tv PBS News Hour PBS December 6, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions ( singing ) >> woodruff: mourning his death, but also celebrating his life in the streets of south africa and beyond. the world continued its look back today at nelson mandela's long journey. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. we further explore mandela's legacy. tonight, how south africa was forever changed by the man they called "father." >> to many people nelson mandela does represent the kind of more all center an a choice to turn away from violence, to turn away from strife. and to turn away from racial
divisions. >> woodruff: back in the u.s., paul solman digs into today's jobs report, which points to strong gains in hiring and a five-year low in the unemployment rate. and mark shields and david brooks are here. they reflect on mandela's life and the rest of the week's news. those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations.
and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the death of nelson mandela resonated across south africa and around the world today. millions mourned the former president and symbol of racial reconciliation and officials planned a mass memorial service on tuesday. we begin our coverage with rohit kachroo of "independent television news" reporting from south africa. rted this was a day to mourn one life lost, and a day to mark the many lives made by nelson mandela. the gift of freedom is being
celebratedded here. and even those lost in the sadness of his death know how much bleaker things might have been. >> i'm very, very sad, but today i'm sad and i don't know what can i say. >> from his home last night, his coffin was brought away draped in the rainbow colors. his pain is over. but the hurt is now all theirs. yet through all the blurry eyes and broken hearts, this nation was to the broken. as the old songs of the struggle from sung, through the night. and the new day brought the start of south africa's future. >> the sun will rise tomorrow. and the next day, and the next. it may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on. >> reporter: the man who
freed nelson mandela, the last apartheid president of south africa spoke today of the political enemy who became a friend. >> he was a great man. he was a very special man. i think his greatest legacy to south africa and to the world is the emphasis which he has always put on the need for reconciliation. >> reporter: mandela's condition had worsened over his final few days. this was his last appearance in public, confused, frail and fading. his stair broken only by the flash of a camera. this afternoon president zuma went to comfort the mandela family and to finalize plans for his state funeral. >> we'll spend the week mourning his passing.
we'll also spend it celebrating a life well lived, a life that we must all emulate. >> nelson mandela will now lie in state. next week at pretoria's union buildings. once a bastion of white rule. here 19 years ago he was sworn in as president and the rainbow nation was born. >> never, never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one over another. >> reporter: it was from this building south africa's seat of government that he helped to steer his country away from civil war. >> -- nation building and reconciliation in this country. it is not something that can be done by others.
it is something in which i shall take a lead. and therefore i have to suppress my feelings. >> reporter: but the man the world most reveres wanted to be buried far from the capitol city in the village he called his home, even when politics became his life. born in the british empire, he will be buried in a distant corner of a country that is in every sense his. the man who made the miracle of modern south africa, who brought a nation with him on his long walk to freedom. though the world now mourns and presidents will visit, it is ode south africans who gain from his struggle and in finding out what this democracy looks like without him. >> woodruff: a short time ago, i spoke with lydia polgreen, johannesburg bureau chief for the "new york times." lydia polgreen, thank you for talking with us.
>> my pleasure, judy. >> woodruff: how are south africans reacting today to mandela's death? are they all black and white united in their view of him? >> overwhelmingly i would say yes. today i was outside his home in an upscale suburb of johannesburg. and there were not just black and white, there were, you know, yalmke and muslim knitted prayer caps. there were young and old, people from a whole variety of walks of life all over south africa. so what i'm seeing is a real kind of coming together of the rainbow nation. and when you talk to people, you get the sense that they feel very glad to have this opportunity to kind of reembrace and reassert that identity that was so strong when nelson mandela first became president in 1994. >> woodruff: you write today that south africans were
coming together to mourn his death in a way that you said seems increasingly rare in a nation confronting significant economic challenges. you also wrote about political corruption, and a sense that the nation is even slipping into despair. what were you saying there? >> well, i think south africa has seen enormous challenges since 1994. it's a country that was reborn with tremendous hope when nelson mandela was elected. and i think you've seen quite a bit of that hope whittled away. it's one of the most unequaled country in the world. crime remains an indem i believe problem. the education system is riddled with problems. and you also see that there is an increasing public corruption. so the current president has been involved in a huge scandal involving his private home. so people look to nelson mandela and think theres with a leader. there was someone with real integrity.
