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ISSUE NUMBER ONE
Hillary Clinton Addresses Economy Issues in P.A.; How to Lower Your Credit Score; Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Responds to Indictment
Aired March 24, 2008 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GERRI WILLIS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to ISSUE #1. I'm Gerri Willis.
Ali Velshi will be along in a minute.
The latest indicator in America's housing market is out, and it is a mixed bag. Existing home sales are up for the first time in six months, but the average price of a home dropped nearly nine percent from this time last year. Now, all of this, according to National Association of Realtors.
This news, as Senator Hillary Clinton delivered a major economic policy speech in Philadelphia.
CNN's Dan Lothian is live in Philadelphia with more.
Hi there, Dan.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Gerri.
Well, a lot of this speech we have heard bits and pieces of in the past, certainly in the last few weeks of Senator Clinton's campaign. But one of the things that really stood out today is that she was pointing out or proposing that President Bush should form what she called an emergency working group, and this would be made up of high-level economists who could sit down and take a look at this mortgage crisis. This is something that she says needs specific attention, needs to be addressed, and so she is proposing this.
I should point out also that one of the other things, in addition to this that she's calling on, is for Congress, as well as the president, to support what she is calling sort of a second stimulus plan. And this would be an additional $30 billion that would be pumped into states and local economies to help people in terms of restructuring their mortgages, those who are being foreclosed on, to be able to save their homes, to really help out these communities that are being hard hit by the mortgage crisis.
Senator Clinton saying that, for many Americans, they've simply lost confidence in the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our housing crisis is at heart an American dream crisis. Your home isn't just your greatest asset, your greatest source of wealth, it's your greatest source of security. It's what anchors you to your neighborhood and your community. It's the center of your family.
For the past seven years we've had a president who stands up for the special interests, for the insurance companies and the mortgage companies and Wall Street. Now it's time for a president who stands up for American families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: Now, Senator Barack Obama responding to that working group proposal that Senator Clinton put out there today, said that -- his campaign saying that, as of a year ago, that they sent a letter to Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve, proposing something quite similar. So essentially they're saying that, you know, what she is putting out there today is nothing new -- Gerri.
WILLIS: Dan, thank you for that story.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks Gerri and Dan.
The housing market is a hot topic, and there's a good reason why. Our good friend Greg Hunter is here with that story -- Greg.
GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, if you have mortgage trouble, the first question you have is, where do I get it? And then, how do I get my payments actually reduced and permanently reduced? Well, here's the real story.
YOLANDA CRUZ, HOMEOWNER: Oh, no.
HUNTER (voice-over): For two years, Yolanda Cruz has been trying to renegotiate her mortgage. Her $1,500 monthly payment did not include taxes and insurance, with she claims her mortgage company promised.
CRUZ: I feel like I was taken advantage of.
HUNTER: After filing mountains of paperwork with her loan servicer, Cruz finally thought she had a deal in the form of a catch- up payment of $3,000 which she paid. She later received a foreclosure notice. Cruz says the company told her she sent the wrong amount.
CRUZ: I hope it doesn't come to that. This is not a house. This is our home.
HUNTER: Housing advocates say Cruz's experience is fairly common.
ERIN KEMPLE, CT. FAIRHOUSING CTR.: The problem is that the servicer doesn't have the power to renegotiate a loan.
HUNTER (on-camera): Because?
KEMPLE: Because they don't actually own the loan in order to make changes to the payment plan. HUNTER (voice-over): Many mortgages are owned by a group of institutions, not by a single bank. Housing counselor, Erin Kemple says the loan servicers are beholden to those investors.
KEMPLE: If they don't have a sufficient return for what they are being paid for that they are not going to get any more business. That the investors are not going to employ them.
HUNTER: Borrowers may be offered temporary repayment plans that made higher payments later on or extend the life of the mortgage. But getting mortgage payments lowered is much harder, even for someone like Odelle Boykin, who may have been the victim of predatory lending. Boykin says her lender promised she could refinance when her payments went up.
ODELLE BOYKIN, HOMEOWNER: They told me that they weren't doing refinances anymore.
HUNTER: In October, her payments shot up nearly $300 a month. Next month, they are said to increase again.
KARIN NIGOL, HOUSING EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE CTR.: She should not have been given this loan in the first place.
HUNTER (on-camera): Why?
NIGOL: Because she can't afford it. They fudged her income on it.
HUNTER (voice-over): All though Boykin says she kept making payments at the lower rate. The servicer stopped excepting them. Now she is being threatened with foreclosure. The hope of lenders and services is doing some good. It has kept more than a million borrowers from foreclosure since July.
HUNTER: Most people so far aren't getting their payment actually cut, isn't that true?
FAITH SCHWARTZ, EXEC. DIR., HOPE NOW ALLIANCE: The vast majority.
HUNTER: In fact, at least three-quarters are not getting their payments cut.
