in the u.s. the other factor that has helped us maintain manufacturing is because of the fact we are a vertically integrated company, from concept to design to manufacture, and we operate, 300 retail stores. if we didn't do that, and we were -- just a manufacturing selling to others, the chances
are we would not have been able to maintain manufacturing in the united states. >> and if you were just a retailer and not manufacturer, outsource. >> absolutely. so we are unique in the sense of being able to maintain it. now think of the changes that have taken place. 15 years back we were hit be what i call globalization, commoditization. and now that is under strain. manufacturing and offshore is under pressure. labor has gone up in china and other places. transportation is higher. we are now seeing manufacturing coming back to north america. i use the word north america, because the united states is important, but as you mentioned we opened two new plants in mexico and honduras, to support the united states plants, when we combine them together, that gives us the strength.
>> what is the advantage that mexico or honduras has right now labor cost? >> not labor costs, but experience. we are the largest manufacturer of upholstered furniture in north carolina. we have a very, very strong presence in vermont, where we started 82 years back. in north carolina our bottleneck was that we were not getting people who were sewing and cutting. and in fact it was hard to get people to do that. we had people who were interested in other jobs, so we went to central mexico about six, seven years back, and established a state-of-the-art manufacturing, we have over 800 associates and almost 85% of cutting and sewing is there, and we ship it to north carolina -- >>
where you have different techniques. >> exactly. and why we are able to maintain manufacturing, not only us, but others, is either it's highly automated or customized. >> so because you have the ability to customize it, they can get it in short order. >> exactly. >> let me ask you about obamacare. how has this affected you? >> medical costs generally are high. i don't think it has had a major impact for us, because we -- we were basically covering everybody. we don't have in part-time workers. we have had some increase in costs because now we are covering younger people. >> right. >> who we were not covering before, but overall a company like ours which was already covers its people -- >> the mandate didn't effective that much. much.
>> thank you for joining us and giving us incite into this situation in the united states. up next, a warning from sony. it is now threatening news organizations over its hacked information. >> a crisis on the border... >> thery're vulnarable... these are refugees... >> migrent kids flooding into the u.s. >> we're gonna go and see josue who's just been deported... >> why are so many children fleeing? >> your children will be a part of my group or killed... >> fault lines, al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... emmy award winning investigative series... fault lines no refuge: children at the border only on al jazeera america
>> television icon norman lear >> we hoped we were delivering real characters... >> creator of "all in the family" "the jeffersons" and "good times" talks race, comedy and american culture today... >> you're taking me to a place in this interview, i haven't been before... >> i told you this would be your best interview >> ...and it is... it's the current one... >> every monday, join us for exclusive... revealing... and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time... talk to al jazeera, only on al jazeera america
sony is putting news organizations on the defensive about information leaked by hackers. they said they could sue for damages related to sony's intellectual property or trade secrets. it includes gossip by executives about hollywood stars. the fbi is investigating the hacking. japan's prime minister is basking in the glow of a landslide victory. he called a snap election two years early, but voters gave him another four years. harry fawcett reports from tokyo. [ applause ] >> reporter: there was no great fist-pumping celebration for japan's prime minister. rather he had the air of a man who's plan had worked out perfectly. this was the seal of approval he publicly courted.
>> translator: my economic policies are still only halfway done, but i believe we have moved away from those dark days two or three years ago. i'm aware there are a lot of people who still do not feel the policies, but i believe this election voiced that clearly. >> reporter: he told the electorate that this was a referendum on his economic recovery plan. but for many it was more a referendum on disarray. >> translator: they are very weak, so you really have no choice. even if you wish others could challenge >> translator: as a citizen it makes me wonder, why now? >> reporter: the poll suggest the majority of japanese voters are confused for the need for the election.
there is little enthusiasm show here at this polling station. more a sense of duty. he succeeded in bucking japan out of recession. but it's third and most critical change, structural reform is still stuck in low gear. this win enables him to move forward on the rest of his agenda. including restarting the nuclear power industry, and renewing his push for changes to the constitution. all year long we have been engaged in the conversation about america's middle class. we have introduced you to people with real world pressures in their lives. we have also spoken to america's foremost experts who follow the problems that middle class americans face. and most americans agree that the middle class is in crisis,
squeezed by years of job losses, rising costs, stagnant wages. we have identified who is in the middle class, and what it will take to keep the dream from slipping away from millions of americans. when you big deeper, you'll find only 44% of americans say they belong to the middle class, that's down from 53% who identified themselves as middle class in 2008. the most robust part of a economy is the middle class. without a strong middle class, america's economy will falter. today's middle class is under pressure. tune in tomorrow for a special one-hour show, 7:00 pm eastern, here is a quick taste. concludes. >> i'm a mission that i have to
keep this business going. >> i panicked. >> the issues we face. fighting to survive. >> she is like my role model in perseverance. >> real life solutions you can't afford to miss. >> we're making it the best that we can. >> tuesday 7:00 eastern on al jazeera america. >> that is our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. ♪ >> tonight, the landmark series concludes. >> i'm on a mission that i have to keep this business going. >> an intimate look at middle class families. >> i panicked because, how we gonna pay that? >> the issues we face. >> there's no way to pay for it. >> fighting to survive. >> she's like my role model... as in perseverance. >> building a better future.
>> it's coming together little by little. >> real life solutions you can't afford to miss. >> we're making it the best that we can. >> "america's middle class - rebuilding the dream". >> tonight. >> 7:00 eastern. >> only on al jazeera america. >> breaking overnight, gunman raid a school in northwestern pakistan, 120 people are dead, most of the victims are children. others are still held hostage even as we speak. these are live images. we are on the ground where rescue operations are still underway. >> a 16 hour stand out of in an australian cafe, what we've learned about the gunman. >> authorities in pennsylvaa