so i think that this is a moment for people to look back and reflect on where they've come from and how to get back on the right path. >> woodruff: and also by definition losing what i think you call the moral center for the country. >> well, i think for many people nelson pan della does represent a kind of moral center. and a choice to turn away from violence, to turn away from strife. and to turn away from racial divisions. and instead of standing in judgement of one another, to reconcile and to admit that we did terrible things to each other. but now we're ready to move on. and i think that was the great gift of nelson mandela. that he was able to bring people together in a way that made them feel that they could forgive and made them move on. >> woodruff: lydia, one other thing. you wrote today in a personal way about what he meant to you in life and in death. can you reflect on that? >> sure. my mother comes from ethiopia an my father is american.
i sppbt most of my childhood in africa, mostly in the 1980s, a time when south africa was a country that we con even visit as a result of the composition of my family. and so today as a correspondent in south africa, living froly in a nonracial country where anyone can marry anyone they want, where anyone can live anywhere they want, it's an extraordinary feeling for me. particularly since i, myself, am in a multiracial relationship. so it's a real transformation for south africa. and i think it's a real inspiration to the world. >> woodruff: lydia polgreen, with "the new york times", thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we'll talk with south africans about the mandela legacy, a little later in the program. unemployment in the u.s. dipped to 7% in november-- the lowest rate since 2008. and, employers added 203,000 jobs. but the number of people actively looking for work
remained near a 35-year low. paul solman explores the data and the debate over long-term jobless benefits right after this news summary. the jobs numbers touched off a rally on wall street. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 198 points to close at 16,020, breaking a five-day losing streak. the nasdaq rose 29 points to close at 4,062. for the week, the dow lost just under 0.5%. the nasdaq rose 0.1% snow and freezing rain fell from texas up to indiana today, posing an icy threat across the central u.s. roads in north texas and arkansas starting icing over late last night and continued today. and, some parts of the midwest were forecast to get several inches of snow. american airlines-- whose major hub is in dallas-- canceled 1,000 flights by this morning. britain and northern europe
spent a second day coping with flooding and other damage from a powerful storm. it triggered the biggest tidal surge in 60 years on the eastern english coast. the surge pulled cliff-top homes into the north sea, and caused severe flooding in many coastal communities. in london, the river thames barrier was closed for the second time in as many days to protect against the flood. heavy smog descended on shanghai, china today-- one of the worst bouts of pollution to hit the city since records were started last december. authorities reacted by pulling 30% of government vehicles off the road and banning fireworks and public sporting events. visibility was down to just 160 feet in some places, as people struggled to cope. >> i have difficulty in breathing. i feel uncomfortable. my throat is all funny after i went home.
i hate going outside. it was fine in the subway but the air quality is terrible outdoors. visible is also bad and so is my mood. >> woodruff: the dirty air is being blamed on coal burning, car exhausts, factory pollution and shifting weather patterns. the international chemical weapons watchdog now says all of syria's unfilled chemical munitions have been destroyed. the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons announced it has verified that the assad regime did indeed destroy the empty weapons. it also confirmed destruction of buildings at production facilities. there was relative quiet across the capital city of the central african republic today, as hundreds of french troops began arriving. a day earlier, at least 280 people died in heavy fighting between christian militias and muslim rebels. soldiers reached the city this morning, with the permission of the u.n. security council to use force. the french contingent will eventually reach 1,200.
the embattled president of ukraine-- viktor yanukovych-- met today with russian president vladimir putin, in the face of ongoing protests back home. the demonstrations erupted after ukraine's leaders backed away from improving ties with the european union. moscow wants ukraine to join a trade bloc dominated by russia, instead. still to come on the "newshour": good jobs news, but not for the long-term unemployed; fast-food workers fight for a living wage; what mandela meant for south africa. plus, shields and brooks. >> woodruff: now, a pair of reports from the jobs front about a divide in the u.s. economy: the labor market seems to be getting stronger once again. yet for many on the lower end of the income ladder, the big gap in wages is sparking a budding movement.