(on-camera): Aren't a lot of people just simply going to be forced to walk away or go into foreclosure?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The simple answer is yes.
HUNTER: Cruz's servicer is owned by Wells Fargo Bank, who says they cannot share specific customer loan information with anyone other than the customer, and goes on to say, "For the past several months, we've attempted to reach out to Mr. And Mrs. Cruz in an effort to resolve their situation but have not had success in making contact with them."
Fremont Investment, which services Mrs. Boykin's loan, would not address the accusation her broker misreported her income, but it says it has sent her a proposed modification program and will be following up the efforts made to reach the borrower directly to discuss the problem.
VELSHI: All right, Greg. For people who are watching this who are facing this problem, they've seen their payments go up, or they might be in danger of foreclosure, what should they do?
HUNTER: This is what mortgage advocates say. They say, even if you think you're going to miss a payment, even if you're only one payment behind, get professional help immediately, don't try to do it yourself. Please, get professional help. That's -- and do it early. That's best way to stay in your home -- Ali.
VELSHI: All right. Greg Hunter, thanks very much for that.
WILLIS: Up next, you miss a payment here, you miss a payment there. We'll show you how to repair your credit score.
VELSHI: All right. You are looking at a picture coming to us from Detroit. We're awaiting a news conference by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has been indicted on several charges, 12 charges, of perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct while in office. He's been indicted, along with his chief of staff, former chief of staff.
We are waiting for his response to that. We're expecting that to be very shortly, and we will bring it to you as soon as it comes this way -- Gerri.
WILLIS: Yesterday marked a very somber milestone in the war in Iraq. The overall U.S. death toll now stands at 4,000. For us here at home, it's hard to fathom the sacrifice our servicemen and women have made, the trauma they've endured on the front lines. But there's a different kind of hardship on our troops facing right here at home.
Barbara Starr joins us now from the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, hello to you, Gerri.
You know, so many military families are facing the same problems that other American families are -- rising costs, the paycheck not going as far. And for military families, of course, it's compounded by the stress and strain of perhaps long tours of duty in the war zone.
So, an organization called the Army Emergency Relief Organization, a private nonprofit corporation that works with the military, is stepping up and increasing its longstanding efforts to offer no-interest loans or grants to military families in economic trouble. We spoke to them, and they provided us with some really staggering statistics about the growth of the number of army families that need this kind of help.
Let's look at some of these statistics. You know, in 2007, it skyrocketed. The number of families going up to 60,000, army families or personnel needing help, needing $63 million in those no-interest loans or grants.
That's up significantly over the last four years. If you go back to 2004, that was $35 million to 39,000 troops and their families. A hefty chunk of change alone, but look at how much it's grown in the last four years.
And just in the first few months of 2008, as we continue to look at some of these numbers, we see the need is still increasing. The first two months of 2008, it was $8.7 million to some 9,483 troops that came to the Army saying they needed economic help, and that's up, of course, from the year before, $7.2 million for some 8,500 troops or so.
One of the things that the Army tells us is they're really trying to get those folks away from those predatory payday lenders. They'd rather they come to them for help than go to those lenders and get themselves in the even deeper economic trouble -- Gerri.
WILLIS: Why are we seeing a dramatic increase in military families in need, Barbara?
STARR: Well, you know, it's like a lot of other families on these fixed paychecks with the rising cost of fuel, food, housing. When they have an unexpected cost, then they're in trouble and that paycheck just doesn't go as far.
What they tell us in the army is the kinds of things they're seeing troops coming and asking for help with is help in covering their rent or mortgages, medical bills, unexpected medical bills, unexpected travel for things like funerals, car repairs, disaster assistance, all of that sort of thing.
It's a case of where it's just like with other Americans, but it's an awfully stressful circumstance, especially when a family member is deployed. And if you are a military family and you're in trouble economically, what the Army says is, go to your base commander, see what is available to you through the Army Emergency Relief Organization, and ask for help before you get into even deeper financial trouble -- Gerri.
WILLIS: As always, you've got to take that first step to get help.
Barbara Starr, thank you for that -- Ali.
VELSHI: As Barbara mentioned, a lot of military folks have been turning to payday loans. They actually have some protections that other Americans don't have. This is tough times, and all sorts of people are turning to these predatory loans.
CNN's Jennifer Westhoven joins us now with that story -- Jennifer.
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I really can't stress enough how important it is not to get into these kinds of loans, because when we look at the statistics, they are so troubling. I mean, they sound so great, right? They can tide me over, just a few hundred dollars here, I can pay my bills, and then I'll just pay this back in two weeks when I get paid again.
The average, some statistics show, to complete these loans to pay them back, two years, not two weeks. One little setback, one car breakdown, you get sick, these fees and rates can really spiral out of control.
Look at this. For the average loan of just $325, the average person is paying back almost $800. Rates can really be from 400 percent to 800 percent when you put in the different fees that they put in there. I mean, that's a lot of money you could be saving paying your bills with.
