tv PBS News Hour PBS October 4, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: new jersey governor chris christie said today he will not jump into the presidential race, telling reporters, "now is not my time." good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we assess the state of the 2012 campaign with political editor david chalian and jeff zeleny of the "new york times." >> woodruff: then ray suarez gets the latest on the deadliest bomb attack ever in somalia. it targeted the ministry of education and killed at least 70 people. >> ifill: from our colleagues at
kqed-san francisco, we have the story of one of the three scientists whose research on the expanding universe earned a nobel prize today. >> i was one of those kids who always thought that we should know how the world works around us. can we live on earth and we don't fall through the floor and somebody should have given us an owner's manual about how the whole thing fits together and how you use it. >> woodruff: margaret warner examines the rapid rise in c.e.o. pay at the nation's biggest companies, coming amid growing protests on wall street. >> ifill: and kira kay reports on the challenges facing liberia, as the struggling democracy prepares for next week's presidential election. >> seeing what they can gain from peace to not want to go back to war. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. 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. >> moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf: the engine that connects us.
the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the governor of new jersey, chris christie, will not join the race for the republican presidential nomination. his announcement today left republicans to focus on their existing field. the first-term governor had spent a couple of weeks reviewing his longstanding refusal to run for the president. but he said today in trent onhe came to the same conclusion. >> i've explored the options. i've littoned... listened to so many people and considered whether this was something that i needed to take on.
but in the end what i've always felt was the right decision remains the right decision today. now is not my time. so new jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me. >> woodruff: he has been in office less than two years. he repeatedly cited that fact by way of explanation. >> in the end my commitment to the state is what overrode everything else. i mean, i asked for this job. i fought hard to get this job. and my job here isn't done. >> woodruff: his announcement came as a new answer news post" national poll showed former massachusetts governor mitt romney reclaiming his front- runner status in the republican race with 25%. texas governor rick perry has lost nearly half of his support over the past month after a couple of unsteady debate performances. he is now tied for second at 16% with herman kaine, the
former godfather's pizza chief executive. a clear majority of voters did agree on one thing. that president obama's prospects do not look good. 55% said they believe mr. obama will lose in 2012. for his part, the president embraced the poll finding yesterday in an interview with abc news and yahoo. >> are you the underdog now. >> absolutely. because, you know, given the economy there's no doubt that, you know, whatever happens on your watch you've got.... >> you embraced that pretty quickly. >> you know, i don't mind. i'm used to be an underdog. >> woodruff: ahead of his visit to st. louis tonight, the president received a reminder of just how bruising the campaign will be. in the form of a television ad from the conservative organization american cross roads. >> he raised our hopes. he seemed to understand. >> the last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.
>> but today he's different. >> woodruff: that's a refrain mr. obama may hear over and over again no matter who ends up as the republican nominee. for more on the race for the white house, we are joined by newshour political editor david chalian and national political correspondent for the "new york times," jeff zeleny. thank you, gentlemen for being here. david, let me start with you. do you take chris christie at his word that this is is all about fulfilling his commitment to be governor of nng. >> i'm sure that's part of the reason. he has only been there for a couple years. i certainly take him at his word but i also take him at his words all year long, judy. he has said time and again he didn't feel this was in him. he didn't think he was ready for the job. those are very hard words to walk back from. i took him at his word as he said those comments throughout most of the year. >> woodruff: jeff, what else do you think may have gone into this? >> one of the things was just the realization that this is a contest in fewer than 100
days. he can say that his team could have put this in place but i'm a little skeptical that he would have been able to really get a campaign up and running. i also think he took a lesson from governor rick perry of texas. i mean, he saw how difficult this is to be on the debating stage and to be sort of on this high-wire act at this point of the campaign. i do think he reconsidered it. i'm told in the last couple of days, from the very beginning he said now is not the time. i do take him at his word on that. >> woodruff: david, how much pressure was there on chris christie to get in? >> as you and i discussed last week there's no doubt that there was a segment of the donor crowd in new york and new jersey on the republican side that was very interested in him and in his candidacy, his potential candidacy. there were some elected officials around the country that did call him and said he told stories of what he referred to as regular americans. >> woodruff: the farmer in nebraska. >> the farmer in nebraska who sent him a fed-ex but there was not a major sort of
movement out in the country to draft chris christie. it was a slice of the republican party. some of these high-dollar players inside the party were no doubt interested in him. and they spoke to him for many months. this was not something that just came about in the last couple of weeks. this is something that people have been trying to get him to engage on for the last several months. he finally gave in to engage on this reconsideration process. as he said today he ended up right where he had been all along. >> woodruff: he seemed to leave the door open for the future maybe for 2016 or who knows. i guess the big question now is where does this leave the rest of the field? >> i think all of this was not necessarily about chris christie. some of this was and perhaps most of this was about the current field. it was about mitt romney. what is it about mitt romney that republicans can not just warm up to? i think that this leaves the field scrambling somewhat. governor romney spent all afternoon i'm told with the exception of a public event in florida on the phone with some of these donors.
