tv PBS News Hour PBS January 26, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> mora: and i'm antonio mora. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight... >> such a meeting would be fruitless, and i want to go a different route. >> woodruff: border tensions build as president trump pushes to build the wall, mexico's president cancels a meeting at the white house. >> mora: also ahead this thursday, judy sits down with senior trump advisor kellyanne conway to look at the president's first week in office. >> woodruff: and, aging out of the middle class. the second part of our look at te growing group of americans suddenly finding themselves in financial straights. >> over half of people who are working now and over 50 have nothing for retirement savings. they will only have social security to rely on.
>> mora: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
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>> woodruff: good evening, we're having guests join me here at the newshour anchor desk in the coming weeks. tonight it's antonio mora. welcome, antonio. >> thank you, it's an honor to be here purpose our top story tonight: president trump's push for a border wall opens a diplomatic rift, and raises the prospect of a major new tax. lisa desjardins begins our coverage. >> the president of mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week. >> desjardins: that was the president's version of events today. hours earlier, president enrique pena nieto canceled his scheduled visit to washington. he'd come under heavy political pressure at home after mr. trump signed an executive order on wednesday to start work on a border wall, and insisted again that mexico will ultimately pay for it. today, the president gave no ground, at the congressional republican retreat in philadelphia: >> unless mexico is going to
treat the united states fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and i want to go a different route. we have no choice. >> desjardins: he also repeated calls to bolster deportation forces and eliminate refuges for the undocumented. >> from day one i've said it, and i mean the immediate removal of criminal aliens, they're gonna be gone fast. and finally at long last cracking down on sanctuary cities. >> desjardins: outside, protesters swarmed the area, opposing the president's policies on immigration and other issues. but senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said congress is prepared to foot the bill for building the border wall, at least for now. >> we are moving ahead. as speaker pointed out to our group yesterday, with roughly...
yeah roughly $12-$15 billion. so we intend to address the wall issue ourselves. and the president can deal with relations with other countries by himself. >> desjardins: later, en route back to washington, white house spokesman sean spicer said the president wants a 20% tax on all imports from mexico. >> by doing that we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism. >> desjardins: but a short time later, spicer said that's just one option. illinois congressman adam kinzinger says the country still needs a comprehensive immigration policy. >> how do we fix our immigration system so that in 20, 30 years, we're not back here again. and how do we deal with the folks that are here? you're not going to round up and deport 15 million people. you're going to have to have some sort of pathway to legalization. >> desjardins: there's unease with some of president trump's other pronouncements as well. house speaker paul ryan pushed
back today against mr. trump's assertion to abc news that torture works. >> torture is illegal. torture is not legal. and we agree with it not being legal. >> desjardins: mr. trump did say he'd defer his c.i.a. director and incoming secretary of defense, both of whom have said they oppose a return to waterboarding, in particular. meanwhile, mr. trump returned to washington this afternoon to >> and lisa joins us now. so, lisa, what are the republican members saying. thiabout this white house talk of an impoart tax on mexican goods? >> desjardins: first of all, they were trying to get their hands around what the president is proposing. we hear from the speaker's office, they believe this is a reference to the plan house republicans laid out last year. it's called the border adjustability tax, and something i think we're going to talk a lot about in the coming months. but basically, it is a 20% tax not just on mexico but all
imports into this country. it would change dramatically how this country deals with imports and exports. in fact almost every business in this country, a very big deal. but republicans now are trying to parse out whether the president is specifically proposing this, whether it's one idea, exactly what sean spicer meant is still up in the air at this house. but house republicans are hoping the president is full force behind this plan. they like it. not everyone does. it's something that we're going to have to pay a lot of attention to. >> woodruff: that is for sure. so, lisa, as you look back on the two days of this conference, what was actually accomplished? >> desjardins: overall, judy, the bottom line here is a timeline. the house republicans have laid out, specifically the house, a 200-day agenda. what does that mean? that really means that by august, they want to have in their hands, concrete proposals for how they will replace obamacare and how they will repeal the tax code. what does that mean? does that mean they'll pass something by then? no one's exactly clear.
but they want to have those proposals in hand by august, and speaker ryan said said he wants everything passed by the end of the year. those are ambitious goals. the timeline is what we have. we don't have the details of the plans. that's what they'll be doing for the next coming months. >> woodruff: tow lisa, what are members, one by one, what are a they telling you? >> desjardins: there are some nervous members because in addition to these very large plans, obamacare and tax reform, they also have some things that have tripped up republican repun the past like the debt ceiling, which will come due shortly, and also another government spending bill. those are thiks that republicans have had trouble with in their own conference and they take a lot of time. in addition, judy, they do not have 60 votes in the senate and i have spoken to several republicans today who said we need to be realistic for that. we can't push for everything we want and expect it because we know senate democrats are going to oppose us. we have to be sober, in the words of one republican i talked to today.