And the big picture is the people who are in housing trouble are trying these. In Ohio, which has really been hard hit by the housing crisis, there are now more payday loan shops than McDonald's, Burger Kings and Wendy's put together.
Yes, I think that's really surprising. There's a lot of controversy heating up in a lot of different states to cap these like they did for some members of the military. They say it can only be 36 percent.
VELSHI: Only 36 percent? That's incredible.
WESTHOVEN: It's still a lot, but those payday companies say, hey, that will really put us out of business, because they also lose a lot of loans too.
VELSHI: Is this -- if you got rid of payday loans, for those who do depend on them, is that a bad thing or is it a good thing? I mean, it sounds with interest rates that we'd be better off without them entirely, but that means some people can't get money.
WESTHOVEN: In general, I think the preponderance of evidence is that they're very terrible. But there is a Federal Reserve study that says some people get out of bounced checks this way, that there are fewer bankruptcies because of them. But at the same time, what a risk to take on. And you can really end up paying for this for months and years.
VELSHI: And what a cost. I think you were telling me earlier that it's kind of like blaming the -- they say it's blaming the tow truck for the car breaking down. That's what the industry says.
WESTHOVEN: Right, if the tow truck costs twice as much as your car. Yes.
VELSHI: Yes. Jennifer, thanks so much -- Gerri.
WILLIS: ISSUE #1 is all about you, and you get a chance to weigh in right now.
Let's go over to Poppy Harlow, who is at the CNNMoney.com set with today's "Quick Vote" question.
Hi there, Poppy.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Hi, Gerri.
Well, as you know very well, poll after poll has shown us that Americans are cutting back on spending as our economy continues to show signs of weakening. On Friday, I was at the Mall of America. I had a chance to speak with a lot of shoppers, a lot of families, and they're certainly altering the way that they spend their money.
Take a listen to what one mother had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard to cut her back, so instead we've cut a little bit back on eating out at restaurants or doing home improvement projects around the house. We have a young boy at home that's still growing. It's hard not to buy clothes every couple of months when they keep outgrowing their clothes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And you are so much a part of this. We want to hear from you.
How much money did you spend this holiday weekend? Here's our "Quick Vote" poll question today. Log on to cnnmoney.com to vote.
Did you spend more than $500, more than $250, more than $100, or less than $100?
We'll be back a little later in the show, Gerri, with the results.
WILLIS: Thanks for that, Poppy. We'll check back in with you in a bit.
HARLOW: No problem.
VELSHI: All right. Well, the Bear Stearns saga just got a little more interesting today. JPMorgan Chase is now offering $10 a share. That's up from $2, and that brings up two questions. Is JPMorgan getting a steal of a deal and are taxpayers really the ones footing the bill?
We're joined by our panel today. Allan Chernoff is going to answer that question to us.
What's the news and what does it mean?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ali, certainly this is still a great deal for JPMorgan Chase, no doubt about it. They did have to increase their offer just to get this approved, but now it's almost guaranteed to happen.
They're paying about $1.2 billion and assuming another $1 billion of losses on rotten paper that Bear Stearns has. But guess what? Guess who assumes the rest of the losses, up to $29 billion? You and me, the U.S. taxpayer. The Federal Reserve is guaranteeing that much, and we're ultimately paying for that.
VELSHI: And is this -- this is -- we knew about this deal already. Now JPMorgan is upping its bid for Bear Stearns.
Is this the end of this, or are we going to see more taxpayer money going into this, do you think?
CHERNOFF: Well, into this specific deal, the limit is up to $29 billion. But this on top of a lot of money that the U.S. taxpayer has already been shelling out to make sure that the financial markets calm down. The Federal Reserve has been guaranteeing money to securities firms. If they give in, their junk paper -- and it is junk now...
CHERNOFF: ... we are backing it up with our money. We're also giving securities firms cheap money at the Federal Reserve's discount window. We're paying for that.
VELSHI: So it doesn't matter what your credit and your mortgage looks like. The bottom line is now everybody is involved in this mortgage crisis.
Allan Chernoff, thanks very much. We'll see you in a little bit -- Gerri.
WILLIS: Up next, learn how to take steps right now to fix your credit score once and for all. And why knowing the term "green collar jobs" could go a long way for you over the coming years.
VELSHI: All right. You're looking at live pictures coming in from Detroit, where we are expecting a statement by Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has been indicted, along with his former chief of staff, on several charges, including perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. This relates to some text messages that suggested an inappropriate relationship between the two of them. We will bring that news conference to you as soon as it begins.
Now, the whole concept behind this program, ISSUE #1, is that you get to weigh in on that matter that is issue No. 1 in this election, the economy. Everything to do with your money. And we have regularly been bringing you polls to show you what Americans are most worried about in this election about their money.
For today's installment of that, let's turn to CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. He's live with the CNN Election Express in Philadelphia.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Ali.