they are trying to win over some of these people whose plan-a was chris christie. he said i'll be your plan-b. but he is trying to take advantage of this moment. of course he had a very strong september in terms of debate performance. governor romney is trying to seize on this and trying to, you know, convince some republicans who have been skeptical of him that he would be the strongest nominee. governor perry isn't ready to give in just yet. >> woodruff: let's talk about, you know, that point. what the clamor to the extent there was a clamor for governor christie, what does that say about the field? >> well, i think what jeff is saying here is is very true about what it says about governor romney. i think also if you take a look at that poll that you mentioned in the piece there, judy. if you add, let's say, the kaine percentage to the perry percentage to the bachmann percentage, there is this wide swath of an anti-romney vote or a vote that is in search of
romney alternative, right? mitt romney has not been able to grow beyond this sort of 25% range that he's been in. that's his challenge now. he needs to do that. the opportunity he has is that it seems that that anti-romney or that searching for an alternative to romney wing of the party seems to have a different flavor of the month any given week in the contest. that kind of fluidity is something that is an opportunity that they see inside the romney campaign for him to be able to bring some of those people over and coalesce support. >> woodruff: that's what romney has to deal with, contend with. as you just said, jeff, there's still governor perry. i mean he's gotten some bad reviews from the debates but he's still in the race. >> he is without a doubt. for all the talk here in washington of how awful his debates were, you talk to republicans on capitol hill who are really sort of uneasy about governor perry's candidacy he perhaps has the best for the most sim layers to governor christie in terms of his brash appeal. he is plain talking and his
team really believes that he will be able to reach out to some of these voters who are not looking for someone like mitt romney. what does that mean exactly? someone who has vacillated on the issues a little by. governor perry knows he has to have a better october than he had september in terms of better debate performances coming up yet. but it's october. it's the first week of october. i think we should be pretty cautious in saying that the narrative for this campaign is set in stone right now. >> woodruff: even as we know that the contest, the primary contests are going to start earlier. we're just waiting to find out when iowa is. david, so does one of the other candidates in particular benefit from this or is it still kind of mushy and hard to figure out? >> well, you know, clearly mitt romney benefits from this. i think if you're jon huntsman who is nationally very low in the polls but has been trying to get a foothold in new hampshire you breathe a bit of a sigh of relief that chris christie is not in this race because new hampshire would have been fertile ground for a
chris christie kabd daes. huntsman has been trying to derail mitt romney in new hampshire. jon huntsman gets the opportunity to try to be the dragon slayer in the granite state but he has a long way to go before he can be considered a contender for the nomination. >> woodruff: if it helps a huntsman and a romney, is there anybody clearly hurt by this? >> i'm not sure there's anyone clearly hurt by this. i do think that we have... we still have eight candidates on stage but probably for not that much longer. the third quarter financial reports closing september 30 will be coming out in the next few days by october 15 for sure. and several candidates are really running on fumes. michele bachmann being one of them. she had three more advisors leave her campaign. a couple went back to her congressional office which signals to me that there's not the money to have them on
payroll. i do believe that we have a contracting field here. and there's still the question of sarah palin. she's not yet said what she's doing. she's given no signs she's definitely running. she's the only at least slight crack in the door that i see. >> woodruff: so the field contracting may be growing, maybe not, david? you get the last word on this. >> my guess is we've got the field that's there. though i probably have said that before. but i do think that one person that is now going to start moving out here is the president to some degree because if he sees the field and it's no more speculation about who is in and who is out, if indeed one of these top contenders on the republican side can start coalescing support it will start moving into a bigger contest framed against the president before too long. as we saw in that poll 55% of the country thinks he'll be a one-term president. he's eager to get that one-on- one fight going but he's also going to have it on his hands. >> woodruff: off the races. thank you both for being here.