>> woodruff: lisa desjardins, reporting from the republican congressional retreat there in philadelphia. thank you. we'll hear from a top white house advisor right after the news summary. >> mora: in the day's other news, russia warned president trump to think twice about setting up safe zones for refugees inside syria. the president confirmed in his abc interview that he favors the idea, but he gave no specifics. today, a kremlin spokesman warned the u.s. should "thoroughly calculate all possible consequences" before doing anything. meanwhile, rebels in syria say they want to see action, not just words. >> woodruff: british prime minister theresa may started her she addressed the republican retreat today and drew parallels between the g.o.p.'s victory last november, and britain's vote to leave the european union. >upon union.
>> as we rediscover our confidence together, as you renew your nation just as we renew ours, we have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility to renew the special relationship for this new age. we have the opportunity to lead together again. >> woodruff: may is set to meet with president trump at the white house tomorrow. >> mora: cheers erupted in the west african nation of gambia today as the new president returned home, following a political crisis. president adama barrow was welcomed by thousands of supporters. he had waited until longtime ruler yahya jammeh finally left, and west african military forces secured the country. barrow is gambia's first new president in two decades. he's promised to reverse jammeh's authoritarian policies. >> woodruff: in australia, celebrations and protests competed as the country marked "australia day." it's the anniversary of the first british colonists arriving in sydney harbor in 1788. many aborigines now call it "invasion day," and thousands protested in major cities.
some staged a sit-in at the parliament house in canberra. >> mora: and, wall street mostly held back today, a day after reaching a major milestone. the dow jones industrial average gained 32 points to close at 20,100. it cracked that barrier for the first time, yesterday. but the nasdaq fell one point today, and so did the s&p 500. still to come on the newshour: counselor, kellyanne conway. what mr. trump's latest actions on immigration mean for the u.s.' relationship with mexico. people who appear middle-class but are on the edge of financial ruin, and much more. >> woodruff: now for a view from inside the white house of the trump administration's first days in office. i'm joined by kellyanne conway, counselor to the president.
kellyanne conway, welcome back to the program. i'm going to start with the fact that this administration is not even a week old, and already, the president of mexico has canceled a visit. he was going to make next week saying he's not going to pay for this border wall. is this the way the president wanted to have relationship between the u.s. and mexico as his administration gets under way? >> as president trump said today in philadelphia when he addressed house senate republican conference at their retreat, judy, it was a mutual decision to postpone this trip. and i think that when these two leaders are ready to sit down and talk about a wide range of issues, they doll that. but let's look at the rest of the week. i mean, this has been a pretty remarkable week in just four work days. we've had wage boosting, job-creating measures. we've had manufacturing c.e.o.s from all over the country here, really premiere job create organize harkening the-- really heeding the president's call to try to have an explosion of manufacturing in our nation. and then on the very same day, we had labor union leaders, along with laborers themselves
tewhite house talking to them what it means to be a carpenter, a pipe fitter, a plumber, a steel work, like the many men i grew up with in south jersey outside philadelphia. they said they had never been invite to the want white house before, either republican or democratic and felt included in the conversation. the order issued executive orders withdrawing from the t.p.p., so we have bilateral trade agreements in want future. it's been a very busy week. we're very happy to have our first foreign leader tomorrow, prime minister theresa may here, meeting with president trump-- >> woodruff: kellyanne-- >> and we're having happy about that. >> woodruff: i do want to ask you some of these things, but sticking with the mexico story, the president of mexico said it was his decision not to come. what i want to ask you about is the border wall and paying for it. you had the white house press secretary tell reporters today it was going to be paid for with a 20% tax imposed on mexican goods coming int coming into th.