Well, today's question is this: Should the Bush tax cuts passed in 2001 be made permanent? President Bush wants them to be made permanent. So does John McCain, even though he initially opposed them. And so do most voters.
It's very difficult to oppose a tax cut. It always puts a party in a politically difficult position.
The Democrats have been resisting. They want to make the case that extending the tax cuts for the wealthy taxpayers, that's not warranted, and they should not be made permanent, but continuing them for middle class taxpayers would be a good idea because they are hard pressed. But the public as a whole when asked, should the tax cuts be made permanent, good idea, 54 percent.
VELSHI: That is interesting, because both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have a very similar view on those tax cuts, keeping them for the middle class, not extending them, not making them permanent for the wealthy.
VELSHI: Now, the other issue, Bill, is that people are anxiously awaiting their rebate checks. The first of them will start to go out in the beginning of May. Do we know how people are planning to spend that money, whether it's go back into the economy or it's going to cover their outstanding debt?
SCHNEIDER: Well, we do know, because we asked people, what are you going to do with money, $600 for every single taxpayer, $1,200 per family? And the answer is they're going to use the money in plurality to pay off their bills, 41 percent. Thirty-two percent say they're going to save that money, just 21 percent say they're going spend it.
So, if this is going to be an economic stimulus, it doesn't look like much of a stimulus, because only about $1 in $5 is likely to be spent. But it still will help a lot of hard-pressed taxpayers who are burdened by a lot of debt that they need to pay off -- Ali.
VELSHI: And that number that you talk about is even lower than what the National Retail Federation thought that people might go out and spend. So that will be interesting to follow.
Bill Schneider, thanks very much.
Bill Schneider, part of the best political team in television -- Gerri.
WILLIS: Let's face it, most of us will be late on a mortgage or credit card payment at some point in our lives, and it's really easy to get behind. But once you're in a hole, how do you dig yourself out and repair your credit?
John Ulzheimer is with credit.com. He's also author of "You're Nothing but a Number."
John, I love the name of that book. It's perfect.
JOHN ULZHEIMER, CREDIT.COM: Thanks, Gerri.
WILLIS: Let's start though with a tough question.
ULZHEIMER: All right.
WILLIS: If you do miss a mortgage payment, how much is your credit score dinged?
ULZHEIMER: Well, if you miss a mortgage payment, it really depends. The more severe the late payment gets -- once it gets past 90 days past due, now we're talking some serious damage to your credit scores.
WILLIS: OK. And then what do you do to repair it?
ULZHEIMER: Well, the first thing you have to do is you have to get it current as soon as possible. If you allow it to go even further, meaning into foreclosure, then the damage is more permanent and lasts for a full seven years, while it remains on your credit reports.
WILLIS: Wow. That's a long time.
WILLIS: A very long time.
OK. Let's say you've had problems and you're trying to improve your credit score. What number are you aiming for? What do lenders want to see if they're giving you a loan right now?
ULZHEIMER: Yes, that's a fantastic question. And the answer is, if you want to guarantee yourself the best rates and best terms that any lender has to offer, you really need to be boasting a 750 across the board. Now, of course you can still get approved with a score lower than 750. You can even get credit in the mid 600s. But you should not expect the best rates and the best terms in the mid 600s.
WILLIS: Wow -- 750, though, that's well above what it was at the height of the boom, right? They were giving money to everybody, right?
ULZHEIMER: They were giving it away. If you could fog a mirror, they were giving you a loan.
WILLIS: All right. Well, let's talk a little bit about severe defaults.
What are the kinds of things that are very difficult to repair? What are the worst case scenarios, the red flags, if you will, that people have a hard time fixing? ULZHEIMER: Yes. The stuff that's really, really difficult are the serious delinquencies. And you can include repossessions, foreclosures, bankruptcies, collections, charged-off accounts, tax liens and judgments as being significantly damaging to your credit scores for a very, very long time.
WILLIS: When I'm in repair mode, John, should I be closing credit cards traying to really rein in my spending, making a budget? What are the right moves?
ULZHEIMER: You should absolutely not close your credit cards. That is never a good strategy for improving your credit scores.
If you're in credit score improvement mode, you really need to kind of take a step back, no knee-jerk reactions, and tackle the things that are costing you the most. Pay off the collections or settle them, pay down the credit card debt as much as possible. And by all means, do not exit the credit environment as a means for improving your credit score. You want to jump back in and establish good accounts and pay them on time, this time around, because credit scores want to see that recent, positive information.
WILLIS: All right. But you don't want to spend the limit on these credit cards, right?
ULZHEIMER: No, no. This is not a license to spend. This is you proving that you can establish credit and maintain it in a good standing, this time around.
WILLIS: All right.
John Ulzheimer, thank you for that. Great interview.
VELSHI: Well, coming up next on ISSUE #1, green collar jobs -- the new buzzwords on the campaign trail. But what are they? And speaking of jobs, where are they, and what are some of the hottest ones out there right now?
