tv PBS News Hour PBS November 16, 2011 5:30pm-6:30pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: president obama announced a stepped-up u.s. military presence in australia today. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the "newshour" tonight, we assess what the new deployment of marines and airmen means for the balance of power in the asia pacific region. >> brown: tn, margaret warner looks at the congressional furor over big bonuses for top executives at the federally- backed housing agencies fannie mae and freddie mac. >> suarez: we have the second of two stories about access to dental care, betty ann bowser reports on a modern clinic in rural alaska.
>> it's a renote native american village on the edge of the bering sea but there's something going on in the dental world here that has people very excited. >> brown: spencer michels updates the occupy movement, as oakland protesters join forces with students at the university of california berkeley. >> suarez: and we talk with a millionare who is lobbying congress for higher taxes on the rich. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> intelligent computing technology is making its way into everything from cars to retail signs to hospitals; creating new enriching experiences. through intel's philosophy of investing for the future, we're helping to bring these new capabilities to market. we're investing billions of dollars in r&d around the globe to help create the technologies that we hope will be the heart of tomorrow's innovations. i believe that by investing today in technological advances here at intel, we can make a better tomorrow.
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thank you. >> suarez: more than 2,000 american troops are heading to australia under a new security agreement. president obama made the announcement today, but he stopped short of saying that the move is meant as a message to china. the president arrived with plans in hand for the largest u.s. deployment in australia since world war two. the announcement came in canberra, after a meeting with prime minister julia gillard. >> what it allows us to do is to not only build capacity and cooperation between our two countries, but it also allows us to meet the demands of a lot of partners in the region that want to feel that they're getting the training, they're getting the exercises, and that we have the presence that's necessary to maintain the security
architecture in the region. >> suarez: a small force of u.s. marines would lead the way. some of them operating out of darwin in the north using australian military facilities. >> from mid-2012, australia will welcome deployments of a company-sized rotation of 200 to 250 marines in the northern territory for around six months at a time. over a number of years, we intend to build on this relationship, in a staged way, to a full force of around 2500 personnel. >> suarez: but the move was widely seen as a response to china's growing military power in the region. increasingly, the chinese have been asserting territorial claims over parts of the pacific and resurrecting old disputes in the south china sea. the philippines and vietnam have sounded alarms about chinese naval forces entering territorial waters without permission. still, president obama refused
to make a direct link between chinese actions and his announcement today. >> i think the notion that we fear china is mistaken. the notion that we're looking to exclude china is mistaken. >> reporter: instead, the president said beijing must live up to the norms of accepted international behavior. >> so, where china is playing by those rules, recognizing its new role, i think this is a win, win situation. they're going to be times where they're not and we will send a clear message to them that we think that they need to be on track in terms of accepting the rules and responsibilities that come with being a world power. >> suarez: in beijing, a chinese foreign ministry official quickly dismissed the president's advice and the u.s. military move. he told the a.f.p. news agency,
but back in washington, a congressional advisory panel today warned both the white house and congress to step up scrutiny of chinese military expansion and any signs of aggressiveness. for more on president ama's trip to australia and the military agreement we get two views. jeffrey bader was the senior director for east asian affairs on the national security council from january 2009 until april of this year. he's now a visiting scholar at the brookings institution. and john higley is director and founder of the center for australian and new zealand studies at the university of texas at austin. professor higley, starting with 250 marines and aircraft gradually expanding to 2,500, president obama saying "we are here to stay." is this be a big development for both countries? >> no, i think it's an
incremental step up. it does have some symbolic value because it could be seen as a significant step forward. but remember that australia has had very close relationships with the american military for a long time. australia's been our most reliable ally for most of the 20th century, you could say. and they've had a lot of experience with american troops in australia during world war ii. about a million american troops funneled through australia. so this is not a turn in the road in any deep or meaningful sense but it's not without its significance, either. >> suarez: indeed, this is the 60th anniversary of the treaty that tied the united states, new zealand and australia together. jeffrey braider, why is this happening? who threatens australia? >> well, in part this is an affirmation of the u.s./australia alliance. this is as you say a 60-year-old
