tv PBS News Hour PBS January 24, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> wooduff: there was a possible breakthrough today in the talks to end the syria crisis. the two sides agreed to meet in the same room, for the first time since the start of the civil war. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. also ahead, california's orange county, one of the wealthiest in america yet no stranger to hunger, malnutrition and poverty. >> orange county is basically the tale of two cities. newport beach, is the richest city in the nation. and then 17 miles away we have one of the most densely populated and poorest cities in the nation. >> wooduff: and it's friday. mark shields and david brooks
are here to analyze the week's news. those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> wooduff: wall street suffered a second day of big losses. it was part of a global sell- off, driven by lackluster corporate profits, slower growth in china, and concerns about emerging markets. the dow jones industrial average plunged 318 points to close at 15,879, its worst loss since june. the nasdaq fell 90 points to close at 4128. for the week, the dow lost 3.5%. the nasdaq fell more than 1.5% percent. >> wooduff: the man who runs j.p. morgan chase got a 74% raise last year. the bank said today that chairman and c.e.o. jamie dimon made $20 million dollars. it cited, in part, his role in approving a $13 billion settlement for misleading investors before the 2008 meltdown.
company profits fell 16% in 2013, while its stock rose 33%. >> wooduff: direct talks between the syrian government and the western-backed opposition were scrubbed today, but they're set for tomorrow instead. u.n. mediator lakhdar brahimi said late today that the new plan is for the two delegations to sit down with him in the same room on saturday. we'll get a full report on the day's events, right after the news summary. in egypt, a wave of bombings hit cairo, killing at least 6 people. it was the most serious attack in the capital city since the military ousted islamist president mohammed morsi. jane deith of independent television news narrates this report. >> reporter: dawn in cairo and on the left of the picture, a white pick-up truck stops next to the egyptian police headquarters. these pictures aired on local television appear to show a black car pulling up alongside,
and picking someone up before driving off. two and half minutes later, an explosion. this was one of four bombs around cairo, timed to sound a warning, on the eve of the anniversary of the revolution. the egyptian police were the target. the bomb at the police headquarters killed four men. >> ( translated ): a pick up truck had two passengers inside. it stopped outside the police headquarters and the suicide bomber blew himself up. >> reporter: eyewitnesses said there were gunmen too. >> he said gunman sprayed the guards with bullets. >> crowds in the army-led government immediately blamed the muslim
brotherhood but it's an al-qaeda linked group which has claimed responsibility for today's attacks. ansar beit al-maqdis, based in the sinai peninsula, has killed more than 100 policemen and soldiers, who it says have been killing islamists >> guns in southern cairo this afternoon, people apparently surrounding the supporter of the muslim brotherhood. after today's bloodshed, tomorrow's anniversary of the revolution will bring more violence. three years of time has not healed the divisions in egypt, it's deened them. >> wooduff: in iraq,there's word of a mass exodusamid heavy fighting in anbar province. a u.n. official says more than 140,000 people have fled their homes since al-qaeda fighters took over parts of ramadi and fallujah in late december. the iraqi army has been trying to dislodge the militants with
heavy shelling. many civilians are caught in the crossfire and don't have any supplies. >> wooduff: secretary of state john kerry fired back today at critics who charge the obama administration has disengaged in the middle east. speaking in switzerland, kerry insisted the u.s. has "enduring interests" in the region and has no plans to retreat. >> my response to that suggestion is simple: you cannot find another country, not one country, that is as proactively engaged, that is partnering with so many middle eastern countries as constructively as we are on so many high-stake fronts. >> wooduff: the administration has taken fire from saudi arabia and israel over its response to the syrian civil war, the upheaval in egypt and the iranian nuclear program. from china today, a warning that its military hasbegun warning and intercepting foreign military planes in a disputed
air defense zone. beijing declared the zone over the east china sea in november, but it's been denounced by japan, the u.s. and others. japanese prime minister shinzo abe insisted today his country will not tolerate territorial changes made by force. road crews in northwestern indiana cleaned up interstate 94 today, after a massive pileup that left three people dead and 20 injured. it happened yesterday near michigan city, about 60 miles east of chicago in near white- out conditions. first responders said today the crush of 46 trucks and cars looked like a war zone. it was such a devastating scene. i don't know where to start. but when people are stuck in their cars, they look at you like we're you're moses, part the water, save us. we can't show no fear of panic out there so we just start doing it.