>> ifill: still to come on the newshour, a deadly bombing in somalia; award-winning research into our expanding universe; top-dollar paychecks for executives; and liberia's upcoming election. but first, with the other news of the day, here's kwame holman. >> holman: federal reserve chairman ben bernanke issued a new warning today about the u.s. economic recovery. appearing before a congressional committee, he defended the fed's latest stimulus efforts. he said they're critical to prevent a new recession. >> it's particularly important now that the economy is close. the recovery is close to faultering. we need to make sure that the recovery continues and doesn't drop back and that unemployment rate continues to fall downward. >> holman: bernanke also left open the possibility that the fed might take additional steps to support the economy. he said, "nothing is off the table."
stocks in europe fell sharply today, driven by a new wave of fear that greece will default after all. major indexes in germany, france, and britain were off 2.5% to 3%. they sank after eurozone ministers delayed the next bailout payment to athens. but the greek finance minister insisted his government can stay solvent through mid-november, and expects to receive the bailout funds by then. >> there is no talk of a so- called default. whoever uses the word "default" in relation to greece, a euro-zone country either doesn't understand the meaning of the word or has been playing in the field controlled by the speculative segments of the international markets. >> holman: the worries about greece and the selloff in europe sent u.s. stocks reeling, too, at first. but, as the day went on, wall street fought its way back. the dow jones industrial average ended with a gain of 153 points to close at 10,808. the nasdaq rose nearly 69 points to close well above 2404. ford motor company and the
united auto workers union reached a new four-year contract today in detroit. it does not include annual pay raises, but ford's u.s. factory workers will receive a $6,000 signing bonus. the automaker also will add more than 5,700 new jobs. and it's pledging to invest nearly $5 billion in its american plants. ford workers are expected to vote on the new contract next week. president obama issued a new challenge to congress today over his jobs bill. in mesquite, texas, he charged again that republicans, in particular, are blocking action. on monday, house majority leader eric cantor said republicans can accept parts of the bill, but not the whole package. the president jumped on the statement. >> what's the problem? do they not have the time? they just had a week off. is it inconvenient? i'd like mr. cantor to come down here to dallas and
explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in? what exactly is he opposed to? >> holman: republicans answered with a challenge of their own. on the senate floor, minority leader mitch mcconnell called for a vote now, knowing that even some democrats have problems with the obama plan. >> i don't think the president is saying he wants an extensive debate on it. i think he wants a vote on it. and i wanted to disabuse him of the nation that somehow we're unwilling to vote on his proposal. even though there is bipartisan opposition to the president's jobs proposal, bipartison opposition to it, i think he's entitled to a vote. >> holman: the senate's democratic majority leader, harry reid, objected to taking up the jobs bill now. he said there's other business to deal with first. congress has approved another incremental funding measure, this one to keep the government running for the next six weeks.
the stopgap continuing resolution passed the house easily today. it expires november 18. the senate passed it last week. lawmakers continue work on a dozen major spending bills for the fiscal year that began october 1. air travelers will now have a chance at quicker passage through security at four major u.s. airports. the transportation security administration announced its "pre-check" program today. it's already being used in atlanta, as well as detroit, miami, and dallas-fort worth. passengers who supply additional personal information may be able to skip taking off their shoes and coats. the program is a response to public complaints over intrusive body scans and pat-downs. gunmen in pakistan struck at shiites again today. 13 were shot to death. the attackers were suspected of being sunni militants. police said they stopped a bus outside quetta in the southwest. the gunmen separated out ethnic shiite day laborers and opened fire. two weeks ago, a similar attack
in the same region killed 26 shiites. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and to somalia, where at least 70 people died in a suicide bombing today in mogadishu. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: residents of mogadishu ran through the blast scene bewildered as small fires burned around them minutes after the attack. the truck bomb rammed a check point near the education ministry just as students and parents were crowding in to learn about scholarships. it was the deadliest and first attacks by the group since august when the al qaeda-linked militants withdrew as african union forces launched an offensive against them. >> the reason we got rid of al shabab is because they opposed aid for those who are affected by the famine of our country so now aid can be distributed easily to those who are affected. we are here to protect famine-
struck infamilies. >> suarez: famine is only the latest agony the east african nation has endured in two decades of anarchy. a weak u.n.-backed government controls part of mogadishu but in the north, two lands consider themselves autonomous states. u.n. aid officials now estimate more than 12 million somalis face starvation largely due to drought. they warn some 750,000 could die in the next four months alone. >> i used to be a farmer, but i lost all my crops. and i used to be a pastoral farmer at times but i lost all my life stock due to the drought so i came here because we had no food. >> suarez: in washington today, a spokeswoman at the state department said bombings will not deter the aid effort. >> this is designed to strike fear in the hearts of somalis and also to intimidate the international community. we will obviously continue our