later, the white house said that was just one idea. >> that's right. >> woodruff: what is it? which is it? >> that's right. that is one of the many methods by which to pay for the wall. there is one proposal on the table, certainly, there are others. when you consider the price tag of the wall,a let's contrast that to the billions and billions that we spend on. s for and accommodating illegal immigrants. this country spends billions of dollars protecting the borders of other countries around the world. it's high time we start protecting our own. we're a sovereign nation. and as president trump has said all along, made a centerpiece of his campaign from day one, we have to stop the flow of people and drugs over our borders. what he also did by way of these executive orders this week in terms of building the wall, was he has expanded the tools and the resources that are law enforcement officials and our brave men and women who are protecting that border. they need tools and resources and they should be respected. the detention areas will be larger to accommodate those and stop this catch and release,
stop the sanctuary city funding. >> woodruff: fican interrupt you p and i had to do that. we did ropt all that last night. the other thing the president did yesterday in addition to make the announcement you just discussed, is he talked about the sanctuary cities, so-called sanctuary stwraez undocumented immigrants are given a different, a fairer treatment in the eyes of many. today, we've seen 100 american mayors say they are not going to go along with what the president said. with that kind of push-back, how is the president going to force these mayors, who are saying, this is an inhumane way to treat people who are here in this country as visitors? >> this issue of sanctuary cities goes to the heart of how donald trump himself has changed the whole way many americans look at illegal immigration. for years, the question of fairness in illegal immigration went to one issue-- what's fair to the ill almost immigrant. and now people are asking what's
fair to the rest us of us? what's fair to the american worker, and the people who live in some of these sanctuary cities. a woman who was murdered in cold blood in front of her father in san francisco, by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times, judy that's the humane treatment of whom, kate steinly. >> woodruff: i hear you. but how will the president force mayors who say they are going to take care of undocumented immigrants if they come into their cities because, frankly, they say the idea that most immigrants are committing crimes is just not true. >> well, that is not what the president said. now we're conflating two different things. no one said that in terms of the sanctuary cities defunding. i guess those marysville to find money somewhere else because they love when the money comploaz flows from the federal government here in washington. so if they want to continue to flout and flagrantly violate the law and brag about it today publicly, then they should go ahead. but they're going to have it
find their own money in doing so, and perhaps if they are violating the law, then we'll see what happens in the future. but-- >> woodruff: let me-- >> until then, judy, is this here, undocumented simm grants. >> and hear about-- again, what is fair to everyone? the people-- the legal people, the american citizens who live there, our law enforcement who feels like they don't have all the resources and tools they need. and then, of course, our employment base where people are saying-- >> woodruff: i'm going to-- >> people are tired of hearing-- >> woodruff: i'm going to interrupt you again. i apologize for continuing to interrupt, but i do want to move on. syria, the president said in an interview yesterday, he wants to create safe zones for the people living in syria. wouldn't this require u.s. troops? and has he discussed it with the the senior national security members of his administration? >> he has discussed syria in that regard with his national security team. but his national security intelligence teams are still being formed, as you know. general mattis will be, we hope, confirmed-- or sworn in-- excuse
me-- sworn in on the next day or so. and, of course, we have secretary kelly now and the c.i.a. director, also. but the thing is, he will meet with them. but he has been-- president trump has been very public about the fact that aleppo is a humanitarian crisis that's been all but ignored by this country for fatoo long. and he will meet with them and he will make final decisions, but he's been very public, including on a different network last night, judy bwhat options are very much on the table. >> woodruff: not exactly in connection with that, but the president has also spoken about the prospect of torture, enhanced interrogation. he said it's something that he likes. we also saw yesterday, kellyanne conway, a draft executive order reported on that raises the prospect of reviving these c.i.a. so-called black site prison where's we know terrorism suspects were once detained and tortured. now i want to ask you about a story in the "new york times" today because the press
secretary sean spicer said this draft order didn't come from the white house. but "new york times" quotes three different individuals who say that it did come from the white house, from the national security council office. so i guess my question is, why doesn't the white house simply acknowledge that this is where it came from? >> because it didn't. that is not an official white house document, period. as i've been told. if it came-- if it came from others who are leaking documents, it certainly is not-- that is not a white house document that has been discussed internally. so what the press secretary is true. as far as i've been briefed. >> woodruff: well, both-- >> on the broader issue of torture, though, it's important because i think you said the president said he likes it. what he said is he has been informed by people very recently that it is a possible-- a possibility that works. you have other people like his incoming secretary of defense, who said that he does not believe it works, that there are other tactics. >> woodruff: and both-- >> that work just as well. so he will meet with his team and make a final decision on
that. >> and both said they had never seen this. >> that's why. if it was a white house document, they certainly would have, because they are the secretary-- his secretary of defense and his c.i.a. director. so that helps answer the question as well. we know there is lot of leaks everywhere. there's nothing we can do about that except not leak ourselves. >> woodruff: a very few quick questions. i'm just going to ask you one right after the other. this investigation into what the president calls widespread voter fraud. no credible evidence of this. has anyone on the white house staff tried to talk the president out of this? >> well, i won't reveal private conversations with the president, judy, but i will tell you what the president is talking about is registration and voter rolls. he knows there are dead people registered, illegal people registered, and he wants to get to the bottom of that without an election on the horizon. usually people get all exercised about electoral reform or ballet integrity. it's great after the successful
election he had, one person, one vote, the bedrock of our democracy. and that's what he's talking about-- >> woodruff: but if there's no-- again, pardon me fthere's no evidence of widespread voter fraud, couldn't this end up just like president trump's longtime claim that president obama was born outside the united states? >> no, i can't imagine why that would ever be raised on the same plane. but let me say this-- was-- were those-- same words useed by anyone to describe jill stein and her fantasy of a recount based on-- quote-- voter fraud that she detected in wisconsin and michigan that ended up getting her millions of dollars-- taxpayer dollars and a lot of platform by the media, and perhaps even on your network? somehow that was a great idea by jill stein for 70,000 vote because they didn't want to accept the election results that they didn't expect, and they wouldn't accept. so i just have to say the
president is talking about registration and voter rolls. and i don't think anybody can deny there are people registered to vote, people registered to vote in different state, people ineligible to vote because they're dead and shouldn't vote. >> woodruff: you mentionedly the media. we know the president has been engageide don't know any other way to put it-- than a long-running battle with the media, has been very critical if much, if not most of the news media. and today, in the "new york times," it's running a story, your colleague the white house chief strategist, steve bannon, said-- told the "new york times" last night, he said the media is in his words the opposite party, and that it should "keep its moight shut and just listen for a while." does the president share that view? >> well, there are other things steve bannon said in that interview in the "new york times," a very rare interview-- >> woodruff: but what about that quote. >> let's talk about what he meant there. what he said is there's no evidence anybody in the media lnders anything from this election. there's no head that's rolled.