>> wooduff: the tangled wreck touched off a traffic backup that left hundreds of people stuck for hours in 10 degree weather. former virginia governor bob mcdonnell and his wife maureen pleaded not guilty today to trading influence for thousands of dollars of gifts and loans. the couple had their court appearance at the federal district court in richmond. they were arraigned on 14 counts of corruption, then released without bond. the trial is slated to begin in july. republican party leaders have voted overwhelmingly to shorten their presidential nominating calendar for 2016. party chairman reince preibus said today the goal is to cut down the time that gop candidates spend attacking each other. primaries and caucuses will begin in february and conclude in mid-may. the national convention will take place by early july-- two months earlier than usual. some three million americans are now enrolled in private health insurance plans, under the president's health care law.
medicare/medicaid chief marilyn tavenner posted the total today, based on numbers from federal and state exchanges. the administration's goal is to sign up seven million people by the end of march. still to come on the "newshour", margaret warner on averting a breakdown of the syria peace talks; the standoff between protesters and police in ukraine; poverty in one of america's richest counties; a new landmark study on economic inequality and mobility; shields and brooks on the week's news; plus, remembering a poet who spoke truth to power. >> wooduff: the united nations' lead envoy on syria struggled today to hold talks together aimed at ending the country's civil war. as hari sreenivasan reports, he may have reached a breakthrough >> sreenivasan: demonstrators
from both sides of the syrian conflict highlighted the diplomatic divisions, as the assad regime and the opposition failed to meet face-to-face today. then, came this: >> tomorrow we expect, we have agreed that we'll meet in same room. >> sreenivasan: u.n. envoy lakhdar brahimi made the announcement after hours of meeting separately with the delegations. >> the discussions i had with the two parties were encouraging. and we are looking forward to our meetings tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon, as you know the whole process is based on the geneva communiqueé of the 30th of june, 2012 and i think the two sides understand that very well and accept it. >> sreenivasan: that communiquée calls for a transitional government, and brahimi acknowledged "there are different interpretations" of
its provisions. earlier, the western-backed "syrian national coalition" insisted president bashar al- assad accept those terms before any direct talks. secretary-general badr jamous: >> ( translated ): the negotiations will be indirect until the regime signs geneva i. we came to implement the geneva i agreement and if the regime will not abide by geneva i then direct contact will not be beneficial. >> sreenivasan: but, the syrian delegation gave no ground publicly. instead, foreign minister walid al-moualem said his delegation would leave tomorrow, if serious talks did not begin. meanwhile, at the world economic forum in davos, secretary of state john kerry reaffirmed the u.s. commitment to ridding syria of assad. >> absent a political solution, we know where this leads. more refugees, more terrorists, more extremism, more brutality from the regime more suffering from syrian people. and we do not believe that we or
anyone should tolerate one man's brutal effort to cling to power. >> sreenivasan: as the day ended, expectations for tomorrow's talks in geneva remained low, but as one western diplomat put it: "every day that they talk is a little step forward." >> sreenivasan: chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner is at the talks in geneva. >> bring us up to speed on what happened today, there were threats of a walkout there were no-shows and brahimi trying to press the reset button and saying we'll do it tomorrow. >> it is one way of looking at it. but i think what you had today was a lot of posturing by both delegations but particularly the government. but on behalf of the audience-- to score political points but when brahimi came in at of o-- 6:00 and said they're all going to meet together tomorrow with me, the structure i laid out last night, it became clear that in fact es a's managed to get them to agree not only to have this sort of three-way kind of meeting at least in part but to stay through the end of next week. so they are moving forward.
but i think what we did see is that what happened over the night was the opposition realized they just weren't ready. they weren't ready for that 11 a.m. meeting today and they didn't let brahimi know until the morning. and so brahimi then had to say all right, i'll meet with the government at 11:00, with the opposition at 4:00. and in that time they had to sort of figure out, okay, who's going to do what. the opposition members, remember, are very knew to this-- new to this game. they just formed together and agreed to come like five days ago and realized they didn't have people to handle all the different issues that would be discussed and they really needed to work through some of that. >> speak of the different issues, what is realistickically on the table tomorrow? >> warner: well, hari, tomorrow i was just told that they are first going to go for what one western diplomat called a quick win. and that is to spend a couple of days ageing for humanitarian access into parts of homes which is as you know heavily we seejd. people are really desperate there.