alliance. australia contributes more troops to afghanistan than any other non-nato country. australian troops have fought besides american troops in every war in this seine century so this is abaffirmation of the alliance. but it's also a statement about the u.s. determination to stay in the asia-pacific region. we believe that our presence... our security presence in the asia-pacific region is critical to peace and prosper any the region. it's helped maintain that peace and prosperity for most of the last 60 years. the countries in the region welcome our presence there and they are uneasy about the impact of the potential budget cuts on the defense side and what that might mean for deployments of u.s. forces in the region. so by making this announcement today, the president in essence is saying our difficulties may
be in terms of the defense budget, we'll keep our deployments west of hawaii sbablgt. >> suarez: you heard jeffrey bader use the word "presence" just like the president did but why is it necessary to have a presence. they're not putting 250 nurses or 250 soccer players there. they're putting 250 united states marines going up to 2,500 to defend who from what? >> well, it's not, i think, in the first go-round a defensive move of any significance. bear in mind there's going to be additional deployments. it looks like parts of... some vessels in the u.s. navy will have access to the port in western australia that the australian navy operates. we'll have air force bomber fighters using a target range in the northern territory for practice and so i think that what is really being done here
is to ratchet up an already close collaboration between the two militaries and also make it a little bit clearer that the u.s. is, indeed, in southeast asia as well as northeast asia for the long term and having facilities in australia drives that point home. >> suarez: much of the world's commerce moves through the oceans really quite close to australia. there's indonesia. right next door vietnam and then the philippines. are other countries interested in having the united states active in the neighborhood? when i was in the white house we heard from pretty much everyone in the neighborhood that they wanted to see us present politically, militarily, and economically in the region. part of it is the they welcome our presence and our values for the most part.
in addition i think's a general understanding that the... there are changes going on in asia, particularly with the rise of china. to some degree the rise of india, the emergence of indonesia but above all the rise of china. and the u.s. presence-- i keep using the word military as well as other kinds of presence-- provides assurance to countries in the region that they will not be subject to sort of one sided pressure or influence as china rises. >> suarez: why the worry about china, professor migly? it's a big, powerful, and increasingly rich country. isn't it just doing what big, powerful, and rich countries do and have done since time'm memorial? >> well, two points, someone that it is very large and increasingly powerful. its political future, of course, is extremely murky, we don't know what it's going to look like ten or 20 years from now politically.
but still it's building its military. it does have a bent toward a nationalist justification for the regime. so all in all one wants to be a little bit wary of chinese intentions. the other point to make really quickly is that from an australian perspective china's enormously important. it's the number-one export market for australia. it's helped australia get through financial crisis with virtually no injury because of booming exports to china. so the australians are a little bit edgy about the danger of alienating china, or at least raising hackles in beijing and that's another aspect of this particular move that one wants to keep one's eye on. >> suarez: well, the chinese said quite openly that they weren't very happy about it. professor higley, is there any tension between australia's frank and open economic embrace
of a future relationship with china while it has security concerns and is also grinding itself closer to the united states? >> well, i think that the chinese were, in fact, briefed by the australian's about this happening so it's not exactly a big surprise to beijing. the second thing is that the chinese are in serious needs of these exports that australia sends to them-- iron other. in the immediate future... iron other, liquefied natural gas, l.n.g. and many other components of the industrial base of china. so it's not like they're in a position to just say "okay, we'll just cut off all relations with australia because they're in the lap of the united states but one has to, of course, be cautious in both directions here. >> suarez: a balancing act for australia, jeffrey bader? >> well, ray this is not unique for countries in the region. japan's bgest trading partner
in the world is not the united states, it's china. south korea's biggest trading parter? china. india's biggest trading partner is china. taiwan's biggest trading part sfler the people's republic of china. so with china's emergence economically, all the count rise in the region are facing these developments and these trends and they don't see any contradiction between developing their economic links with china, the trade and investment ties and having... growing security ties with the united states. they they it's an appropriate balance, they don't think that they're choosing sides. they think that they can have good relations with both china and the united states. there is a certain element of hedging and balancing that these countries are seeking by having the u.s. in the region. that undoubtedly part of their calculation. >> suarez: jeffrey bader and john higley, thank you both. >> you're welcome. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": big bonuses for fannie mae and freddie mac