there's no decision division that said, wow, we really screwed this up by stating as facts that hillary clinton was going to win, and that she was going to take the house and senate-- >> woodruff: in all fairness, kellyanne conway, most people we know in the republican and democratic parties looked at the public opinion polls, and thought that that was going to be the outcome. >> not in the trump campaign or we wouldn't have been sending thoim michigan, wisconsin, certainly back to north carolina, pennsylvania. i had him in pennsylvania three times a week. so we must have seen something that allowed to us influence the calendar where we were deploying our two greatest assets, mike pence and donald trump. but apart from that, there is no evidence that-- you know, when i look up at the screen on most stations, judy, and i'm, like the most open process person here i would think-- i look up at the screen and i see no difference between the way candidate trump, president-elect trump, and president trump is being treated by many outlets. >> woodruff: so should the media shut up and listen for a while as steve bannon said? >> i think we should all-- i think we should all listen on
america and i think that's steve bannon's central pint. donald trump understood america. it&it really takes listening-- i was a professional pollster for 28 years. my job was to listen to people and take vis from them. some of the best insight vis received in my professional life, most of them, have come from people, by listening to them, by getting out of the bubble, by getting out of our coastal media centers, and this is just said with, you know, a great deal of-- i've tried to many different networks now-- it doesn't get covered. people cherry pick one or two words, but i've tried many times now on different networks to say i would like to us have an open relationship and a fair and free press. but with a free press comes a responsibility, and the responsibility comes in allowing to us ask the questions, like what areee missing about america what i like to say we, the trump administration, and the media have to coparent this country, have joint custody of the country for the next eight years
probably. let's find a way to coexist. calling the president name, going on twitter and saying snarky things about him, the president of the united states would never pass editorial must or a network or in the papers, really should be rethought. >> woodruff: it's a big, big conversation, and it's early in the administration, and i know we're going to have opportunities-- >> i'm happy to have it with you, judy, thank you. >> woodruff: kellyanne conway, thanks. >> mora: let's take a closer look now at the rift developing between president trump and mexico's enrique pena nieto. for what that might mean for both countries, i'm joined by roger noriega of the american enterprise institute. he's a former assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs in the george w. bush administration. and james carafano, vice president of the davis institute for national security and foreign policy at the heritage foundation.
very good to have you both here. roger, i want to start with you. was the cancellation of this meeting because both leaders were backed into a corner, donald trump by his promises in the campaign, that he was going to build that wall, and mexico was going to pay for it, and pena nieto, because his approval ratings were so terrible, that he has to play hardball politically? >> well, i think it's fair to say that this was a very uncomfortable exchange between these two leaders. certainly, i think, president trump did not want to be seen as having a meeting canceled on him, so he suggested it was a common decision to maybe reschedule. but from the point of view of pena nieto, he-- you know, the insistence that mexico's going to pay for a wall in spite of his declarations to the contrary put this very weak president on the defensive at home. and, you know, this is our second largest trading partner. this is a country we should be cultivating a positive dialogue
about how we work together to make ourselves more secure and more competitive vis-a-vis the rest of the world. >ncht james, did pena nieto have any choice after president trump tweeted the meeting had to be canceled if mexico wasn't going to pay for the wall? >> i don't think it's just about that tweet. i think the mexican government actually started out exactly right, not just what the president has said, but the whole-- the way the campaign rhetoric was portrayed. that's what's being dumpe dumpen into latin america. they're not watching fox news. i mean, they're basically hearing a very vitriolic, a very aggressive description of this. >> but is there really any side for mexico? >> that's the only side you hear in mexico. but yet, the administration started out wanting to be open, be constructive, and engaging with the u.s. i think they did a great job. they sent every positive signal what they wanted to work-- >> but now this. >> and, and the u.s.-- i think this administration responded in
kind. they were appreciative. they were really look forward to this-- >> but the mexican foreign minister came, and on the day the mexican foreign minister came into the u.s., that tweet went out. you were involved in the transition. was there a discussion of what would happen if they got to this impasse? >> well, i didn't eye don't think we're at an impasse. i think we're at a bump in the road. at the end of the take the mexican government made the right call. they want to work with the united states, and they do believe they can work with this administration, and as long as they're in power-- well, let me finish. i think they're committed to that. and here's the deal, i think if they-- if the administration actually follows through on the plan-- and i'm not talking about tweeting and what's reported in the meetia or anything eels but the hings that tillerson and mattis and kelly talk about, the things they want to do in terms of securing the border-- which actually benefits both sides-- and in terms of modernizing the trade relationships -- which again benefits both sides-- at the end of the day it's going to be good for the united states and good for mexico.