and the opposition had said to its american and british advisors, look, if we're going to come to this conference and we're going to be criticized by the more extreme elements both in our own coalition and people inside, we've got to show we can produce something quickly on the ground. so the americans and the russians have been working heavily on this already for a week to ten days. so they hopefully can get that. then they'll move on to setting up the transitional government authority and also at the same time talking about these other measures like releasing prisoners, localized cease-fires and this list that we're familiar with. >> you said yesterday the opposition had a little momentum coming into these talks. is that sustained now? >> well, hari, i think they're still feeling good about how well they did at montre kpurx but today it shows they're not really ready for negotiating prime time. it is a huge experience. walid moualem, the syrian foreign minister, he knows how to negotiate. and the government gets to speak with one voice. and this opposition is a
fractious coalition that doesn't represent but maybe 25% of the opposition anyway an they're all exile-- exiled. so there is a huge experience gap, as one advisor said this is not like the russians and soviets sitting down to discuss arms control. the opposition has to learn it on the fly. >> so what are the pitfalls for the u.s.-backed opposition if this talks or these talks go as brahimi is predicting? >> the biggest pitfall for the western-backed op position, hari, i think, is that the talks become an end of itself. that the process brians on and on and in the meantime the regime keeps pounding civilians from the air and the rebel forces that, the sort of more moderate and even moderate islamist ones are squeezed between the syrian forces and these al qaeda linked fighters. jihadi fighters. and so that over time, it becomes an excuse for them to say hey, we're talking. we're part of this process. the american government, the administration can say of course we have a policy.
we have negotiations under way. but in the meantime the rebel opposition and the civilians basically get crushed on the ground. until there is very little left to talk about. that i think is the biggest pitfall. and apparently the opposition has told the person advisors we do not want this to be another middle east peace process. >> all right, chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner joining us from geneva, thank you very much. >> thank you, hari. >> wooduff: now, we look at another country divided. the political unrest in ukraine continues as riots spread from the capitol to nearly half the nation. despite president viktor yanukovych's pledge to reshuffle his government today, the protesters declared they won't stop until he is out of office. matt frei of independent television news has this report from kiev.
>> most of the city is going on with normality but look closer and you notice-- concentrated in less than a square mile of trouble. here revolutionary fervour is measured in tires they can't bring them fast enough to make the barricades, just in case. on the way to parliament the street is the scene of this week's battle and it doesn't look like it will have any traffic issues any time soon. there are now three roads of barricades here built through the night and the place is abuzz with the industry of -- >> none of this was here yesterday. the real estate of the revolution seems to become permanent especially if this crucial barricade close to parliament. it is impossible to imagine that these tires, these walls and these people will disappear without the government making significant concessions. >> news that the president wants to amend the hated
anti-protest laws leave them unimpressed. they still want him and the rest of the government to go. if this street is the key to the revolution, then independent square around the corner is its heart. this is where it all started. this is now a heavily fortified state within a state whose very existence is an affront to the authority. >> the government claims it is a hot bed of extremists and radicals. so where better to put this to the test than in the shopping-- that is right under niece. >> do you feel safe down here. >> yes, completely. >> are you in favor of what is happening up there. >> yes, i am in favor and i am happy to have medicine, food, socks. >> all right, so you are bringing supplies. >> yes, for sure. >> kiev is a city disfigured by politics. if there is to be a peaceful solution through negotiations there needs to
be trust. even the priests are tooling up, trust is in short supply. and both sides remain poised just in case. productive lives. >> wooduff: now, a pair of stories tied to concerns over economic inequality and mobility in the u.s. first a health story. there are about 15 million people in the united states-- who don't have access to the food they need to lead healthy and productive lives. 17 million of them are children. many live in big cities like los angeles, new york, houston and chicago. that's according to the latest report from the hunger relief group feeding america. but there are areas where the problem is much more pronounced than you might expect. and one of them is in southern california. hari is back with our report.
>> it's known as one of the most exclusive places on earth, the home of the rich and spectacularly rich. >> california here we come ♪ ♪. >> orange county, california's reputation only grew when the tv crews started rolling in several years ago. but the real housewives of orange county and the teens of laguna beach failed to mention a major piece of the oc drama a. the county is also among the top ten in the u.s. for childhood food insecurity. the term means that along with the yacht clubs and average home prices of nearly $2 million in some spots, orange county also has more than 150,000 children who don't know where their next meal is coming from. >> we're going to try to have done dns well paul leone is the president of the illumination foundation, a group that helps struggling families find housing and stability. >> orange county is basically the tale of two
cities. we have the area that we're standing in right now which is newport beach, the richest think in the nation. and then 17 miles away we have one of the most densely populated and poorest cities in the nation. >> among the poor are thousands of low income workers who support the county a's luxury economy. before leone's foundation intervened, kids in the pas civic neighborhood of anaheim often skipped meals. michelle cummings who volunteers for the foundation and lives in tina pa sick was one of the first to recognize how hung reher neighbors were. >> one night we had pizza delivered and a kid came over, like a half an hour later and he was like do you have any leftovers. i'm really hungry. and i was like-- are you serious? and he was like yeah, i'm hungry, you know, well, come on, here, you can have the rest of it. >> cummings made some calls an helped organize a program called kids cafe.