we begin with economics correspondent paul solman on the unemployment rate's drop to a five-year low, even as many jobless americans face more difficult times ahead. the story is part of paul's coverage on making sense of financial news. >> reporter: the latest snapshot of the nation's jobs situation-- showing 203,000 positions added in november, and a jobless rate of 7% was even rosier than anticipated. we asked northeastern university economist barry bluestone what he made of the numbers. >> on balance this was a good report today. over 200,000 people are back to work. we've brought the unemployment rate down from 7.3% to 7%. that's all good news. of course many of those were federal employees coming back to work after furlough, but we had some good news about manufacturing employment, construction employment, pretty much across the board. so in general this is good news
plus over the last several months we've been seeing more job growth in the area of about 200,000 jobs a month. >> reporter: indeed, job gains were broad-based from manufacturing and construction to warehousing and transportation to retail, as the holiday shopping season kicked off. but amidst the good news, a curiously stubborn fact, says bluestone. >> we continue to see incredibly high levels of long-term unemployment. these are people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. 4.1 million americans have been unemployed that long. and that isn't moving at all, it's been over four million for months. so these are people who are at a point where they're just essentially out of the economy and of course hurting very badly. >> reporter: the long-term jobless are facing a key policy decision this month. emergency unemployment insurance for them after 26 weeks, put in place during the great recession, will stop at the end of the month, immediately cutting off aid to over a
million people unless congress extends the program. the president has called for such an extension, which can provide several extra months of aid, but republicans have not committed to it yet. bluestone, a liberal, thinks an extension would make both moral and economic sense. >> without that unemployment benefit dollar coming into those families, they can't spend money. and if they can't spend money the economy continues to slowly move ahead and that keeps our unemployment rate for everybody up at 7% or above. so pouring more money into the economy through extended unemployment benefits, particularly for families who are going to spend every last dollar, creating tremendous consumption, putting people back to work, is in setup the out the he best policy we could do. we need to get money into their >> reporter: james sherk, a labor analyst at the conservative heritage foundation, disagrees. not extending benefits, he argues, would nudge people to accept jobs they might have rejected, and that in itself would lower the overall jobless rate.
>> workers understandably look for the job that's very close to what they had before, people don't want to have to move, they don't want to have to look for a job in a new industry, and they sure don't want to have to take a pay cut. when those benefits drop down, they become willing to broaden their search to jobs that they might be more likely to land, even if their job is not close to their ideal. >> reporter: for its part, the nonpartisan congressional budget office estimates that extending emergency benefits would cost $25 billion, but would create 200,000 jobs next year. >> woodruff: as bad as circumstances are for people who can't find a job, there is a different but tangible challenge for americans who have work, but earn barely enough to get by. for them, as "newshour" correspondent kwame holman reports, there is a battle playing out across the country to win a guarantee of higher pay. >> it's not fun to survive on low, low, low, low pay.
>> reporter: mcdonald's employees gathered in the nation's capital on thursday, including workers from the franchise inside the smithsonian's air and space museum who struck a seasonal note as they proclaimed they're tired of having to scrape by. >> you know, you shouldn't have to resort to the government assistance to live and take care of your children if you're eligible and able to work. you should be able to get paid for what you do and what you're >> my grandkids. i can't never say, they ask me, nana, can we go to the store? can we go to the park? you know, any place like that. i can take them to the park but as far as having money to spend, i don't have it. i got paid yesterday. wednesday. and i'm broke already. >> reporter: over the past year there's been a small but growing chorus of fast food workers who have pushed to raise their wage, from an average of about $9 an hour to what's called a "living wage"-- $15 an hour. the protests come at the same yesterday's strikes, planned for 100 cities, were organized by the service employees
international union and a new york group pushing for higher wages, fast food forward. fast food forward also funded a recent study by the university of california at berkeley. it found 52% of fast food workers depend on public programs like food stamps, medicaid, and the earned income tax credit to get by at a cost of nearly $7 billion a year to taxpayers. that's compares to 25% of the overall workforce who depend on such programs. as workers from wendy's to wal- mart call for a living wage. >> hold the burgers, hold the fries, we can't survive on $7.25. >> reporter: others are calling on congress to increase the federal minimum wage-- now $7.25 an hour-- and last raised in 2009. >> if you work hard, you should make a decent living. >> reporter: that includes president obama, who spoke wednesday about inequality at the left-leaning center for american progress. >> we all know the arguments
that have been used against a higher minimum wage. some say it actually hurts low- wage workers; business will be less likely to hire them. there's no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs jobs, and research shows it raises incomes for low-wage workers and boosts short-term economic growth. ( applause ) >> reporter: not everyone buys those arguments. in downtown washington's freedom plaza, where skateboarders took advantage of unseasonal warmth this week, the head of the conservative "american action forum" and former congressional budget office chair, douglas holtz-eakin, took issue. >> i think the president's argument is incomplete at best. certainly the person who has the job, their wages are higher, they're better off. but, there is evidence that it's harming the pace of economic recovery, hiring gets slowed down. in the end, everyone might find a job but you're getting rid of the low-skilled jobs workers use, and that's a problem. >> reporter: a new analysis from the conservative employment
policies institute makes a similar case against the living wage. it finds that a $15 an hour wage would lead to more automation and cost nearly half a million low-wage jobs in the end. some businesses also have said increased costs from higher wages would be passed on to consumers. thea lee, deputy chief of staff at the afl-cio, says the evidence doesn't back that up. >> there's actually been a lot of great new economic research that looks not at the theory of raising the minimum wage but at the facts. and a lot of what it's done is taking two states that are side by side, one of which has raised the minimum wage, another which hasn't and they have not found any negative employment effect. >> reporter: even before the latest calls to raise the national wage, there was action in a number of states and localities. this week, washington d. c.'s city council unanimously approved an $11.50 cent minimum wage, which would be one of the highest in the nation. it joins two neighboring counties in maryland and five other states acting this year.