Plus, it's your turn to sound off. Send us an e-mail to email@example.com, and don't forget to include your name and state. We'll try get to them after this.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta.
"ISSUE #1" continues in just a minute. But first, a check on the stories making headlines right now.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief aide, Christine Beatty, indicted on several charges. Among them, perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. There are 12 counts in all. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy made that announcement about an hour ago. She says they have until tomorrow to turn themselves in for arraignment. Kilpatrick and Beatty are accused of lying under oath about an alleged affair. Parts of steamy text messages left on Beatty's pager appear to contradict their denials.
Right now we're awaiting a news conference schedule by Mayor Kilpatrick. We'll take you there live, of course, when that happens. You won't miss it. There's a live picture right now from our affiliate WDIV in Detroit.
Getting back to business on the campaign trail now. Hillary Clinton is in Pennsylvania today with what was described as a major policy speech on the economy. Well, today is the last day for Pennsylvanians to register to vote in the April 22 primary.
Barack Obama's off the trail. He's taking a few days vacation. John McCain continues his busy schedule.
Today, McCain heads to California for a town hall meeting near San Diego and for a fund-raiser there.
Trouble on the high seas this morning. Four people are dead, one person is missing after a commercial fishing ship sank off the coast of Alaska. The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for that last crew member. They say it's not clear what caused the ship to sing.
And, again, as soon as that press conference happens in Detroit with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, we'll bring it to you live right here on CNN.
Back to "ISSUE #1."
I'm Don Lemon. I'll see you for the "CNN NEWSROOM" at the top of the hour.
WILLIS: As the presidential race heats up, a new buzz phrase has emerged on the campaign trail, "green collar jobs."
VELSHI: So what are green collar jobs and how do you find one?
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta explains.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Want some coffee?
JOHN MORRIS, SAFETY ENGINEER, XUNLIGHT: Yes.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 34 years working in Toledo, Ohio's, automotive industry, John Morris was laid off and left to fend for himself in a bleak job market.
MORRIS: Being that I was in automotive, there just was nothing out there.
ACOSTA: But to his surprise, his skills on the assembly line actually came in handy, landing him a job as a safety engineer at Xunlight, a start-up company that makes solar energy panels.
MORRIS: I'm a green collar worker now. It was very exciting for me to be able to start on the ground floor of a new type development.
XUNMING DENG, PRESIDENT & CEO, XUNLIGHT: Our modules are lightweight and flexible.
ACOSTA: The company's president and CEO, Xunming Deng, believes Toledo is a good place to grow his company. In part because of the availability of skilled factory workers like John Morris.
DENG: There are some venture capitalists that say that we got to move to California to grow a successful start-up. But the other venture capitalists, they come over and say, they say, Xunming, this is such a wonderful place because you have all this highly trained workers available to help out. They are just right there.
ACOSTA: Before Xunlight, Toledo was already home to First Solar, the nation's largest solar panel maker. But it's not just Toledo. Green collar jobs are sprouting up across the country. And with the proper incentives, analysts say the industry could generate 3 million new jobs over the next two decades.
GEORGE STERZINGER, RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY PROJECT: It could leak overseas unless the United States, I think particularly at the federal level, is really aggressive about providing federal supports.
ACOSTA: George Sterzinger, with the Renewable Energy Policy Project, fears the U.S. could miss out on this emerging market.
STERZINGER: One of the things that people have to realize is, that it is a potential. It's only a potential.
ACOSTA: Toledo's mayor, Carty Finkbiener, has seen the potential. He singles out solar energy as one of the lone bright spots in Ohio, a state that's lost close to a quart of its manufacturing jobs in the last decade.
MAYOR CARTY FINKBIENER, TOLEDO, OHIO: We regained some of the lost quality of life, some of the lost jobs, the economic vigor.
ACOSTA: For John Morris, the future is going green.
MORRIS: It's a business that I hope I don't have to worry about tomorrow whether I will be out of a job. And there's a good future for us.
ACOSTA: But advocates for green collar jobs say Congress is the key. Despite those success stories, tax credits for alternative energies were not renewed in 2007 and the current bill for those credits faces an uphill battle -- Ali and Gerri.
VELSHI: Jim, like so many other initiatives, it needs some government support. ACOSTA: Some investment, that's right.
VELSHI: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
ACOSTA: You bet.
VELSHI: You know, one of the things we've been talking about, Gerri, is I've been looking at different states and how they compare to, you know, a national level in terms of unemployment. Unemployment's kind of a weird measure because it measures those people who are either in the workforce or still looking for a job.
What I thought I'd take a look at is job growth. Most people will be interested to find out that the job growth in this country is less than one percent. So at the end of 2007, there were fewer than one percent more jobs in the United States.