now each day after school she passes out fresh food dropped off by a local food bank. >> okay, go sit at your tables. >> the kids call cummings the lunch lady, a point of great pride for her. because not long ago she and her nine-year-old daughter sofia didn't always have enough new trishution food either. >> no problem. >> when she lost her job her life spiralled out of control. stable housing can be hard to come by in a place where average rents top $1200 for a one bedroom. >> they found themselves in line at the armory's homeless shelter. then living in a low rent motel where it was difficult to prepare little more than cheap processed food. >> like at first we were just doing microwave meals every night. and it was-- it was horrible, the salt in them was horrible. so before i got like cooking stuff, you know, we were living off microwave meals, definitely. >> for cummings health it was a recipe for disaster. within month she gained close to 40 pounds. that worried her.
but even more so, she worried about sofia, and for good reason. >> recent studies by the national institutes of health suggest that a lack of nutritious food especially during childhood can have long-lasting physical consequences. that linger for years if not decades. >> among them, anaemia, early onset diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, depression, stunted intellectual growth and obesity. >> it's that last point that many find hard to reconcile. the presence of malnutrition and obesity at the same time. >> but most processed foods while high in calories simply don't contain the nutrients that are so crucial for good health and productivity. >> there's also evidence that the body stores fat differently in times of stress. and that alternating between eating more when cash and food are plentiful, and less when they're not, triggers the body's fooets or famine reflexes, the result? weight gain.
barbara of the university of california at berkeley has been studying the long-term impacts of hunger for two decades. and says it all means the nutritional odds are stacked against low income families. >> so we have the stressful situations where you know, the body is saying i need some energy, reach for the cookie. and at this point in time, and inn the united states, cookies and snack foods are everywhere. so not only is the income restriction leading to purchasing energy dense foods, but it's the stress as well that absolutely leads to the perfect storm of gaining weight, possibly developing chronic disease and it might be associated with later chronic disease for children. >> that's why with one in five children sometimes going without meals in the community surrounding disneyland orange county has begun approaching the issue like a public health crisis. it started when oc public
health officer dr. eric handler ran into the director of the orange county food bank recently and had two basic questions. >> one, is there enough food in your food bank and he said no. and i said it if we were able to capture food that is wasted and direct these to people in need, could we end hunger in orange county, an he said yes. and that was the start of this campaign. >> about 40% of food in the u.s. is wasted. too often ending up in local landfills and buried. with that in mind, handlers started pushing the idea that businesses can easily change their habits and have an impact. >> so for the past few months handle letter and his team have been hitting the road in anaheim. >> we are very hopeful that there will be significant increases in number of establishments that are donating food. >> hoping to target first the largest food producers places like disneyland, angel stadium, the anaheim convention center and the honda center. >> our goal is to find out which establishments are currently donating food and
which are not. and those who are not donating food, to educate them to the fact that they are not held liable if food is recht correctly prepared. >> one has already shown the concept can work. the cheesecake factory near disneyland donates 200 to 300 pounds of food each week that has been fully prepared but left unserved. in the last five and a half years the chain has stored, packaged and handed off more than two and a half million pounds nationwide. members of the local food banks pick up the food which is often healthier than the packaged variety donated in food drives. >> hi, how are you today. >> on the consumer end, the coalition is also working to convince orange county health-care providers to ask questions about hunger during routine primary care visits. >> is there any time in the last couple months that you have had difficulty financially purchasing adequate food, fresh fruits
and vegetables for your family. >> the idea is that people like dr. phyllis stand the best shot at breaking through the stigma and getting people the help they need. she agrees and has been wiming to give it a try. but she also says local projects of this kind are just a piece of the solution. >> more importantly, i think as pediatricians we have a responsibility to children to advocate at the local, the state and the federal level for policies that will eliminate food insecurity in this country. >> back in the neighborhood of tina pacific things are looking up for michelle cummings. she recently landed a job as a caretaker for the elderly which means she and her daughter have enough food and a better mix of it. now that she has a kitchen, cummings can buy in bulk, cook from scratch and make her food stamp dollars last. >> i wouldn't say i can buy whatever i want, you know, i don't barbecue steak every night, that's for sure but i make it stretch. >> on the menu this night,
reheated soup laced with fresh vegetables. not the most elaborate meal in orange county but at least it's healthy, she says, and enough >> wooduff: online, we have more about the ties between hunger, stress and weight gain, and a slide show of the other top counties in the u.s. for childhood hunger. that's on our health page. our next segment examines new research that's drawing attention for its findings about economic opportunity in america. jeffrey brown picks it up from here. >> is it still possible to climb to the pop top in america. in a paper released this week a economists found the prospects for upward mobile, the american dream haven't changed in the last several decades. the ability to move up in the income ladder hasn't worserned but it also hasn't improved. raj chetty one of the authors, is professor of economics at harvard university and he joins me now. well, thanks for joining us. it might be hellful first to define what you mean by upward mobility? >> sure.