so it's good that despite the negative opinion in mexico that makes it very, very difficult for this administration to move on, that they keep moving on with the relationship. >> roger, do you agree that it's just a bump in the road or is this something more serious? >> unfortunately, i think, pena nieto was in a very weak position in his political party. the economy is dead in the water, oil prices have caused deficits to go up. the wrong kinds of economic policies and tax. apologies at home there in mexico are sort of stifling its own productivity. those are the sorts of things we should be working with with our partners in mexico to overcome, and for that matter, canada, too, agz part of this great nafta opportunity that serves all of our interests. unfortunately, this kind of confrontational approach and had insistence that mexico's going to pay for the wall actually weakens the position of that responsible center in mexico that wants to cooperate more with us. and you have people waiting in the wings, far left wings, by
the way, who are anti-american, who are populists, who do not believe in nafta either, and quite frankly -- >> so you're worried they could win an election and be the mexican chavez. >> his polls are going up. and if we think venezuela is a mess where it is, let's see a failed state on the u.s. border. >> and what about this back-and-forth today on the tariffs omexican imports, which they seem to have backed off a little bit? but the danger there, if that happened fnafta-- nafta goes away and they can impose those tariffs, do you think there's any chance we could see a trade war between mexico and the united states? >> i think it's very unlikely we're going to see a trade war between the united states and mexico because it's in nobody's interest to see a trade war. maybe this is a negotiating tactic. this is the guy that wrote "the art of the deal." maybe the mexican president says that's unacceptable. and we say, "we make a
concession and we're not going to do that." and the mexican president looks stronger. where my optimism comes from is the only path forward for mexico is better security on the border air, productive trade relationship with the united states, and a cooperative u.s.-mexican regional approach to dealing with the regional issues, which are hurting them and hurting us. so it's the only practical course forward. >> that's not just important for mexico. it's important for the united states. >> a huge trade partner of ours. we rely on them for counter-terrorism efforts, counter-narcotic efforts and millions of jobs are whole or partially dependent. >> six million just on trade with mexico. and i'm sure jim would agree with me completely what we want more cooperation from mexico on illegal immigration to secure that border, to fight drugs, and for that matter, create the kind of economic dineimism among our three countries that will create jobs for all of our folk here's
in north america. but you're not going to get more of that with this kind of confrontational approach. >> i only have 30 seconding left, i want you guys to get a quick final word. >> i think there's a joint responsibility here with the u.s. government and the mexican government to address that issue for the american people and both of our governments together, convince them that this plan-- despite that was said in the press and everything else-- this plan if followed through on security and trade will be good for mexico and i think that's a joint responsibility with the trump and mexican presidential administration. >> all this confrontation-- >> we need more cooperation, more understanding in a mutual, respectful way. look, my president is the american president. and i want him to succeed in making that border more secure and generating jobs for us. but we have to do it in a cooperative way with our natural partners. >> an issue for an awful lot of people. roger noriega, james carafano, very good to you have both here. thanks.
>> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour, a director's take on weaving together grief, love and laughter in the oscar-nominated film "manchester by the sea." and eight men who have spent their entire adult life behind bars. but first, aging and living on the edge of a financial cliff. last week economics correspondent paul solman brought you the story of elizabeth white, who was once comfortably middle class but is now nearing traditional retirement age and struggling to make ends meet. tonight, paul looks at just how common her story has become. it's part of our weekly series "making sense" which airs thursdays on the newshour. >> i would say i feel optimistic, generally. >> reporter: 63-year-old elizabeth white has been severely underemployed for three years.