four more states take up wage bills next year. >> at some point people are working full time, they're working harder than ever and they're sick of it. they want to be able to work hard and get the american dream and be able to feed their families and that's a reasonable thing in a wealthy country like the united states. >> reporter: conservative economist holtz-eakin sees that frustration. but he says the solution is more education and an expansion of the earned income tax credit, not burdening companies. >> the dividing lines between poverty are non poverty are work, if you're not, if you're working you're less likely to be in poverty. and the dividing line between low wage work and high wage work is skills and education. that's the number one thing they can do. >> reporter: both holtz-eakin and lee point out that today's low-wage workforce is both older and better educated than it was a few decades ago, a fact they attribute to the poor job market.
>> woodruff: now, on the day after his death, what nelson mandela meant to the people of south africa. jeffrey brown has that. three south africans currently >> brown: tonight we hear from three south africans currently teaching in this country: penelope andrews is president and dean of the albany law school. mzamo mangaliso is a management professor at the university of massacusetts, amherst. charles villa-vicencio was the national research director in the south african truth and reconciliation commission. he's a visiting professor at georgetown university. penelope andrews i want to start with you. if i can frame it personally first tell us what nelson mandela meant to you growing newspaper south africa, how did you see him? >> well, for me growing up in south africa, certainly nelson mandela was a in many ways a mythical figure. but he also became a sim symbol of what south africa
was to become. an mandela has always represented for me as a lawyer, a profound commitment to the rule of law, to constitutionalism and the possibilities of law to change people's lives. and i think he means that to me as a lawyer but also to the vast, large number of people who have looked at south africa's transmission-- transition an seen what the constitution has been able to do, despite the limitations because of poverty and economic inequality that still persists in the country. >> brown: mzamo man gal iso let me ask you the same question, a kind of mythical question but also a man, a fighter, a politician. >> yes, in fact growing up in south africa i'm a product of miners and grew up in the townships of south africa, in a time when things were really dire,
mandela was a symbol of hope for us. even though we hardly ever saw him. because his images were banned from the country. and when people spoke about him, they spoke in whispers when we grew up. but you know, through all the dark period that we're going through, we knew that there is a whole, because of this man will stand for equity, justice. we'll speak for south africa as belonging to all who live in it. and so that gave us the inspiration to keep, you know, toiling along knowing that at the end we might be rewarded. >> brown: charles villa-vicencio the politician, the leader, as we sit here now, where did he succeed? where he did not achieve all the people hoped for? >> so many tributes are being paid to mr. mandla as a great leader, and that he was. he is a great leader.