executives; a dental clinic in rural alaska; the occupy protesters and higher taxes for millionaires. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: wall street suffered a late-day sell-off, after new warnings that europe's debt woes could hurt u.s. banks. the dow jones industrial average lost 190 points to close at 11,905. the nasdaq fell 46 points to close at 2,639. the markets also reacted to oil prices topping $100 dollars a barrel for the first time in nearly four months. all of that outweighed some welcome economic news. retail sales and industrial production were up in october and consumer prices fell slightly. italy and greece took new steps today toward restoring political and economic stability. in rome, prime minister mario monti was sworn in with a new cabinet that did not include a single politician. instead, he appointed bankers, diplomats and business executives. >> ( translated ): the absence of politicians in the government will help and will not be an
obstacle to a solid relationship of the government with the parliament and political forces. it will take out possible grounds for embarrassment. the birth of an innovative government itself reflects the belief of many political forces. >> sreenivasan: and in greece, a new coalition government won a confidence vote in parliament with a comfortable majority. prime minister lucas papademos had pledged to speed up reforms and win approval of a new bailout deal. the swelling violence in syria left the government increasingly under siege today. army defectors staged new attacks, killing at least eight soldiers. we have a report from bill neely of "independent television news." >> reporter: the pictures are as shaky as syria's regime. the sound is of a regime under fire from a new armed insurgency. syria's story is changing. tanks are still firing but army defectors are hitting back. these armored vehicles destroyed by a rebel group called the free syrian army. it claims to have killed 34
soldiers in an ambush, losing 12 men-- a full scale battle. this scene could be from iraq- insurgents attacking with a roadside bomb. syria's streets, day by day, are slipping from president assad's grip. and now, most daring of all, and just outside the capital, defectors have attacked an air force base. witnesses heard explosions, attackers firing machine guns and rockets. after a short gun battle, helicopters were deployed. it was the first assault on a major security base "it sends a message," said the rebels, "it proves we can attack the very heart of the assad regime." these are the latest soldiers to desert. their ranks growing, like syria's crisis. syria boasts that it's the beating heart of the arab world. at today's arab league summit, the heart was missing, syria's chair empty, arab leaders
condemning it for failing to stop the killing. it promised two weeks ago to pull its rooftop snipers and its troops out of cities. it has not. on state tv a show of support for the president. he'll need more than umbrellas to protect him from the gathering storm. and now even his family is turning against him. his exiled uncle says asaad should go and he'll work to get rid of him. with friends like those and a lot of enemies, assad is feeling the heat as never before. >> sreenivasan: also today, arab league ministers confirmed their decision to suspend syria from the organization. they gave the assad regime three days to stop the violence or face economic sanctions. the u.s. house has voted to require that states honor concealed weapons permits issued by other states. the bill was backed by the national rifle association. it would mean someone with a permit issued in one state is allowed to carry a concealed
weapon in other states. the bill now goes to the senate, where its prospects are unclear. the house also moved to provide new tax credits for companies that hire unemployed veterans. the bill already passed the senate. it also expands education and job training for those who've served in the military. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: the pay practices at two government-backed mortgage giants came under heavy fire on capitol hill today. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> please raise your right hands. >> reporter: the leaders of fannie mae and freddie mac were called to account today at a house hearing. they're due to receive nearly $13 million in salary and bonuses this year. receiving federal bailouts. lawmakers on both sides such as ohio democrat dennis kucinich voiced outrage.
>> if there's a gap with tremendous pay being given to people at the top and we don't see enough sympathy for people who are losing their homes, that may mean that you just don't get it; you're too far removed. >> reporter: freddie mac c.e.o. charles haldeman said his company has actually cut compensation for top managers by 40% in recent years, but he accepted the criticism. >> i understand totally why congress and the american people are outraged about executive compensation at companies that have reached-- received federal support, including fannie and freddie. we have 9% unemployment in our country and there are millions of families at risk of losing their home. >> reporter: the president and c.e.o. of fannie mae, michael williams, insisted the extra compensation is crucial to attract and retain talented employees.
>> in the course of three months, i lost five senior vice presidents out of the company to the financial services and other companies where i can assure you they were making more money and had better career prospects as a result. these are challenging jobs and challenging circumstances, and we need to pay and reward the people who are doing the jobs. >> reporter: republican darryl issa-- chairing the committee-- challenged williams to justify the numbers. >> you made $9.3 million the last two years while the president made $800,000. do you think that's okay? >> congressman, i have been brought in and asked to take on this role as c.e.o. so that i can put in place a management team that can help achieve the goals of conservatorship, which is stabilize the company, provide liquidity to the market and help struggling homeowners. >> reporter: fannie and freddie are government-sponsored enterprises that package mortgages into securities with a guarantee against default.