what we mean by upward mobility in this study is a child's chances of moving up in the income distribution. one way to measure that is the chance that a child say from the bottom fifth of the income distribution reaches the top fifth of the income distribution. you could also measure in other ways what is the average outcome of children from low income families or what are their odds of reaching the middle class. no matter which way we define upward mobility the main finding of our most recent study is that your odds of climbing up the income ladder haven't changed significantly over the past three decades or so. >> so were you surprised by that finding? >>. >> well, we were quite surprised. because i think many americans have the perception and certainly the public conversation has been that prospects for upward mobility are declining in the u.s. and to the contrary, what we found is that your odds of climbing up the income ladder haven't actually changed significantly, even while the amount of
inequality as has been widely discussed has increased substantially over this period. >> well, so let's go to that. first of all, is it a glass half full or half empty situation? how do you look at the problem that we have today? >> well, i think you shouldn't interpret the lack of a decline in upward mobility as good news in the sense that intergenerational mobility in the u.s., social mobility is lower than virtually any other developed country for which we currently have data. and so the way to think about this is that upward mobilityity is quite low, unfortunately, on average in the u.s. and it has remained, it's been persistently low for the past few decades. and so in that sense i think it's still an important and urgent policy priority to focus on identifying ways of improving upward mobility. >> in thinking about that, about possible policy prescriptions, how much do we know about why this has happened, why it has stayed the same or stagnated? >> that's a challenging question. one of the trends that we've
seen as i just mentioned is that inequality has increased. and conventional wisdom is that greater inequality might make upward mobility more difficult. one way to picture that is think of the income distribution as a ladder, and the rungs of the ladder or the percent aisle of income distribution, while inequality has been increasing it means the rungs of the ladder have grown further apart. so you might have thought intuitively that's going to make it harder for kids to climb up that ladder if they are starting from a low position. that turns out not to have happened and so perhaps one hypothesis that other things have changed at the same time over the past several decades. we've had significant improvements in civil rights, expanded access to higher education, and a number of or anti-poverty efforts that might have offset that detrimental effects of others in the economy. >> as you said inequality certainly has increased. so what, make the connection here for us. i saw a quote where you said now it matters more who your
parents are today than it did in the past. so you're saying that the consequences of inequality haven't have increased somehow impacting mobility, upward mobility. >> that's exactly right. the way to think about that is because the rungs of the ladder are further apart to go back to the analogy i was just using, who your parents are, if you happen to be by chance born to parents at the bottom of that ladder versus the top of the ladder that is more consequence today than it was in the past, precisely because the ladder is now expanded. so if you are born to parents who happen to be at the 20th percent isle instead of the 80th, that is a much bigger gap today than 2 it was 30 or 40 years ago. so the consequence of the fact that we have relatively low levels of mobility in the u.s. are much more serious today than they were in the past. and so we should be more concerned about the fact that mobility is quite low today. >> i want to come back to one other thing you mentioned was is the comparison to other countries. you said because the u.s.
remains behind many other countries now when it comes to upward mobility. do we know why? do we know what other countries are doing? that make it easier for mobility? >> well, it's difficult to draw lessons from cross-country comparisons because there are lots of other differences across areas. but in another study we've done to actually discussed on the newshour a few months ago. >> i remember, yes. >> we look at the geography of mobility within the united states and show that there is a lot of variation in upward mobility across areas within the u.s. so to give you one eck ample, the odds of a child from the bottom 20% reaching the top 20% are four out of 100 in atlanta, but 13 out of 100 in san jose, nearlyty time-- three times as large. and so the question that we ask is what is driving that difference in upward mobility within the u.s. and we identify a set of factors, a set of correlated factors such as segregation, income inequality, the
quality of schools in anier, family structure and measures of social coheesiveness. all of which are related to a higher level of upward mobility. now we don't know exactly what the cause of the termance what the recipe is that makes san jose have higher upward mobility than atlanta. but that's exactly what we would like to figure out and identify policies to improve upward mobilityity going forward. >> do you and your colleagues lack at other kind of policy areas, i'm thinking about, where they could make a difference, in up with yard-- upward mobility, i am tea talking about ed cag, whether public k through 12 or higher education. >> he absolutely, i think education could play a key role here. and we've done other work showing that the quality of teaching in particular in elementary schools has very significant impacts on kids outcomes in the long run. and i think another important factory keep in mind is a lot of these differents in upward mobility across areas emerge at relatively early ages.