in: -- what is a great leader? in my bock a leader is someone who is always a step ahead of these people in order to lead. but never more than one step, if you like, always close enough, in order to understand his people and for his people to understand and feel him. and i think that is where mandela must be analyzed. he has lead in an unbelievably, remarkable way. he is the father of our democracy. we haven't always followed as well as we should have. >> brown: well, that's what i was wondering next. in your role in truth and reconciliation, it as been a long process for your country. >> uh-huh. >> brown: where has it picked up from him and where has it not? >> i think the truth and reconciliation commission appointed by mr. mandla made a huge contribution to the beginning of the process of south africans learning to live together. and mr. mandla's presidency epitomized where we were
reaching for. there were limitations. there are limitations. there were all sorts of recommendations made by the truth commission concerning socioeconomic rights. bridging of the gap between the rich and the poor. we've not followed up on that we got lazy. we've fallen behind, it was mr. mandla that went ahead. >> brown: penelope andrew, pick up on that we talked about that at the beginning of the show as well, just with the country today with continuing problems. >> i think that unless the country addresses the question of pov the, all the benefits that the truth and reconciliation commission made possible, i think is likely to fail. so i think that the truth and reconciliation commission was very important because it allowed the country to-- and instead
center issues of forgiveness and reconciliation. and i think that nelson mandela, the person of nelson mandela used humility in his commitment to a really democratic south africa. that would be lost if we don't address that fundamental question about poverty. but i also want to say that nelson mandela as a leader, his humility has been such an example. and his ability to tolerate this viewpoints that are different from his. his ability to reach across the aisle. his ability to forgive others. i think is such an important lesson for us. an i think south africa really needs to take on board now the fact that he has died but the values that he stood for should not die with him. >> brown: and mzamo mangaliso, say question to you, the leadership that he had and where south africa is today. >> yeah, i think that south
africa is fortunate in having had a person of nelson mandela set the, ample of leadership. he left us with a template of leadership, what a leader should be. aspenee just said, if someone who combines humility on one hand and a resolve, a very strong determination to follow through in some of the objectives and aims that he set himself for. such as restoring equity and justice in a south africa that has been torn by racial prejudice all these years. without a leader that unites people under one umbrella. so that each and every one of the citizens, whether they be coloured, indian, african or white can identify with this leader. and mandela is that kind of person. and what he is left with now is leadership that should now jump forward and imitate, even if there were just half as good as mandela, they would be good enough because he stood head and shoulders
above any of the leaders we know. but going back to south africa, the question of poverty and disparity between the poor, that is something that needs to be addressed a little bit more squarely. it's homework that mandela has left for subsequent leaders to follow up on. and of the challenge that still remain, the challing to many of the south african leadership that we see today. and when we look around in the townships, we are seeing a lot of squalor, still. the housing shortage thats with a backlog during the days of apartheid, that was promised to be delivered at the onset of democracy, that program has failen far behind of the target. and it's something that the leadership has to be aware of. because without-- addressing that, there are really going to be problems in the south africa of tomorrow. but luckily the fact that we have that template in the person of nelson mandela, a lot of people are encouraged
to look to etch other and embrace each other and look at the humility displayed. and look at the honesty and integrity that he was able to carry himself. >> charles villa-i have chenso, you smiled when he said if the leaders of today are half as good as nelson mandela. the question i guess, is whether what he started will be fulfilled. and is it an open question at the moment? >> that is an open question. if we do not address the issue that we have all raised here this evening concerning poverty, it maybe a case of a revolution delayed. we've got to address that. unfortunately, the kind of leadership we have at the moment in government is not as strong as it should be. and that's what we're looking for. >> brown: do you have any question, though, that across-the-board, the way he has seen, will continue to be as the father. >> i think that will
continue to be held up as the template, as the icon of who we ought to be. but it's a huge ask, a huge ask, which we've got to respond to. otherwise -- >> but i that i. >> brown: very briefly, penney andrews. >> sorry, i wanted to say that sadly that nelson mandela's death now allows to us go back to that place in 1994 when south africans committed themselves to democracy and justice and equality. and so maybe his death really will, the leaders of south africa have lagged behind and a huge numbers of problems. but maybe now we can go back to that place and go back to the idealism that was generated by the mandela presidency right from the start. >> brown: all right, penny andrews, mzamo mangalliso, charles villa-i have chenso, thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks; syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks.
well come, gentlemen. so the world is as we know mourning nelson mandela since we learned of his death, david. what do you think about when you reflect on his life i was foreign correspondent for "the wall street journal" then, mostly covering the soviet union but took a couple trips to south of ca when he came out and later when he was inaugurated. and if you asked me to compare the two societies, i would have said the south africa social fabric was worse. the crime was much worse than in the soviet union, as russia emerged. the sense of ethnic menace. there has been a lot of talk about the white and black violence there was a tremendous violence between the anc and cata rival movement, lack of social trust. so you could have drawn a very negative scenario for south of ca. in fact, i ronuously did so in some of my reporting down there because i just felt bad social fabric. and it's very hard for leaders to counterago that.