>> i had $750 left to kind of make it through the end of the month. i've done it on less. >> reporter: debrah brukholder hasn't had a full-time job since 2009. >> i don't have enough to cover january bills and nothing changes. it's hard to predict what will happen the next month. you know? and calculating how many times do i have to go through this until i'm buried? >> there is a low-level stress that you, you know, that is wearing. >> reporter: one way to manage: airing out anxiety in what white calls a "resilience circle" of financially fragile friends-- all formerly middle-class, all well past 50. and all too common these days, says economist teresa ghilarducci. >> we're finding that very well- educated people, people who have done everything right are behind. really behind. and, they are hoping they can
stay in the labor market, but a word that's used in other countries that isn't used here is very apt here, the word is superannuated. that you have kept yourself going, but the labor market employers don't put the same value on your experience and your know-how and your wisdom as you'd might've hoped, or they've done in the past. >> reporter: and the experience can be a killer. a yale study found that just one layoff in a lifetime increases the odds of a stroke or heart attack by 40%. but what if you're just worried about maintaining your standard of living? >> my research shows that uncertainty about your income at older ages causes more depression, causes more anxiety, which could lead to more chronic heart failure, heart disease does actually mean shorter lifespans. >> reporter: thus the resilience
circle, as a way of reasserting some measure of control. >> there's a lot around us to make us feel bad. there's a lot around us that would say: oh, this is all your fault, you landed here, you're a loser, you landed here. so people can start self- medicating, they can start-- i mean just a lot of sort of negative places that it can take them. >> if we take everything as personal, that that very thinking is going to prevent us from taking effective action and from being creative. >> coming and having these conversations always anchors me in a different way so that i can tell myself a better story. >> reporter: though of course emotional support doesn't pay the bills. >> i think a lot of people who've gotten pushed out of the, the workforce and are in late 50s, early 60s, are never going to have a traditional 9:00 to 5:00, w-2, job. we're not going to be able to have the lives that we thought
that we were going to have, and there's some mourning of that. >> reporter: white hopes her new self-published book, "55, unemployed and faking normal," will prompt people to stop faking and open up. she herself was inspired to go public after reading the "atlantic" magazine article," the secret shame of the middle class," about writer neal gabler's financial failures. >> there are so many people in trouble. >> reporter: judy woodruff interviewed gabler when he came out about his finances last summer. >> it struck me that talking about our financial situation is very much like men not wanting to talk about sexual impotence. it's just not something you do. it's an embarrassment. it's a shame. it's a humiliation. and financial problems are exactly the same thing. you're humiliated. you're ashamed. you're embarrassed about telling anyone that you are suffering financial difficulties. >> reporter: now gabler, like elizabeth white, admits he could
have saved more, been more frugal but so could a lot of us. in 2015, fully 46% of adults said they'd have to borrow or pawn to come up with $400 in an emergency. ed wolff has studied the growing rainy-day-fund gap for years. >> today, the average family has enough financial reserves to keep going for about three weeks. that's it. >> reporter: and reserves for older age? >> over half of people who are working now and over 50 have nothing for retirement savings. they will only have social security to rely on. and our conception that the way we can mitigate the fact that people don't have retirement savings can be more work, or working longer, just sort of staying in the game for longer is really a false hope. and it's a false promise.
>> reporter: though seven in 10 americans say they plan to work as long as possible, who's going to hire them? elizabeth white doubts she'll ever have the resources she once did so she's "smalling up." >> so smalling up is really what do i value? and getting really clear on what that personally means for you. and then trying to figure out how can i have pieces and elements of that. >> reporter: like displaying african-inspired art left over from her failed retail venture. tom mcdonough's focus: keeping fit and healthy. it's cheap to do but, he says... >> that doesn't make medical insurance any cheaper. you know if anything, the financial burden continues to grow and there's nothing that i can do to prevent that from happening. >> reporter: indeed, the longer he hangs in there, the further his resources have to stretch. florie lizeer's okay for now,
but her sister and niece had to move in with her two years ago. >> my sister hasn't worked in a number of years and lost her home. she's an aerospace engineer, for goodness sake. she's the brilliant one in the family. and so, for me to see her in that place is very tough. what if things don't change for her or for my niece? then does that mean that i'm going to be sort of responsible for putting a roof over their heads and all of this kind of things. >> forever. >> for forever. i mean, i just don't know. i don't want to think about that. >> reporter: elizabeth white's bottom line? share your plight; pare back to the basics. and try to help those of us still comfortable to understand that there but for the grace of god... >> we live in a culture where it's just delicious to shame and blame.
we have what i call sometimes a 'smug-tocracy.' >> reporter: smug-tocracy. >> smug-tocracy. so, you can decide that, you know, you have done very well, and you don't want anything to do with these people. well, i'm telling you, some of them are in your family, you know them. what i'm saying is the numbers are so big here, that it's going to affect everybody. >> reporter: this is economics correspondent paul solman, reporting from washington, d.c. >> mora: it's award season in hollywood and one of the most highly praised films of the year, "manchester by the sea," was nominated for six academy awards this week. its director kenneth lonergan was nominated for two of them. jeffrey brown spoke with him recently at the atlantic theater in new york. this report is part of our ongoing coverage of awards for the 2016 movie season, "beyond the red carpet."