by the time kids are 18 you're seeing a lot of these differences in teenage pregnancy rates and college a tendance rates. and so that suggests to me that we need to be intervening relatively early on, consistent actually with the earlier segment. on food insecurity the researchers have found in a variety of contexts that it's those early formative years as well as around age 10, age 15, that is the point at which differences really can merge and where intervention i think is important. >> all right, raj chetty-- okay, let me ask you one more question. you mentioned that you know upward mobility is cited regularly by politicians nowadays. are they, have they just missed something? within well, i think people's perceptions about trains and mobility may not quite have been accurate but i think the increased focus on income mobile sit a key policy priority is absolutely right on. and i think our study reinforces that message that
there are significantly lower levels of upward mobility than you might like in many parts of the u.s. even though that hasn't changed significantly over time. we should be conditioned that there is a persistent problem in many parts of america. like atlanta, like charlotte, like indianapolis, and many other cities where kids from disadvantaged backgrounds really don't have great odds of succeeded and i think it's critical to identify policies that can change that situation. >> and where is your study going from here. because we did have that conversation last year when you were looking at geography and now you come up looking at upward mobility. where do you go from here? >> yeah, that's right so all this work is part of what we're calling the equality of opportunity project. and the goal of this project is to use scientific methods and big data to try to identify what the determineance-of-upward mobility are and how we can improve kid's outcomes from disadvantaged backgrounds. one of the things we will study next is look at people who knew the cross areas, take a person who moves from
atlanta to san jose or atlanta to salt lake city. how do their kids outcomes change and what can we learn about what the exact causal factors are by looking at people who move across different areas. >> all right, raj chetty, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> ply pleasure >> wooduff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and new york times columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen. so we live in this rich country, mark and david, but we've just heard kind of a remarkable report that hari did from orange county, california, about hunger. and then we just heard raj chetty the economist in this fascinating conversation with jeff, mark, talk about how the mobility, the ability of people to move up if they are the lowest level of the income ladder really hasn't changed.
and in fact it's gotten worse in some ways. what are we to make of all this? >> i wish i had an answer for it. i think there is no question we're talking about this being an issue and theme that is going to dominate certainly the president's presentation coming up. and it's-- judy, the ret that he talked about, the income inequality, the economic inequality of the country in little over a generation we've gone from the top 1%-- 1% having 11% of the national income to 25%. and the bottom 90% nash, is 90% of the people instead of sharing 67%, down to less than 50. so that widening income in economic inequality is real. and it has consequences that are social that are political. and that are generational. and i was just blown away by
the interview with jeff, i mean, it was to me, it was so riveting what he says and how he says it. >> david, what effect does this have? or should have it on our public debate? >> well, i'm frankly a little concerned about the way it is going to effect our public debate. inequality is certainly widening, mobility is what we have toy about as americans it is the person dream. but as a frame it is a very broad frame. what mark talked about, the concentration of welfare at the top. -- -- what is happening in the lower 20 to or 40% caused by a different set of problems so we have a whole bunch of problems all intermingled and my viewing of the political system i done think can deal with all these problems all layered on top. if i were president o bomba doing the state of the unioned ares next week i what say where is the greatest injustice. where is the greatest harm. and i would says that's at the bottom 20% or bottom 40%. you take kids what do they have to do to have a chance at a decent life, graduate from high school at age 19
with maybe a 2.5 gpa, not get convicted, not get pregnant, only 37% of kids at the bottom 20% income scale are doing that, only 37%, so that is where the greatest harm is, that is already a difficult problem. and i would focus on that, with early childhood education, family partnerships, school programs, i would really focus energy on that rather than this vast societiwide issue called inequality. >> but do we think that he may do some of that, mark? >> i think he will. i think, david makes a very, very good point, and a real point. but judy when we just talk about family, and we talk about, which i think has become sort of the dividing line, it's values that we have to do, the other side saying there is economic war here, and i think that is something that is real. there are defined economic interests and there is one side that is one and one
side that is lost. and when we talk about children born to unmarried mothers, the country with the highest economic mobility in the world is denmark. with 55%. of babies born to unmarried mothers, you know. they are just not having a-- marriage. >> but i mean you could say that marriage then as an institution in western europe has suffered. but i mean, just to simply say that this is the answer, i think it is-- it's globalization, it's-- if the decline of all these jobs in the industrial base of the country, it is a weak-- there are dozens factors that have contributed to it. but i think the fact it's being addressed is important and urgeant. >> that is what made it so hard as a political issue, it is economic t is the decline of low skill job, the stillization, that leads to a lot of especially men who are not worth marrying