I took a look at those states that had low unemployment and high job growth. The top of the list is Texas, interestingly. Didn't plan on that even though I spent sort of 10 days in Texas just recently talking to people about the economy.
Texas has more than three times the national average job growth. Job areas where there are jobs are in the professional and business services. Now these are Bureau of Labor Statistics descriptions, so they're very broad.
Trade, transportation, and utilities. Trade, obviously, it's near Mexico. A lot of transport, a lot of trucking through the country to the state. And leisure and hospitality. Obviously with the low dollar, that's attracting a lot of tourists.
Wyoming also comes out very well. More than three-and-a-half times the national average in job growth. Again, professional and business services, trade transportation and utilities -- same as Texas -- and construction. There are very, very few states in the United States that are actually growing construction jobs. Wyoming is one of them. And the third one you know something about, North Carolina.
WILLIS: That's one of my favorite states right there.
VELSHI: That's one of your favorite states. More than double the national average in job growth. Again, professional and business services, education -- which is actually, while the pay is not fantastic across the country, that is an area of growth.
The third one's a little worrisome. It's government jobs. You don't necessarily want to see that as part of the growth in the economy, but there are more than double in national average in terms of job growth in North Carolina. So Texas, Wyoming and North Carolina, if you're looking to move.
WILLIS: Yes, and great local economies, too.
VELSHI: That's right.
WILLIS: Absolutely. Well, thank you, Ali, that was interesting.
Up next, make sure your job is recession proof. We'll tell you which ones pass the test and we'll open the help desk for business. Send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VELSHI: Welcome back to ISSUE #1.
There's a reason people use the phrase job security. When it comes to your job, you want one that's safe and you want one that's going to last as well. Bottom line, you want one that will hopefully be recession proof if you think we're headed into a recession. Here to talk about the best jobs in 2008, Rick Newman from "U.S. News & World Report."
Rick, this is fantastic. You've got ideas for jobs that people can go into if they're looking to move into something that might work through an economic downturn. Tell me how that works.
RICK NEWMAN, "U.S. NEWS WORLD REPORT": Right. Well, follow the money basically. And where are the jobs -- the jobs follow the money. So we need healthcare in this country. This is a pure demographic trend. We know all about the baby booms getting older.
This is just driving growth in healthcare that it doesn't matter about -- it doesn't depend on the economy really. So we've got about 30 careers we've identified as top careers. About a third of those are in health care.
VELSHI: Take a look at this list. We've got optometrist, hair stylist, green-collar consultant. We were just talking to Jim Acosta about green-collar. Wellness coach you'll have to explain to me. Asian business development specialist and health information. Asian business development specialist? I don't even know what that is.
NEWMAN: How's your mandarin Chinese? It helps . . .
VELSHI: Not good enough for that job.
NEWMAN: We know certain jobs are going overseas, but that requires a lot of people in the middle to help arrange the deals between countries like India, places like India, China, where the jobs are going and the companies here that need them. That can be big companies, as we know, but also smaller companies, even some small businesses need the help.
VELSHI: The list is pretty interesting. The only one I don't have any use for is a hair stylist. You and I were talking. One of the things I just talked about is where the jobs are geographically for people who have some mobility or are interested in changing their career. You're also looking at that at "U.S. News and World Report." Quick change careers.
NEWMAN: It depends where you want to go. But in the -- you know, there are more jobs in the south, for instance. I mean some of the industries you've already talked about. Automotive is a tough sell in the Northeast, for instance. Better job growth in the south. Again, that follows demographic trends.
VELSHI: And some of the jobs you might get into as a quick change. You've mentioned ghostwriter, government manage, cosmetologist. I like this one, locksmith and security system technician.
NEWMAN: These are jobs that don't require a lot of training. You don't have to go to school for six years to do these jobs. But locksmiths don't just do locks and deadbolts anymore. They do security systems when you think about it. Everybody has got a code they punch in. So that's where that goes.
Cosmetologist. I mean you and I don't need it, thankfully, but a lot of people want a little bit of extra primping. Men don't go to barbers as much anymore, they go to hair stylist. So that's maybe a small luxury that people will spend a little bit of money on even in the downturn.
VELSHI: Money I'm saving on not having to do that.
Let's talk about what you call overrated careers. In other words, they are careers that have sounded good for a long time, may not be fantastic in a tough economy.
NEWMAN: We don't think these are bad careers, we think they're perhaps over glamorized. And many of them tend to be -- get a lot of attention on TV. So, you know, doctors, for instance, don't live quite the lifestyle you see on "Grey's Anatomy."
There's a lot of paperwork involved with being a doctor. It costs a lot of money. You've got to go to school for a long time. Lawyers spend a lot of time -- not very much time doing courtroom drama type stuff. A lot of time reading fine print over and over and over. We've identified about 13 careers like this, but they're pretty good. But know what you're getting into so you don't get disappointed.