for years, they operated as private companies and made huge profits. but when the housing meltdown hit in 2008, they suffered enormous losses. the treasury department stepped in to take over both fannie and freddie in september of 2008. since then, the two companies have received nearly $170 billion in federal assistance. now, the two firms are asking for more money to cover losses as the housing market's troubles continue. in the last week, fannie mae announced it's seeking nearly $8 billion in federal assistance. freddie mac is requesting another $6 billion. back at today's hearing, the man who oversees fannie and freddie insisted they're doing the best they can. edward demarco is acting director of the federal housing finance agency. >> we're trying to strike a difficult balance between ensuring that these multi- trillion dollar companies have the appropriate expertise running them and that we're keeping these salaries as low as
possible while ensuring that we've got capable people and that the people that are there from the c.e.o.s on down are focused on helping homeowners. >> reporter: amid the bonus firestorm, republican presidential candidate newt gingrich acknowledged today his consulting firm was paid up to $1.8 million by freddie mac. >> i provided strategic advice to many large companies. i can't verify to you a specific amount right now. we're going to check and find out. >> reporter: meanwhile whatever fannie and freddie now face a move in congress to block executive bonuses and limit pay to government pay scales. bills are pending in both the house and senate. >> brown: margaret warner picks up the story from there. >> warner: we take a closer look at what accounts for the executive pay at fannie and freddie and the role these two companies play in the housing market. josh boak is an economics reporter for politico. he helped break the story on the executive pay. and nick timiraos covers housing and the mortgage industry for
the "wall street journal." welcome to both of you. let's begin with you, josh boak. explain what would be, i think, baffling to most americans. what accounts for the fact that these huge compensation packages have been paid for, i think, three years now to top c.e.o.s of these money-losing and government-supported companies. >> well, these executives really have in every sense of the world a custodial position. they have to deal with bad deals made from 2005 to 2008 and manage losses and maintain stability in the broader mortgage market for the good of the company. >> warner: but who decided they would make this amount of money? >> their compensation packages was approved by the f.h.f.a., of which ed demarco is the acting director. they basically decided them by comparing the compensation packages at banks and insurance companies.
as part of that they have performance incentives and one of those incentives is did you help modify mortgages? one ever to key things that lawmakers and president obama want to do is get people out from bad mortgages and the answer is they got pretty nice compensation for not a lot of modifications. >> warner: nick timiraos, to what degr are these tied to performance rand they typical of the mortgage industry, the argument they were making today? >> right, well, the pay packages are... they're certainly generous. they certainly don't look very good on paper. they are, as the report noted, down from what the company's executives were making during the boom and i think that's one of the cit criticisms here is if you look at the performance targets being set, fannie and freddie compensation has always
been tied in some way to performance. of course, when the companies had stock. today the stock is nearly worthless, but when they had stock they were mostly paid... they were paid largely in grants so that was one way to taipei to performance. i think one of the arguments you can make today is whether or not you agree or disagree this is too much money. you could say, look, are we setting the right performance targets, modifications, for example, is one, the market share that these companies have is another. well there aren't a lot of other actors in the mortgage market. it's all fanny, freddie and federalgencys so i think it's a fair question. are we setting the bar so low here that you trip and you can still get over that bar. >> warner: josh boak, these packages haven't been a secret. why are we seeing the outrage on the hill now? >> i think we're seeing it for two reasons. one, voters are upset and fed up freedom the tea party movement to occupy wall street see a high degree of inequality and that's
reflected with what's going on with fannie and freddie. >> pelley: in other words wshgsz all c.e.o.s. >> not just that but everyone seems to be performing above average. they're getting rewarded for less than stellar returns and that fuels the degree of unfairness in the minds of many. >> warner: go back to the question of the role they're playing because this came up at the republican debate last week z. one of the candidate, michele bachmann, was talking about the need to wind them down, that before the meltdown fannie and freddie were only underwriting or financing 50% of the mortgages in america and now it's 90%. is that true, and if so, why? >> well, i think congressman bachmann used select i math there. certainly it's true they were only 50% of the market if 2006 but that was largely because wall street and the private sector that was secure tiesing mortgages, they were doing riskier loan, loans that end up losing much more money. and so historically fannie and freddie have always had a relatively large share of the