>> woodruff: even after he was released. >> right, i was involved in riot, people getting killed. it was ugly. and yet i think by force of moral example h thises with one of those rare case when somebody at the top of society really has a cultural effect. and leads, really averts what could have been quite a disaster. and the country did much, much better in the ensuing years. i think because sheer moral example. >> woodruff: mark, what about you? what do you think of when you think of him? >> well,-- some leaders are respected, and few leaders are loved. nelson mandela is that unique figure who is both loved and respected, virtually around the globe. it's a remarkable achievement. and what i think of is he described resentment as the poison we drink hoping it will hurt others. or punish our enemies. or kill our enemies. and i mean the example of
magazine nam imity, of largeness in spirit and perspective, pet-- i never did meet him, but pet are hart the pollster has that question he asks of washington people when he runs them, conversational icebreaker, the prospect of meeting what individual in the world would make your palms turn sweaty. and you know this is a place where we meet, you know, celebrities and senators and all of it, and get a little blasse. and peter said overwhelmingly the answer was nelson pan della. it was just universal. it is a singular achievement. he made his nation and he gave us all an example of moral. >> woodruff: singular achievement, david, but there are so many other places in the world that are still having problemmed leaders in the continent of sot africa who don't want to give up power as he did. was he just a one-time example of shining good snns. >> well, he was that. i don't know how the imprisonment affected him. it doesn't always affect you in the a good way, aging
doesn't always age you in a good wayness my favorite is self--- in the context of other -- >> meaning your life is devoted to something else. and in that context of life devoted to a movement or faith you achieve self-understanding and he exuded that. i think that was the center around which he ruled it was also the case in that time theres with a world historical figures that came on the scene at the same time. so pope john paul ii, ronald reagan, margaret thatcher, probably alexander-- mandela, some without say gorbachev, world historical figures would have gigantic effects, big leaders all came on the scene at the same time, i would say fortuitously. and so we had a reasonably not bad decade because there were some really great leaders, joina was transformed. southafter came proved. economies in the u.s. and u.k. improved. and those were, you know, big leaders. >> woodruff: but maybe it wasn't mont to last. >> maybe it wasn't meant to last but just one political historical note.
the united states under ronald reagan's leadership was of no help. no help. ronald reagan had a blind spot. he saw the world through the narrow tunnel prism of anti-communism. and when the united states just outraged by apartheid and where the majority of the republican senate passed sanctions, ronald reagan vetoed them against the apartheid regime. and his veto was overridden in the senate and in the house, overwhelmingly, with, i mean people like john warner, dan quayle, the senator from indiana, john stennis, lock time democratic segregationist from mississippi. all voting to overturn. and it was really a time of moral obtuseness on the part of the leadership. >> mark's absolutely right about that. and it was a blind-- a black mark on the reagan administration. i was in south africa i used
to ask people, how much do the sanctions really hurt. and the common answers was the sports sanctions really hurt. it's a sports crazy country. and their teams couldn't play abroad and that was a moral insult that we're not worthy to play abroad. secondly i want to say about africa today t has become a good news story. the governance in africa among many countries in the region is good news. and you're seeing five out of six fastest growing economies are in africa. so i don't know if you can describe it to mandela but-- ascribe it to mandela but a lot of countries where we are seeing unprecedentedly decent government and economy and improving. >> woodruff: you brought up the economy, let's bring it back home. jobs numbers out today. good jobs numbers. over 200,000 jobs, mark, created. but as paul solman reported the number of people who have given up looking for a job still really, really high, four million and up. age then the president gives a speech this week and says economic inequality is going to be the main focus of this
administration. how do you read what he's saying. >> i thought it was the best speech, certainly in the economy. i've heard president obama give. i thought it was a strong and persuasive case. i think the facts are there. there can be no doubt about t between 1979 and 2007, 13.5% of this nation's total income was transferred to the top 1%. that's is-- 1.1 industrial to the top 1% of families. just in that period of time. and it's not just an accident. i mean yes, globalization has contributed to it but we have trade policies. we have economic policies. we have tax policies. all of which has contributed to, and workers policies, union policies, labor policies. all of which have been directed to channels for helping those at the very top. and there's no question about it. it's worked. >> go ahead. >> and we're going to pick
up on that in just a minutement but we are going to take a short break right now. pick up on this and let david have a chance to weigh in. but right now we are going to take a short break to allow your public television station to ask for your support. and that support helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> woodruff: for those stations not taking a pledge break, living and playing the blues, then and now. in august we aired this look at a musical collaboration between charlie musselwhite and ben harper that spans decades and geography from memphis to chicago to california. jeff is back with our second look. ♪ >> brown: they're from two generations, two different backgrounds and parts of the country.
but 69-year-old charlie musselwhite and 43-year-old ben harper have a lot in common-- most of all, a love of the blues. ♪ their recent album, "get up", and their ongoing tour show off different shades of the blues, including country acoustical and chicago electric, and make a case for the music as a living, renewable tradition. on a tour stop in washington recently, musselwhite, who was born in mississippi and raised in memphis, told us it started early. >> the environment i grew up in, there was all kinds of music: hillbilly music and rockabilly, great gospel radio-- memphis had probably the best gospel radio-- and blues. and i liked any music that was from the heart, that had feeling, but blues sounded like how i felt. >> brown: what's that mean? how did you feel? >> well, i was a lonely kid.