relief efforts, but the world needs to know that it is al- shabab who bears the responsibility for the fact that we cannot get to all the people in need. >> suarez: amid the fighting and famine, piracy continues to plague the sea lanes off the coast of somalia. hundreds of merchant ships and pleasure craft have been attackd in recent years. for more we're joined by the bureau chief for routers. david, welcome. tell us more about the attack near the ministry of education in mogadishu. >> earlier this morning, a young somali man got in a truck laden with fuel and explosives and drove into a busy intersection in the center of somalia, the somali capital mogadishu and parts of it is controlled by african union troops and government troops. he rammed a gate at the compound, quite a few ministry
buildings and detonated the truck, killing scores and wounding many. >> suarez: is this one of the worst attacks in terms of damage and loss of life? >> since it launched its insurgency in 2007 to fight the u.n. and western bank transitional government, this is is probably the worst attack in mogadishu itself. of course al shabab did strike in uganda's capital last year when suicide bombers killed 79 people watching the soccer world cup final. but in terms of devastation from a single attack in mogadishu, this must be one of the worst in the past four years. while an attack was expected, residents say they're shocked by the scale of the carnage did. >> suarez: didn't shabab pull out of mogadishu and leave the city in the recent past. >> it pulled out in the beginning of august. now this at the time they controlled large chunks of mogadishu.
they controlled the market which is sort of the heart of the city where a lot of business goes on. they pulled out in august. it wasn't quite clear why they pulled out. there have been various reasons. divisions between the hard- liners, some of the foreign fighters, the foreign jihadists, if you will, and the local somali members. perhaps there was some funding problems as well. and also the troops within mogadishu-- this is the african union troops-- had been taking the fight far more to al shabab over the past two months. when they pulled out in august, they said, well, maybe that was their spin covering over their internal problems, they said this is just tactics and we will be back and we will strike. we will strike government institutions and we will carry out bombing attacks. >> suarez: does it appear that today's target and method were chosen for maximum damage and loss of life? >> well, it does appear so. they made it clear that they would attack government
billings and military bases. that's what they've done today. i meanwhile the prime minister and the presidency were some distance away, this is a building where quite a lot of the cabinet do work from day to day. they say they didn't want to target students. they say they were trying to target foreign spies and government soldiers. but certainly the attack has had a major impact because at the education ministry there were a number of students and parents who were waiting to hear about whether they had got scholarships to study overseas. so in a sense, you know, this is really struck at the heart of the mogadishu community and killed a lot of youths. who had been hoping for a better future. >> suarez: does shebab talk openly about what it wants, what its long-term objective is? >> it's always said its long- term objective is to oust what it sees as a puppet western government and to impose its own harsh version of sharia
law. and while it has taken large chunks of southern and central somalia and was in control of large parts of mogadishu, it was never able to topple the government partly because of the presence of the african union troops. certainly in the areas it controls it does mete out these harsh pun inment be the amp pew tagss, stonings, beheadings, stopping people listening to music, having soccer matches. in the areas they control, they are pretty rigorous about imposing their views. but they haven't been able to take control of mogadishu. and so one wonders whether they're now resorting to the spectacular attacks which will keep their cause going. because at the end of the day, they don't necessarily need to defeat to keep the cause going. but as long as they're not defeated themselves they can. >> suarez: david, you're based
in ken i can't bordering the shebab-controlled area of somalia. is that border sealed off, is it threatening or destabilizing to its neighbor kenya? >> absolutely. i mean the border is a long, pour us border. a lot of desert region. it's very hard to police. i mean, al-shebab attacked a town which is just a few kilometers across the kenyan border late last week. the kenyan security forces are there. and they are trying to stop incursions across the border but there have been incursions. there have been kidnappings of western aid workers. what we've seen also in the recent weeks is the ability of gunmen, be they al-shebab or other militia from the area-- to board speedboats, go to popular tourist deny tinations and kidnap westerners. >> suarez: david clark is the eastern african-bureau chief for reuters.
david, thanks for joining us. >> thanks very much. >> ifill: now, our changing understanding of the cosmos, and what it has to do with the nobel prize in physics. the prize was awarded to three u.s. scientists today: brian schmidt of australian national university, adam riess of johns hopkins university, and saul perlmutter of university of california, berkeley. that research found the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. perlmutter was recently profiled on quest, a science program produced by kqed-san francisco. here's part of that story. it's narrated by andrea kissack. >> i was one of those kids who always thought that we should know how the world works and understand it. here we live on earth and we don't fall through the floor. somebody should have given us an owner's manual about how the whole thing fits together and how you use it.