market, certainly not as large as today but the fact that you have federal agencies fannie and freddie all accounting for nine and ten new mortgages is a reflection that nobody else is out there making loans on the kind of terms that would be enough to sustain a housing recovery. without fannie and freddie, the federal housing administration in the market, we wouldn't be seeing nearly the depressed level of sales that we had. it would be much, much worse. so this is one of the challenges here. congress likes to go on and on about the bonuses and there is unfairness here, both executives conceded that today. but congress still has not decided what to do with fannie mae and freddie mac and so you have this regulators demarco who's really in a tough position because congress and the white house won't tell what i am to do. they won't show him here's what where we're going to go, here's what's going to happen with fannie and freddie, instead he has to stay in a holding pattern running companies, trying to prevent them from losing more
money and you end up with situations that are awkward like this one. >> warner: and back to you, josh, is there any prospect that fannie and freddie will start turning a profit any time soon and start repay the $170 bailout the way, say, the ow au toe companies did? >> like nick said, these companies are in a holding pattern and what a lot of people are telling me is we don't expect any progress in terms of meaningful reforms. we don't expect the housing market to bottom out until 2015 and a lot of these decisions are really going to be made after the 2012 election. so we've got at least another year of this kind of dialogue and conversation and heated debate in d.c. >> warner: but why are they... briefly, i know this is a complicated picture but why are they still losing money? >> because you have deals that are still going south. >> warner: old deals? >> exactly. from 2005 to 2008. it doesn't look like a housing market has bottomed out yet. many economists expect it to reach the bottom by around 2015.
>> warner: nick, back to you, do you agree with josh that there's really no prospect for any change, at least in the structure of fannie and freddie before the 2012 election? >> i think that's right on. i don't think anybody realistically expects anything to happen between now and then. the fact is rearranging fannie and freddie, restructuring them, the more radical the greater the chances you raise borrowing costs for homeowners and that's fine but i think a lot of policymakers are saying do we want to do that right now when we're still in the teeth of this housing depression. fanny and freddie lose money as a result of decisions they made years ago. the loans they've been dealing with since 2009 are of much higher credit quality and there's concerns they've overcorrected and it's hurting
the housing economy and the pendulum has swung the other way. so at a time when you have all these foreclosures coming on to the markets at a time when you need more buyers you have fewer. >> warner: well nick timiraos from the "wall street journal" and josh boak from politico, thank you. >> thank you. >> suarez: now, the second of two stories on increasing access to dental care. last night, "newshour" health correspondent betty ann bowser looked at problems of costs, coverage and access. tonight, she examines one program in alaska, which has been met with both praise and skepticism. >> reporter: from the air, you can see the isolation. toksook bay, a tiny village of about 500 people on the edge of the bering sea in southwest alaska. right now, the native alaskan yupik people who populate the
area are busy braiding fresh tomcod fish with dried grasses and hanging them up along with skinned red salmon to dry. this will be the primary source of protein when winter comes. the yupiit live today they way they have for generations. there are no paved roads and few stores. the only way in or out is by air or barge. yet on the edge of this tiny town, there is a sparkling modern medical clinic providing dental care to people who have some of the worst teeth anywhere. dr. ward hurlbert is alaska's top public health official. >> the people in the village the children in the village drink a lot of soda pop, there is often not good water, a can a pop may cost less than a bottle of water. babies will be fed things like jello water and so the kids get
a lot of cavities in their teeth, they lose a lot of the teeth, the baby teeth goes on into the permanent teeth or the adult teeth so there are huge problems with decay. >> reporter: dr. mary williard has been working with native alaskan patients in rural areas for over 10 years. >> we have patients that have more decay than the average patient in the lower 48 would have generally. we have two and a half times the rate of decay in our kids 0-5 as you would have in the rest of the united states. >> reporter: but in the past six years young people like 21-year- old phylicia wilde have come to more than a dozen of these areas. they're called dental therapists or mid-level providers. they aren't dentists, but they do a lot of things licensed dentists do: drill decayed teeth; fill them; and when necessary, extract them.
the program is run by a consortium of native tribes under a non-profit organization funded mostly with federal money. it's the only place in the united states where providers are allowed to do procedures without direct supervision of a dentist. the idea is gaining some traction because the federal government has identified more than 4,500 areas in all 50 states where it says there are critical shortages of dentists. 61-year-old moses channar came into the clinic on a wednesday morning because he had a toothache. wilde took a look... and after doing x-rays determined the tooth needed to come out. but first wilde consulted with a supervising dentist 115 miles away in bethel.