i didn't have any brothers and sisters. my dad had left and my mom worked. i was alone a lot. and blues is my comforter. >> brown: for ben harper, music was in the blood. his grandparents and parents all played and performed, and the family has owned a music store in claremont, california, since 1958. >> my roots were always in the home. my mom used to play in bands. she's a musician, great singer and picker. and my dad was a percussionist. and so, they'd have people over every night making music. and they'd put us to bed around 8:00. and then i'd wait until they were really cooking, and then, you know, where they wouldn't be watching for me, i'd sneak out of my room and sit under... hide under the piano bench. ♪ >> brown: harper has gone on to become a leading singer, songwriter and guitarist with a string of albums and two grammy awards. ♪
charlie musselwhite's musical education-- and what an education it was-- came in the 1960s in chicago, where he went as a young man to look for a factory job. he wasn't even thinking of a career as a musician, just enjoying the local blues scene with the likes of muddy waters and elmore james. he did know how to play the harmonica, though, and was ready when he got the chance to use it. >> sitting in wasn't unusual. i mean, these clubs were open to 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, and that's a lot of time to kill. so, a guy like muddy would have people sitting in all the time. a lot of musicians hung out there. they would sit in or even, like, a housewife from down the street would get up and sing a song, or the bartender might get up and play guitar or something. it was real casual, but it was strictly adults. there was nobody my age in these clubs, and there was nobody white in these clubs. so, a young whippersnapper like me getting up on the stage to
play was real unusual. >> brown: accepted by muddy waters, musselwhite started to get invitations to play and record with others, one of a handful of white musicians in such exalted blues company. ben harper heard these recordings as a child and says he admired the music and the man. >> charlie transcends race in a way that i've never witnessed. and i've been... being of a mixed race, i've had a heightened racial awareness. i've had to. and i've never seen anybody who just breaks down those barriers in the way charlie does. >> brown: and what explains that? >> if i could explain it, i'd market it because it is so special. he renders a room culturally neutral. he just makes everybody at ease with who they are. >> brown: of course, it's what musselwhite does with his harmonica that most attracted ben harper and so many others over the years who've asked the
master to collaborate. i think people look at a harmonica and say it's a little instrument. >> it's a toy! >> brown: it's a toy, yeah, for some people. how do you think of it? >> i try not to think about it as an instrument. i just think about the feeling, the sound i hear inside and how to get that out. i'm not thinking about, well, it's got ten holes and these reeds go this way and all these limitations. i just try to take what i feel inside and push it through there and give it to you. >> okay, now i've got to jump in because, you know, i'm a music store brat. i mean, i grew up taking violins apart and putting them back together and re-hairing violin bows and such. i wish we had an open harmonica here because you take off that faceplate of a harmonica, there is a lot going on in there! i mean, they are so complex. ♪ >> brown: ben harper and charlie musselwhite say they've been
talking about recording and playing together for more than a decade. one thing or another got in the way, until now. >> every once in a while, you time it right and you can grab that thing. you know, you got to reach out and push, push and this was like a moment to grasp, and we were able to grab a hold of it. >> playing with ben is just fun. it makes me feel good. and this is what the blues is supposed to do: make you feel good. it's your comforter when you're down and your buddy when you're up. it's "all purpose" music. >> all purpose music," that may be the next record title. that's good. "all purpose blues." ♪ >> brown: the musselwhite/harper tour continues this summer and into the fall. >> woodruff: that tour has wrapped up for now. ben harper and charlie musselwhite will take the stage together again next summer. online you can watch the duo play an exclusive performance of "you found another lover" a song from their new album. that and much more can be found on our art beat page.