>> reporter: in 1998 perlmutter was part of one of two teams that discovered the expansion of the universe, had started to accelerate 7 billion years ago. but what exactly does it mean that the expansion is accelerating? first, you have to understand the universe is infinite, not an easy concept to grasp. >> look, you're not going to be able to take to this very well but just imagine that you are living here on a galaxy and there's gal beingsees forever going that way and that way and that way in all directions. no end. you can go as far as you want and you'll find more and more galaxies. just imagine that there's sort of a typical distance between those galaxies. the only thing i mean when i say that the universe is expanding is we're pumping extra space between the galaxies. when we say accelerating the extra pumping is happening faster and faster and the distances are growing bigger and bigger more and more quickly. >> reporter: how did the team figure out the history of the
universe? they did so by looking at the light from super nova, stars that exploded billions of years ago. looking good. the weather is good. telescope has been released. >> reporter: sitting in a room at the berkeley lab, perlmutter and physics student hannah swift are connected to one of the world's largest telescopes, the kek-2 in hawaii. the other half of their team is actually in hawaii. >> what do the odds look like tonight for the weather? >> i think it looks good. we're going to get data. >> reporter: their plan for the night is to confirm that five super novae previously identified through another telescope are the type 1-a super novae they need for their research. >> the type 1-a super nova explode in a similar way every time. they brighten a fireworks and fade away but they reach the same peak brightness. >> reporter: their predictability makes these exploding stars what
researchers call standard candles. their initial brightness is constant and it grows fainter with distance. since researchers know light always travels at 186,000 miles per second, they're able to calculate how long ago these super nova exploded. >> when a super nova explodes the light starts spreading out in all directions much like the ripples on the water spread out when you drop a pebble into the lake. the range in which we were studying the super nova to see the acceleration was so far away that the light was coming towards us from a time where the clouds of gas were coalescing into what became our solar system. >> reporter: as the star moves away from us, one other thing happens to its light. because the universe is expanding the light waves stretch. >> while the light is traveling to us through the universe, the universe is expanding. and everything in the universe that's not nailed down expands
with the universe. that includes the very wavelengths of the phoenix coyote ons of light that are traveling to us from the super nova. >> reporter: if the object is moving away from the observer it will appear red. in astronomy this phenomenon is known as red shift. one way to visualize these stretching wavelengthss is to look at how waves of sound which are similar to waves of light change. (doppler effect sound) can you hear how the pitch of the honk changed as the sound source moved away from you? this is because its wavelength is stretching. the same happens with super nova's light. >> now with these two ingredients the brightness of the super nova and how much the light has been shifted towards the red in its appearance, you now can just read off the history of the expansion of the universe because the brightness tells you how far back in time any given super nova event occurred. the red shift tells us how much the universe has expanded since that time. >> i think the star matter
explosion when this is complete and see what it looks like and abort it depending on what it looks like. >> okay. >> reporter: but even though astronomers have become the historians of the universe, they can only speculate about what's causing this stretching. >> one example of a more exotic explanation could be that there's extra dimensions in the universe beyond the three dimensions we're aware of space and time. it's possible other dimensions are there that we don't usually experience. perhaps in some way we're limited to the dimensions that we experience but that other things like perhaps gravity could not be limited and maybe it can seep in to one of these extra dimensions. that would make it look to us as if we're becoming dial outed we're having less effective gravity. that's one reason the universe could be accelerating. >> reporter: or the accelerated expansion could be caused by a new form of energy. this dark energy might be the
missing force that sheds light on how gravity the force that works on a large scale fits in with the forces that bind atomic particles together. could this undiscovered form of energy be the key to a unified theory of everything? >> you can try out, you know, almost any crazy idea. that doesn't mean that any crazy idea will be the right one but it allows you to play a little bit and then we're hoping that we'll get actual measurements that will pin down some set of answers that could be possible. >> reporter: researchers say the only way to discard the inaccurate hypothesis is to come up with an ever more precise history. this will require observing more super nova up closer. to do this, perlmutter's team designed a satellite that would carry a telescope more powerful than the hubble into space. >> you can see, you know, hundreds of times more sky at a time. it's also designed for just the wavelength range, just the colors, where we need to study
the super nova and the other galaxies in order to study dark energy. >> reporter: the design of the super nova accelerator probe, snap for short, inspired nasa and the department of energy to join in a joint dark energy mission. incorporating ideas from snap and other proposals. scientists expect to have the mission's final design soon. so long as dark energy continues to be a mystery, it's unclear what the future of the universe might be. it could well be that in billions of years the universe will stretch into nothingness or the whole thing could reverse and contract into a big collapse. >> in some sense we may have found just the right spot to come to so we are at just the right scale to be able to enjoy looking out at the space above us and down into the microscopic world beneath us. i think it's just the right time in history to be able to look back at the early hot, fiery big bang period and
project into the future of what we might get to see. in some sense we're in a very cozy medium. i think it's a nice place to be. >> woodruff: next, big-time c.e.o.s and the big paychecks that they're taking home. margaret warner has the story. >> warner: the outrage of the "take back wall street" protestors in new york and others around the country are in no small part connected with huge executive pay. median executive compensation more than quadrupled since the the last four decades, while most non-supervisory workers have seen a 10% decline. now, from disclosures required by the securities and exchange commission in end-of-fiscal-year corporate reports, we're learning more about what's behind these pay packages, as well as the so-called "golden parachutes" for c.e.o.s who've been fired. one noteworthy example of late: just last week, the fired c.e.o.