after getting the go-ahead from the dentist in bethel, wilde spent 20 minutes tugging away until the tooth came out. >> i felt pretty confident in removing it. >> reporter: so if you hadn't taken out the tooth what would've happened to him? >> he would expect more pain possible swelling and a cyst could have formed and caused other teeth loss. >> reporter: dr. williard says the two year training program for high school graduates prepares therapists for the kinds of dental problems that are most often seen in native tribal areas. >> here they get a lot book training and get their basic sciences, and they start working on manikins in the second year. it's pretty much a clinical clerkship basically where they are seeing patients almost an entire day. they don't get to learn everything a dentist learns. and we really focus on prevention, community prevention
programs as well and the basic services that people need generally. fillings, cleanings and simple extractions. >> reporter: delivering basic dental care to native americans in isolated villages in alaska is one thing. but whether that model can be replicated in the lower 48 is a subject that's being debated here, with some very powerful voices saying it just won't work. dr. bill calnon is president of the american dental association. >> i cringe when i hear the terms, "it's just a routine filling or routine extraction, there is no such thing because they're on a patient, there's no such thing as a routine patient. every patient is different. >> reporter: the a.d.a. and one other leading dental group also oppose the concept because they say current work models don't give trainees enough education.
dr. christine moleski, who practices in juneau, is president of the alaska dental society. >> i can't imagine after having only 18 months of education after getting my high school diploma and with a limited amount of training even being comfortable with extracting teeth on my patients and i believe that any patient in alaska really deserves to have someone who has a more thorough education and background so that you can manage problems as they arise. >> reporter: does the a.d.a. have any evidence or any concrete examples of anything that's ever gone wrong? >> to my knowledge, there is no documentation at this point, but we are dealing with so few people in the program in alaska, >> reporter: advocates of the alaska program say the dental therapists are trained to know when they have a case that is beyond their training, like this situation with 12-year old jason therchik.
>> he'll need to have one of his premolars removed to make room. although that is out of my scope of practice because there is no decay on that tooth. >> reporter: wilde tells his mother she'll have to take him to bethel to see a dentist. but calnon says even with those limitations any procedure especially pulling a tooth can be dangerous. >> i've had patients in my chair have heart attacks, i've had people have strokes, i've had people who've had allergic reactions, life-threatening allergic reactions to medications they took before they came into this office. you do not have a lot of time to think when you react to that. >> reporter: but proponents of the dental therapist model say the a.d.a. is worried about more than safety. a recent survey of over 100,000 of the a.d.a.'s members showed the majority of dentists feel some level of uncertainty about their economic stability.
and supporters of the mid-level provider idea if large numbers of providers who aren't dentists started doing routine procedures charging lower fees, the traditional dental office model might be threatened. >> i think they are afraid of the unknown. they are afraid of change. they are afraid of losing control. you know dentistry has been the dentist for years and now we have a new provider that's coming in and being able to do some of those things that only dentists could do before. i think they're afraid of it coming down into their area. that's their biggest fear. >> i would really take exception to that because i think a lot of people that the model would not affect many dentists in their practices. i think what will ultimately take place, and what everyone will probably embrace, is not the model that we're seeing now. we already have dental
extenders, if you will, in the dental field, working as part of the dental team, working as part of the dentists, the hygienists, the assistants, okay, in several states, we have expanded function dental assistants which do more, but they don't do surgical procedures. >> reporter: the new federal health care reform law provides funding for dental therapist work model pilot programs, minnesota just graduated a small class of providers like these in alaska and at least 10 other states with the help of foundation money are looking at ways they too can train people who aren't dentists to do dental work. >> suarez: on friday, we'll have a live chat online with some of the experts betty ann interviewed, you can leave your questions right now on the rundown blog.