because they don't have incomes, they don't have wages. and so they're just not going to get married. there is a clear economic cause there. there is also a cultural shift as more people decide it's okay to have children before getting married. and these two interplay in incredibly complicated way, that is very hard to understand and probably differs person to person. so my view is it is already phenomenally thick and thorny problem. and so by making it more thick by putting all these societiwide things, i understand there is inequality, mobility problems, i just think when we think about policy it is really important to focus. >> but sometimes we feel the political parts are stuck in an argument. one makes one argument, the other one makes other. does this change what those arguments should be? >> i think it, the question becomes, does the economy serve the people or do people serve the economy? >> and i think that to me is the chiefage here. i mean i'm sorry, people, the economy exist, the economy is thriving, working for very powerful and influential people, we see
it in the scandals every day in our american politics. people with the affluence have influence. and it comes down to, i think, a fundamental question about what kind of a society you are, is does this economy exist for people. and i just think we've got to figure out a way to let people participate and enable them do participate in in this economy. and to live a life of dignity and respect. >> yeah, another just another chiefage which i do not know the answer to, is the economy properly awarding workers. democrats tend to see these are productive workers and the economy is not rewarding them because there are fewer unions and things like that. republicans continued to gravitate toward the issue, these are just not that productive workers and the economy is fairly rewarding them and therefore the response is to increase their human capital through education and other things so to make them more productive. and that sort of basic question, is the capitalist economy right now working or is it not. >> and as we said tonight we reported the chairman of
jpmorgan chase making $20 million last year, at a company that did have what, 33% increase in profits. >> if you are arrested as an axe murder you want jay me dimon arguing for you. he kept the company out of jail and profitable so they double his salary. >> we mentioned, one of you, both of you i think mark mentioned politicians in trouble. the former governor of virginia indicted today for, along with his wife for taking money, gifts, loans from a businessman in virginia, and the question is whether he did anything in return. and we don't know whether he did. david. but some, you hear the argument made that well, this is the kind of thing all politicians do. is this the kind of thing. >> no, not really, most politicians are not actually that into money. that is why they went into politics. they're into power, prestige,
they want to be the center of attention. what is mystifying about this couple is the fascination with rolexes and fir arees, have a been $80 watch, why dow need a $6500 watch what are getting out of it. he needs status, i guess he wants a rolex but he's governor. he has a security detail, that's status. so what the psychology that was driving them is a bit of a mystery to me. and then i think it's partly and this is true of politicians, they spend their time hanging around rich people. constantly around rich people, look at the table rolex, rolex, rolex and studly they don't fit in and that does have a corrupting affect on politicians in a variety of ways, actually. >> and that's universal. the point, the last point david made is absolutely universal. we have a system that is excessively deferential to people with money. politicians spend too much of their time seeking the approbation and the support of people with money. and a little resentment develops. not in any way justifying
bob mcdonnell, bob mcdonnell was a very appealing political figure. he was a real possibility to be on the ticket. he won as a conservative in a swing state, the battleground state. >> the vice president, in virginia, he governed as a moderate. he was successful governor. but and this is not somedy selling the mineral rights of a country. this is not rob blagojevich selling a u.s. senate seat to the highest bidder but it is grubby entitlement. and the rolex gene which is exclusively male is a real disorder. it truly is i have no idea. i mean bernie madoff had 17 rolexes. jessie jackson, jr.,-- 17! and jessie jackson are, jr., the same thing, he had a rolex, i have no idea what it is. i talked to the smartest woman i know this week and she said it's man's real impulse to wear diamond necklaces and rolex, is the
closest thing to it that's tolerable. >> i'm to the going to ask shall did --. >> i've got diamonds -- >> all right, just one last quick question, speaking of poll tigs and money. hillary clinton, we haven't talked a lot about her in a while. but she's going around the country making speeches and i guess one of the most successful political action committees super pacs announced this week that it is going to be backing her. so again it's what you both are talking about. it's money, it's politics. what does this is a, that here we are, january 2014 and we're already talking about how much money. >> yeah, well, they're trying to scare people out of the race. but to me it's not going to work. it's the sound of doom. i don't think it's the sound of doom but i do not think she is going to be core natured out of this. and the fact that some high-flying washington paebment pac is helping her is not going to necessarily help her. there is a great outsider hunger here. and i'm looking for an outsider, governor jerry brown of california, mark my words, he's going to run.