of h.p., leo apotheker, walked away with more than $13 million in severance while the company struggles. for more on this, we turn to michael faulkender, a professor of finance at the university of maryland who has published major studies about executive compensation. and james stewart, an author and financial columnist for the "new york times." he wrote about the h.p. deal this week. welcome to you both. james stewart, let me begin with you. first of all, flesh this out for us. how big is the gap now between top ceos' pay and average employees? >> well, it just seems to get bigger and bigger no matter what happens. the last numbers i saw from the bureau of labor statistics which covered through the end of 2010 indicated that in 2010 ceo pay on average went up over 27% and for the average non-superviseed worker it was hovering around 2%.
i know plenty of people who didn't get that. the gap is accelerating. it is better than ever. i think the people... the outrage is bigger because, you know, we're in really hard times. it's very hard for people to understand why executives, even accompanies who are failing, are taking home these multi-million dollar pay packages. >> woodruff: professor, to you. what does explain it? what's the rationale behind these ever-larger ceo packages? >> i think it's important to recognize that the increase in compensation we're seeing is not just limited to senior executives of major corporations but we've seen it in a lot of industries. we've seen the difference between star athletes and the average player, we've seen increases in the amount of compensation that investment bankers are making compared to the average person in the banking sector. so when you look at the ratio of what people on the extremes are earning compared to what the average person in that profession is earning, that's difference, that ratio has been increasing significantly
over time. so while on the one hand it does seem like there are some practices that have led to some abuses, we're all seeing that the top people in numerous professions are increasing their compensation significantly more than people in the middle. >> woodruff:. >> warner: now the companies say it's necessary to either recruit or retain top talent. you, however, one of your studies looked at the methodology by which they decide. what's the going rate for the top talent. you found something that suggested was a little skewed. >> that's right. there does seem to be some evidence that when firms benchmark themselves against other firms that they select, they select competitors that are more likely at the higher end of the pay distribution than at the lower end. so whenever you think about setting pay for an executive, you need to provide them sufficient amounts so that they will stay in the position or want to take a new position with your firm and in doing so
you compare the pay package you're offering to what people at other firms make. but what we're seeing is that they're more likely to compare to highly paid ceos to competitors rather than the lower paid members in that same industry. >> warner: sometimes not competitors in the same business, right? >> that's right. in fact what the recent s.e.c. disclosures are telling us is now that they have to document the firms, we're seeing more than half the firms coming from... that they benchmark against coming from outside their industry. >> warner: james stewart, you wrote this weekend with some passion about the hp case and severance packages. are you seeing the same kind of... use that as an example and other ones... the same kind of thinking, perhaps distortion reflected in the way severance packages are set? >> well, you know, i think it's just outrageous. i would think that most people could agree. maybe people deserve to be paid a great deal of money for succeeding and doing very well and making money for lots of
shareholders but how about out-and-out failures? should they be paid millions of dollars when they're fired and yet this is an increasingly common practice. it was vividly on display at hewleltt-packard last week when they fired their chief executive and gave him a severance payment of over $1 million and let him keep roughly $10 million he had been paid to sign him on, a grand total of $23 million for 11 months of work. that as an abject disaster. what explains that? >> you know, it's... the boards have simply, you know, abdicated their responsibility here. they do look at comparatives examples where other people get these lavish severance bonus. they claim they need to give them these guarantees to get them to leave other jobs. in his case he didn't even have another job. he had been fired as ceo in his last company. he didn't need a guarantee to get him out of there. that is the boilerplate creeping into these contracts.