>> brown: next, an update on the occupy movement, as it faces pushback around the country. "newshour" correspondent spencer michels reports from california on the shifting strategies of protesters and students. >> reporter: there was no word today on what the university of california would do about tents erected last night in front of sproul hall on the berkeley campus. student demonstrators pitched them, despite police warnings to leave the area. the new occupation followed a massive evening rally in the plaza that organizers said attracted 10,0 people about double what the police estimated. former labor secretary and u.c. economics professor robert reich delivered the mario savio memorial lecture, honoring a leader of the 1960's free speech movement. >> over the last three decades, this economy has doubled in size but most americans have not seen
much gain. if you adjust for inflation, what you see is the medium wage has barely risen. where did all the money and resources go? >> reporter: the gathering marked a melding of student protests with the occupy wall street movement. in oakland yesterday, the plaza in front of city hall was all but deserted, after police rousted demonstrators on monday and tried to clean up the area. on tuesday, a contingent of about 500 marched from oakland toward the berkeley campus to join forces and causes. the march was peaceful, and police-- criticized by some for earlier actions against the protesters-- kept the street traffic-free. although the students at berkeley originally were demonstrating against tuition increases and cuts to the university, the protest evolved into something broader. here on campus it was hard to tell the difference between the student and the occupy movement.
the rally was called a general strike by organizers. one of the leaders was yvette felarca, who had been injured in a battle with police earlier in the week, which was posted on youtube. she is a teacher in the berkeley schools, and a member of bamm-- by any means necessary. she says the two movements are essentially one. >> they were never separate. they have the same goals and strategies. and against the capitalist >> reporter: but for the campus and the protesters, the issue now is what happens next: will the demonstrations continue and will they remain peaceful? >> we got where we are by building a civil rights
movement. we are prepared to fight by any means necessary. >> reporter: the same questions about the fate of the berkeley protests also loomed in other cities. in seattle last night, a similar march turned briefly chaotic as police used pepper spray on the crowd. and in new york, a few demonstrators returned to zucotti park without tents, after police shut down the encampment early yesterday. protestors said they plan a rally tomorrow to disrupt the financial district. >> brown: the occupy movement; the bi-partisan congressional super committee; deficits, taxes, fairness, economic inequality. they're all very much in the air right now. over the past few months, we've been exploring these issues in a series of reports and conversations. tonight, we hear from a group that wants higher taxes on itself. they call themselves "patriotic millionaires for fiscal strength" and members were on capital hill lobbying today. joining us now is one of the
group: garrett gruener, founder of ask.com and now director of the venture capital firm, alta partners. welcome to you. >> nice to be here. >> brown: first i want you define this group. who are you? how many and where do members come from? >> these are about 200 folks so far who make a substantial amount of money and who believe that the... it's time to roll back the bush tax cuts. that essentially what we need to do for the sake of the country is to tax folks like ourselves more. >> brown: and is there a consensus on how much more when you talk about... you're talking about marginal rate? >> that's right. we were talking about moving back to the marginal rate that prevailed under president clinton of 39.6% on, in this case, folks who make more than a million dollars a year. >> brown: what's the argument, why? >> first of all, the country
needs the money and we think it's the right thing to do. we think that, you know, like other americans, we love this country and that those in the upper 1% essentially have been treated to good for their own sake, too good for the sake of the countries. we've all done very well and it's time to give back. >> pelley: how did this get organized or come about? >> well, i think there are a variety of people who came together. i wrote an op-ed that ran in the "l.a. times" that... entitled "meore." but i think a variety of people came to the conclusion that the relentless desire on the part of the republicans to push down marginal rates was causing us to have an excessive deficit-- which we believe is a big problem-- and to underinvest in things that we think are critical for a good society. >> brown: now warren buffett the billionaire famously put this forward a few months ago and he
got a lot of pushback and we hear raeg regularly the argument for many republicans "you shouldn't raise taxes on those who create jobs. particularly at a time like this when we need those jobs." >> that's something i can speak to directly. i have built up a number of companies myself and i've been a venture capitalist now for almost 20 years so i've been involved in the creation of lots of high technology companies, companies in life sciences and the... software and hardware, now clean tech. and i'm currently running a company that's built on man know technology. and i can say for myself that not a single one of those investments, not one was ever impacted by marginal tax rates. i invested into the clinton rates, i invested under the bush rates, i invested under the rates before that. and by the way, in history, the rates were much higher than they are today. >> brown: why do we hear that so often, the millionaire class, which includes many small businesses we hear, why do we