>> 2016 will not be go continuity t will be about change. and the idea that you're talking about the inevitability of a campaign strategy, that you better buy your ticket right now and get on the train because it's pulling out of the station, american voters, we are participating in this. and i just really think that it's a total disservice, quite frankly, to president obama it makes him look more and more like a lame duck when his own party can't wait to get him out of town. it would be one thing if it was a republican sitting it in the white house. there is a democrat and he's basically a thousand days left in his term. >> i just want to see what kind of watch you both are wearing. >> l.l. bean. >> very cheap. >> l.l. bean, overpriced at $89. >> mark shields david brooks, thank you both. >> wooduff: finally tonight, remembering a poet who challenged his country's military dictators. jeff is back with that >> brown: juan gelman was an
argentine poet who became a major literary figure throughout latin america and in spain. he was also known for his fight against the military junta that ruled argentina in the 1970's and 80's, and for the personal tragedy that came from that. his daughter was kidnapped and tortured. his son and daughter-in-law were killed. and their child, gelman's granddaughter, was taken and given away for adoption. gelman finally located her in 2000. juan gelman died at age 83 at his home in mexico city this week. here to tell us more is ilan stavans, a writer and professor of latin american culture at amherst college. he's editor of "the fsg book of 20th century latin american poetry." first tell us a little bit about juan gelman the poet. what account for his prominence in the spanish speaking world. what was his poetry like? >> juan gelman belonged to a tradition in latin american poetry that connected the people with the word, the
spoken word, the written word, the tradition best represented by pablo-- in his case juan gelman's case he understood that the role of poetry was to speak truth to power. and throughout the dirty war, he took very seriously the role that as a poet he needed to bear witness to the situation that the country was going through and to allow his poetry to last beyond the daily massacres, the disappearances that were taking place. he was very shrewd. he knew that a poem is more powerful, ultimately than a gun or a hand grenade in that a poem can change people's minds and that is what his poetry ended up doing. >> and the themes that he addressed went to that? or i saw in one the end of one poem that you translated called end, poetry is a way of living. look at the people at your side. do they eat, suffer, sing,
cry. he was really looking at common people. >> he was looking at common people. he was looking at common things. he was looking at our environment, at nature in general. and trying to give those objects that surround us the place that they have, recognizing them, birds, the ocean, a city, a car. they are part of our daily life and we barely notice them. through his poetry he wanted to connect us with the environment. he wanted to connect us with the emotions that we feel. and he wanted to use poetry as a way to explain what the dna of an entire civilization was about. the beauty of his poetry is that he found a style that connected the entire argentine people with the continent of latin america and the world entire by allowing him to speak about the very daley, very mundane, very common happenings that make a life, and that as a poet he wanted to bear
witness to them. he understood that poetry and politics go hand-in-hand. and the moment he died in argentina, the entire country came to a halt, it understood that a part of its soul had left. and yet the poetry that juan gelman left us with in a beautiful style, a style that often breaks the sentences, that uses or doesn't use punctuation depending on the circumstances often also inventing new words, lasts him and will squarely intergrate him into a tradition that i think will be read for generations to come. >> well, let me ask you to finish then with one of his poems. and you chose a short one called epitaph. i will ask you to read in the english translation for us. >> my pleasure. a bird lived in me. a
>> all right, ilan stavans on thelife and work of juan gelman, thank you so much. >> my pleasure, thank you for giving poetry a space. >> wooduff: again, the major developments of the day. a global sell-off hit wall street. the dow industrials lost more than 300 points, the most since june. direct talks between the syrian government and the opposition were scrubbed in geneva. but a u.n. envoy announced they will meet face-to-face tomorrow. bombings in cairo, egypt killed six people. it was the worst attack since
the military ousted islamist president mohammed morsi. and a texas judge ordered a fort worth hospital to remove life support for a pregnant, brain- dead woman. she's been kept alive against her family's wishes. on the newshour online: you're used to hearing mark and david's political analysis, but we also want to hear from you. immediately following president obama's state of the union address on tuesday, we will be collecting your video responses. tell us how well you think the president addressed the issues important to you. instructions on how to submit your video are on the rundown. an added bonus: we'll be selecting the best videos for air on wednesday. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen ifill is preparing for "washington week ", which airs later this evening. here's a preview: >> we explore the tale of
two rising star governors. both now under federal investigation. plus more on the troubled syrian peace talks. that is tonight on washington week. judy? >> wooduff: on tomorrow's edition of pbs newshour weekend correspondent william brangham reports from inside iran on how economic sanctions are affecting everyday iranians. and we'll be back, right here, on monday. that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff, have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years.
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