>> warner: up in new york we have these protests on wall street. people there are comparing, you know, the large salaries of corporate executives versus their own sense that they're kind of falling behind. is it proveable that if ceos here didn't get these huge payments that there would be enough to raise everyone's salary or is it kind of a drop in the bucket? >> well, it really... there nt aren't enough of them. even the numbers are huge for individuals it's a drop in the bucket when you look at total revenues and total payrolls for a company like hp or many of the other fortune 500 companies. i can understand why they're so upset. it's the principle of the thing. this system is insane. why does it only benefit the wealthy whereas the average working person, if they get fired, they're lucky to get two weeks to take home. they don't get lavish pay. they don't get paid more to fail than if they succeed. this system is completely stood on its head. we've been waiting for decades for the free market to do
something about it. it clearly isn't working. and i think it's time for government regulation to step in and at least attack some of the most egregious abuses such as pay for failure. >> warner: there's news that disclosures are now being... is there any evidence, fairly briefly, that the new disclosures and the outrage that people are expressing is prodding investor shareholder groups to try to rein this in. >> i don't think we've seen it yet. there is hope with the introduction of say on pay that we might get more activism on the part of shareholders and shareholder advisory groups to limit some of these packages. >> warner: say on pay is a checklist that shareholders have to sign off on. >> that's right. the pay packages of senior jut tiffs are placed before the shareholders in the annual proxy statement. they're given an opportunity to vote on it. but i have to agree completely with what james was saying that it's really the pay for non-performance that is the
abuse that i think needs to be addressed. we have not yet seen regulators or excuse me shareholders and shareholder groups achieve success in doing that. so that doesn't indict all compensation packages nor does it indict the benchmarking process that's been used. but there are some structural issues that are potentially generating the abuses because when... it's fine to pay ceos when the firm does well but when the firm does poorly as in the case of hp, we really should not see these excessive packages being awarded. >> warner: all right. professor michael faulkender and james stewart of the "new york times," thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: finally tonight, an african nation struggles to build democracy after civil war. from liberia, we have a report from special correspondent kira kay.
>> reporter: in a suburb of liberia's capital monrovia, the crowds swell to catch a glimpse of their country's president, ellen johnson. officially she's come out to dedicate a public latrine. but this is election season. ♪ i have to decided... > so every move she makes is also political. in 2005 she became the first president to be elected in liberia after decades of coups and civil war. she's now running for a second term, one of 16 candidates in a competitive race. >> it's been for us a struggle. let me put it this way. we've come a long way. the first term was just tackling those fundamentals, putting in place structures,
systems, the laws, the strategies. it's taken me longer than i had anticipated because the capacity was so low. >> reporter: liberia's two civil wars waged between 1989 and 2003 were infamous for extreme brutality, drugged-up child soldiers and kay on theic rebel factions. 250,000 people were killed, a million more displaced. by the time war lord president charles taylor was forced from power in 2003, the country was destroyed physically and emotionally. >> the whole moral integrity of the system was undermined during these years of deprivation, during these years of war. >> reporter: her qualifications as a former international banking executive and her standing as africa's first female president have made her pop popular on the world stage and have attracted billions of dollars of donor aid and debt relief. >> we had an $80 billion
budget when we came in. that's a budget for one of your high schools. our revenue has increased. we've rebuild the streets in the capitol which were awful. now we're starting on the primary roads. we're restored electricity in a capital city that was dark for 14 years. today we're now adding water. there was no tap water. we've restored that. we have made primary education compulsory and free. >> reporter: all of this has been underwritten by the security guarantee of one of the largest united nations missions in history. at its peak, 15,000 blue helmet troops and police. and at this police academy, the united nations is training recruits to begin to take the lead on internal security. >> this is a new day. this is a new development. this is a new set of police force. >> reporter: colonel samuel says three quarters of the
4,000 needed officers have already graduated from these halls and are out patrolling the streets. he also admits the police have had a bad reputation as being corrupt and abusive. >> it came to a time that even the citizens did not have confidence in the law enforcement but by effort of the officers that are now in the field, people are beginning to see it different compared to what has happened over the years. >> reporter: on the other side of town, more signs of nation- building. this moot court supported by the american bar association is preparing the first class of imagine straits to graduate in 20 years. >> guilty and nothing but guilty. >> reporter: in a matter of days they will fan out to ever underserved county in the country. this trainee says the stakes couldn't be higher. >> liberians never had access to justice so they went to war.