VELSHI: So that's a good point, that these are jobs that sometimes take a lot of time to either learn or develop. You're not saying they're bad, you're just saying that they may not be the impression you have of them.
NEWMAN: Right. So one alternative to being a doctor, for instance, is to be a physician's assistant who do more and more hands- on care with patients and aren't so involved in the paperwork. And that doesn't require eight or 10 years of school.
VELSHI: What's the trend in terms of -- does it make sense -- the tough part is for someone to make the decision that they're at that point in their career that they should make that change because some of this, no matter what job you take, is going to take some degree of training, some degree of downtime and some time without an income. When do you make that decision? NEWMAN: A lot of people are making the decision only because they really have no choice when they get downsized out after a company. You know, probably a better idea is to, you know, look at the prospects for your industry and for your company a few year ahead and decide, is it time for me to start an Internet business, do something I've always wanted to do, maybe take advantage of some learning I can get on my current job and get into a new job.
VELSHI: All right, Rick, that information is out there. A lot of that is in "U.S. News and World Report." It's worth doing the research on what is out there for you. It's probably bettor do it, as Rick says, now than later.
Rick Newman from "U.S. News & World Report," thanks for joining us -- Gerri.
WILLIS: Ali, thanks.
Coming up, we turn the show over to you and answer your e-mails. The help desk is next.
And we're standing by for a live news conference in Detroit where Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will address the media for the first time since he was charged with perjury this morning. We'll bring you that live as soon as it begins.
VELSHI: All right, you're watching ISSUE #1.
What you're looking at on the right side of your screen is the podium in Detroit where we are awaiting Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Now we are expecting the first words out of -- from him since being charged this morning with perjury, misconduct while in office and obstruction of justice.
Now this relates -- this is a 37-year-old mayor, the youngest elected mayor in Detroit's history. He's been in office for six years. And this relates to some text messages that went allegedly between him and his chief of staff.
These text messages were alleged to have sort of signified a romantic relationship, an inappropriate relationship, between these two. The mayor had denied that that was the case. The chief of staff did testify under oath and this is resulted in an indictment on 12 counts, including, as I mentioned, perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. The charges were filed -- were unsealed this morning against them.
We are expecting to hear from Mayor Kilpatrick. And most people suggesting that this will be the end of his short career in local politics. He was hailed as something very different when he was elected six years ago as the youngest mayor in Detroit's history.
His chief of staff, also 37-years-old. The issue surrounds text messages that were found to have been going between them. This just happened this morning. The charges were brought out against them. We are now waiting to have the first words from Mayor Kilpatrick about what he plans to do.
The charges have indicated that they've got 24 hours within which to turn themselves in and get on with these charges. So we are waiting to see whether Mayor Kilpatrick is going to take any action before that, whether he's announcing that he is going to turn himself in and what the course of events at this point will be.
This has been a story that has sort of paralyzed Detroit city politics for some time. And we are now standing by to, as you can see, people are gathering in that room. We've got some people coming in. Just waiting to see whether -- these are aides to Mayor Kilpatrick. We haven't see Mayor Kilpatrick yet.
There is some sense, though, given the recent events that we've seen in New Jersey and in New York, that these thing do tend to paralyze the motion, the activity of government for some people. So there are some people in Detroit saying that they would like to see this chapter move on and, as a result, we are waiting for the first comments from Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit about the charges.
Now, once again, if you're just joining us, he has been charged -- he and his former chief of staff have been charged with several counts, including perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office relating to text messages which have been described as steamy between them. They were suggesting an inappropriate relationship between the two of them. That was denied by the mayor, who subsequently found at least to have enough basis to bring charges against his mayor and his assistant. They have been given 24 hours from a few hours ago to turn themselves in. And this is why we're expecting this statement.
So we are waiting for that. Some aides have walked into the room. we don't seem to have the mayor on hand just yet, but it looks like -- there he is, walking in and he's heading up to the podium. This is Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being introduced now.
Let's listen in.
DAN WEBB, CHIEF COUNCIL FOR MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK: My name is Dan Webb and I have been selected by the mayor to be his chief counsel at the trial.
I did listen this morning to the county prosecutor orally tell us what the charges are. She indicated she's ready to go on this case and I have been waiting for the charges because I don't have the charges. And it's my understanding that the charges actually have not been put into a complaint that can be given to us right now. At least I don't have it.
But I did listen carefully to what the prosecutor stated the charges were. I certainly hope to get a copy as soon as I can because the mayor is ready to proceed. We intend to be processed today and to go to court immediately for an arraignment. And I'm hoping that can happen today. The prosecutor indicated she's ready to go. We're ready to go. And we want to go to court today. And we're waiting to hear from her office.
I listened to at least her orally tell us what why the charges are. I am familiar with the evidence. And I can tell you, based on my years of experience as a trial lawyer, it is my belief that, based on that evidence, that after a jury has heard the actual evidence in a courtroom that relates to these charges, that the mayor will be found not guilty and he will be exonerated of each and every one of the charges that I heard the prosecutor outline. In fact, when I listened to the charges, it's clear to me that every, single count in this complaint is based on allegations that the mayor acted improperly in connect with the civil case.