>> i don't understand. >> brown: in an early scene in the film, "manchester-by-the- sea", lee chandler learns that his recently-deceased brother has named him as his nephew's guardian, and the weight of the world comes crashing down again. >> he can't live with me. i live in one room. i can't commute from boston. >> i think the idea was that you would relocate. >> relocate to where here? >> well, if you look-- >> brown: as played by casey affleck, lee is a lost, mostly silent man, at sea over some hidden grief. but, says director kenneth lonergan, it's more than that. >> i don't see it as a film about grief. i see it as a film about love, and about people trying to help each other and take care of each other. it's about grief, obviously. but it's really about someone who's trying to do right by his family, even though he's, he's
ready to quit. >> brown: the film's title is also its setting: a small coastal massachusetts fishing village, a place lee chandler is pulled back to against his will. kenneth lonergan wrote the screenplay as well, and says he worried at first how he'd capture the kind of trauma he himself had never experienced. >> nobody can appreciate what you've been through. and if you really feel you can't take this on, you know, that's your right. >> you always write about things that are not exactly you, and sometimes things that are really far afield. i think it's the emotional content that tells, that's the acid test. you know, you couldn't enjoy a movie if you weren't able to put yourself into other people's shoes, and you certainly couldn't write or direct a movie if you weren't able to do that. >> brown: and how do you do that? >> i pretend i'm him, i pretend i'm the other people in the room with him and i, then they start talking and i write it down. and when it's not going well, i
try to get back to that place. >> brown: but are you writing the pauses, the shuffles, the, you know, the moment where it's so fraught? >> most of them, but not all of them. the actors will come in and like you discover just as much in the set as you do at your desk. >> brown: lonergan first made his name as a playwright, with such works as "this is our youth" and "lobby hero." >> i don't know what the church's official position is on adultery these days. >> brown: "manchester" is his third film. his first, "you can count on me," set in upstate new york and dealing with a different kind of family drama, came out in 2000. the second, "margaret," set in new york after 9/11, was a traumatic experience for lonergan himself, after numerous disputes with the studio led to a very limited release. >> where are we going, to the orphanage. >> shut up! >> brown: with "manchester" lonergan again deals with loss and the whole concept of
closure. >> the film is in part about whether it's ever possible to you know, it's a very american story, like to suffer and overcome it and come out the other end and find closure, which is a really unpleasant the odds my characters face, and coming out the other end, whole. that's the good side of it. the bad side of it to me is the obligation to do so, like the failure to recognize that there are millions, billions of people who have suffered blows that they're not going to recover from. >> brown: if that sounds depressing, well, it is. but the film has gained much positive attention because of its powerful performances and the way it packs its emotional punch, with parts of the story told in flashbacks to see the characters in different, happier times. >> hey! >> this is the same girl who was over at the house? >> no, that was silvi and this is sandy. and they don't know about each other, so, please-- >> brown: there's also a great deal of humor and warmth, especially between lee and his teenaged nephew. >> do you actually have sex with these girls? >> we don't just play computer
games. >> with both of them? >> well, with sandy's mom here, it's sort of-- strictly just, like, basement business. >> what is it that mean? >> it means i'm working on it. >> people are funny. i mean, they just are. and i think that doesn't go away. because the world doesn't grieve when you're grieving. the world goes on about its business. you're having a good day and i'm having a bad one and vice versa. and they could be very good and very bad at the same time. and that's, you multiply that by seven billion and you have, one element of human experience. >> brown: that's an interesting way of looking at life. the world. >> it's true! but it's true. you can't think for seven billion people. and you can't put yourself in positions of the seven billion people. but you can certainly stretch a little bit and put yourself in a few hundred other people's places. i would hope. >> brown: so then what's the job of a writer in that, when you think of the world that way? one job that you have is to notice patterns that only you notice. a writer, or a director or an
actor or any artist, creative person who's representing life through their work is, i think, describing the patterns that they see. >> i know you've been around and i-- >> just been getting patrick settled in. >> it seems like he's doing pretty good, considering? >> brown: in "manchester," lonergan knows he's fortunate to be working with great actors, include michelle williams, giving life to his words. >> i really kept in touch with joe. it will be weird not seeing-- >> i knew that. >> okay, i didn't know. >> you can see him, if you want-- >> could we ever have lunch? >> you have a version in our head that works. and the actors come and, that's what i would say-- >> brown: and they mess it up or they do it up? >> yeah. if they're not seeing all the elements of a scene that i can see, then i will try to point them out. but once they're up to the level of, once they understand the scene at least as well as i did, they then go much further. and they become the characters. whereas, i only imagine the characters.