hear tax rates do have an impact on whether they start their business, whether they hire that one extra person? >> i think it's... frankly, i think it's a myth. i think this is something that... it's a good line. it... if it were true, if it were a critical aspect of growing the economy then i might be a supporter of it but my own experience is it literally has had zero impact on the investment decisions that i've made and when you think about it it makes perfect sense that the kinds of things that i'm doing at least in venture capital, what we're trying to do is grow companies that have the ability to grow into major companies and employ a lot of people. sometimes we get it right; sometimes we get it wrong. but that's always the objective. and if that's the case, a few points of marginal tax rate one way or the other are not going to make a big difference. >> brown: critics also push back at warren buffett and others and said, look, the wealthiest already pay a far higher share
of taxes in this country than anyone else and in that sense the fairness factor is already there >> well, there's a number of elements in fairness in all of this. in the end if you have an awful lot more income you have more wherewithal to pay taxes. and in this country we've gotten to real extremes of wealth being controlled by the up 1%. we're now an outliar internationally and it got so bad that in-- or so good, depending on how you want to think about that-- that in fwefb the upper 1% was capturing 23.5% of all of the income. the last time that had happened was 1928 the great depression in 1929 and the great recession of 2008 was a direct result of that bias in the distribution of
income. >> brown: some of your groups have met with grover norquist and he and others say you want to pay more taxes, be my guest. go ahead. just do it. put your money where your mouth is. you don't need to change the law. go ahead and do it. >> grover's position... i literally heard him saying this about an hour ago, is that if you want to up your own taxes, why don't you make a contribution. and i think frankly that's pathetic. the u.s. government is not a charity. we didn't take... we didn't pass the hat when we decided to go into afghanistan. we don't pass a hat when we decide whether or not to... the country needs another aircraft carrier or to build a freeway or what have you. we make a decision as americans and then we fund it. and alas we've gotten out of the
habit of understanding that the decisions we make as a country are decisions we have to pay for and we need to make sure that the funding resources, that the revenues are there in order to meet the choices we make collectively. i think it's a good thing to debate whether or not these taxes should be increased for the upper 1%. i believe we should. but the we decide that, well, then it's the law of the land and we're all responsible for paying. and that's what we're arguing for. >> pelley: thank you very much. >> it'sbeen alease, tnk youery much >> suarez: finally tonight, four astronauts were awarded the nation's highest civilian honor today, the congressional gold medal. they were john glenn, the first american to orbit the earth in 1962 and three members of the apollo 11 crew-- neil armstrong and buzz aldrin, the first men to walk on the moon in 1969 and michael collins, the apollo 11
pilot. the ceremony took place in the rotunda of the u.s. capitol where the leaders of the house and senate presented the medals. armstrong and glenn spoke. here's part of what they said. >> we gather in this remarkable monument to american history, this room connecting the houses of congress high above us stretches 19 panels depicting important events in american history. the most recent of them depicts the first successful flight of a man in a powered aircraft by the brothers right 108 years ago. the depiction in addition to the
craft and the responsible individuals includes an american bald eagle carrying an olive branch. in an appropriate coincidence, "apollo" 11's mission emblem and crew patch are also featured an american bald eagle carrying an olive branch. >> for many, many thousands of years people have looked up and wondered, they've been curious, about what was up there we most consider ourselves among the most fortunate of all generations that we have lived at a time when the dream became a reality. when we finally could travel above the atmosphere around the earth, where we could establish laboratories in space and do research and for the very first
time in history leave human footprints on some place other than earth. as our knowledge of the yuan sflers which we live increases my god grant us the wisdom and guidance to use it wisely. thank you. (applause) >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: president obama announced a stepped-up u.s. military presence in australia. army defectors in syria mounted new attacks on the military killing at least eight soldiers. and stocks fell after new warnings that europe's debt woes could hurt u.s. banks. the dow industrials lost 190 points. comedy and the economy-- they come together on our website. hari sreenivasan explains. hari? >> sreenivasan: find stand-up economist yoram bauman's take on china's currency and why its value matters.
that's on our making sense page. we check in with a reporter from plus, don't miss our regular feature on art beat called "the daily frame," highlighting unusual or interesting photography. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. ray? >> suarez: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll look at energy secretary chu's defense of federal loans for a solar panel company. i'm ray suarez. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thanks for joining us. good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think... >> we need renewable energy. >> ...renewable energy is vital to our planet. >> you hear about alternatives, right? wind, solar, algae. >> i think it's got to work on a big scale. and i think it's got to be affordable. >> so, where are they? >> it has to work in the real world. at chevron, we're investing millions in solar and biofuel technology to make it work. >> we've got to get on this now. >> right now.
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