now they have redress. so for the peace and stability of liberia to remain, justice plays a very important role. >> reporter: the magistrates program seeks to address a need even the president admits she didn't solve during her first term. the delivery of services outside monrovia to the rural parts of the country where populations are at greater risk of marginalization and discontent. the road to liberia's capital passes through here. this region experienced intense violence and displacement during the conflict. rebel war lord charles taylor even once had his headquarters here recruiting fighters from among the local population. >> there are a lot of youth that are war affected. >> reporter: jackson spear, an analyst with international alert, says liberia's fragility can be seen best here on the streets of this county's main town. >> we have a very weak local government structure as a
result of the war. because of that, the youth could take advantage of it. and could begin any violence that it wanted to. we've had the case where police stations have been burned down twice. since the last elections. as a result of the youth being generally frustrated about things. >> reporter: liberia has a staggering 80% formal unemployment rate and the government's job creation efforts have lagged. but a few basic skills programs have been set up for former combatants in hopes of keeping them engaged. the ymca runs this auto mechanic class for young men like this one who was forced into charles taylor's army at the age of 9, was orphaned and then lived on the streets. he says he hopes he'll have a future at this because when he's not busy working, his thoughts return to his war-time experiences. many of liberia's other war- affected young men have had to
resort to working together as a sort of union of motorcycle taxi drivers but analyst jackson spear says their war time command structures remain in place and have sometimes led to violence. >> the reason why they hold together and they're so violent is because they feel vulnerable. just in case there is a problem, they can respond to one another. but we're not trying to transform those structures into positive.... >> reporter: this past spring several hundred liberia's fought as mercenaries and then returned home with their weapons. only some of which have been seized by the u.n. mission. >> we are a post conflict nation. even the peace that we appear to endure is very fragile. >> reporter: one of ellen johnson's presidential opponents is lawyer charles. >> we believe that nothing
will matter if we do not reconcile. >> reporter: he says the country's made more vulnerable by the absence of a formal reconciliation process. >> after 14 years of war, liberians remain divided or remain hurt, are angry. we need a leadership that would have the moral authority to bring our people together. >> reporter: soon after she was elected the president did create a truth and reconciliation commission that named perpetrators for prosecution. but the final report also recommended that the president be barred from public office because of her early financial support of war lord charles taylor. >> had this report come forth without the president being mentioned, i bet you it would have been implemented but because she was indicted nothing has been done about it. regrettably that's not coming from our friends even in the
international community. so we have to begin the process of reconciliation. i've never been worried to the point where we're not implementing it because i've i've been named or because i've been affected. >> reporter: there are reasons it's moving slowly. >> there are other reasons it's moving slowly. the resources that it takes. the capacity. the. >> reporter: ultimately it is the liberian voter who will judge the president's record. during the first round of voting that set the date for the presidential election and addressed several constitution questions, the stage was already being set for a hotly contested race. >> i feel that the country is progressing. development is going on infrastructure development. >> reporter: this school teacher praised the president's work on recovery but is still deciding who he will vote for. >> my concern would be about some form of corruption. corruption has brought this one tree down to its knees. we want the government to be able to weed out the
corruption in government. >> reporter: corruption is a long-time problem in the country but one that many voters feel has shown little sign of abating under the president's leadership. >> the government is corrupt. the young people, no job creation. make sure we're not going... (inaudible). >> reporter: this election is being widely viewed as a test of the country's stability. the united nations is waiting until after the vote to determine an end to its peace keeping mission. are you post conflict? >> we are post conflict. is it guaranteed that we'll be post conflict and won't slip back? i cannot give that guarantee because we still have vulnerabilities. but of one thing i'm certain: the majority of liberians,
seeing what they can gain from peace do not want to go back to war. ♪ >> reporter: as liberians head to the polls this election day there are more at stake than the president's bid for a second term. a democratic and violence-free election will another important step on liberia's delicate road to recovery. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. new jersey governor chris christie said he will not jump into the presidential race, telling reporters, "now is not my time." federal reserve chairman ben bernanke warned that the u.s. economic recovery is "close to faltering." late today russia and china vetoed a u.n. security council resolution condemning syria's crackdown on protestors.
there's more about physics and politics online. kwame? >> homan: more of kqed's story about one of the nobel winners and the expanding universe and read more about the physics prize on our science page. on our politics page, watch video of governor chris christie's news conference today. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll talk to eric schmidt, google's executive chairman. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: chevron. we may have more in common than you think. >> and by bnsf railway.
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