Now, in fact, the core of this indictment is clearly allegations that the mayor committed perjury in a civil case. So let me just start with that issue. Based on the research I've done, I have not found a single occasion ever that this county prosecutor's office has ever charged anyone with the crime of perjury in a civil case. It's always reserved for criminal cases.
Now, I know, having been a prosecutor myself, that there are allegations made all the time by disgruntled litigants in civil cases. And I don't know what the statistics are, but out of all of those allegations over the years, they've only chosen on one occasion ever to bring charges against somebody in a civil case for perjury. And that certainly raises issues of what's called selective prosecution, which is an issue that I intend to raise in front of the trial judge that will be assigned to this case.
The other problem with perjury cases is proof. Perjury cases are supposed to be limited to cases where there's an unambiguous question that's asked so it clearly can be understood by the person who's got to answer it. And then there's an unambiguous answer that is given. Not some opinion, not some ambiguity in the question. And now I'm told that my client is being charged with perjury in connection with certain specific questions and answers which I have reviewed carefully.
I don't actually have the charge, but I know what's in his testimony. And I can assure you that what is in that testimony is not a perjury case. The questions that they're relying upon are vague and indefinite, ambiguous. In many cases they call for opinions and it's not the type of questions and answers that I see perjury cases based on over the years.
So that's why, in this particular case, my view as a trial lawyer is that the jury trial is critically important in this case. We need a chance to go in front of a jury of the mayor's peers here in Detroit, we need to have all of the evidence heard, and let that jury speak and make a decision. It's my predict he'll be exonerated.
The reason I mention that is because, as his lawyer, I've become aware recently that there have been issues raised by the Detroit city council and by others that the mayor should resign from public office at this point in time. I have strongly advised the mayor against that course. In our -- today the prosecutor said that our jury system is the best system in the world. I agree with that. She also said that you have to work to make the system work. I agree with that. This man, my client, the mayor, is entitled to his day in court. And that day should not be taken away from him by demands for premature resignation.
The cornerstone of our system of justice in this country is the right to that jury trial. It's the right to have your day in court and have a jury determine your guilt or innocence. If this mayor is required to resign public office before that jury trial, that means he is going to be punished prematurely before he gets his day in court.
And I've told him, I don't believe that politics should result in him being denied his day in court. He worked hard to become mayor of the city and to be elected as mayor of the city and to be taken -- to have that taken way from him, without his day in court, is wrong and it's unfair and I've strongly advised him against doing that.
I also mentioned that some of you may -- some of you I'll get to know a little better over time, but I told the mayor, we're not going to try this case in the press. I've never done that during my career. I truly believe the system works. The system works best when jurors are allowed to come into a courtroom without being blitzed with publicity for month as head of time.
I assume and hope the prosecutor will feel the same way. Therefore, I'm responding today and maybe for the next day or so to these charges and then you're not going to hear from me again because I don't intend to get up and try this case in the press.
I've always asked the mayor, I basically have instructed him I guess as his lawyer, that he should do the same thing. This case should be tried in a courtroom, in front of a jury. It should not be tried in the press. And, therefore, I've asked him not to respond specifically on a day-to-day basis to questions from the press about the case because we'll do our speaking in court.
However, because the charges were brought down today, I thought out a fairness the mayor's entitled to give a general reaction to these charges. And then we will have nothing more to say after the next couple of days are over with. The charges will be done with. And then we can get ready to go to trial.
MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK, (D) DETROIT: It's probably different than you've seen me before. I will read a prepared statement and I would not go away from the remarks that are in front of me.
First, obviously, I'm deeply disappointed in the prosecutor's decision. I can't say that I am surprised, however. This has been a very flawed process from the very beginning.
However, at the same time, I recognize that this is merely the first step in the process that I believe in that's grounded in a presumption of innocence that is guaranteed to each and every American citizen by the Constitution of these United States. I look forward to complete exoneration once all of the facts surrounding this matter have been brought forth.
In the meantime, I will remain focused on moving this city forward with the key initiatives that we've laid out before you -- modernizing our police department, moving expeditiously towards the next Detroit, expanding our workforce development department efforts to prepare our citizens for jobs today. And we are prepared to go to counsel to present our economic stimulus package as soon as they give us time on the schedule to do that.
We also are making final preparations to present our balanced budget to city council on April the 14th. As my attorney, Daniel Webb, said, because of the nature of these allegations, I will have no further comment on this matter as it moves its way through the legal system. I approach this process with the faith that I have in this system, what I have been taught about this country and this legal process and the constitutional rights of all Americans since I was born
I believe in it, and I believe that there will be a full airing of all the facts in this case that result in my full and complete vindication of all that has been laid before you. Thank you very much.
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