and the, when it's casey and michelle, i really expect and get, like way more than i, than i think that i put in. and when you watch people like this, you're, sometimes you just sit back and watch them go. i mean, that why you become a director, or why you become a playwright or a screenwriter is to see actors do that with your, with what you imagined initially in your little room sometime two or three years ago. and it's just beautiful. >> kenneth lonergan, his film, and three leadathors all received nominations this week aiming towards the 2017 awards ceremony. i'm jeffrey brown for the "pbs newshour." >> woodruff: finally, another installment in our brief but spectacular series. tonight, we hear from inmates at california's san quentin prison, who committed crimes when they were young and are serving up to life terms. they're part of a weekly
discussion group called kid where they focus on self improvement, through discussion, education, and counseling. the program is part of a larger collaboration with the design firm ideo and the california department of corrections to develop prisons that support the transformational growth of incarcerated young men. >> i've been incarcerated for first degree murder, and robbery at the age of 17, and i've been incarcerated for almost 28 years. >> i have been incarcerated for the past 31 years, i came here when i was 19 years old. >> at the age of 19 i committed a robbery-murder with two of my friends at the time and i am sentenced to 25 years to life for that. >> i committed two second degree murders at the age of 19 and i was sentenced to 30 to life plus 11. >> at the age of 18 i committed first degree murder in commission of a robbery, and was sentenced to 25 years to life. >> i committed a robbery murder at the age of 18. i was sentenced to 25 years to life. >> at the age of 16, i committed my crime. i handed my codefendant a loaded
38-special pistol to commit a robbery and during the process of that robbery, a man was shot and killed. >> when i was 15 i committed a crime of first degree murder and i was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison >> what did it feel like to receive a life sentence at such a young age? >> when somebody asked me, hey, you know how long do you got? and i'd say i'm serving 25 years to life. what they told me is just get comfortable. you are never going home. >> my father was an alcoholic that used to abuse my mother. later she married my stepfather who was also physically abusive. >> when i met my friend's older brother that was committing robberies, i felt powerful doing that, when i felt powerless at home to stop my father abusing me and my mother.
>> i'm from laos actually i was born in a refugee camp. i joined a gang at 12 years old >> i committed a gang related murder and my mother, little brother was killed in retaliation. >> my grandfather was killed, brutally murdered when i was 10 years old. at that point my innocence was lost and i begin to shut down. >> having a dad who was in and out of prison, just selling drugs and was introducing me to a criminal lifestyle that was a big part of it but a bigger part of it was finding out that when i was born he denied me. i think that was one of the main things that led to my committing my crime. >> being around men who were telling their stories, allowed me to know that it was okay to be vulnerable. i wasn't asked about my crime for almost 15 years. >> after being incarcerated for 27 years i was open and honest
about the crime i committed. >> it was a look of empathy as opposed to a look of judgment that created the shift in my mindset. >> when i first started i wasn't able to talk about myself because i was too embarrassed, and too ashamed to express the things that i've done. >> it was hard in a higher level prison to shed some of that masculinity, the ideas of masculinity and how i should be and how a criminal should act and then you come to a place like san quentin and it's a culture shock. >> i was wondering like, "what's in water." right, because the guys were so super articulate and well-spoken and showing much insight to themselves. >> i started off with a program called grip, which stands for granting rage in power. it helped me develop emotional intelligence, and cultivate the mind fullness. >> what really keeps me motivated is this program called squires where i am able to mentor these at risk and neglected youth. when i see this 14 to 15 year old telling me his story and i see myself in that kid, is it for me to have that conversation with them. >> do you ever think that you could've relapse into crime?
>> well, based on the change that i've made now, there is no way that i can find myself relapsing in a crime. i'm not blaming my past for the traumatic experience, for the crimes that i committed. but i do understand, there was a contributing factor to what i did and i do take total responsibility for it. >> catching a case looks like this, i'm walking down the street, and then all over sudden just falls out the sky in my hand. i made a choice to carry a pistol, i made a choice to commit harm to another person, and the difference between catching a case, and saying i committed my crime. >> i was stuck at this point of i only committed a robbery i didn't commit a murder, one of my co-defendants was the one who committed the murder. a young man at the age of 19 lost his life because of the actions that i did. >> do you think about that crime still? >> most definitely.
so what i did when i was 15 years old, i shattered a community, i tore a family apart. i was a taker and i took a life and so i do think about that every time. >> what would you tell your dad about your life today? >> i would say, you know, thanks pops for all that b.s. that you instilled in me, but i would tell him you know, hmmm, i get you. like all that denying me, all that irresponsibility, i mean you didn't know any better and i would say you know, i forgive you. >> what would you like to tell somebody at that same age who is about to commit a violent crime? >> you have value, you have importance. you have value in this world. there is nothing that can come between that and yourself.
>> my name is adnan khan. >> my name is cleo. >> my name is tommy shakur ross. >> my name is phillip melendez. >> my name is miguel sifuentes. >> my names is charles spence. >> my name is newton pangthong. >> my name is mike and this is my brief, but spectacular take. >> brief but spectacular take. >> this is my brief but spectacular take on doing time. >> that is something and i hope additional people get to watch it. >> woodruff: you can watch additional brief but spectacular episodes on our website, pbs.org/newshour/brief. >> mora: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm antonio mora. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
the first week of the trump administration with a conversation with julie hirschfeld david of the new york time and robert costa of the washington post. >> what we're seeing is the culmination of action the president was talking about in the election address and the populism has been put into policy through executive orders working long side senator jeff sessions and steven bannon a controversial aid at his side. >> and look at a report stock market performance with bryon wien and michael regan and