>> woodruff: and we are back now with mark shields and david brooks. all right, where were we? we were talking about income inequality. mark was, i asked both of you about the president saying this week he wants to devote the rest of his time in office to trying to do something about income inequality in this country. >> well, it's one of the big major issues, so that's a good idea. i agree with mark i thought it was an excellent speech. it was a little lacking in agenda items, realistically, because there is not that much that is going to be passed. but there was an interesting illusion that divoided-to-sides of a debate. they must have been very conscious of this the way they structured the speech. they used the phrase income inequality and social mobility constantly together. and of course they are related problems.
but sometimes they point in different policy response directions. and so if your main problem is income inequality, then you're going to want to focus on maybe the top 1% or top 5% and you're going want to have tax policies, health care policies that are about redistribution. in you are on social mobility, will you probably see human capital problem and will you focus on early childhood education which the president does, college loan, maybe some family structure issues. and so you don't have to choose totally a and b but you probably have to pick a priority. there is a very interesting debate about which path is the more appropriate path to take. i personally take the social mobility path lifting more up from the bottom. not worries about redistribution but the president sort of fuzzed over those choices. >> do you think that the white house hasn't decide which way they're going to go, mark. >> i think david makes a good point. i just don't think the two are inconsistent or incompatible. we have had a policy which
has been upward income redistribution. i mean, we privatized profits for the corporations. and companies. and we socialized losses. i mean the public picked up when we had-- i mean when 173 billion dollars went to aig, american insurance group and they then turned around and gave 165 million in bonuses, the idea that somehow helping people redirecting part of that national wealth to help those most needing social mobility and david's write, it does require an expenditure, and it requires a commitment, the president did the first things that's important in this and that is to introduce the debate. we're to the going to get to any decision until you put something on the national agenda. and i think this was very important. and quite honestly the republicans in all due respect it's exactly the way
they are in medical care. the repeal that there is no replace. and i think paul ryan and rand paul are aware of this in 2016, candidates potentially are addressing the subject of poverty. and recognizing that parties idea then is pretty barron right now. my question is this just a speech or do we see some sign that there is going to be an attempt to do something. by the way republicans are saying this is an attempt to distract from obamacare. >> it is a long-term interest of his. the one-- to put an idea on at againa is usually what a president does in the 8th year of his presidency, not in what are we, the 6th or something, 5th. so he should still be focus on things about which he has actual action items. rather than just putting something on the agenda. do that later in the term but because of the stagnation in washington and in congress, i think he's decided to just be a more rhetorical president. just on the one point about the income inequality.
if are you talking about the top 1%, i agree with mark, there has been this ridiculous increase in wages, ridiculous compensation screams on wall street, a lot of the socialization of profit. privatization of profits, socialization of risk. but if you are talking about the top 20% or top 30%, there i think you have a structural problem that ed kated people have become really good at marrying other educated people and passing their advantages. and i don't think you can do much about that. the real thing is to give people without those family backgrounds the leg up. >> no, social mobility is, that is why i think it's two wings of the same bird. social mobility is crucial. right now the social mobility, that chance of the united states, of somebody being born at the bottom, i want to say-- the horacio story, of somebody coming from nowhere and achieving is less and less likely and less and less likely that it is in other advanced countries and that had it
has been historically. and that's where you have to expend that kind of effort and capitol and attention. and the people to give them that. >> i don't think there is so much-- two wings of the same bird but the one point is they're both wings are in the democratic party. the republican party didn't have wings. and so they need a policy. >> i'm trying to visualize this bird. >> beautiful bird, an american eagle. >> the two of you fly beautifully, mark shield, david brooks, thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: south africans celebrated the life of nelson mandela and mourned his passing. the government scheduled a memorial service for tuesday, with president obama and other world leaders attending. and u.s. unemployment dropped to 7% in november-- the lowest since 2008-- as employers added 203,000 jobs. on the "newshour" online right now-- a challenge for students. what were the world events that most affected you in 2013?
using the story-telling tool meograph, students have the opportunity to create a zeitgeist project and win prizes from our partner, google. instructions on how to enter are on our home page. and monday on the show, we'll have a conversation with rock legend carlos santana, but you can check out a sneak preview online, where he tells us an endearing story about the time he spent with nelson mandela. that's on art beat. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen ifill is preparing for "washington week," which airs later this evening. here's a preview: >> good economic news in washington, shaky news around the country. which is real? and our panelists remember nelson mandela then and now. that's tonight on "washington week", judy?
>> woodruff: the news doesn't stop on friday and neither does the "newshour." tune in saturday and sunday for the "pbs newshour weekend." check your local listing for the time. and we'll be back, right here, on monday. when we'll continue to remember nelson mandela. plus, margaret warner reports on islamists in syria. that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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to know your business, offering specialized solutions in capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small and businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news america." newsis is "bbc world america." the death of nelson mandela brings a sense of loss around the world as people paid tribute outside his home in johannesburg. crowds take to the streets in so weto to remember their former leader. example nelson mandela has left for the rest of us to follow.